20 Best Waterfront Restaurants In Miami
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20 Best Waterfront Restaurants In Miami

Nov 10, 2023

Miami is known for its colorful character, vibrant nightlife, pristine beaches, and fun, celebratory lifestyle — it's also one of America's hottest foodie destinations. Following a wave of 10,000 restaurant closures across the state due to the Pandemic, Miami's bar and resto scene is finally making a comeback. From laid-back family eateries to swanky fine dining spots (some even boasting a Michelin star) and hole-in-the-wall cafes, the Magic City offers something for everyone. And what better way to taste the city than while overlooking its gorgeous waters? There are a plethora of waterfront restaurants in Miami to suit laid-back evenings of live music, beer, and po'boys, or candle-lit dinners with a bottle of Dom Perignon.

Whether you're a local looking for the next best sunset bay dinner or waterside brunch spot, or a tourist looking to experience Miami's natural beauty and delicious cuisine rolled into one, these are the best waterfront dining spots in Miami.

Housed in the Mandarin Oriental with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline, La Mar is one of Miami's most premier dining spots. Running the show is chef Diego Oka, who leans into his Lima upbringing to create flavorful, innovative dishes that showcase traditional Peruvian flavors.

La Mar's rep as one of the best waterfront restaurants in Miami could be based on its delectable cebiche alone. Made to order, this classic Peruvian seafood specialty brings the perfect balance of citrus, spice, and the freshness of the sea. You'll find no less than 12 types on the menu, but the cebiche classico made with snow-white fluke fish, crispy cancha, and fiery leche de tigre is a great place to start. For something a little more filling, there's the pepian de conchas y camaron, a hearty plate of scallops and prawns smothered in adobo and a mash of toasted corn. Quench your thirst with a frothy pisco sour.

Located inside the historic Miami Women's Club sat on the shores of Biscayne Bay, Klaw's forte is ambiance and fine dining. Specializing in steak and seafood in a way that it describe as "the Arctic Ocean meeting the Great Plains" and a swoon-worthy wine list, Klaw is a quintessential date or special occasion spot. Priding themselves on sustainable food sourcing, Klaw's dishes aren't just delicious, it is also created with local farmers and ranchers in mind.

Start off with a couple of cheeky flutes of Klaw's Philippe Gonet rosé champagne before indulging in any of the delectable appetizers like coal-fired scallops or beef tartare toast. Since surf and turf is Klaw's strong suit, you can't go wrong with either, but the fire-roasted steaks — ahem, the bone-in ribeye with creamy peppercorn sauce — are worth splurging on. Finish it all off with a black-coffee liqueur and toasted coconut-infused tres leches or the legendary "candy bar" made up of chocolate mouse, dulce de leche, and ice cream.

Tucked away in the Upper East Side off the fringes of a manatee sanctuary and just steps from colorful Biscayne Boulevard is Tigre, a darling little Argentinian spot with serene riverfront seating, delectable food, and a chic atmosphere. Drawing inspiration from Buenos Aires' iconic bustling bodegons and charming cafes, Tigre's authentic flare and creative spins on Argentinian classics are sure to please.

Treat yourself to a waterfront brunch full of delights like the blue crab croquetas, crispy snapper, and smoked chicken Milanese. Or go for dinner to feast on tiradito, a traditional Argentinian dish with paper-thin slices of raw fish served with a tangy citrus sauce; Tigre's tiradito is prepared with Patagonian prawns and trout roe. Other dinner specialties include mejillones, a dish of fresh mussels served in a lemongrass-dijon broth, and classic Argentinian skirt steak, churrasco. Finish on a sweet note with the signature dulce de leche flan or the dessert of the day.

Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish Market has been churning out the freshest crab cakes, clams, and shrimp cocktails; the creamiest conch chowders, lobster bisques, and gumbos; and the tastiest grilled lobster, grouper, and mahi-mahi since 1966. More than five decades as one of Miami's best waterfront restaurants means these guys know their way around fresh seafood and a thing or two about hospitality. Grab a table on the sprawl of a patio that overlooks the Miami River and watch yachts and teeny fishing boats bob on by.

Go for the seared scallops in a pool of garlic and lemon sauce, then move on to any of the chef's specials for a main course. We recommend the butterfly snapper served with au gratin crab and lobster ravioli, or the seafood creole filled with lobster, shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams. Craving something straight from the grill? You've got a dozen options to choose from — mahi-mahi, Floridian lobster, swordfish, conch steak, snapper, you name it.

Spectacular water views and zesty Latin fares are the names of the game at this Biscayne Bay favorite. Amara at Paraiso is known and loved for its idyllic atmosphere of swaying palms and calm waters coupled with bold, inventive Latin dishes that utilize local, fresh ingredients. As a quintessential Miami date spot, multi award-winning chef Michael Schwartz's passion project is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic sunset and linger over a few glasses of wine.

Start off with a glass of the Raimbault-Pineau sauvignon before moving on to the tuna carpaccio with green papaya chunks and Peruvian aji verde aioli or the Vito's stracciatella smothered in beets and basil for an appetizer. The catch of the day is always a winning entree, though if you're dining with a special someone, Amara's shared plates such as the seafood parrillada made up of a half Maine lobster, spicy tiger prawns, local catch, and charred octopus, are great too. Seal the night with a plate of the divine pavlova meringue dressed up with coconut cream, rum-soaked pineapples, and toasted coconut.

Petralunga is a North Bay Marina darling that seamlessly combines gourmet pizzas and craft cocktails in a gorgeous bayside setting perfect for mid-day feasts or romantic suppers. Keep in mind that Petralunga has limited hours on weekdays, not opening until 5 p.m., but on weekends Petralunga's doors open at 1 p.m. for the perfect weekend afternoon outing.

Treat yourself to some crispy calamari or the daily fish carpaccio prepared Sicilian style before moving on to any of the famous pizzas made with whole grain dough that has been freckle-charred to perfection. With more than 15 pizzas to choose from, including traditional Margherita and inventive takes like cacio e pepe truffle and the Bruskyln (made with pepperoni, stracciatella, garlic oil, and hot honey), there's something for everyone. Don't forget a signature cocktail like the Amelia, made with Tito's, elderflower, and blackberries, or the coscovado made with dreamy cachaca and Petralunga's house lavender syrup.

Sat right on the Rickenbacker Marina and headed up by one of Miami's most premier chefs, Fiorela Cornejo, Rusty Pelican does sophistication, contemporary dining, and tropical atmosphere right. Grab a terrace table and dine over turquoise waters while taking in stunning panoramas of the Miami skyline and enjoying the ambiance.

Start with a glass of vino from the wine list of more than 1,000 varieties from all corners of the world or any one of the specialty cocktails, like the spice cadet made with pisco and coconut cream. If you're dining for lunch, the sushi selection or lobster panini make for a perfect mid-day option. For dinner, crab cakes feel like a mandatory appetizer and the stellar specialties like the 36-ounce tomahawk ribeye and gargantuan sharing board of surf and turf delights are worth splurging on. Don't skip the sides either, the caviar and black truffle baked potato is just as delectable as it sounds.

Treat yourself to a beachfront feast at Joia Beach, a stylish hangout on Watson Island cradled by the trinity: lush jungle, white sands, and calm waters. Known for its swanky atmosphere and variety of Mediterranean dishes that showcase the flavors of Turkey, Greece, and beyond, it's impossible not to have a memorable meal at Joia Beach.

While dinner is never a bad idea, why not treat yourself to a bougie weekend brunch? We're talkin' bottomless mimosas, chocolate chip pancakes, crab cake benedict — what's not to love? Take your pick from the mimosas that include the classic orange juice and champagne, along with other creative mixes like passion fruit and tarragon, dragon fruit and watermelon, and even lavender and charcoal. If you're not feeling the crab cake benedict or chocolate chip pancakes, there are plenty of other options like the drool-worthy Jalisco's beef birria benedict made with a cilantro-lime hollandaise, and everyone's favorite: fluffy French toast.

Located on the exclusive Millionaire's Row, Cafe Bernie is one of Miami's best waterfront restaurants thanks to its sweeping views of the Indian Creek Waterway and superb kitchen run by chef Bernie Matz who prioritizes fresh, local ingredients in all of his dishes.

First thing's first: cocktails. Sip on the smokey mezcalita infused with lime, agave, jalapeño, and Chalula or opt for the classic Miami margarita or a refreshing aperol spritz. Then get started with a bowl of Bernie's famous house chowder or a plate of lobster croquetas. For the main, churrasco smothered in a signature chimichurri sauce or the arroz con mariscos are both enticing options. For something a little more casual, there's Bernie's fried chicken sandwich, tacos, and a good ole mozzarella pizza, to name a few. Don't forget a creamy, citrusy slice of Florida's most iconic dessert: key lime pie.

Set in an expertly repurposed warehouse nestled along the banks of the Miami River, this chic, stylish brasserie is the epitome of fine dining. Seaspice Brasserie and Lounge has a reputation for being one of the Magic City's most exclusive waterfront dining destinations. So exclusive in fact, that through the years Seaspice's remarkable hospitality and terrific food has beckoned Michele Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Liv Tyler, and the likes.

Start off with any of Seaspice's delicious appetizers such as the luscious strawberry gazpacho, crispy pata negra ham croquettes, or barbacoa-grilled oysters and a glass from the impressive wine list. When it comes to the main, you're spoilt for choices but we recommend the casseroles such as the chilean sea bass casserole with a delicate truffle porcini crust complimented with velvety potatoes. If you're not up for a hearty home-style meal like a casserole though, there's always the award winning steaks cooked over volcanic hot stones — yep, you read that right.

Cute little tiki huts scattered across a sun-drenched patio, live music ringing out, tasty seafood, and one heck of a happy hour, are just a few of the things that make Monty's Raw Bar scream Miami. Since 1969, Monty's has been a favorite among locals and tourists alike; such a favorite in fact, that it was featured in "Miami Vice," "Burn Notice," and the ever-tear-jerking "Marley & Me." And it's not for its island atmosphere alone — the food is just as phenomenal.

Grab a tiki hut on the waterfront and start off with a creamy bowl of the she crab soup made with blue crab and sherry. Then move on to any of the raw menu items — it's in the name, after all! From Gulf oysters with cocktail sauce and a mean mignonette, to tuna ceviche with a teriyaki twist and baked Rockefeller oysters with spinach and parm, it's impossible to order wrong.

Situated in the Financial District with its sprawl of a terrace overlooking peaceful blue waters, Crazy About You is one of the best waterfront restaurants in Miami and a one-of-a-kind find in Brickell. Whether the cozy lounge setting, the incredible hospitality, or the weekly Crazy Wednesdays where happy hour is all day and bar food is 25% off, as the name suggests, it's easy to fall for this place.

Dining for dinner? Every entree comes with a free appetizer of your choice, so take your pick from any of the tasty offerings like lentil and chorizo soup, chihuahua cheese casserole, or a refreshing Mediterranean antipasto. For the mains, you'll notice a global influence with dishes like Argentinian churrasco, black truffle linguini, miso glazed salmon, and saucy baby back ribs. Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of them. Be sure to save room for dessert, though — Crazy About You's famous "best chocolate cake in the world" tastes like, well, the best chocolate cake in the world.

Cafe Kush has earned its reputation as one of the best waterfront spots in Miami with just four simple words: craft beer and local food. Beyond that though, the ambiance is top-tier; Cafe Kush is loaded with timeless and unique reclaimed wood art, a vintage Zoltar machine in case you need your fortune told, and a quirky bar made from 200 VHS tapes.

Pop in for brunch to feast on Cafe Kush's sweet and savory dishes perfect for kicking off the weekend. Start with the house-made pop tart stuffed with cheese and guava and topped with a blanket of fruit loops. Then, go for any of the Main Event brunch staples like Mama Bear's Chicken and Waffles, or the aptly named Hangover Eggs with just the right amount of cheddar and jack cheese, sriracha, and avocado. Opt for a flight of the Kaptain Kush brews or a DIY provision from the signature Bloody Mary bar.

Housed in a luxe yacht marina in Watson Island Park, The Deck at Island Gardens is the swanky waterside spot you've been wishing for. Sip on carefully crafted cocktails and feast on mouthwatering Mediterranean fare while taking in the serene ambiance of twinkling city lights and waterfront cabanas.

With nightly entertainment starting at 7 p.m., The Deck is perfect for a date night with a special someone. Start off with a shared plate of the charred octopus or beef carpaccio before moving on to any one of the scrumptious mains like salt-crusted Florida snapper with seasonal veggies, black angus filet mignon with bone marrow, or the famous seafood tower piled high with the chef's best picks. For something sweet, white chocolate flan with spiced rum and guava cheesecake with chantilly cream and 24-karat edible gold await.

Lido Bayside Grill takes fresh, local seafood and pristine views next level. Prioritizing the planet and patrons equally, Lido prides itself on dietary accessibility and environmental sustainability, exclusively serving local ingredients, seasonal produce, and line-caught seafood. This means the menu is ever-evolving, always highlighting the fares of the season while also remaining accessible for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free eaters.

Go for lunch and start off with a plate of roasted Brussels sprouts with minty Greek yogurt that will turn even the strongest opposers into believers. Then move on to the blackened salmon BLT or the mata hari sandwich with grilled chicken, juicy tomatoes, and cilantro tzatziki. Need a pick-me-up afterward? Even the coffee beans are roasted and sourced right in Miami and make for an excellent caffeine kick. And for something a bit sweeter, there's always the chamomile panna cotta.

American Social is the perfect marriage of classic sports bar ruckus and hearty, homestyle cuisine with a twist — all on the Miami River waterfront. Famed for its 3,000-square-foot behemoth of a patio complete with self-serve beer tables and a stellar menu, American Social is the perfect hangout spot to catch a game or just catch up.

Go on Monday for the "Burger, Bourbon, and Beats" night to indulge in any of the impressive bourbon selections and mouthwatering burgers. Enjoy some Bulleit or Elijah Craig on the rocks, or spruce it up with the PB&J Old Fashioned made with Skrewball peanut butter whiskey, sugary sweet strawberry jam, and black walnut bitters. With items like the truffle-shroom burger with caramelized onions, crispy mushrooms, and fried leeks, and the Social Smash burger with the house sauce, sharp cheddar, and a pretzel bun, the burger choice might be a more difficult option.

If fine Italian dining is your thing, then why not enjoy it on the glistening Miami waterfront where the Biscayne Bay and Miami River meet? Il Gabiano offers all that and more and is loved for its traditional Italian food, incredible wine selection, and unmatched ambiance that make it a perfect splurge.

At Il Gabiano, the minestra, pasta, and risotto are the highlights of the menu with straciatella fiorentina, gnocchi al gorgonzola, and risotto primavera that will transport you straight to Italy. For something a little meatier though, the special veal options — especially the vitello alla zingara, veal with briny capers, juicy tomatoes, and salty anchovies — are sure to please. For dessert, you can't go wrong with an old-school tiramisu or creamy zabaglione. And when in Rome, do as the Romans do: finish it off with an espresso.

Casablanca on The Bay is the place to be for casual waterfront dining and fresh, zesty seafood. Run by the Sanchez family who have more than 20 years of experience in the fishing industry, Casablanca believes that its first-hand experience in the seafood industry is what sets it apart from the rest. Best part? There are two locations: one on the historic Miami River and the other on Biscayne Bay.

Start off with Casablanca's homemade coconut shrimp served with a Pina colada vinaigrette or the tasty grouper chowder. Then fill up on the raw bar options like Peruvian ceviche or fresh Florida stone crabs depending on the season. For something a little more filling, there are more than 13 house specialties to choose from, like the seafood au gratin, made with a medley of your seafood faves in creamy béchamel and mozzarella, or the paella Casablanca, made with Spanish saffron rice.

Spread across a back patio in the Perez Art Museum Miami, Verde takes the cake for one of the best waterfront restaurants in Miami with its gorgeous panorama of Biscayne Bay and MacArthur Causeway. Specializing in casual yet creative American dishes and cocktails, Verde is a great spot for lunching or brunching with a view.

For lunch, make a meal out of a few of the small plates like tuna carpaccio and grilled baby bok choy, or feast on the grilled chicken club with crunchy veggies, crispy bacon, and creamy garlic aioli. For brunch, go savory with a croque madame filled with black forest ham and a runny egg melded together with Swiss cheese, or go sweet with the strawberry and mascarpone pancakes made with local strawberry basil compote, lemon curd, and sweet mascarpone. Oh, and grab an order of the cane sugar donuts with cajeta and Cuban coffee creme to go — your future self will thank you.

Sometimes you just need a beer, a po'boy, and a fiery Miami Beach sunset, and for that, there's Shuckers Waterfront Grill. For 30 years running, Shuckers has doled out some of Miami's tastiest grilled wings and fresh seafood. Shuckers Waterfront Grill prides itself on being a fun hangout for the community whether there's a game on any of the 30 screens or just a summer get-together on the water. Check the calendar to see local events like the "Rock the Dock" nights of live music and "Wine on the Water Wednesdays."

Feast on crispy calamari with marinara sauce or steamed clams doused in a lemony white wine and garlic sauce before moving on to the main. Opt for a shrimp po'boy made with a special house remoulade or the tasty fish tacos piled high with pico de gallo, Caribbean slaw, and fresh cilantro. Don't forget to wash it all down with a refreshingly sweet mojito.