The Ten Best Waterfront Restaurants in Miami
Courtesy of Rusty Pelican

The Ten Best Waterfront Restaurants in Miami

No marriage is perfect, but there’s always an exception. Take, for example, the flawless union of stunning waterfront views and stellar meals. This kind of merger — harmonious and infinitely enchanting — is surprisingly scarce in Miami. After all, the food has a lot to live up to when a killer setting is its counterpart. But luckily, there are a handful of eateries perched on winding canals, bustling bays, and blue oceans that offer the whole package.

Just travel downtown to longstanding Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market, overlooking the Miami River, and enjoy freshly seared scallops and mahi-mahi fingers. Or catch sweeping oceanfront views while reveling in the cajun-marinated rib eye at South Pointe Park’s Smith & Wollensky.

There’s no better way to switch up lunch or dinner than dining alfresco with the Magic City’s glittering skyline and waterways as your backdrop. Below are ten of the best restaurants to do exactly that.

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Courtesy of Grove Bay Grill

10. Grove Bay Grill
Yes, we miss the beloved Scotty’s Landing, but its reincarnation, Grove Bay Grill, offers the same look — green-and-white-striped canvas awning included — but with a spruced-up menu. And when you take into account stunning bay views, a semicool breeze, and affordable booze, it’s hard to leave out this Coconut Grove seafood spot. So although management has changed, stick to what you know will never fail: a mahi-mahi sandwich and an ice-cold beer.

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Photo by Carina Ost

9. Lique
Making waves in North Miami Beach, Lique lets guests get a glimpse of the luxe life via South of France flair and South Beach vibes. It doesn’t get much better than this. But then it does. Oh, hello, yachts. Take a seat on the open deck overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, and you’ll see lots of them. Heck, you might even pull up in one. Regardless of how you arrive, enjoy the laid-back St. Tropez-style setting while you savor flavorful dishes including Chilean sea bass ($42), Tanglewood duck ($32), and a spicy tuna roll ($13). And on Tuesdays, get to crackin’ steamed or chilled all-you-can-eat crab legs for $77.77.

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Photo by Alissa Dragun

8. Antica Mare
This few-month-old Shorecrest stunner blends the tastes of Tuscany with unbeatable views of Biscayne Bay. Located at 7999 NE Bayshore Ct., Antica Mare is the sister restaurant of Marco Betti’s award-winning Antica Posta in Buckhead, Atlanta, and delivers the same authenticity of its much older sister. Dive into a delicate array of pastas, risottos, fish, vegetables, meats, and ingredients, which are imported from Italy. The gnocchi ragù Toscano, which costs $16 as an appetizer and $22 as an entrée, is a must. And if homemade gnocchi with traditional Tuscan meat sauce doesn’t fill you up, indulge in the richness of Antica Mare’s semifreddo ($8).

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Courtesy of Fresh American Bistro

7. Fresh American Bistro
Chef Philippe Ruiz dispatches dishes inspired by the ocean, from marinated octopus quinoa salad ($15) to seared Florida hog snapper ($25), which you can enjoy at the ace seats located on the terrace. At Sole on the Ocean’s F.A.B. — short for "Fresh American Bistro" — nothing is short of fabulous: the fresh food, the friendly staff, and the panoramic views of the Atlantic just two stories below.

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Courtesy of Smith & Wollensky

6. Smith & Wollensky
Sitting on the southernmost tip of Miami Beach in South Pointe Park, Smith & Wollensky is the perfect place to soak in the sunset to the west and the views of Government Cut and the ocean to the south and east. People- and boat-watch over serious slabs of world-renowned dry-aged steaks and impressive wines. After a glass or two, Fisher Island will seem closer than ever, and the $58 you spent on a 16-ounce bone-in filet will seem like pocket change. But soon you’ll see — like with everything else at Smith and Wollensky — it’s worth it. And you deserve it.

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Courtesy of Red Fish Grill

5. Red Fish Grill
A fashionable, romantically lit beach destination for dinner and drinks, Red Fish Grill boasts breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay and a wealth of tasty dishes from land and sea. Take, for instance, the juicy double-bone pork chop ($28), served with corn pudding, kale, caramelized onions, and Benton’s bacon, and the cumin-crusted bigeye tuna ($33), which comes with mole blanco and roasted corn and black bean salsa, along with other island-inspired ingredients. This Matheson Hammock eatery makes you forget you’re in Miami-Dade, and a bite of the key lime pie ($7) transports you farther south to the Keys.

The Ten Best Waterfront Restaurants in Miami
Courtesy of Rusty Pelican

4. Rusty Pelican
It’s hard not to be taken aback by Rusty Pelican’s beautiful vistas as you gaze out the clear bay windows or sit outdoors. The view is the real draw whether you go for brunch, lunch or dinner, but there’s an extra dash of magic in the air during sunset, when splashes of pastel pink, orange, and purple color the sky. Nonetheless, the brunch menu is a must-try. Order the day boat scallops and eggs ($31) for a hearty serving of wild-caught seared scallops, large sunny-side-up eggs, hash browns, and bacon mimosa Brussels sprouts. Then walk it all off along the Rickenbacker Causeway.

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Photo by George Martinez

3. Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market
For almost half a century, the same family has been running Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market, overlooking the Miami River. Since its opening, the laid-back downtown restaurant has remained a hit with locals. The seafood is as fresh as it gets — without the flailing. Choose from a cornucopia of catches, from swordfish and grouper to yellowtail and shrimp. Pair your choice with relaxing views, and you have a taste of old Miami that's unparalleled.

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Photo by Bill Wisser

2. Seaspice
This superchic all-white boathouse mixed with wooden accents sits right on the Miami River, offering cool breezes that are as relaxing as you could imagine. But Seaspice’s staff knows how to turn up the party vibes, especially Sundays. Raw selections, hot-stone meats, seafood plates, pizzas, pastas, and wood-fired casseroles fill the food menu, with an extensive cocktail menu to match. Two popular are the coconut salmon ceviche ($24), with spicy Thai vinaigrette, microcilantro, and fried garlic, served in a young coconut, and the Gorgonzola, pear, and black truffle pizza ($24).

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Courtesy of River Yacht Club

1. River Yacht Club
Swanky riverfront dining reaches an all-new height at the Miami River District’s newest indoor-outdoor nautical-themed experience. You’ll go overboard for the River Yacht Club, boasting a refined seafood-based Mediterranean menu, plus the real star: the world’s first VanDutch Lounge located on the rooftop terrace. Although you don’t need to be a member to dine or drink at the River Yacht Club, its ultra-posh ambiance, unparalleled views and exceptional service will make you feel like one.

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