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 the blue ocean that offer the whole package.
Just travel downtown to the 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 a good steak 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, in alphabetical order, are ten of the best restaurants to do precisely that.
Amara at Paraiso3101 NE Seventh Ave., Miami
amaraatparaiso.com James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz will be the first to tell you he has a special spot for his Edgewater establishment, a place he calls his "love letter to Miami." Sunsets offer a golden glow on the buildings across Biscayne Bay to the east. And the food is stellar, blending Latin American flavors and local ingredients for dishes that change weekly to highlight specialty offerings cooked on a wood grill and Josper charcoal oven.
Bayshore Club3391 Pan American Dr, Miami
bayshoreclubmiami.comIf you're dreaming of a beachfront resort vacation where you can sit in a chair and watch the boats sail by with a drink in your hand, just take an Uber to Bayshore Club. This massive indoor/outdoor restaurant by Grove Bay Hospitality Group was designed so every seat could view the water. The restaurant harkens back to the days when Coconut Grove was the home of the Pan Am seaplane terminal, with aviation and nautical themes. Graze on raw bar items and fish dip, or choose a hearty dish like churrasco steak or shrimp and grits. Either way, you'll get staycation vibes and killer views.
The Deck at Island Gardens888 MacArthur Cswy., Miami
islandgardens.comIf you love a front-row seat to watch the cruise ships at Port of Miami, the Deck is for you. This restaurant/lounge is directly on the water and gives off a "resort in Tulum" vibe, complete with plush sofas, canopied areas, and tunes spun by a DJ. The Deck is the perfect place to watch the sun set over Miami as the skyscrapers of downtown light up the night sky with a bottle of wine or a cocktail. The menu offers a selection of wood-fired pizzas, pasta, seafood, and steaks. On Sundays, the restaurant goes all out for a lavish oceanside brunch buffet complete with omelettes, cacio e pepe, and paella stations.
Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market398 NW N. River Dr., Miami
garciasmiami.com For nearly half a century, the same family has been running Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market overlooking the Miami River. Since its opening, the laidback restaurant just west of downtown has remained a hit with locals for the freshest fresh seafood and a beautiful vista. Choose from a cornucopia of catches, from swordfish and grouper to yellowtail and shrimp. Pair your choice with relaxing views, and you have an unparalleled taste of old Miami.
La Mar by Gastón Acurio500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami
mandarinoriental.com/miami The Mandarin Oriental's signature waterfront restaurant offers a prime setting overlooking Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. It's the perfect backdrop for La Mar's signature ceviches, freshly grilled anticuchos, and specialty cocktails. Abetted by spacious indoor and outdoor seating along with three bars, each providing distinctive culinary experiences, the menu ranges from upscale Andean fare to Asian-Peruvian fusion and traditional ceviches.
Noma Beach at Redfish9610 Old Cutler Rd., Miami
noma-beach.com For years, Redfish in Matheson Hammock Park was known as the romantic venue to celebrate those extra-special date nights, anniversaries, and birthdays. The waterfront property was shuttered by hurricane damage in 2017 and reopened in 2020. Now, chef Donatella Arpaia has taken over the gorgeous restaurant, giving it a makeover. Start with caviar service, oysters, or Arpaia's famous meatballs before ordering housemade pasta, prime steaks, or freshly caught seafood.
Rusty Pelican3201 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne
therustypelican.com 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 draw, but there’s a dash of magic in the air at sunset when splashes of pastel pink, orange, and purple color the sky. Then again, the brunch menu is a must-try. Order day-boat scallops and eggs for a hearty serving of wild-caught seared scallops, large sunny-side-up eggs, hash browns, and bacon mimosa Brussels sprouts. Then walk it off along the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Seaspice422 NW N. River Dr., Miami
seaspicemiami.comThis chic white boathouse with wooden accents sits right on the Miami River, offering cool breezes that are as peaceful as you could imagine. But Seaspice's staff knows how to turn up the party vibes — especially on Sundays. Raw selections, seafood plates, pizzas, pasta, and wood-fired casseroles fill the food menu, and there's an extensive cocktail menu to match.
Shuckers Waterfront Grill1819 79th St. Cswy., North Bay Village
bestwesternonthebay.com Miami's most iconic waterfront restaurant isn't fancy or pricey. The best views come from an uber-casual sports bar behind a Best Western hotel. The menu isn't fancy either — but it's got some of the best wings, burgers, and oysters in town. Shuckers' grilled wings are large, moist, and meaty, so you don't need to drown them in sauce. The oysters are freshly shucked, and the beer is plentiful by the pitcher. Shuckers also makes a solid burger and strong drinks (served in souvenir glasses). By day, the oversized dock is filled with families taking in the view. In the evening, enjoy the gentle breezes and salty air while you watch the game on multiple screens.
Smith & Wollensky 1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
smithandwollensky.com Situated at the southern 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 dry-aged steaks and impressive wines. After a glass or two, Fisher Island will seem closer than ever, and the money you spent on an 18-ounce New York strip will seem like pocket change. But soon you'll see — as with everything else at Smith & Wollensky — it's worth it. And you deserve it.
Tigre Miami620 NE 78th St., Miami
tigre.miami On the banks of the Little River canal — and surprisingly out of earshot from the honking traffic on Biscayne Boulevard and the 79th Street Causeway — this Argentine restaurant offers swordfish steaks, a 36-hour beef rib, and front-row seats to watch manatees and paddleboarders drift idly by. The intimate dining room is a three-dimensional Pinterest board of geometric tiles, whimsical wallpaper, wood paneling, and a curvilinear ceiling. Outside, everything is green: the tiles, the tables, the ferns spilling out of their pots, and the bougainvillea that crawls up the trellis. Patrons lucky enough to snag canal-front tables get dinner and an aquatic show starring plummeting seabirds, leaping fish, and sun-kissed fishermen plying their dinghies.