Miami's Top Waterfront Restaurants

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By: Shayne Benowitz

With water nearly everywhere you look in Greater Miami & Miami Beach, it’s no surprise that dining along the waterfront is one of the area’s most iconic experiences. In fact, dining at one of the many waterfront restaurants on Biscayne Bay is a bit like enjoying a meal inside a watercolor painting. While savoring fresh seafood and a signature cocktail, diners are treated to views of jewel-toned waters set against a blue sky that just might transform into an artist’s palette of sunset hues right in front of you. Grab a table at one of these excellent waterfront restaurants and enjoy a feast for your eyes and your palate.

Waterfront table at Lido Bayside Grill
Savor a refreshing frosé at Lido Bayside Grill at The Standard

Lido Bayside Grill at The Standard

Ultra-fresh seafood and locally sourced produce are the stars of the light-and-bright menu at Lido Bayside Grill  at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach in South Beach. Diners here are treated to sweeping waterfront views while they share a selection of small plates or entrees such as whole grilled branzino or the cheddar-topped Lido Burger. Good news for the health conscious… the restaurant offers a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan options, too. Savor a craft cocktail or a refreshing glass of frosé (frozen rosé) while watching the sunset.

Verde at Pérez Art Museum Miami

The dining room at Verde at the Pérez Art Museum Miami wows with floor-to-ceiling windows and a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami. The landmark building designed by award-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron takes full advantage of its position on the waterfront, framing picture-perfect views for patrons of the museum and its restaurant. Verde’s menu features locally inspired salads, pizza, sandwiches and entrees. Reserve a table for a leisurely meal or grab a chopped salad or caprese sandwich from the coffee bar.

La Mar by Gaston Acurio
Enjoy stunning Brickell views at La Mar by Gastón Acurio

La Mar by Gastón Acurio at the Mandarin Oriental

Take in the glittering views of the Downtown Miami skyline at La Mar by Gastón Acurio, an upscale Peruvian eatery at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami that features an expansive outdoor patio on Biscayne Bay. Start with the chaufa aeropuerto, a traditional pan-fried rice dish made with Chinese sausage, shrimp omelet and egg noodles. Savor well-spiced Peruvian ceviche made with a variety of citrus-marinated seafood; empanadas; or a bowl of comforting arroz con mariscos studded with shrimp, octopus and calamari. Don’t miss the classic Peruvian cocktail, a bracing Pisco Sour, a delicious concoction to sip in between bites.

The Rusty Pelican
Catch the sunset at The Rusty Pelican

The Rusty Pelican

Diners are treated to unforgettable sunset views from The Rusty Pelican, known for its sweeping skyline vistas from its spot on the Rickenbacker Causeway connecting mainland Miami to Key Biscayne. Start with some seasonal bites from the raw bar, such as jumbo Gulf shrimp cocktail or Caribbean spiny lobster tail. For the main course, try a sampling of menu highlights with the Rusty Pelican Board for Two, featuring whole fried snapper, lobster and shrimp risotto, New York strip and sweet plantain mash. Toast the sunset with a local brew or a signature cocktail. The restaurant also hosts a weekend brunch with bottomless mimosas, a variety of Benedicts and playful Fruity Pebbles pancakes.

Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill

Dock your boat at the Rickenbacker Marina (or arrive by car) and pop in to Whiskey Joe’s, a classic spot next door to The Rusty Pelican for boaters to enjoy tiki cocktails after a day on Biscayne Bay. The tropical bar boasts an airy patio shaded by a giant palapa, where visitors can gather for happy hour. The menu features hearty dishes such as pizza, nachos, wings and burgers. Whiskey Joe’s often hosts live music, too – check the restaurant’s website for dates and times.

Monty’s Raw Bar

For more than 50 years, Monty’s Raw Bar has brought laid-back, tropical vibes to Miami. With its thatched umbrellas and breezes off Coconut Grove’s Dinner Key Marina, Monty’s is a prime after-boating destination. Kick back with an island cocktail and a bowl of conch chowder. Share a plate of chilled peel-and-eat shrimp while enjoying some live music. The restaurant is well-known for its festive happy hour.

View of the Lighthouse at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Dine in an iconic location at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Boater’s Grill & Lighthouse Cafe at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

For a true feet-in-the-sand dining experience overlooking Biscayne Bay, head to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. Here you’ll find both Boater’s Grill and the Lighthouse Cafe offering authentic Cuban fare in a rustic setting. It’s a slice of unspoiled Old Florida, with seemingly endless views of Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean fronted by rugged sand dunes and wide-open beachfront.

Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish Market

Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish Market is a Miami institution. Run by a Cuban family for more than a half-century, locals know it’s the spot for some of the area’s freshest seafood. Dine outside to watch fishing boats docking at the restaurant to drop off the catch of the day. Relax while enjoying Miami River views and munching on a fried shrimp sandwich, conch fritters or stone crabs.

Check out more delicious dining options in Greater Miami and Miami Beach.

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