Care to treat yourself to a delicious meal in Miami? You’ll be in good company. Parties of one are the fastest-growing table size, with reservations going up 62 percent over the past two years, according to a recent report by OpenTable. That means more places are catering to more solo diners than ever — and Miami just happens to be one of the cities that experienced the strongest growth. Forbes Travel Guide highlights five area restaurants and bars worth checking out on your own.
For an artful brunch: Verde
Museum going is an ideal solo activity. So, if you’re a culture-loving gourmand, we suggest heading to Verde, located inside the Pérez Art Museum Miami. With indoor and outdoor seating, the décor of the 104-seat eatery features little more than concrete walls draped in gauze-like fabric, modern oak wood tables and nude color banquettes. Floor-to-ceiling windows and an alfresco terrace let you gaze out at the entrancing view of the bay. Sights only get better once the food is delivered. Brunch favorites include the artful stack of pancakes with seasonal fruit and maple butter and a standout selection of egg and omelet dishes, including those with smoked salmon, lobster Benedict or steak with chimichurri. Through February, there’s also a special menu inspired by the Jamaican-born artist Nari Ward’s “Sun Splashed” exhibit that incorporates traditional Caribbean foods like calabaza (a Caribbean pumpkin) and corn soup, oxtail ravioli and rum bread pudding with mango sauce — truly edible art.
For lunch and striking up a conversation: Market at Edition
Modeled after century-old markets in Madrid and Barcelona, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Market at The Miami Beach Edition features an open-air café with floor-to-ceiling windows (overlooking Collins Avenue) and various food stations where you can mix and match your favorite items to create the perfect plate. At this 21st-century Spanish boqueria — part patisserie, part boulangerie, part salumeria — you’ll find everything from gourmet pizzas, a raw bar, cheese and charcuterie to sandwiches, delectable desserts and wide selection of wines. Solo diners will be in good company here among locals. Grab a counter seat and befriend any of the exceptionally friendly staff behind the counter or get the small talk going with the party of one next to you.
For dinner and a show: El Tucán
Glitz, glamour, and vintage charm is what you’ll find at El Tucán, a place where you’ll experience an Old World dinner and a tropical cabaret. From the ticket booth at the door and crushed-velvet curtains to the dramatic crystal chandeliers and lush foliage, everything about the two-story, 6,587-square-foot theater-style venue transports you to 1940s Cuba. It’s a decidedly chic and unique Brickell hot spot where, twice a night (Thursday to Sunday), you can catch musical and dance performances backed by the in-house, 11-piece orchestra. Chef Jean Paul Lourdes has curated culinary offerings inspired by the traditional flavors of the Caribbean. The prix fixe menu ($85 per person, which includes the live show) is served family style, but if you call ahead (and we suggest you do), the Miami restaurant will hook you up. Ask for a seat on the second floor, where there’s a bar and more intimate sitting area (plus you get a bird’s-eye view of the action below). The live show aspect fills the void for lively conversation while dancing gives you the perfect opportunity to meet new people.
For happy hour: The Dutch
Tucked inside W South Beach, The Dutch is known for two-time James Beard Award winner Andrew Carmellini’s stellar roots-inspired American dishes and neighborhood charm. Those in the know also take advantage of the place’s amazing happy hour from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., when it breaks out the Dom Pérignon and bubbly from other reputable houses and pours glasses alongside half-off, freshly shucked oysters. The drinks list is also long with a well-balanced selection of the finest wines covering many territories, whiskies, specialty cocktails and a good stock of craft beers. The high-ceilinged, 170-seat, indoor-outdoor restaurant and bar exudes a casual vibe and cozy corner tavern feel (see natural light oak floors, white brick walls, driftwood beams and framed photographs of old Florida) that make it an elegant yet comfortable setting for going Dutch. In fact, the establishment was named “The Dutch” because it sounded like a place the team behind it would “like to hangout,” which says it all.
For after-hours action: LIV
If you’re looking for a quintessential Miami Beach nightspot, LIV, inside the luxe Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Fontainebleau Miami Beach, is where you want to mix and mingle among celebrities and beautiful crowds. With more than 18,000 square feet of striking architectural design and lavish décor, LIV is known for its upscale glitter and glam and for being a place where partygoers “live” it up. Here, it’s all about the music, high-energy dancing and, of course, libations for the ultimate ultra-exclusive lounge and nightclub experience. A voyeuristic design throughout the nightclub makes it prime for people watching. There are plenty of spots for anyone flying solo to float around, including a massive lower-level dance floor and four full-service bars. Dress to impress.