We all want to be on top of the world. It’s human nature to be tempted by ladders, especially if they lead us to jaw-dropping vistas or rooftop bars mixing cold-pressed juice cocktails. In Miami, restaurants compete for idyllic lofted real estate, because what interior design can compare to the city’s natural bay views or illuminated skyline? In the Magic City, you can have your raw bar while overlooking the ocean, or you can take in the city’s nighttime neon glow from a dimly lit rooftop. Miami may be flat and a mere six feet above sea level, but this city has its fair share of panoramas and far-above-sea level dining options. Because any meal is automatically heightened where you are, scale these roosts for great food and a breathtaking landscape backdrop—an essential feature for restaurants that aim to be unforgettable. Here are the restaurants that rise to the occasion.
At Juvia, prepare to be seduced by the eclectic Asian and French food, the lilac-hued interior, and the surrounding view of Downtown Miami and the Atlantic Ocean. Place your order nine floors above the country’s most foot-trafficked street, Lincoln Road, and enjoy the 54-foot gardens beside you. Also in view: the open kitchen, where Chef Sunny Oh prepares fresh crudos and Japanese charcoal-grilled tenderloin.
Rusty Pelican was serving dinner with its city skyline views long before Miami’s signature skyscrapers rose. Floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows offer diners in the intimate space a 360 perspective. Outside, the ocean breeze is as fresh as the raw bar with its abundant feast of Blue Point, Kumamoto, and Malpeque oysters.
Nestled inside the Perez Art Museum, this restaurant’s views cast Miami as vibrant and colorful as the paintings inside. From a corner of the former Bicentennial Park, Verde offers a comprehensive visual experience from dinner plate to endless eye-level expanses of Biscayne Bay. Dishes like the squash blossom pizza with goat cheese, tomato, and basil are a work of art.
Pay a visit to Area 31 for a version of Miami that’s all urban metropolis—no sand or surf in sight. The 16th-floor restaurant and lounge serves craft cocktails mixed with cold-pressed juice (fresh grapefruit juice for the “Palomas,” “Blinkers” with rye and raspberry) and highlights Miami’s near-perfect water-to-land ratio. On Friday and Saturday, a live DJ gives a soundtrack to your terrace bar views.
Gibraltar at Grove Isle
Everyone knows the best views are from your own private island. At least that’s what Grove Isle feels like. For an idyllic experience at this clandestine pearl in the midst of the ocean off the shore of Coconut Grove, snag a table outside by the tiki torches. After digging into dessert—I love the Florida key lime tart with candied lemon—dig your toes in the sand.