9 Miami Restaurants Where the People Watching Is as Great as the Food

Along with staycations in South Beach and ogling real estate, people watching may as well be an official Miami pastime. Whether you’re low-key looking to bump into celebrities or just happy to watch the city parade by, these are the best seats in the house.

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We’re not saying you should go here just to spot a celeb, but there’s a very, very good chance you might. (Oh, hey, Drake and French Montana.) What you definitely will see (and taste) is truffle-honey salmon and legendary pastrami egg rolls—and really, isn’t that just as great? 

801 Brickell Ave., Miami; 305-534-2211 or

giannis at the villa miami
Gianni’s at the Villa/Facebook

Gianni’s At The Villa

At the former home of Italian designer Gianni Versace, you can dine in one of three spaces: the Medusa room, which was Versace’s formal dining space; the Moroccan room, designed with Greek gods and imported coral; or the patio, which faces the 54-foot-long mosaic pool where Versace hosted many of his lavish parties. A place this extravagant is just begging for celebrities and socialites. Yep, you’ll need a few hours here just to soak it all in.

1116 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 786-485-2200 or

Prime 112

Nothing makes us feel like we’ve made it more than splurging on a dinner of bone-in filet mignon and scalloped Parmesan potatoes alongside Miami Beach’s movers and shakers in a dimly lit and mysterious dining room. Just be sure to hold up your menu before you do a double take at the tables around you.

112 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-532-8112 or


This well-known “secret” above Lincoln Road serves arguably some of the best Asian food in town. But there’s more: At the rooftop terrace, it’s always fun to watch people dressed in their cutest business-casual attire swarm to take advantage of happy-hour deals and see if they can score a Bumble match or two.

1111 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-763-8272 or

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

This Wynwood gem is open daily for lunch and dinner. That means you’ve got ample time to observe the most fashionable folks in town while nibbling on roasted jalapeño guacamole, ropa vieja empanadas and drool-worthy mini sliders. The best part? You can easily scope out the crowds at neighboring Wynwood Walls, too.

2550 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-722-8959 or

The Salty Donut

What do you get when you mix bucket-list-worthy doughnuts and lines that spill out onto the sidewalk of a busy Wynwood street? Answer: You really never know. Yep, you’ll wait in line. Yep, it’ll be fun. Yep, you may run into some faces you weren’t expecting. (Hey, ex-boyfriend and his new date.) But once you taste these doughnuts, you’ll realize nothing can ever stand between you and this maple-glazed bacon-topped slice of heaven.

50 NW 24th St. #112, Miami; 305-925-8126 or

Big Pink

This restaurant is the queen of Collins Avenue and for good reason. It’s always crowded, the decor is Instagram-worthy (it’s a retro-inspired diner, after all) and the food isn’t totally terrible for you. You’ll see everything from squads of European tourists to corporate happy hours trying to come off as hip. It’s good times, trust us.

157 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-0888 or


From shopping to dining to drinking, the Design District is a veritable one-stop shop for all things fun. It also happens to be home to Miami’s most Instagrammable café, situated right in the heart of it all. Find us sitting outside wearing our biggest and darkest sunglasses, sipping a cappuccino and noshing on a sea salt and chocolate chip cookie.

160 NE 40th St., Miami; 786-953-7620 or

Joe’s Stone Crab

With its location on Washington Avenue, a sidewalk seat at Joe’s is hard to snag but well worth it for its prime vantage point, best enjoyed with a side of stone crab and key lime pie. Think of it as dinner and a show, South Beach-style.

11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-0365 or

clarissa buch

Miami Editor

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor based in Miami. Focused on food, lifestyle, and travel, her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Bon Appétit, and...