Five Best Places to Eat at the Miami International Boat Show

More than 1,200 boats, situated on both land and sea along Biscayne Bay, will travel to Virginia Key for the 75th-annual Miami International Boat Show this weekend. From February 11 through 15, thousands will take to Miami's shores to explore hundreds of different types of boats — from modest dinghies to lavish, mega yachts. But there are more than boats to explore this weekend. Think roasted pigs, seafood spreads, barbecue-style eats, and a lot of alcohol. 

This year marks changes for the boat-boasting festival — a new location and a lot more dining options. The boat show moved from the Miami Beach Convention Center to a mile-long piece of land surrounding the historic, but abandoned Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin.

Whether you've worked up an appetite from roaming the stadium one too many times, had enough boats for one day, or just can't bear the idea of Miami traffic, take a food break. Forego typical convention center fare with one of the show's new culinary options. There will be 11 restaurants and bars spread across the venue including on-the-go places to grab a bite, sit down restaurants, beer gardens, and tequila bars. Boaters can be foodies too, so bring on the grub. 

5. Biscayne Bay Café 
Avoid the chaos of long lines and crowded showrooms by watching from a distance with a drink in hand and a seafood platter to share. The café is located on the in-water docks overlooking a boat-filled Biscayne Bay. Presented by Miller Lite, diners will be able to sample seafood, lighter fare, and cold brews. Menu items include shrimp cocktails ($15), Alaskan crab clusters ($15), and assorted oysters ($3 each). A Cuban sandwich ($16) made with mojo roasted pork, country ham, and melted Swiss cheese is on the menu too. For something light, elect for a soft baked pretzel ($7) or prosciutto and melon ($12).

4. Zignum Lounge
It wouldn't be a Miami-style festival without a bevy of alcohol selections. Zignum Lounge, located on the in-water docks near Tent A, is the boat show's mezcal bar, offering more than just the blue agave plant-based spirit. Similar to Biscayne Bay Café, there's an assortment of seafood and raw bar items. The menu includes spicy tuna rolls ($15) and a panzanella salad ($16), made with grilled peppers, red onions, and cheese. Make sure to pair any of the small-bite menu items with a drink from the wine, beer, and spirits list.

3. Roasted Pig 
Boat show-goers with a hefty appetite should take a meal break at the Roasted Pig. Located near tents B and C, a few steps away from the main entrance, the eatery offers a selection of barbecue and grilled fare, paired with a variety of craft beers. The atmosphere is quick and casual though it offers diners a sit-down meal. Menu items include sandwiches, including grilled tuna with pineapple and paper aioli ($19); a chipotle black bean burger ($14); and a pulled pork sandwich with bacon bits and caramelized onions ($17). Pass on a sandwich for a heavier dish, including a smoked chipotle brisket ($26); short rib with ciabatta bread on the side ($17); or St. Louis ribs ($17), which are slow roasted and then grilled. In honor of the restaurant's name, the eatery offers a whole roasted pig ($22) for extra hungry diners. It's served alongside sweet potato fries and corn bread. 

2. Beer Garden 

The best way to escape the madness centered around the boat show is with a cold brew inside the Beer Garden. The eatery/bar is located on the outer in-water docks on the edge of Pier 8. Find signature brews from Concrete Beach Brewery and Sam Adams, who are sponsoring the Garden. Pair any drink with pub-style menu items, including grilled chicken wings ($12), churrasco skewers ($17), seared pork belly sliders ($15), and German bratwurst ($16). A selection of sandwiches and salads are available too.

1. Rusty Pelican, Whiskey Joe's, and Atlantica
As the show is situated on Virginia Key, three local restaurants will be serving up boaters and foodies all weekend long, giving guests a quick and easy escape from boat show chaos. The Rusty Pelican will offer its seafood and American-style cuisine, along with its signature handcrafted cocktails. Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill will offer a similar atmosphere, with live music and happy hour service. Atlantica Seafood Restaurant & Market will also be open, serving up a variety of fresh seafood and raw bar items. All three eateries offer sit-down service.

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