Picture-perfect: Miami’s lushest garden restaurants for al fresco dining

Are you kidding me? Cafe Roval's terrace is magical. Photography by FujifilmGirl

Yes, it’s hot outside in Miami. But these local restaurants boast terraces so lush, gorgeous and brimming with the tropical ambiance that makes Miami unique that we bet you are willing to skip the AC and dine al fresco.

Phuc Yea

The whimsical garden patio at Phuc Yea

Put on the “do not disturb” on your phone and feel all kinds of zen as you dine at this Vietnamese hotspot’s Lantern Garden. Prepare for an overload of lanterns, Asian- influenced decor and lots and lots of tropical plants and flowers – an ideal setting for some outdoor dining.

Hit Ladies Night on Fridays where the resto offers $1 bubbles from 5-7 p.m., happy hour from 6-8 p.m. daily, and late night libations from 10 p.m.-midnight. Be sure to sample Chef Cesar Zapata’s Viet-Cajun dishes with colorful Vietnamese ingredients (inspired by partner, Aniece Meinhold’s roots), served up with spicy Cajun flavors.

While, Phuc Yea is largely seafood based, some of it’s classics make an appearance on the menu like Mamma T’s Imperial Rolls and the Caja China Cola Duck. Brunch’s dim sum menu is not be missed. Can you say Sweet ‘n Sour Pig Wing and Cornmeal Waffle and Steamed Pork Buns? I think I’ve said enough.

7100 Biscayne Blvd, Miami;305-602-3710

7100 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
Cafe Roval

Are you kidding me? Cafe Roval’s terrace is magical.Photography by FujifilmGirl

Famed restauranteur Mark Soyka has always had his eye on this historic house just mere blocks away from his namesake, Soyka Restaurant. And after seeing it transform to a vagabond crash pad, a beauty salon, and a private home, it was finally restored to its culinary destiny, which holds one of the most beautiful secret gardens you’ve ever seen (I promise you that).

Now helmed by Executive Chef Curtis Rhodes, Cafe Roval is living up to the space with new dishes that include Roasted oysters with smoked chili butter; Short rib with garlic kale and three cheese torchio and Soft shell crab fritter. Enjoy these entrees al fresco at the garden’s new tiki hut, which is totally Instagram-worthy.

5808 NE 4th Court, Miami ; 786-953-7850

5808 NE 4th Court, Miami
Fontana at the Biltmore Hotel

Probably some of the classiest al fresco dining in Miami is at Fontana at the Biltmore. Bible!

If you want to take a quick trip to Italy, reserve a table at the Biltmore’s molto romantico Fontana. You’ll be savoring Italian-inspired dishes like Ravioli Di Zucca (roasted pumpkin with shrimp and pesto) and Maccheroncini con Polpette (braised lamb meatballs with ricotta cheese) in a courtyard surrounded by lush gardens and a terra cotta fountain. Ferrara-born chef Giusseppe Galazzi uses mainly local and organic ingredients for his dishes. The Hotel’s iconic Sunday Champagne Brunch is also held in the lavish garden space. Book a reservation and mangiare!

  • Nearby

1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables; 855-969-3219

1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables
Komodo

Komodo’s outdoor garden dining area

Hidden in the concrete jungle of Brickell is one of the most elegant yet unique garden dining spaces in Miami. The indoor/outdoor eatery is more coveted for its terrace, which features a “lush garden oasis vibe” that includes floating bird nests, warm lighting and tropical foliage surrounding the intimate tables. Whether dining with friends or a hot date, kick back the appropriately named Secret Garden cocktail made with Havana Club Rum, guava puree, strawberry, yuzu sake, and Coco Lopez. The Asian inspired menu with best sellers like the Lobster Dynamite with crispy quinoa and scallions, and the pan seared Branzino with ginger mojo, are perfect selections for dining at Komodo’s outdoor garden.

  • Nearby

801 Brickell Avenue, Brickell; 305-534-2211

801 Brickell Avenue, Brickell
Gianni’s at The Villa Casa Casuarina

Dining in the lap of luxury at Gianni’s at Villa Cauarina.

If you want to dine like fashion royalty, (and let’s face it, we all do) get a sneak a peek at one of Ocean Drive’s most over-the-top luxe residences and former home of late designer, Gianni Versace.  Dress the part in your most couture looking Forever 21 or H&M, as you dine in one of country’s most luxurious Mediterranean-style gardens. As you enjoy some chilled Veuve Cliquot and gape at the 24-karat mosaic pool, check out the Villa’s newest Jazz Nights program featuring the Vinyl Blvd ensemble. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, The Villa will be offering a special menu, which will include two appetizers and one entrèe like Grilled Lionfish and Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. Wash that down with a handcrafted cocktail, like the Sidecar, made with Cognac, Grand Marnier and lemon juice. Did I also mention that Ryan Murphy’s “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace” was just filmed here? Stay tuned.

  • Nearby

1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 786-485-2200

1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Mina’s Mediterraneo

The Garden at Mina’s Mediterraneo

If you dream about sitting at an outdoor cafe in Morocco or Greece, you can get that same vibe and flavor here at this Upper Eastside eatery. Their garden patio is a postcard of from paradise and the menu showcases dishes from diverse cultures. The Garden menu features shareable plates like Gyro sliders and Kreatopita. Be sure to pop in for their famous weekend brunch, which stars favorites like the Egyptian Brunch (two eggs scrambled with basterma (cured beef tenderloin) served with Egyptian style fava beans, feta cheese, molasses/tahini spread and pita bread. Or take a trip to Spain and order their Spanish Tortilla, baked with potatoes and caramelized onions, cilantro, and house aioli. Food coma expected.

749 NE 79th Street, Miami; 786-391-0300

749 NE 79th Street, Miami
Matador Terrace

The Terrace at Matador is #gardeninggoals.

Breakfast and brunch are best served surrounded by lush tropical greenery and beneath a trellis climbing with vibrant bougainvillea, not mention pool and beachfront views. The menu, which is the brainchild of acclaimed chef Jean-Georges, offers diners Latin American/Caribbean fusion dishes served with only the highest quality ingredients like their Huevos Rancheros made with a farm egg, fresh corn tortilla and fire roasted salsa, or sweet and savory entrees like coconut pancakes with grapefruit and lavender maple syrup.

  • Nearby

2901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 786-257-4600

2901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Design District oasis Mandolin is like a trip to Mykonos.

“Am I in Miami or am I in Mykonos?”

That’s what you’ll be asking yourself when you step inside Mandolin’s garden paradise with its iconic blue accents that match the famous turquoise Aegean Sea. You’ll get a Mediterranean welcome and a laid back dining experience at this converted 1940s bungalow in the Design District. With traditional dishes that are simple but flavorful like moussaka and pork souvlaki, husband and wife team, Ahmet Erkaya and Anastasia Koutsioukis, want to make you feel like you’re in their home.

4312 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami; 305-576- 6066

4312 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami
Peacock Garden Cafe

Peacock Garden Cafe is one of Miami’s most celebrated al fresco dining locales.

Coconut Grove is home to some of the most kick ass greenery, tropical foliage and lush gardens. Tucked away on the spot where the Peacock family (one of the Grove’s earliest prominent residents) settled, one of the most beautiful outdoor gardens with fine cuisine exists. A beloved neighborhood staple, Peacock Garden Cafe is just as inviting as it is delicious. Enjoy a refreshing Pear and Bleu Cheese salad with a glass of Prosecco, or a Sacchetti filled with Truffle and Parmesan with Asparagus and Sage (yum)! BONUS: There is live jazz every Friday and Saturday evening in the garden starting at 7:30 p.m.

  • Nearby

2889 McFarlane Road, Coconut Grove; 305-774-3332

2889 McFarlane Road, Coconut Grove
Rouge

Rouge Cafe’s courtyard

How does a Classical Music Dinner with a string quartet sound for a night out (available every other Friday)? Or a weekday jazz-infused dinner? At Rouge in Miami Beach, romance is on the menu seven days a week, especially in the bistro’s quaint and cozy garden. It’s the best way to enjoy such French/Moroccan classics as Vol au Vent d’ Escargots au Pastis (sautéed creamy Pastis snails served in a puff pastry shell) or the Filet Mignon de Sanglier et Gratin de pomme de terre (Wild boar tenderloin served with potato gratin) at one of the most best kept secret spots on the beach. Well, maybe it’s not a secret anymore.

  • Nearby

908 71st Street, Miami Beach; 305-720-9125

908 71st Street, Miami Beach
Red Fish Grill

Red Fish Grill is a Miami classic.

It’s often called one of the most romantic restaurants in South Florida, and for a reason. Located inside a historic old stone building, Red Fish Grill’s outdoor garden area offers flawless beach views in a picturesque setting. Tucked inside Matheson Hammock Park, Red Fish Grill offers up a fresh menu specializing in seafood dishes like the Chilean Sea Bass and and the Cumin Crusted Big Eye Tuna. It’s no wonder that this gem overlooking Biscayne Bay is a popular date night spot.

9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami; 305-668-8788

9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami
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