Miami is an international city surrounded by an ocean full of fresh seafood. Combine the two and the dining options are exciting and delicious. The international population brings rich culinary traditions from across Central and South America, as well as Europe, making it easy for food lovers to experience a wide variety of vibrant and authentic foods. Choices range from homey Cuban diners to high-end steak and seafood places.

Here’s our favorites:

1. Joe’s Stone Crab

Joe's Stone Crab

Joe’s Stone Crab has been a South Beach institution for over 100 years. Joe Weiss and his wife Jennie opened for business in 1913 by putting some dining tables on their front porch, and the plan was to sell fish. However, as fate would have it, an ichthyologist (fish scientist) came in one day asked and why Joe wasn’t cooking any of the stone crabs that were plentiful in the area. They cooked some stone crabs to see how they tasted, and the rest is history.

Everything is good, but the crabs are the thing to get. Stone crabs are in season October to May, so check the web site to make sure they are open in summer. The crab legs are harvested by pulled one leg off of the crab, and then the crab is returned to the water to grow another one.

• Seafood Bisque
• Stone Crab Claws served chilled with Mustard Sauce.
• Joe’s Original Key Lime Pie.

The restaurant is reputedly referenced in Ian Fleming’s novel “Goldfinger” as “Bill’s on the Beach,” and James Bond says he had the best meal of his life there. Famous people who have dined at the restaurant include Frank Sinatra, Babe Ruth, and Al Capone, and Dennis Rodman, who was thrown out. Joe’s does not accept reservations, so plan to order a beer or margarita and some conch fritters and wait – read more here (Photo by ChrisCruises)

2. Puerto Sagua Restaurant

Puerto Sagua Restaurant

Puerto Sagua Restaurant is a true Cuban diner that’s been a staple of South Beach for years. It’s open 24 hours and attracts a cross-cultural mixture old elderly Cubans drinking coffee and young South Beach beach-goers getting value-priced food. It’s busy, inexpensive and no-frills. The Cuban fare offered includes Roasted Chicken, Fried Plantains, Black Beans and Rice, Ropa Vieja, Pernil Asado, and Cuban Sandwiches.

• Cafe con Leche
• Oxtail Stew with Rice and Plantains.
• Ropa Vieja – Shredded Beef Cuban Style with Rice and Tostones or Fried Plantains.
• “The Cubano” – Pressed Pork Sandwich with Cheese, Pickles and Mustard
• “Medianoche” – Midnight Cuban Sandwich with Cheese and Pork on Egg Bread.

The iconic Cuban diner has been featured on the Travel Channel‘s Food Paradise for their fabulous pork dishes, and it has also earned a reputation as a late-night dining spot after hitting the South Beach clubs. In fact, it can get very crowded after midnight – read more here (Photo by David Berkowitz)

3. Versialles Restaurant

Versailles Restaurant

Versailles Restaurant is a landmark Cuban restaurants and bakery that has been called “The Most Famous Cuban Restaurant in the World,” and it’s been the headquarters of Cuban life of Little Havana since opening in 1971. In fact, Versailles is where the politicians go to court the Cuban vote. The restaurant is large and features a cafeteria-style set-up with many tables for seating, plus a bakery, a take-out counter, and an outdoor coffee window. Save room for the flan – it is often been voted as the best in Miami.

• Cafe con Leche.
• Oxtail Stew braised with Spices in a Red Wine Sauce, served with White Rice and Sweet Plantains.
• Yuca Croquettes stuffed with “Picadillo” Ground Beef and served with Cilantro Sauce.
• Fried Pork Chunks with White Rice, Black Beans, and Sweet Plantains.

Versialles Restaurant is open from breakfast until late at night – read more here (Photo by Eugene Kim)

4. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Michael's Genuine Food

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink opened in 2007 in Miami’s Design District as Chef Michael Schwartz’ first restaurant in his burgeoning empire. In 2010, Schwartz won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: South. In addition to this restaurant, he also owns a Michael’s Genuine Food in the Cayman Islands, Restaurant Michael Schwartz at the Raleigh Hotel, Harry’s Pizzeria, and The Cypress Room. He also brews beer under the Genuine label.

The food is described as “Fresh, Simple, Pure,” and they prize themselves on using improvisational cooking techniques on seasonally-available ingredients, whether it’s fresh fish or local produce. The result is consistently delicious without being overtly showy. Their hamburger was named one of “14 Mouthwatering Burgers for National Hamburger Month” by Conde Nast Traveler.

• Crispy Sweet and Spicy Pork Belly with Kimchi, Crushed Peanuts, Paradise Farms Pea Shoots.
• Crispy Rice Cake with Chorizo, Florida Rock Shrimp, Chili Aioli, Lake Meadow Farm Egg.
• Chargrilled Octopus with Salad of Gigande Beans, Roasted Peppers, Tomato Harissa, Green Olive, Torn Herbs.
• Slow Roasted and Grilled Harris Ranch Beef Short Rib with Roasted Cipollini Onions, Romesco Sauce, Duchilly Hazelnuts.

The restaurant is small and popular, so get a reservation if possible – read more here (Photo by Animesh Sabnis)

5. Yardbird – Southern Table & Bar

Yardbird - Southern Table & Bar

Yardbird – Southern Table & Bar has come on the dining scene quickly and with much fanfare. Their Chicken and Biscuits were featured in Southern Living. Their Fried Chicken is brined for 27 hours and has been written up in New York Times and Food & Wine. Bon Appetit named Yardbird one of the “Top 50 New Restaurants of 2012.”

Chicken is king here, but the cocktails are also good, as is the Shrimp and Grits.

• Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade – Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Fresh-pressed Lemon Juice, Organic Blackberry and Cardamon, topped with Sparkling Wine.
• Swank Farms Butter Lettuce and Grilled Mango Salad with Smoked Pecans and Benne Seed Dressing.
• Mama’s Chicken Biscuits – Free-Range Fried Chicken, Pepper Jelly, House-made Buttermilk Biscuit.
• Llewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken – One-half Range Bird with “27-hour” Recipe and Spicy Tabasco Honey.
• Shrimp and Grits with Florida Shrimp, Crisp Virginia Ham, Stone Ground Grits.

Yardbird also has a very good weekend brunch. The same people who run Yardbird also run Swine Southern Table & Bar in Coral Gables. As the name suggests, Swine specializes in pork – read more here (Photo by Alissa Walker)

6. El Palacio de Los Jugos

El Palacio de los Jugos

El Palacio de los Jugos is Spanish for “the Palace of Juice,” and it’s a Miami restaurant that serves true Cuban food – the kind that could have been found in 1940’s-era Cuba. El Palacio de los Jugos opened in 1977 as a small, brightly adorned, take-out juice stand. As the stand expanded and grew, more native and tropical fruits were incorporated into the menu, followed by traditional Cuban foods. Everything is homemade and fresh. The restaurant is open-air and is divided into three areas – a juice bar, a sandwich counter, and a hot-food section.

For fresh, try the fresh-squeezed juices (guava, papaya, sugar cane, mango) and tropical shakes. For Cuban, try the roasted pork, roasted chicken, and oxtail. For the bonus extras, try the arroz con pollo, the red beans and rice, and the boiled yuca with garlic and citrus mojo sauce. El Palacio De Los Jugos has a few locations in the Miami area. Check their web site for details – read more here (Photo by T.Tseng)

7. La Sandwicherie

La Sandwicherie

La Sandwicherie is a tiny French sandwich bar with huge sandwiches, fresh-fruit smoothies, and perfect espressos. The key is fresh, quality ingredients, awesome bread, and their special French house-made vinaigrette. The sandwiches are a bit pricey, but they’re also huge. The seating all outside is on barstools along a counter. The place stays busy at all hours, so seating can be crowded at the counter. Luckily, Miami weather usually allows for many outdoor dining options just a short walk away.

• Napoli – Prosciutto Sandwich on a Croissant with Fresh Mozzarella.
• SOBE Club – Turkey, Brie, and Avocado on a Croissant
• Croque Monsieur – Grilled Toast with roast Beef, Swiss Cheese, and a Side Salad.
• Rainbow Smoothie with Strawberries, Peach, Blueberries, Kiwi, and Banana.

A second location of La Sandwicherie on 8th Street in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami. Both restaurants are open practically around the clock and cater to people out late at clubs. They also make deliveries – read more here (Photo by magnoid)

8. Pubbelly

Pubbelly

Pubbelly is a comfortable, pork-forward, Asian fusion gastropub featuring small plate dishes accompanied by craft beer and a discerning wine list. There’s also a good list of sakes and cocktails.

The trio behind restaurant and tavern is front-of-house manager Andreas Schreiner and chefs Jose Mendin and Sergio Navarro. The “Pubbelly Boys” came together with a wealth of restaurant experience and merged their vast influences along with their life savings on their venture. Luckily, the gamble paid off – the gastropub has been a hit since it opened in the fall of 2010, and they have gone on to open other restaurant ventures. The hip setting includes high ceilings and exposed brick walls and pipes, and the mix of loals and visitors adds a comfortable vibe. The food melds Asian and Latin American influences in a creative, only-in-America way. The small plate format encourages sharing and trying new things.

• Dates Avec Chorizo with Spicy Tomato, Goat Cream, Smoked Bacon.
• Pork Belly Dumplings with Onion Marmalade, Su-shoyu, Schichimi.
• Shortrib Tartare with Apple, Tobanjan, Pinenut Powder, Yuzu Dijonaise, Quail Yolk, Goat Butter Toast.
“Chopped” Bone Marrow with Citrus Gremolata, Miso Butter Toast, Bacon Marmalade.
• Ramen with BBQ Pork with Belly, Spicy Lemongrass Broth, Beansprouts, Poached Egg, Scallions, Cilantro.

Pubbelly gets crowded, so get there early or be willing to wait – read more here

9. Blue Collar

Blue Collar

Blue Collar is located in a storefront of the Biscayne Inn motel and serves well-prepared, reinvented comfort food in a comfortable and casual diner.

Chef and owner Daniel Serfer opened his restaurant in 2012, and his goal was to serve quality food and evoke the idea that sharing and enjoying a meal should be a goal of going out to eat. With an open kitchen, warm wood laminates, molded plastic chairs, and retro furnishings, the vibe has a modern, clean, and sleek diner-like feel. The prices are easy on the wallet, and the food is honest and extends beyond the usual bacon and eggs and patty melts of the standard diner. Blue Collar does a great job with fresh, local vegetables, and they also excel at items such as shrimp and grits, oxtail, and fresh fish.

• Pulled Pork Benedict – Jalapeno Cornbread, Golden BBQ Mayo.
• Shrimp and Grits – Trugole Cheese, Neuske Bacon, New Orleans style “BBQ” Sauce.
• Mac – Cavatappi, Trugole, Cheddar, and Parm Cheeses – with optional Bacon or Rock Shrimp.
• Pork and Beans – Smokey Bacon, Berkshire Sausage, White Beans, Fried Egg, Toast.
• The Big Ragout – Tagliatelle, Pork and Veal Shoulder, Brisket, Reggiano, San Marzano Tomatoes.

The place is small diner in a non-nondescript, cheap motel, but don’t be fooled by the surroundings – read more here

10. The Broken Shaker

The Broken Shaker

The Broken Shaker is a tiny, postage-stamp American bar in the Freehand Miami hostel offering super-inventive cocktails and a great outdoor space for enjoying them. The candlelit bar is a good mix of a dark hideaway and a tropical outpost. With only four bar stools, there’ almost as many stool as bartenders. Everything works wonderfully, though, because guests can take their drinks out to the hostel’s large patio and enjoy their drink under the stars, which is hard to beat. The crowd is friendly, and there’s board games, ping pong tables, and bocce ball for entertainment.

Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi are the two visionaries behind the bar. They offer a small menu of six cocktails that changes regularly, or the bartender can custom-make a drink on the spot. Punch bowls can be ordered that serve 4-8 people. The Broken Shaker specializes is hard to find liquors and unusual ingredients. In fact, they grow about half of the herbs and vegetables used for their drinks in the hostel’s courtyard. In addition to the cocktails, there’s also a select list of beers and wines – read more here (Photo by yonolatengo)

11. Ortanique on the Mile

Ortanique on the Mile

Ortanique on the Mile offers Caribbean “Cuisine of the Sun” food in a warm and bright restaurant in Coral Gables. Upon opening, Ortanique on the Mile was named the “Best New Restaurant in American for 1999” by Esquire magazine. A new location of the restaurant opened on Grand Cayman in 2010.

• West Indian Curried Fresh Jumbo Lump Crabcake with Blended Curries, Red Peppers, Scallions and Japanese Panko, served with Sorrel Flower Paint, Papaya-Lime Coulis, and Yucca Chips.
• Escovitch Mahi Mahi over Jamacian Rice and Peas with Spicy Bonnet Peppers, Sweet Vidalia Onions, Carrots and Chayote.
• Caribbean Seared Ahi Tuna marinated in Sesame Oil and Caribbean Spices, with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Tropical Mango Papaya Salsa.
• Rum Soaked Banana Fritters rolled in Cinnamon Sugar, drizzled in Caramel Sauce, and served with Ice Cream.

Start with what may be Miami’s Best Mojito while perusing the eclectic, inventive food options – read more here (Photo by Jeff Turner)

12. Zuma

Zuma

Zuma is the lone US outpost of an international high-end Japanese chain of restaurants based in Tokyo. Zuma’s first location was in London, followed by restaurants in Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Dubai before opening at the chic Epic Hotel in downtown Miami neighborhood in 2009. Zuma serves meals Izakaya style, which originated in sake shops, With Izakaya-style dining, food accompanies the drinks, and dishes are brought to the table continuously throughout the meal. Dishes can be shared or eaten individually.

• Ika No Kari Kari Age – Crispy Fried Squid with Green Chili and Lime.
• Gyu To Shishito No Kushi Yaki – Beef Skewers with Shishito Pepper and Smoked Chili Soy.
• Gyuhire Sumibiyaki Karami Sauce Zuke – Spicy Beef Tenderloin with Sesame, Red Chili and Sweet Soy.
• Gindara No Saikyo Miso Yaki – Black Cod marinated in Saikyo Miso with Homemade Hajikame.
• Green Tea and Banana Cake with Coconut Ice Cream and Toffee Sauce.

Zuma also offers a Signature Tasting menu. Make reservation well in advance – read more here (Photo by Miamism.com)

13. Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar is an Arts District hot-spot featuring Latin-influenced cuisine mixed with live music and visually stimulating murals, sculptures and paintings. Eat indoors in the cavernous art gallery dining room or outdoors on the grassy patio with a view of the famous Wynwood Walls. Either way, expect an adventurous dining experience while sampling the tapas and small plate menu. The hip crowd makes for good people-watching.

• Ropa Vieja Empanadas – Chicken, Cilantro Crema.
• WKB Hamburguesita – Chorizo y Pollo, Pickled Jalapeño, Romaine Lettuce, Cascabel Glaze.
• Scallops – Pan seared with Crispy Polenta, Tomatoes, Feta.
• Flash Fried Bok Choy with Soy Garlic Dressing.

Wynwood was a former warehouse district until developer Tony Goldman began buying the abandoned warehouses and inviting artist from around the world to create giant murals on the outside walls. The area has slowly evolved into a vibrant center of art and culture. In 2010, Goldman opened the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar at the center of the burgeoning neighborhood, and soon, and after a somewhat mediocre start, chef Miguel Aguilar was brought in to revamp the menu. Unfortunately, Tony Goldman died in 2012 – read more here (Photo by Miamism)

14. Robert is Here

Robert Is Here

Although not really a restaurant, Robert Is Here is definitely a place that needs to be visited. The over-the-top fruit stand is located south of Miami in Homestead at the last turn before the long stretch of road that leads into the Florida Keys. Robert started as a 6-year-old boy selling cucumbers on the side of the road in 1959. He didn’t have much luck until his father wrote the words: “Robert Is Here” on two signs and attached them to the side of the table. The next day, all of the produce was sold by noon. Today, Robert is all grown up, and his produce stand is a must stop for handpicked fruits and vegetables.

The fruit stand has many rare fruits that the average person has never heard of. In addition to the produce, Robert is Here is known for delicious smoothies, milkshakes, hot sauces, relishes, and key lime cheesecake. For kids, there’s a splash park and a small zoo with emus, burros, goats, parrots, honeybees, chickens, geese and tortoises. On the weekends, there’s live music – read more here (Photo by A. Drauglis)

15. Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Mandolin Aegean Bistro serves understated and excellent Greek and Turkish food in Miami’s Design District. The spacious, shaded patio provides the perfect romantic setting for lingering over a candle-lit dinner. For lunch dress casually and wear sunglasses while drinking white sangria made with rosewater. The Mandolin Aegean Bistro grows some of their foods in their own organic garden. Save room for the exquisite baklava.

• Marinated Grilled Octopus.
• Mandolin Sirloin and Lamb Cheeseburger.
• Village Pasta: Greek Noodles with Ground Beef and Bechamel Sauce.
• Fresh Whole Fish Simply Grilled with Olive Oil, Lemon and Oregano.
• Perfectly-grilled Lamb Chops over Orzo Pilaf.

The area around the restaurant can be sketchy at night, so consider using Mandolin Aegean Bistro’ reasonably-priced valet service – read more here (Photo by Klearkos Kapoutsis)

16. NAOE

NAOE

NAOE is a tiny, unassuming place with no sign, but they serve some of the best Japanese food around. The Forbes Travel Guide declared NAOE one of the “Top 4 Japanese Restaurants in North America” in 2012. USA Today Travel named them one of the “Top 30 Restaurants in America.”

The husband and wife team of Wendy and Kevin Cory run the restaurant, with Wendy greeting customers and Five-Star Sushi Chef Cory overseeing the kitchen. The seafood is flown in fresh from Japan. Dinners are omakase and consist of many small courses, with the wait staff explaining each dish as they present it. The vibe is quiet and relaxed.

Eating at NAOE is about a culinary experience – expect to spend about three hours. Make reservations very early – read more here (Photo by David Berkowitz)

17. OLA Restaurant

OLA Restaurant

OLA Restaurant is located at The Sanctuary Hotel in Miami Beach, and it does provide a peaceful respite from the usual glitz of South Beach. Chef Horacio Rivadero brings innovative ideas to traditional Latin American cuisine, and, for his efforts, he won Food & Wine‘s “Best Gulf Coast Chef” award for 2012. The eatery is an elegant, yet relaxed and unpretentious. Signature ceviches (especially the Fire and Ice Ceviche) and Latin-inspired tapas are the specialties. Many diners start with a refreshing Mojito.

• Fire and Ice – Cobia marinated in Sour Orange, Thai Chilies, Cilantro, and Jalapeño over Saia Pear Granita.
• Smoked Marlin Tacos with Rum-vanilla Cured and Smoked in a Crispy Malanga Boat, with Pickled Jalapeños.
• Lobster Empanada – Squid Ink Dough filled with Maine Lobster and Butter, with Avocado Sauce and Salsa Rosa.
• Filet Mignon Churrasco with Grilled Asparagus, Chipotle Crabmeat Dressing and Chimichurri.
• Deconstructed Key Lime Pie – Key Lime Custard, Toasted Meringue, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, finished with a Toasted Cinnamon Walnut Tuile.

OLA is a small restaurant with seating either indoors or al fresco is available on the terrace. A rooftop dining is available for private parties, or it can be reserved for a romantic dinner-for-two prepared special by the chef – read more here (Photo by stu_spivack)

18. La Camaronera Seafood Joint & Fish Market

La Camaronera Seafood

La Camaronera Seafood Joint & Fish Market is a Little Havana landmark restaurant that has been featured on both Guy Fieri€™s Diner€™s Drive-Ins and Dives and on Michelle Bernstein€™s Check, Please! Fried fresh seafood that has been caught locally is the specialty. The fish market was opened in 1966 by the 11 Garcia brothers, who had escaped Cuba two years prior. In 1976, they were able to open a small counter to serve customers fried fish. The place has expanded and has tables now, and the menu has expanded, as well.

Bollitos de Carita (Black-eyed Pea Fritters).
Pan con Minuta (Fried Red Snapper Sandwich) with Fresh Onions, Ketchup and Homemade Tartar Sauce on a Fresh Cuban Bread Roll.
Camaronera Fritos – Camaronera€™s Famous Fried Shrimp.
Filete Cocido al Sarten – Pan Seared Fillet with Pico de Gallo y Tostones, and Green Plantain.

La Camaronera is cash only – read more here (Photo by Krista)

19. Prime One Twelve

Filet Mignon

Prime One Twelve is a steakhouse, but not an old-school, traditional steakhouse. The setting is modern, and owner Myles Chefetz has described his restaurant as a “woman-friendly modern American steak house.” With its dry-aged steak and elegant vibe, Prime One Twelve has become a trendy dining destination for Miami’s celebrities and athletes. The steaks range from an 8 oz. Filet Mignon up to the epic-sized 48 oz. Porterhouse for Two.

• Lobster Bisque spiked with Dry Sack Sherry.
• Kobe Beef Sliders.
• Japanese A5 Kobe Filet.
• Maine Lobster stuffed with Jumbo Lump Crab and Bay Scallops and finished with Cognac Butter.
• Fried Oreos.

The Chocolate and Peanut Butter Smores with Vanilla Ice Cream have been featured on the Food Network‘s The Best Thing I Ever Ate – read more here (Photo by Arnold Gatilao)

20. Harry’s Pizzeria

Harry's Pizzeria

Harry’s Pizzeria is a casual Design District pizza joint opened by Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink’s chef/owner Michael Schwartz and serves great, honest wood-oven pizzas with fresh ingredients, accompanied by craft beers, old world wines, and Italian desserts made by Pastry Chef Hedy Goldsmith. The pizzas come with ingredients that are not standard fare – such as Oyster Mushrooms, Short Ribs, Grilled Lemon, Braised Fennel, and Fig. In addition to the thin-crust pizza, they also have a list of daily soup and entree specials. Everything is served up in a airy, welcoming neighborhood place.

• Polenta Fries with Spicy Ketchup.
• Arugula Salad with Roasted Calabaza, Candied Pumpkin Seeds, Parmigiano.
• Rock Shrimp Pizza with Grilled Lemon, Manchego, Scallion, Cilantro.
• Meatball Pizza with Peppers and Onions, Escarole, Trugole.
• Zeppole with Honey Whipped Ricotta.

Harry’s features a rotating selections of beers on tap, and they offer flight for sampling four of the beers on tap. Of special note is the house beer – Michael’s Genuine Home Brew – read more here (Photo by Miamism)

21. Swine Southern Table & Bar

Swine Southern Table & Bar

Swine Southern Table & Bar is the sibling restaurant of Yardbird, and it’s focus is on the hog and other smoked meats, plus classic southern fare – all washed down with bourbon or craft beer. The pork comes from heritage breed pigs, but the menu is certainly not limited to pork. There’s also burgers, fish and chicken, and salads and pickled vegetables made with local produce. Small plate items include deviled eggs and wood-fired and grilled octopus, while the larger plates include smoked meats items, shrimp and grits, and a vegetarian plate that is not just an afterthought.

• 1855 Black Angus Burnt Ends with Creamy Cornbread, Swine BBQ Sauce, Spiced Corn Nuts.
• Fried Green Tomatoes – Winter Park FL Tomme, Pea Shoots, Tomato Chow Chow.
• 14-Hour Smoked Brisket – Chicory and Spice Rubbed, Soft Potato Bread Swine Molasses BBQ Sauce.
• Shrimp and Grits – Florida Shrimp, Crisp Virginia Ham, Adluh South Carolina Stone Ground Grits.
• The Swine Burger – Short Rib, Brisket and Smoked Pork Blend, Homemade Dill Pickle, Thick-cut House-smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, American Cheese, Swine Special Sauce.

Swine is fairly small and doesn’t take reservations, so the waits can be long. They offer a very good brunch on the weekends – read more here

22. Azul Restaurant

Azul Restaurant

Azul Restaurant offers diners cuisine melding Mediterranean flavors with Asian influences, plus one of Miami’s best wine lists and an awe-inspiring view of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. The romantic setting is located in the fabulous Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key, and chef William Crandall’s food, when combined with the exquisite service and sophisticated decor, definitely make for a five-star dining experience. The floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides of the 120-seat dining room offer dramatic views. The open kitchen is fronted by a long marble bar. For an especially romantic evening, make a reservation for one of the intimate spots on the outdoor terrace.

The food just as picturesque as the view. Azul’s strength is their wonderfully prepared fish and seafood dishes, but their non-seafood dishes, such as the lamb and prime rib are also worthy of note. Azul also has excellent fresh-baked breads, and they offer a traditional cheese course. For the full experience, opt for the 7-course Grand Tasting Menu. With a wine list that boasts over 700 labels, Azul made Wine Enthusiast‘s 100 Best Wine Restaurants list for 2014.

Azul is pricey, and the only parking available is valet. Dress is “smart elegant” – read more here

23. The Forge Restaurant & Lounge

The Forge Restaurant & Lounge

The Forge Restaurant & Lounge is a classic Miami restaurant that features 80 wines by the glass in gorgeous, ornate setting. Attentive service is accompanied by a creative menu from chef Dewey LoSasso.

The history of The Forge Restaurant & Lounge dates back to the 1920’s, when the building housed an actually forge before the owner decided to become a restaurateur instead of a blacksmith. The building was converted into a restaurant and casino in the 1930’s and attracted many stars of the day, including such entertainment icons as Frank Sinatra and Jackie Gleason. The Forge became a steakhouse in the 1950’s and still attracted celebrities of the day. In 1983, Baron Philippe Rothschild gave The Forge a collection of his turn-of-the-century wines, and the gift made The Forge’s wine cellar one of the largest rare wine cellars in the world. A multi-million dollar renovation in 2010 reinvigorated the restaurant for a new generation of diners.

The Forge Restaurant & Lounge’s wine cellar contains more than 300,000 vintages in an eight-room cellar within the restaurant. The lounge has a very popular happy hour – read more here (Photo by Fredrik Rubensson)

Featured photo by joiseyshowaa. All photos CC-BY-2.0.

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