Best Waterfront Restaurants in Miami

Apr 21, 2021

Surrounded by water, Miami is a tropical paradise with a diverse food scene. And there’s no better way to experience the Magic City’s unique vibe than with a table by the sea. Interestingly, there aren’t as many waterfront restaurants as one would expect. But these exceptional spots are worth seeking out for their incredible views and cuisine. Whether it’s on Biscayne Bay, the Miami River, or leading out to the Atlantic Ocean, here are a few of our favorites for seaside sips and bites.

Miami Beach

While America’s Riviera boasts many restaurants along Ocean Drive, you can’t actually see the ocean from these venues. Instead, those in the know head to Smith & Wollensky, the South of Fifth steak and seafood emporium with the most breathtaking vista of Government Cut, the waterway that leads into the Atlantic Ocean. Order the Shellfish Tower, Crab Cakes, Bone-in Ribeye, and Truffled Mac & Cheese—and wash it down with a bottle of rosé, of course. Plus, when the cruise ships are in action, they glide by like mini cities on their way to exotic ports.

For seafood in a more chilled-out environment, locals love Monty’s Sunset on South Beach, which is also situated South of Fifth. Enjoy live music, seasonal stone crab specials, classic frozen cocktails, and stunning sunsets melting into Biscayne Bay. There’s water as far as the eye can see at The Lido Bayside Grill. With a beach club feel, guests spend the afternoon sipping Frozé, sharing salads, and soaking in the sun-kissed ambiance. The sunsets are legendary, too.

Miami River

Grittier and, of late, on-trend, the restaurants on the Miami River have become sceney spectacles, especially on Sunday Funday! Leading the way is Seaspice, which turned this sleepy waterway into a non-stop party. Yachts pull up with a bevy of beauties on board, extending the fun from the outdoor dining room to the dock. While the dishes can get pricey here—and deservedly so—don’t miss their Sunset Happy Hour menu with $2 oysters, $3 shrimp cocktail, and $10 cocktails.

Kiki on the River brings nightlife energy to the mix with its over-the-top Champagne deliveries igniting the entire alfresco space and scored by passionate DJs. The Greek-themed cuisine keeps the models and moguls satiated in between dancing and drinking magnums of Dom Pérignon.

For a taste of the original Miami River experience, check out the more low-key (and affordable) Garcia’s Seafood Grille. Serving fresh fish since 1966, this casual eatery is known for homestyle cooking, friendly service, and a laidback attitude. Request a riverside table, order oysters and shrimp, and watch the fishing boats go by. Bonus, there’s a seafood market for cooking at home later.

Biscayne Bay/Downtown

Where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay is where you’ll find Zuma, a gourmet Japanese restaurant known for its pristine sushi and seafood. While most diners clamor to mingle in the buzzy main dining room, their outdoor patio offers expansive views of Downtown Miami and the Bay.

Keep heading east and you’ll run into The Deck at Island Gardens. Ostensibly a marina for mega yachts, this beautiful bayside destination is open during the week for dinner and on the weekends for Brunch through Dinner. Heavy on shared seafood platters and oversized Tomahawk steaks, this lounge-like scene is meant to be savored with groups of friends.

The newest spot that everyone is talking about is Joia Beach, which is on the northwest side of the MacArthur Causeway. It’s a Tulum-meets-Mediterranean-style beach club with panoramic views of Miami’s skyline and Biscayne Bay. The menu spans international flavors with dishes like Turkish Octopus, Spanish Boquerones, Greek Salad, and Lamb Chops.