Miami's Waterfront Dining

Redfish Grill in Matheson Hammock Park

By: Carolyn Keating

Discover a few of Miami’s waterfront restaurants.

The beautiful blue-green waters of Miami’s Biscayne Bay beckon from every angle and the sky blue Atlantic Ocean waves at you from A1A. In Miami, dining on the water is a must. From T-shirt casual to date-night fancy, here is a quick guide to some enjoyable waterfront dining spots.

Gastón Acurio, a star chef from Peru, has brought his innovative style to La Mar, the Mandarin Oriental’s outdoor restaurant. Savor ceviche, arroz chaufa (Peruvian Chinese fried rice), causas (a layered potato dish with many variations, served cold), and many other Andean-inspired delicacies along with decadent desserts. Brunch here is a feast for the senses. And the sweeping waterfront view of the Brickell skyline can't be beat.

Verde at Peréz Art Museum Miami in Downtown 

Not many museum cafes offer knockout waterfront views, but Verde at Peréz Art Museum Miami does. This airy dining spot offers a chill place to relax after perusing the art. You can gaze out at palm trees and cruise ships while savoring creatively prepared salads, sandwiches, hot entrees, coffee, pastries and craft cocktails. 

Zuma at EPIC Miami in Downtown 

The Miami outpost of this internationally acclaimed Japanese restaurant boasts stunning views of the Miami River and the downtown skyline. Zuma is located at the EPIC Miami hotel. The restaurant’s izakaya style menu features grilled items, sushi and sashimi, fresh vegetables and meats, and an extensive sake selection. Yachts dock outside and from your table you can watch the drawbridge go up over the river. Cheers (with sake, of course) to that. 

Garcia’s Seafood Grill & Fish Market on the Miami River 

Garcia's Seafood Grill & Fish Market is a casual seafood restaurant is located right on the Miami River and boasts its own fleet of fishing boats. The menu features a wide array of fresh seafood including stone crabs, grouper, snapper, lobster and shrimp. Eat alongside the historic Miami River while boats glide past on their way out to sea. 

Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill at The Standard on South Beach

Hotel guests at The Standard Miami and locals alike congregate at the Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill. Bright umbrellas on the deck, a fresh Mediterranean menu, and sweeping views of Biscayne Bay are just some of the visual inspiration and meticulous design that make this a top outdoor dining spot in the city. Inspired by the traditional Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, healthy, sun kissed, whole and natural, Chef Mark Zeitouni has created a menu with an emphasis on high quality and organic meats and fish, olive oil, fresh herbs, grill cooking and organic and biodynamic wines. 

Smith & Wollensky in South Pointe Park on South Beach 

This is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Miami. Located adjacent to South Pointe Park on Miami Beach, Smith & Wollensky offers prime steaks and an award-winning wine list. Regulars enjoy cocktails on the patio and watch the sun set, filling the Miami sky with dazzling shades of tangerine, lavender and pink. Cruise ships sail by as they leave PortMiami. An after-dinner stroll through one of Miami’s prettiest parks is the perfect way to wrap up a meal here. 

Rusty Pelican on the Rickenbacker Causeway out to Key Biscayne 

The recently renovated Rusty Pelican offers one of the best views of the Downtown Miami skyline. The menu features Modern American cuisine with small plates perfect for sharing, a wine list filled with unique varietals and an impressive raw bar with fresh ceviche’s and fresh-from-the-docks shellfish. In the lounge and outdoor patio, enjoy cocktails under the stars with a selection of specialty libations, microbrews and wines by the glass. 

Lighthouse Cafe in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne 

Located on Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is the home of a historic lighthouse built in 1825 and reconstructed in 1846. The lighthouse is the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County, and is perched on one of Miami’s most beautiful beaches. Steps away from the lighthouse is the aptly named Lighthouse Café, where you can enjoy a fresh fish sandwich and other simply prepared dishes including pastas, paella and grilled sandwiches. Open for breakfast and lunch. 

Gibraltar at Grove Isle Resort & Spa in Coconut Grove 

Why not escape to a private island for dinner? You can do just that at Grove Isle Resort & Spa. Gibraltar is Grove Isle’s elegant restaurant, surrounded by the waters of Biscayne Bay. Daytime is nice, but the twinkling city lights are a bonus if you come at night. Here, you can relax in a comfortable chair while surrounded by luxurious décor. The menu is equally pleasing. Pan seared branzino, roasted Chilean sea bass or potato-crusted black grouper will compete for the seafood lover’s attention while landlubbers can dive into an 18-oz. Black Angus bone ribeye, double lamb chop or dry aged New York strip. Service is prompt and professional. Desserts are dreamy. You may be reluctant to cross the bridge back to the mainland. 

Red Fish Grill in Matheson Hammock Park

Tucked inside of Matheson Hammock Park, Red Fish Grill is another one of Miami’s hidden gems. While you're surrounded by a beach area and a lagoon that connects to Biscayne Bay, you may think you’re dining somewhere in the Caribbean. Water views? Check. Gently swaying palms? Check. Tiki torches? Check. It’s easy to understand why this pretty little restaurant is a popular wedding spot. 

Check out the full list of Miami restaurants

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