Best fine dining restaurants in Miami

As you’d expect in a city devoted to sensory pleasure, Miami has more than its fair share of fabulous restaurants. In her last post Ana Connery covered casual eateries; this time she previews smarter and seafront venues

Lighthouse Cafe and Boater’s Grill, Key Biscayne

Dining on the on the water is a great Miami passion. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is at the tip of Key Biscayne, an island that snakes out from the southern end of downtown Miami, and is home to not one, but two, wonderful waterfront restaurants that serve fresh fish with the city’s signature Latin flair. At Lighthouse Cafe, the view is of Atlantic Ocean waves crashing against a shoreline scattered with sea oats. From the second-story perch at Boater’s Grill, you’ll see sailing boats sunning themselves in No Name Harbor. Menus are similar; we recommend the fried mashed plantains known as tostones with crab meat nestled on top followed by the fresh catch served alongside yellow rice and sweet peppers.

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, Wynwood

If you love to gaze at art as much as you love to eat, this is the hipster hotspot for you. Shepard Fairey, the artist who designed ‘Obama Hope’, one of the most famous posters of Barak Obama’s first presidential campaign, has covered the bar here in the same red-and-black graphic print. He’s joined by dozens of other artists whose paintings hang from just about every inch of the place. Start with the tuna ceviche or shrimp tacos before moving on to the hearty braised short ribs, then take your rum-and-guava juice cocktail out to the courtyard. Known simply as Wynwood Walls, the slabs of concrete here are covered in graffiti by some of the world’s most renowned street artists. Visit on the second Saturday of the month and you can join the locals on a stroll of the nearby galleries and shops known as the Wynwood Art Walk.

La Mar, Mandarin Oriental, downtown Miami

Peruvian food is one of the fastest-growing culinary trends here in Miami, and this one is run by the real deal, chef Gaston Acurio, whose establishment in Peru itself gives Thomas Keller’s French Laundry a run for its money on numerous ‘best restaurant in world’ lists. Plus, you have the fun of eating in the swanky Mandarin Oriental. Sit outside on the bank of Biscayne Bay so you can check out the palm trees and silver skyscrapers that make up Miami’s dazzling skyline (pictured above). Nibble on the ceviche made with snapper, sweet potato and Peruvian corn in a light citrus bath reminiscent of Peru’s national cocktail, the pisco sour.  Move on to Acurio’s street cart-inspired dishes known as anticuchos, mashed potato dumplings topped with everything from tuna tartare to octopus, and enjoy the waterfront breeze.

The Forge, Miami Beach

Walk down the Forge’s long, dark mahogany corridor to the main dining room with its elegant crystal chandeliers hanging from high ceilings, and you’ll feel like a prince (or princess) arriving at a royal feast. Ask for the private room simply so you can sit in the oversized, Alice in Wonderland-style high-backed white chairs. Get ready to be treated right; the service here is as excellent as the cuts of beef, especially the oak-grilled prime New York strip. But before you dig in, taste the lobster peanut butter and jelly on a brioche bun. Prepared with sweet onion marmalade and chilli-spiced peanut butter, this out-of-the-ordinary dish is one of the restaurant’s signature creations. To accompany dinner, you’ll be able to sample one-, three- or five-ounce pours of 80 wines from their well-curated cellar, courtesy of the ingenious Enomatic system of wines by the glass.

Photo by la-mar-terrace

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