The Best of Miami’s Modern Restaurant Scene

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Miami has always been known for haute cuisine and ultra-glamorous decor, but the modern restaurant scene is taking off like never before.

While tried-and-true hotspots still set the standard for impeccable interior ambiance, a few fresh players take dining to a whole new level with exceptional spaces to complement the outstanding cuisine. From Wynwood to Brickell to the beach, these emerging and familiar favorites stay on trend from the second you hit the door.

Juvia

Boasting a rooftop oasis overlooking Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road, Juvia is the go-to modern restaurant pick along the popular mall corridor. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows give you a birds-eye view of the action on the street, while stepping out onto the deck helps you peer toward the shoreline on a clear day. Regal purple touches add majesty to the minimalist interior. Even the Purple Rain cocktail—first on the eatery’s list—takes on Juvia’s signature color with a mix of vodka and chicha morada. You pair it with ocean catches and specialties from the unique binchotan grill.

Komodo

This new must-visit restaurant is the brainchild of LIV owner David Grutman. The ambiance may not be as crazy as the iconic club, but the decor at Komodo is nothing short of fantastic. As you eat, you notice giant, bamboo-inspired sculptural columns shot through the floor—with a hot red leaf motif—rise at random angles almost 40 feet in the air, all around the dining room. Sure, the banquette seating is “clubby,” but the food is all fine dining. You opt for the tuna porterhouse with seaweed salad.

El Patio

Your first time at El Patio, you might not be sure if the modern restaurant-bar-nightclub mash-up was impeccably curated by some set-design genius or if the owners simply threw a DJ booth a few feet away from a live tree growing inside an old industrial spot. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Old doors and windows—that were stashed in a bin in the owner’s native Colombia—are arranged amid dripping lights for a theme the proprietors call “Latina Vintrash”—although “abuelita’s backyard” is close, too. You chomp on chicharrón and chorizo and sample local Wynwood beer while surrounded by the whimsical mystique.

Bagatelle

Bagatelle is practically a historic landmark. With locations in major cities from Saint Tropez to Dubai, the ambiance here is still 100 percent Miami Beach to you. Gorgeous waitstaff gliding under champagne lighting? Check. Cushy banquettes and pop art in saturated jewel tones? Check. Dancing on tables? Oh, you just wait for it. Even though it’s a restaurant—and an exceptional one, at that—you can expect some on-the-furniture movement. For a complete experience, you order the Châteaubriand steak for two.

Seaspice

Seafood dominates at Seaspice, but the ambiance is a close second for you. You gaze out of giant windows that overlook the Miami River, with dramatic curtains framing the old warehouse panes. Your table and chairs are spare, chalk white, and warm golden wood, and the exposed duct work looks clean and keeps the place’s past upfront yet subtle. The modern garden concept within is like walking into a contemporary fairy tale. Nearly everything is market price, but you think caviar and Alaskan king crab are worth the splurge.

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