Miami

Photo courtesy of Boia De

The One Who Keeps the BookMiami

How to Get a Table at Boia De, Miami’s New Michelin Darling

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Look for the neon pink exclamation mark hovering as a marquee over an unassuming strip mall in Little Haiti, and you’ll find one of the hardest-to-book restaurants in Miami. At Boia De, chef duo Alex Meyer and Luciana Giangrandi offer a modern take on Italian plates so good that reservations sell out the day they go live. And we don’t anticipate it getting any easier, now that Boia De has earned its first Michelin star.

Luckily, that’s where we come in. Our series The One Who Keeps The Book lets you in on the secrets to scoring a seat at the always-full restaurants that locals love. In the case of the very cozy Boia De, that’s one of only 30.

We sat down with co-owner and chef Alex Meyer for the ins and outs of snagging a reservation at Boia De, and how to have the fastest fingers when cancellations come up. Once you’ve made it in, please order the pasta.

Smoked swordfish carpaccio, charred snap peas, and ricotta buttoni. Photo courtesy of Boia De
Smoked swordfish carpaccio, charred snap peas, and ricotta buttoni. Photo courtesy of Boia De

Resy: When do reservations drop on Resy?

Meyer: We’ve set our reservations to go live at noon, 30 days in advance.  

How many seats does Boia De have?

Boia De was meant to be intimate from the start. We opened with 24 seats and have added a few more since to just under 30, depending on how cozy people want to get on our banquette.

How far in advance do reservations get booked out?

Despite the 30 days in advance we open our reservations, we are usually fully booked by the end of that day. Occasionally an early 5:30 p.m. or late 10 p.m. reservation takes an extra day or two for someone to snag, but generally by the end of the day, 29 days out, all the reservation slots are booked.

What are your busiest nights or prime-time hours? Are there certain days where there’s a better chance to get a reservation?

Prime time hours are the same as any restaurant, 8-9 p.m. As you can imagine with what I already mentioned about bookings, no one day is easier than the other to get a reserved seat. It’s crazy when we stop to think about it, but we’ll take it!

Boia De’s fun and funky bar blends books, bottles, and blooming flowers. Photo courtesy of Boia De
Boia De’s fun and funky bar blends books, bottles, and blooming flowers. Photo courtesy of Boia De

Are any seats held for walk-ins? If so, what’s the best time to walk in and get seated with the shortest wait time?

We do save seats for walk-ins! That was always a really important aspect of the restaurant we wanted to maintain. Generally those seats are at our wine bar, but we can sometimes move things around to get a walk-in guest a table. As for tips on snagging one of these seats, if you want to guarantee yourself one, get to the restaurant right at 5:30 p.m. for opening.

There have been days where we get a line of people waiting before we open to get these spots, but usually arriving at 5:30 p.m. is a guarantee. After that, you just need a little patience and flexibility.

Arrive ready to dine, but if we’re full, utilize our waitlist and have a drink somewhere nearby or in our lounging waiting area. We don’t offer any food while you wait, but we’re happy to set you up with a couple glasses or a bottle of wine while you wait.

How long is your Notify list? Are there any other ways for someone to find out about cancellations? Is there an ideal day or time to check?

Notify is a great feature that automates the whole waitlist system for us. It’s been hovering around 400 people recently, but we have seen it surpass 1,000 at times, which is crazy for how small we are! With that in mind, we always recommend people use push notifications on the Resy App and have a quick trigger finger to snag those cancellations. The system works! 

As for tips on when to check, because our book fills up 4 weeks in advance, we get several same-day cancellations, and they generally happen between noon and 3 p.m. when Resy sends out the automated texts to confirm current bookings.

Any other tricks to getting seated?

With so few seats, there are only so many tricks to utilize. For the sake of fairness, we try to get all our guests to go through the same channel. Even when people call to book, we refer them to Resy.com, which definitely rubbed some of them the wrong way early on, but we don’t feel just because someone called to make a reservation, that they should have any advantage over the 400 people who put themselves on the Notify list.

And we’re not the kind of place you can just palm the door guy a $100 bill and a table magically appears. We don’t have the space for it.

Boia De’s pappardelle. Photo by David Bley
The crispy potato skins. Photo by FujiFilmGirl
Boia De’s sweet corn agnolotti.
Boia De’s sweet corn agnolotti.

What’s the best seat in the house? Can you request a specific table?

It totally depends on what the guest is into. If they want an intimate dinner for 2, definitely try to get one of our seven tables. If you want something more casual and fun, the chef’s counter gives you the opportunity to observe the food being made and interact with the chefs behind the counter. With how busy and small we are, anyone can request a specific seat, but sometimes it’s literally just impossible to accommodate every request.

Once I finally get a reservation, what should I order?

We like to say everything on the menu is a great version of itself, so order whatever calls your name. That said, there are certain staples that have been on the menu since opening, including the steak tartare with tonnato sauce, the potato skins with stracciatella and caviar, and the pappardelle with rabbit. Whatever you decide, you can’t leave without getting one of our pastas.

Ok, so it’s prime time at Boia De. What’s the restaurant feel like? Set the scene for me.

Boia De was always meant to be fun. We keep the lights fairly dim and the music probably a few decibels too loud, and the energy is always very positive. The space is intimate, so guests have a tendency to chat up their neighboring tables or guests next to them at the bar. Our staff injects a lot of their own personality into their work, and they do a great job of keeping the experience light while still providing attentive service.

Overall, it’s the opposite of what you’d expect walking into a tiny place in a strip mall in Little Haiti.

Boia De’s neon exclamation point sign shines brightly. Photo courtesy of Boia De
Boia De’s neon exclamation point sign shines brightly. Photo courtesy of Boia De