The dining room at Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Casa Tua
Romantic dinners await at Casa Tua, but diners can expect a delay on a Friday or Saturday evening—especially for those who prefer to sit on the secluded, hedgerowed patio. Reservations are recommended nightly, but a seat at the communal Chef’s Table is an option for larger parties that didn’t book ahead. 1700 James Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-1010

Cecconi’s Miami Beach
Set in the courtyard of Soho Beach House, this chic, alfresco trattoria demands a reservation nightly for dinner. Call at least a week in advance to book a table. Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings are the busiest. Locals know arriving before 8 pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday is wisest. 4385 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-507-7902;

Estiatorio Milos
Walk into Milos on a Friday or Saturday night at 9 p.m., and you’ll be the only person at this exclusive Mediterranean eatery without a reservation. (Read: You won’t get a table.) Last-minute Lucys should check out its prix-fixe, four-course Sunset Menu, offered from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. (closing) Sunday. 730 First St., Miami Beach, 305-604-6800

This labyrinthine, high-end Cantonese eatery at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach prepares modern Chinese fare fit for the aristocracy. However, prospective guests arriving on a weekend night without a reservation will most likely go hungry. Call two days in advance to book a table, or linger patiently at the neon-lit bar with fingers crossed. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-276-1388;

Joe’s Stone Crab
This famed South Beach staple has been expertly serving fresh seafood for 100 years—yet it takes no reservations. Hopeful customers should expect a queue and long wait times. Landing a seat at these hard-to-get tables requires patience and punctuality. Doors open at 5 p.m.; come early and not famished. 11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-0365;

With outstanding views of Miami Beach and beyond, this rooftop restaurant dishes up creative takes on French, Japanese, and Peruvian fusion. Call at least a week in advance to book a table for a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. Diners who plan on just walking in should come during the week for an early dinner, from 6 to 7 p.m. 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305-763-8272;

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
With a rustic farm-to-table menu, Michael Schwartz’s Design District restaurant attracts big crowds (even more so after Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover episode last December). Reservations are highly recommended. For a coveted dining spot on a Friday or Saturday night, book a week or more prior. For more spontaneous folks, management suggests opting for lunch—the earlier the better. 130 NE 40th St., Miami, 305-573- 5550;

Prime One Twelve
This bustling steakhouse at the historic Browns Hotel is a celebrity haunt, with throngs of hopeful patrons sardined inside for dinner. Reservations here are as mandatory as shirts and shoes. Book at least four weeks in advance, or try sister restaurant Prime Italian across the street—they serve the same steaks. 112 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-532-8112;

The glitterati flock to Scarpetta for Scott Conant’s famed Italian fare. And unless you’re planning to dine on a weekday at 6 p.m., don’t get there overly ravenous. With a relatively painless reservation policy (they don’t penalize for last-minute cancellations), it’s best to book online or call ahead. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-4660;

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