Miami

The 15 Most Romantic Restaurants in Miami

From scenic South Beach stunners to upgraded seafood in Coral Gables.

The Setai, Miami Beach
The Setai, Miami Beach
The Setai, Miami Beach

Sometimes it’s hard after swiping through an endless parade of Venmo links and fishing selfies to imagine romance really exists in South Florida. But if dating were really so impossible here, how do so many beautifully romantic restaurants stay in business? With an abundance of tropical breezes, swaying palms, and waterfront views, it’s all-too-easy to slip into the schmoopy spirit when dining out at some of these spots. So even if your date hasn’t looked up from their phone since you sat down, there’s plenty to keep you occupied at one of these date night-worthy Miami escapes.

Photo courtesy of Jaya at the Setai
Photo courtesy of Jaya at the Setai
Photo courtesy of Jaya at the Setai

Jaya at the Setai

South Beach
A meal among the twinkling lights and balmy breezes at this Indian-inspired spot in the Setai is exactly what one pictures when they think “date night in Miami.” Sexy house music and captivating fire dancers make for a not-so-subtly suggestive backdrop as you and your date go in on sushi, curries, tandoori, and spicy craft cocktails by the outdoor reflecting pool. The soft light is bolstered by a cluster of trees surrounding said pool, each illuminated like a shopping promenade during the holidays. The warm air and soft wind create an aura of magic, and whether you’re trying to impress someone new or celebrate someone special, it’s a guaranteed mood-maker.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Leku Restaurant
Leku Restaurant
Leku Restaurant

Leku

Allapattah
Combining equal parts fine art and fine dining is a perfect recipe for romance, and that’s precisely what you’ll find at this delicate spot outside the Rubell Museum. After perusing Florida’s most pristine collection of private art on public display, enjoy an elevated al fresco meal inspired by the Basque region of Spain. You and your date can playfully share Leku’s small plates, namely the Ham Croquettes, Short Rib Sliders, or Key West Pink Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, before digging into high-end meats like the Australian Wagyu Tenderloin or 45-day Aged Bone-in Ribeye.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.

Redfish by Chef Adrianne
Redfish by Chef Adrianne
Redfish by Chef Adrianne

Redfish by Chef Adrienne

Coral Gables
This beachy landmark in Matheson Hammock Park has long been a favorite for special occasion dining. But since Adrianne Calvo took it over last year, it’s taken on a far more sophisticated tone, adding a row of semi-private waterfront tables to the restaurant’s tranquil patio. The small sense of seclusion doesn’t exactly feel like a tropical oasis in paradise, but it does effectively separate your dining experience from the rest of the restaurant. And when you lean in to whisper sweet nothings over Sea Scallops Puttanesca or Brown Sugar-crusted Salmon, there’ll be no one there to eavesdrop (here’s looking at you, Matt Dillon).
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Peacock Garden Resto Bar
Peacock Garden Resto Bar
Peacock Garden Resto Bar

Peacock Garden

Coconut Grove
This longtime Coconut Grove steak and seafood emporium got a massive overhaul during COVID shutdown, and the result is a cool, Keys-inspired space that feels like dining in a hidden garden. The wicker chairs set among palm fronds and banana plants looks especially alluring when lit only by strings of lights and the stars above. The food is pure date night bliss, with classics like Pappardelle and Short Rib, Cacio y Pepe, and a Prime Filet Mignon for your indulgence. Peacock Garden might be a name you’ve forgotten, with the hundreds of new places that have opened, but next time you’re looking for something special, give it another go.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Boia De
Boia De
Boia De

Boia De

Buena Vista
The word “intimate” gets a little overused when it comes to small restaurants-as anyone who’s tried to have a sit-down meal at Little Caesars knows, fewer seats doesn’t always equal more romance. But the cozy confines of Boia De lend themselves perfectly to the family-style cuisine, where you and your date can sit nose to nose and play Lady and the Tramp over a plate of Rabbit Pappardelle. The unusual wine list also makes for fantastic conversation, as you’ll discover small production stuff from all over the world while simultaneously discovering each other.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

Glass & Vine
Glass & Vine
Glass & Vine

Glass and Vine

Coconut Grove
Not so long ago, an evening dinner in Peacock Park typically involved a 2 am slice of pizza and leftover beer from The Tavern. But the Grove is a more mature place now, and park dinners now mean dining under the soft lights of Glass and Vine. On its sprawling patio, a warm breeze blows uphill from Biscayne Bay, rustling the leaves in the live oaks and altering the sparkling lighting ever so slightly. The food is just as magical as the setting, with fresh seafood and chicken dishes plus Black Truffle Gnocchi highlighting the menu. Even during the day, it’s hard not to get butterflies when sharing a meal at Glass & Vine-and yes, we mean that both literally and figuratively.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

El Cielo Restaurant
El Cielo Restaurant
El Cielo Restaurant

El Cielo

Brickell
Though this ultra-modern Colombian spot from chef Juanma Barrientos sits tucked away behind a condo tower on the Miami River, its environs aren’t inherently romantic. But as soon as the second course of this nine-course journey has you and your date washing your hands in chocolate and licking it off, you’ll see why El Cielo’s DC outpost recently notched a Michelin star. Spend a few hours discovering Barrientos’ artful creations, from a tree sculpture made of traditional Colombian bread to exquisitely designed meat dishes. Adventurous couples, you’ve arrived.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Soya & Pomodoro
Soya & Pomodoro
Soya & Pomodoro

Soya & Pomodoro

Downtown
The quaint, private Italian restaurant is a romantic tradition, and Miami’s best offering is Soya & Pomodoro, set inside an old bank building. Unremarkable furniture dots the dining room, giving the feeling of discovering a random family-run hole-in-the-wall in some small Italian village. It’s quiet and secluded, with attentive servers and homemade pasta ramping up the welcoming vibes. The restaurant is both unpretentious and beautiful, and while it’s accrued plenty of accolades and awards, still somehow feels like an undiscovered gem.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Juvia
Juvia
Juvia

Juvia

South Beach
Busting out your phone on a romantic night out is probably the quickest way to ensure there won’t be a second outing… but it’s almost impossible when presented with the architectural tableau Juvia spreads out before you and your paramour. From the top of the 1111 building, this restaurant gazes east across Miami Beach at the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world, then out onto the Atlantic Ocean. And even amid the crowds of beautiful people that pack the place nightly, the warm humid air merging with that view is pure romance-just try not to ruin it with too many selfies.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Design District
If food can make the Greeks and Turks of yore fall in love, clearly it’ll work wonders for your Hinge date, right? Set in an old 1940s-era Buena Vista bungalow, this hideaway is backed by a Greek and Turkish couple who serve their respective families’ age-old recipes in a Christmas light-draped courtyard. Sharing the mezzes is but the beginning of a storied night, as you converse over Tirokafteri or Hummus and Eggplant. Continue with light fare like Chicken Kebabs and Orzo or the deliciously simple Lemon and Oregano Grilled Sea Bass, and you’ll have plenty of energy for the rest of the night.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

The Rusty Pelican Restaurant in Miami
The Rusty Pelican Restaurant in Miami
The Rusty Pelican Restaurant in Miami

Rusty Pelican

Key Biscayne
Just because the venerable Rusty Pelican has been home to more weddings, engagements, and other moments of kissy-kissy indulgence than any other restaurant in Miami doesn’t mean it’s lost its edge. Not satisfied to rest on its glass-walled and skyline-showcasing laurels, the restaurant revamped the entire concept a few years back. Now, rather than a menu of dishes just good enough to complement the view, it’s stocked with stuff like fresh sushi, Lobster Risotto, and an impressive lineup of prime steaks. The cocktails here are also among the most creative in the city, with six different herb-infused Gin and Tonics accompanying an array of original creations.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Mandarin Oriental, Miami

La Mar

Brickell
Striking the perfect balance between bustling and romantic is nearly impossible, but this Gaston Acurio outpost in the Mandarin Oriental has both the pizzaz to get you amped and the calming presence to facilitate some quality one-on-one time. Enter through the busy dining room, stroll past the open hot kitchen and sushi counter, and stop for a moment to marvel at the hustle of the chefs keeping up with the endless demand. Then step outside to the patio, set just above the running path around Brickell Key, and let it all go amid the tranquil waterfront view overlooking the Brickell skyline and the Rickenbacker causeway. Believe it or not, the food here can make you forget about that stellar view, with the best ceviches in Miami leading off a dinner of causas, saltados, and other Peruvians staples done as well as you’ll find anywhere north of Lima.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Smith & Wollensky Miami Steakhouse
Smith & Wollensky Miami Steakhouse
Smith & Wollensky Miami Steakhouse

Smith & Wollensky

SoFi
Nothing says “I love you” like cutting into a giant hunk of bloody meat across from your special someone. But even if steakhouses aren’t your idea of a hot night out, it’s hard to argue with a spot set right on Government Cut with views of Fisher Island and the Atlantic in one direction and sunsets over the skyline in the other. Snag a table by the rocks and you’ll almost feel like you’re eating on a desert island (albeit a desert island where cruise ships sail by on the regular), where trees give your table shade and hide you from other guests. If you’re looking for a fancy steakhouse to stoke the flames, nobody does it better than Smith’s.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Plant Miami
Plant Miami
Plant Miami

Plant Miami

Edgewater
Even if you’re the type who finds the idea of plant-based meat to be sacrilege, well, what’s more romantic than testing your boundaries together? Plant makes organic vegan cuisine that even a carnivore will love, so grab a seat out in the palm-filled Sacred Space and broaden your horizons with enticements like Truffle Noodles, Tartufadas layered with cultured coconut cheese, mushrooms, baby arugula, and cashew parmesan, and a BLT packed with Barbecue tempeh, avocado, and spicy sprouts. The purple lighting and heart-healthy dishes make dinner here feel like the start of a big night, and as you discover that vegan food can, in fact, be delicious, so too might you discover things about your date you never thought you’d love.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Lique Miami Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge
Lique Miami Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge
Lique Miami Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge

Lique

North Miami
Stop into Lique and you’ll find a romantic hidden gem positioned just down the dock from Duffy’s. The bistro tables are bordered by big padded booths, meaning if you and your date want to snuggle up and look out at the Intercoastal together, that’s totally doable. The food errs on the lighter side, with smaller plates like Whitefish Ceviche and Beef Carpaccio headlining the show. Though if you come hungry, you won’t starve here either, as Lique’s got a full roster of steaks and grilled seafood backing up the little guys. And it hasn’t yet blown up as a go-to date spot either, so you can impress your chosen one with your romantic restaurant expertise and culinary decision making.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Matt Meltzer is a Miami-based contributor for Thrillist.

Miami

Bad Bunny and David Grutman's Sexy AF Miami Steakhouse is Finally Here

The rapper does whatever he wants.

Photo by Michael Stavaridis
Photo by Michael Stavaridis
Photo by Michael Stavaridis

David Grutman is back at it again, and this time the hospitality guru is bringing a new partner into the fold-award-winning recording artist, Bad Bunny. Located in Miami’s trendy Brickell neighbourhood, Gekkō, which translates to “moonlight” is a Japanese-inspired steakhouse that will serve fancy cuts of Wagyu alongside a bevy of sushi offerings. In true Groot Hospitality form, this isn’t your basic steakhouse, it’s also got a lounge that very well may play the sounds of Bad Bunny and the like into the wee hours of the night.

“Gekkō is the result of so many of my obsessions in food,” says David Grutman, Founder of Groot Hospitality. “It’s a steakhouse inspired by Japanese cuisine. There are delicious, innovative sushi rolls. There’s a lounge. I knew I wanted to do something that combined these worlds, and once I started speaking with Bunny, I knew he’d be a great partner. Gekkō is about having an incredible meal while having an equally incredible night.”

Photo by WORLD RED EYE
Photo by WORLD RED EYE
Photo by WORLD RED EYE

To celebrate the opening of Gekkō (not so coincidentally the same weekend Bad Bunny has two shows scheduled in South Florida), the crew hosted a massive grand opening party that attracted dozens of A-list celebrities and friends of both Grutman and Bad Bunny. Upon arrival, in his white Bugatti, mobs of fans who spent the entire evening swarming the restaurant began chanting “Benito! Benito!” as he exited his car in an all black suit paired with black sunglasses.

The night went something like this. A-list artists of every genre came out to celebrate. Future and Lil Wayne were seen on a couch in deep conversation and catching up with Mack Maine. Bad Bunny and Karol G were spotted running from table to table together, while DJ Khaled was seen embracing Bad Bunny and congratulating him on such a beautiful new restaurant. Timbaland and Andy Garcia were spotted hanging out for a long period, while Sophie Turner and her husband, Joe Jonas, hung with Victoria and David Beckham. Amidst that hundreds of average joes mixed and mingled while attempting to make their way to the bar so they could get a peek at some of the restaurant’s cocktails and sushi bites. It was quite a scene.

Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis
Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis
Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis

Okay, so back to the restaurant. Gekkō was designed by New York City-based architecture and design firm, Rockwell Group, and is made up of three different rooms with seats for up to 185 diners. It’s centred around sultry jewel-toned decor with plush and stylistic elements like a custom gold and red dip-dyed rope installation, graphic wall coverings, and velvet drapery.

Now you might be wondering about the food, because that’s really why we’re going to a restaurant, right? Gekkō’s menu begins with shared plates where diners will find things like a signature Japanese milk bread, “Lava and Ice” Kumamoto Oysters, lobster dumplings, and a wedge salad. When it comes to raw plates there’s sushi and sashimi classics as well as an opulent 24k Otoro, that’s exactly what it sounds like-deliciously tender fatty tuna covered in a layer of 24k gold leaf.

Photo by Libby Vision
Photo by Libby Vision
Photo by Libby Vision

Then there’s the steaks which include a Tomahawk cut, an olive-fed filet mignon from Kagawa, Japan, and a snow beef strip from Hokkaido, Japan. Specialty preparations include Wagyu skirt steak and a bone-in ribeye. And because Grutman is always sure his restaurants cater to the tastes of everyone, there’s even some plant-based chicken options and more.

“Sitting down with friends to enjoy a good meal is one of the moments I value the most,” says Bad Bunny. “I am thrilled that now I will have a hand in creating this experience for others.”

Gekkō opens tonight at 8 SE 8th Street in Brickell. The dining room and lounge serve customers from 6 to 11 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and 6 pm to 12 am Friday and Saturday. Valet parking is available for $20 or you can attempt to find a street parking on Brickell. Visit gekko.com for reservations.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Amber Love Bond is a contributor for Thrillist.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.