Miami’s bustling downtown, known for office buildings, courthouses and assorted novelty and electronics shops, didn’t used to be the place to find a great dining experience.
Now, though, you can find cuisines ranging from all corners of the world: Japanese, Brazilian, Peruvian, Mediterranean and Italian. And that’s not even including the ventanitas and sandwich shops on just about every corner.
Here are some of our favorite downtown restaurants. Happy eating!
1. Zuma Miami
Zuma Miami lives up to the name of the building in which it is housed: EPIC. Serving extraordinary modern Japanese cuisine in the informal Izakaya Japanese dining style, which includes an open kitchen and robata grill, the award-winning restaurant is a mecca for celebrities, locals and visitors alike.
Regardless of what you order, Zuma, which originated in London, is sure to delight. From the flavorful beef dishes to the succulent Black Miso Cod–which will entice the staunchest meat lover–to the sushi, every dish at Zuma is sheer perfection.
Zuma’s weekend brunch is an all-day affair and includes bottomless champagne and signature cocktails, a gourmet buffet, a la carte menu items and dessert.
And if you have your own yacht, you can enjoy your meal in the comfort of your private vessel, thanks to Zuma’s yacht menu with dockside service.
2. Steak Brasil
If you crave meat while performing your downtown duties, look no further than Steak Brasil. Endless cuts of beef, lamb, chicken, pork and sausage abound at this cozy restaurant. A salad bar filled with an array of side dishes and daily specials also round out the unlimited rodizio.
Various vegetarian options are also available. The pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) melts in your mouth. Save room for the creamy coconut cake (think tres leches with a coconut upgrade) and the traditional, decadent chocolate Brigadeiro. Both are worth the calories.
3. Soya & Pomodoro
For friendly service and reasonably-priced, traditional Italian food, head to Soya & Pomodoro. This hidden gem is owned by two Italians who dreamed of opening a restaurant reminiscent of the comfort and homey atmosphere of the Italian tasting tables back home, with recipes to satisfy every taste and where no one is ever rushed. The result is a restaurant in which every guest is treated like a regular.
Housed in an old bank building, the indoor/outdoor space boasts a bohemian vibe, with eclectic décor, vintage furniture and tapestries, dim lighting and live music.
Our favorites: Fazzoletti diFormaggio e Pera (ricotta cheese, shrimp, and pear), Ravioli aiFunghi Porcini, Melenzonealla Parmigiana (eggplant parmigian), Carpaccio di Manzo and the lamb and burrata (when available).
4. Meraki Greek Bistro
Tucked away in heart of downtown Miami, Meraki Greek Bistro transports you to Greece from the moment you approach its doors. The bistro offers a true Hellenic dining experience, welcoming you to dive into a new wave of authentic Greek cuisine with daily and nightly specials, as well as fantastic array of traditional appetizers, house-made gyros, souvlakia, lamb chops and charred octopus.
Co-owners Alex Karavias and executive chef Giannis Kotsos pride themselves in keeping true to their Mediterranean roots and bringing guests a one-of-a-kind experience.
Mignonette is a cool, casual oyster bar and fish house in an up-and-coming downtown neighborhood. Created, owned and operated by one of Miami’s most talented young chefs, Danny Serfer, Mignonette offers an elaborate seafood menu with a rotating selection of oysters, caviar, seafood tower options and dishes including “plain” and “fancy” preparations of favorite fish and seafood entrees, including grouper, red fish, lobster, scallops and snapper.
The menu also boasts a Bouillabaisse (South African lobster tail, mussels, shrimp, snow crab, saffron), lobster roll, Colorado lamb chops, chicken and vegetarian options. Be sure to save room for the bread pudding.
6. Cvi.che 105
Guests rave about Cvi.che 105’s crave-worthy ceviches and other traditional Peruvian fare. The atmosphere is noisy and hip, and the generous portions are fairly-priced.
The restaurant, owned and operated by native Peruvian Juan Chipoco, draws fellow Peruvians for authentic hometown favorites such as the Ceviche Mixto, Tiradito a la Crema Rocoto, Aji de Gallina, Lomo Saltado and the Juan Chipoco ‘Iron Man’- filet mignon, jumbo shrimp and scallops cooked in a fiery wok with onions, cilantro, mushrooms and tomatoes, served with Andean potatoes, Peruvian choclo and Paria cheese. Don’t miss the magical SopaParihuela “Levanta Muertos,” which is so addictive it allegedly has the powers to raise the dead. We can see why.
7. Sushi Sake
Located directly across from the AmericanAirlines Arena, this sleek, modern, 3,500-square-foot indoor/outdoor sushi den boasts an spacious dining room with a large, seated sushi bar, wine cellar, communal table and wrap-around terrace, ideal for enjoying sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline.
The menu is equally expansive. In addition to a number of tasty appetizers, Sushi Sake offers more than 40 traditional and signature sushi rolls. The chef’s specialty is the Lobster Blast– lobster prepared three ways, including a lobster roll, fried lobster and lobster sautéed with mushrooms. It’s large enough for two and worth the splurge. S
Sushi Sake also offers Hibachi specials made with perfectly grilled meats and seafood items such as the Deluxe Treat (filet mignon and cold water lobster tail). Katsu dinners of fried chicken, shrimp and fish are also available as are various teriyaki, fried rice and noodle specialties.
8. The Arketekt
The Arketekt is the new concept from the owners of Aficionados and Speakeasy Bar. The restaurant is located next door to Aficionados and is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.
Signature dishes include: Grilled Octopus with roasted asparagus, pesto and Botika olives; Braised Short Rib with ajipanca adobo over corn risotto; Squid Ink Tagliatelle with shrimp; and the fish of the day served with Vidalia onions, orange escabeche and yuca cake.
Arketekt’s unique half-bottle of wine program allows guests to try a variety of labels in decanters without having to purchase a full bottle. The restaurant also offers $1 Prosecco for ladies every Thursday from 4-8 pm.