Foodie Road Trip: Miami Heat

The Magic City sizzles at the forefront of America's restaurant scene

Serena Rooftop Garden Restaurant in Miami
Serena Rooftop Garden Restaurant

Hot Spot

A “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” whimsical storybook setting comes to life at Serena. The Oaxacan-inspired rooftop garden dazzles with colorful clusters of design-forward tables and couches, cloaked in lush foliage and buzzing with beautiful people. A shared plates menu—crafted by the masterminds behind Wynwood’s Coyo Taco—impresses with flavor-rich aguachiles, tostadas, quesadillas, and huaraches.

Uni and crab tostada at Serena
Uni and crab tostada

Within this set of excellence, the best of the best includes the uni and crab tostada, the Maine diver scallops aguachile verde, and the squash blossom quesadilla. Nightlife sophistication peaks at MILA, a vibe-heavy restaurant, bar, and lounge inviting the city’s tastiest eye candy to sip on next-level cocktails by award-winning duo Jennifer Le Nechet and Mido Yahi, nibble on MediterrAsian cuisine, delight in multi-sensory entertainment, show off the latest fashion trends, stand, pose, flirt, and party.

Juvia Miami Beach rooftop
Juvia Miami Beach

Locals’ Favorite

Chili Passion cocktail at The Ocean Grill
Chili Passion cocktail at The Ocean Grill

With dreamy views of the Atlantic and an inviting open-air design, The Ocean Grill at The Setai, Miami Beach is idyllic for languid lunches, sunset martinis, and memorable dinners. Loyalists can’t get enough of the ambience, the Mediterranean-inspired menu (underscored by a highly addicting black truffle pizza and a wood-grilled whole branzino), and the exquisite presentations. (For Instagram gold, order and photograph the salmon carpaccio, artistically surrounded by grated boiled egg, chives, minced red onions, and edible flowers, topped with caviar and crème fraiche.)

In a city where being new is everything, Juvia Miami Beach flaunts a winning recipe for keeping timeless. The rooftop restaurant, which has been wowing Magic City A-listers since 2012, still ticks all the boxes: splashy design, sweeping views, cool vibe, great service, and remarkable gastronomy that combines French, Japanese, and Peruvian cooking styles. Dishes that keep us coming back include the sweet and savory Perigord truffle ceviche, the pancake-sized spicy tuna crispy rice, and the melt-in-your-mouth Chilean sea bass en papillote.  

Sushi Yasu Tanaka By Masumura
Sushi Yasu Tanaka By Masumura

Hidden Gem

Among the flash of the Miami Design District, tucked in the far corner of the MIA Market food hall, lies the unassuming but amazing Sushi Yasu Tanaka By Masumura. Here, the hyper-talented Chef Yasu prepares nigiri-focused sushi by hand at his micro-restaurant and delivers a ten-course omakase that’s both authentic and affordable ($59).

Coconut Cartel Special
Coconut Cartel Special

Take It Home

A favorite spirit among Miami mixologists, Coconut Cartel Special is the creation of young local entrepreneur Danielle Zigi, named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in 2021. The single-origin Guatemalan dark rum is aged in American White Oak barrels for up to 12 years, infused with fresh coconut water from El Salvador, and distributed out of Miami. It’s available at local retailers, including Total Wine & More.

Where to Stay

Following a three-year, $90 million renovation, The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach returns with a fresh approach to Miami tropical chic and new amenities aplenty. This includes the stunning Lapidus Bar, a design-forward take on a 1950s cocktail bar, and Fuego y Mar restaurant, whose menu reflects Miami’s diverse Latin American influences, from Cuban to Colombian. Start with the roasted sweet plantains and esquites (Mexican street corn) before moving on to a sofrito-laced seafood rice or a chimichurri-topped Wagyu steak with sides like tostones and yucca fries.

Oceanfront Suite Bedroom at The Ritz Carlton, South Beach
Oceanfront Suite Bedroom at The Ritz Carlton, South Beach

Also sporting a new look is W South Beach. The all-suite hotel was reimagined with beach house–style millwork and furnishings in coral and teal. Enjoy a DJ-led pool scene by day, cocktails at outdoor tropical bar Irma’s at sunset, and elevated Chinese cuisine at Mr. Chow come nightfall, a feast for all the senses. 

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