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Seared scallop from L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon/Facebook

16 Special Occasion Restaurants That Are Worth the Splurge

Worth breaking the bank for

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Seared scallop from L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
| L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon/Facebook

Miami loves to be wined and dined, but in a sea of restaurants throughout the city, finding the ones worth the hefty bill can be challenging. Just because a restaurant is expensive doesn’t mean it’s worth a visit on a special occasion. When it comes time to celebrate something special, there’s a lot to consider, from the food to the service to the atmosphere and attention to detail.

Fortunately, there are quite a few that perfectly fit this bill and always leave diners ready to come back for me. Whether it’s a random Tuesday or a significant milestone anniversary, these 16 special occasion restaurants are always worth the splurge.

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The Surf Club Restaurant

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Thomas Keller’s the Surf Club Restaurant features a menu of classic continental cuisine that’s been reinterpreted by the legendary chef. The ambiance transports diners to a romantic setting that feels straight out of the 50s, with dark blue and wood tones and cozy dining tables. Guests can dine on popular dishes, including an avocado Louie, New York strip steak, and a table-side prepared Caesar salad, with every detail calculated with extreme detail right down to the interactive butter service. 

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

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One of the best-known fine-dining experiences in the world — and the only restaurant to receive two stars by the Michelin Guide upon its arrival in Florida — the Miami Design District outpost of chef Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is led by several longtime proteges of the famed chef. Guests dine at counter seating akin to sushi counters, dining on a meal with plenty of tapas-style dishes. There are tasting menus, along with plenty of a la carte dishes like the Le Crabe Royal with Norwegian King crab, horseradish crème fraîche, Kaluga caviar, and toasted sesame, and the soufflé made with Comte cheese souffle, butternut squash confit, caramelized buttermilk, and chestnut.

COTE Miami

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Earning Michelin stars at both the Miami and NYC locations, Cote is a Korean steakhouse that’s where the visit is a special occasion all in itself. Each table is equipped with a grill where various parts of your meal are cooked to your liking right in front of you. At $74 per person, the Butcher’s Feast is quite the deal — featuring four cuts of meat and several (unlimited) sides. Also, all wines by the glass are served out of magnum bottles.

Klaw Miami

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Housed inside the historic Miami Women’s Club. While a meal is definitely a splurge, the Norwegian King crab claws served table-side and covered in a melted garlic butter sauce are well worth it. Arrive early and grab a drink on the sixth floor for stunning views of Biscayne Bay and South Beach.

MILA Restaurant

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This swanky and massive 13,000-square-foot space boasts a serenely stylish indoor dining area, an outdoor terrace complete with an intimate omakase-style bar, and bites like shawarma-spiced wagyu dumplings, Alaskan king crab tempura, and an assortment of nigiri and sashimis.

Rao's Miami Beach

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The newest hard-to-snag reservation on the scene, Rao’s Miami Beach is the sister restaurant to the iconic Harlem location known for being impossible to get a table. Unlike its NYC location, reservations here are open every 90 days, so your chances of snaging a table are much higher. The service is impeccable, and the vibes are top-notch. Food is simple by design — as its chef says, it’s the kind of menu where you can buy all the ingredients in the same store — shareable and totally craveable.

Forte dei Marmi

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In the swanky South of Fifth neighborhood, diners craving high-end Italian food should head to chef Antonio Mellino’s Forte dei Marni. Candles light the dimly lit space that’s both inviting and full of privacy. The menu includes sharing options like Florentine-style T-bone steaks, tagliolini with red prawns, whole Mediterranean fish, and fettuccine with mushrooms and black truffle.

Zuma Miami

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This mainstay in Miami’s food scene features modern Japanese food inspired by traditional izakaya-style dining, boasting a non-stop crowd of sleek, chic celebrities, scene-chasers, and food lovers.

Stubborn Seed

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Top Chef winner, Jeremy Ford is executing high-end meals at Michelin-starred Stubborn Seed with dishes like beef tartare cannelloni with winter truffle, lemon dill aioli, and crispy potato and charred venison tenderloin with sunchoke, orange marmalade, chestnut, and au poivre. The menu rotates constantly with eight- and ten-course tasting menus offered in the main dining room and an a la carte menu at the bar.

Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis

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A swanky establishment in the heart of South Beach, Milos doles out Mediterranean food with a whole lot of ambiance. Sharing menu space with other notable regional plates, Greek dishes earn their keep with grilled vegetables, yogurt, octopus, and fried potatoes. 

Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant

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This 100-year-old restaurant is an institution and is thought to have started the stone crab craze that captures Miami to this day — and still exudes a classic elegance not found in many restaurants nowadays. Ordering the namesake stone crabs is a must, which are served with a mustard sauce that is a legend in its own right, but stone crabs aren’t the only notable item on the menu. From an assortment of seafood dishes to steaks to its famous fried chicken, there is something for all tastes.

La Mar by Gaston Acurio

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Located in Brickell at Mandarin Oriental, La Mar by Gaston Acurio offers a combo of well-executed upscale novo-Andean fare and Asian-Peruvian fusion dishes. Think classics like lomo saltado, local offerings like yellowtail snapper, and several ceviche options.

Sexy Fish Miami

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While the overwhelming opulence of Brickell’s Sexy Fish might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s worthy of a special occasion visit for those looking for an over-the-top night out. The Asian fusion menu features sushi, sashimi, miso-glazed cod, and Japanese A5 Wagyu. Opt for the omakase menu to be served 10 of the restaurant’s signature dishes, and don’t skip out on the cocktails — it’s one of the prettiest menus around.

Dirty French Steakhouse

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Easily the sexiest steakhouse in Miami, Dirty French by Major Food Group serves up vibes just as delicious as its steaks. Celebrate special occasions here over martinis, steaks, and classic side dishes.

For those looking for a high-quality no frills omakase experience, Shingo in Coral Gables is the place to go. Small and intimate, it’s not one of those over-the-top Miami restaurants; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. The flashiest thing here is the caviar and uni that’s flown in on a regular basis.

Fiola Miami

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A D.C. transplant, Fiola is an updated take on traditional Italian cuisine in an elegant setting. Guests can select from la carte menus featuring twists on Italian classics from lunch into happy hour and dinner. Signature dishes like lobster ravioli with ginger and chives, charred octopus, and wagyu filet mignon “Saltimbocca” are favorites among those who often frequent the restaurant.

The Surf Club Restaurant

Thomas Keller’s the Surf Club Restaurant features a menu of classic continental cuisine that’s been reinterpreted by the legendary chef. The ambiance transports diners to a romantic setting that feels straight out of the 50s, with dark blue and wood tones and cozy dining tables. Guests can dine on popular dishes, including an avocado Louie, New York strip steak, and a table-side prepared Caesar salad, with every detail calculated with extreme detail right down to the interactive butter service. 

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

One of the best-known fine-dining experiences in the world — and the only restaurant to receive two stars by the Michelin Guide upon its arrival in Florida — the Miami Design District outpost of chef Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is led by several longtime proteges of the famed chef. Guests dine at counter seating akin to sushi counters, dining on a meal with plenty of tapas-style dishes. There are tasting menus, along with plenty of a la carte dishes like the Le Crabe Royal with Norwegian King crab, horseradish crème fraîche, Kaluga caviar, and toasted sesame, and the soufflé made with Comte cheese souffle, butternut squash confit, caramelized buttermilk, and chestnut.

COTE Miami

Earning Michelin stars at both the Miami and NYC locations, Cote is a Korean steakhouse that’s where the visit is a special occasion all in itself. Each table is equipped with a grill where various parts of your meal are cooked to your liking right in front of you. At $74 per person, the Butcher’s Feast is quite the deal — featuring four cuts of meat and several (unlimited) sides. Also, all wines by the glass are served out of magnum bottles.

Klaw Miami

Housed inside the historic Miami Women’s Club. While a meal is definitely a splurge, the Norwegian King crab claws served table-side and covered in a melted garlic butter sauce are well worth it. Arrive early and grab a drink on the sixth floor for stunning views of Biscayne Bay and South Beach.

MILA Restaurant

This swanky and massive 13,000-square-foot space boasts a serenely stylish indoor dining area, an outdoor terrace complete with an intimate omakase-style bar, and bites like shawarma-spiced wagyu dumplings, Alaskan king crab tempura, and an assortment of nigiri and sashimis.

Rao's Miami Beach

The newest hard-to-snag reservation on the scene, Rao’s Miami Beach is the sister restaurant to the iconic Harlem location known for being impossible to get a table. Unlike its NYC location, reservations here are open every 90 days, so your chances of snaging a table are much higher. The service is impeccable, and the vibes are top-notch. Food is simple by design — as its chef says, it’s the kind of menu where you can buy all the ingredients in the same store — shareable and totally craveable.

Forte dei Marmi

In the swanky South of Fifth neighborhood, diners craving high-end Italian food should head to chef Antonio Mellino’s Forte dei Marni. Candles light the dimly lit space that’s both inviting and full of privacy. The menu includes sharing options like Florentine-style T-bone steaks, tagliolini with red prawns, whole Mediterranean fish, and fettuccine with mushrooms and black truffle.

Zuma Miami

This mainstay in Miami’s food scene features modern Japanese food inspired by traditional izakaya-style dining, boasting a non-stop crowd of sleek, chic celebrities, scene-chasers, and food lovers.

Stubborn Seed

Top Chef winner, Jeremy Ford is executing high-end meals at Michelin-starred Stubborn Seed with dishes like beef tartare cannelloni with winter truffle, lemon dill aioli, and crispy potato and charred venison tenderloin with sunchoke, orange marmalade, chestnut, and au poivre. The menu rotates constantly with eight- and ten-course tasting menus offered in the main dining room and an a la carte menu at the bar.

Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis

A swanky establishment in the heart of South Beach, Milos doles out Mediterranean food with a whole lot of ambiance. Sharing menu space with other notable regional plates, Greek dishes earn their keep with grilled vegetables, yogurt, octopus, and fried potatoes. 

Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant

This 100-year-old restaurant is an institution and is thought to have started the stone crab craze that captures Miami to this day — and still exudes a classic elegance not found in many restaurants nowadays. Ordering the namesake stone crabs is a must, which are served with a mustard sauce that is a legend in its own right, but stone crabs aren’t the only notable item on the menu. From an assortment of seafood dishes to steaks to its famous fried chicken, there is something for all tastes.

La Mar by Gaston Acurio

Located in Brickell at Mandarin Oriental, La Mar by Gaston Acurio offers a combo of well-executed upscale novo-Andean fare and Asian-Peruvian fusion dishes. Think classics like lomo saltado, local offerings like yellowtail snapper, and several ceviche options.

Sexy Fish Miami

While the overwhelming opulence of Brickell’s Sexy Fish might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s worthy of a special occasion visit for those looking for an over-the-top night out. The Asian fusion menu features sushi, sashimi, miso-glazed cod, and Japanese A5 Wagyu. Opt for the omakase menu to be served 10 of the restaurant’s signature dishes, and don’t skip out on the cocktails — it’s one of the prettiest menus around.

Dirty French Steakhouse

Easily the sexiest steakhouse in Miami, Dirty French by Major Food Group serves up vibes just as delicious as its steaks. Celebrate special occasions here over martinis, steaks, and classic side dishes.

Shingo

For those looking for a high-quality no frills omakase experience, Shingo in Coral Gables is the place to go. Small and intimate, it’s not one of those over-the-top Miami restaurants; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. The flashiest thing here is the caviar and uni that’s flown in on a regular basis.

Related Maps

Fiola Miami

A D.C. transplant, Fiola is an updated take on traditional Italian cuisine in an elegant setting. Guests can select from la carte menus featuring twists on Italian classics from lunch into happy hour and dinner. Signature dishes like lobster ravioli with ginger and chives, charred octopus, and wagyu filet mignon “Saltimbocca” are favorites among those who often frequent the restaurant.

Related Maps