Best Waterfront Restaurants In Miami

The view from Rusty Pelican

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The view from Rusty Pelican

By Shayne Benowitz

With the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay and Miami River lapping against Miami from every angle, there’s ample opportunity for waterfront dining. There’s perhaps nothing more pleasant than the salt breeze on your skin as you sit back with a delicious meal, an expertly mixed cocktail and gorgeous water. From Champagne and stone crabs to a frosty beer and fried fish sandwich, there’s a waterfront dining experience for every taste in Miami. Here’s your guide.

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South Beach & Miami Beach Restaurants

Smith & Wollensky

Located on South Beach’s South Pointe Park overlooking the channel, Smith & Wollensky provides prime views of the sunset and the massive ships sailing in and out of PortMiami. Swing by for happy hour and snag a spot at the outdoor bar with café tables facing the water. You can also reserve a table by the jetty right along the water’s edge. They specialize in prime steaks, fresh seafood and lobster with an award-winning wine list and strong cocktails. After you’ve enjoyed your meal, take a stroll through the park towards South Pointe Pier for even more dazzling views of South Beach, the downtown skyline and the waters surrounding it.

    The Lido Bayside Grill at The Standard

    Fresh Mediterranean fare, bright yellow umbrellas, a beautiful crowd and sweeping views of Biscayne Bay make The Lido Bayside Grill at The Standard the stunning waterfront destination that it is. The menu features a variety of small plates and entrees—some with a healthy bent, some with a Latin flair—and creative cocktails, to match. Opt for the chicken empanadas, Providence-style crispy calamari or the roasted veggie Buddha bowl made with tofu, broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, cucumber, quinoa and tahini dressing. Frosé is the latest cocktail craze here. Come for the sunset and enjoy happy hour pricing until 7 p.m.

      The Strand Bar & Grill at Carillon Wellness Resort

      With a chic mid-century-inspired dining room that opens up to an expansive elevated deck overlooking the ocean, The Strand Bar & Grill at Carillon Wellness Resort is one of the prettiest waterfront restaurants in Miami. Listen to the gentle roll of the aquamarine sea while you delight in a fresh menu by executive chef Simon Apollonio. Menu highlights include poached lobster, mushroom truffle risotto and sea salt crusted local snapper for two.

        Downtown & Brickell Restaurants

        The Wharf Miami

        The Wharf Miami is a nautical-themed, open-air space on the Miami River that plays host to a wide variety of Miami’s best food trucks on a rotating basis. Complete with a central bar, wooden docks with lounge chairs and an AstroTurf lawn with Adirondack chairs and a Ping-Pong table, they host live music, DJs and special events. Food options range from fresh fish and raw bar to pizza, tacos, barbecue and donuts with new vendors added to the roster constantly.

          Seaspice

          For an upscale dining experience on the Miami River, Seaspice is a destination for the see-and-be-seen crowd. Whether you arrive on your yacht or valet the Bentley, don’t be surprised if a celebrity is seated at the table next to you. Everyone from Beyoncé to David Beckham has been spotted here. Expect a lavish menu of lobster, stone crabs and fresh truffles shaved atop everything. Sit back, relax and enjoy the good life as you watch boats traverse the river while you sip your Champagne and toast to the good life.

            Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market

            Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market is the original Miami River fish house established in 1966 by Cuban exiles. It’s since become a Miami institution for fresh seafood and waterfront dining. Grab a table on the deck outside and order from the day’s fresh catch. The setting is laidback and the food is down to earth and delicious. You can’t go wrong with the grouper, conch, mahi or lobster—all caught in Miami’s waters.

              Verde at Peréz Art Museum Miami

              Verde at the Peréz Art Museum Miami is set inside a dining room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and an outdoor patio overlooking Biscayne Bay. The landmark building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron takes full advantage of its position on Biscayne Bay framing picture-perfect views for patrons of the museum and its restaurant. Verde’s menu features fresh salads, pizza, sandwiches and entrees. Reserve a table or opt for an item from their grab-and-go counter and enjoy your bite while seated at a bench overlooking the water.

                La Mar by Gaston Acurio at the Mandarin Oriental

                La Mar by Gaston Acurio is an upscale Peruvian eatery at the Mandarin Oriental with an expansive outdoor patio on Biscayne Bay for water views reflecting Downtown’s glittering skyline. Indulge in variety of fresh fish ceviche, tiraditos, whipped potato causas and anticucho grilled meats. Start with the chaufa aeropuerto, a traditional pan-fried rice dish made with Chinese sausage, shrimp omelet and egg noodles. Other highlights include the clasico ceviche made with fluke, the Nikkei made with both tuna tataki and candied tuna in tamarind leche de tigre and the stir-fried tenderloin lomo saltado. You can’t go wrong with the chef’s tasting menu at $85 to sample a little bit of everything.

                  Key Biscayne Restaurant

                  The Rusty Pelican

                  Set on the Rickenbacker Causeway en route to Key Biscayne, The 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 and shellfish. In the lounge and outdoor patio, enjoy cocktails with a selection of specialty microbrews and wines by the glass. Menu highlights include the seafood tower raw bar, crab cakes and lobster risotto.

                    Coconut Grove Restaurant

                    Monty's Raw Bar

                    Monty’s Raw Bar is a laidback, al fresco tiki bar and restaurant situated on Coconut Grove’s Dinner Key Marina. It’s especially popular amongst boaters returning to shore in search of a casual bite and a strong drink. Expect live music, a crowded bar and groups of friends at picnic tables soaking up the sun. Order a grouper sandwich or nachos and pair it with a tiki-inspired cocktail or cold beer and while away the afternoon on the waterfront.

                      More About Dining in Miami

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