Lists

The Ten Best Waterfront Restaurants in Miami

Redfish by Chef Adrianne offers stunning water views from Matheson Hammock Park.
Redfish by Chef Adrianne offers stunning water views from Matheson Hammock Park. Photo courtesy of Redfish by Chef Adrianne
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 a good steak at South Pointe Park’s Smith & Wollensky.

There’s no better way to switch up lunch or dinner than dining al fresco 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.
click to enlarge Amara at Paraiso is chef Michael Schwartz's "love letter to Miami," set on Biscayne Bay. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AMARA AT PARAISO
Amara at Paraiso is chef Michael Schwartz's "love letter to Miami," set on Biscayne Bay.
Photo courtesy of Amara at Paraiso

Amara at Paraiso

3101 NE Seventh Ave., Miami
305-702-5528
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.
click to enlarge For more than half a century, Garcia's has been serving some of Miami's best seafood on the banks of the Miami River. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GARCIA'S SEAFOOD GRILLE & FISH MARKET
For more than half a century, Garcia's has been serving some of Miami's best seafood on the banks of the Miami River.
Photo courtesy of Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish Market

Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market

398 NW N. River Dr., Miami
305-375-0765
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 of 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 a taste of old Miami that's unparalleled.
click to enlarge La Mar by Gastón Acurio boasts a prime setting overlooking Biscayne Bay from the Mandarin Oriental. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LA MAR BY GASTÓN ACURIO
La Mar by Gastón Acurio boasts a prime setting overlooking Biscayne Bay from the Mandarin Oriental.
Photo courtesy of La Mar by Gastón Acurio

La Mar by Gastón Acurio

500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami
305-913-8358
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 the 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.
click to enlarge As its name suggests, Ocean Social offers views of the Atlantic, from the Eden Roc. - PHOTO COURTESY OF OCEAN SOCIAL
As its name suggests, Ocean Social offers views of the Atlantic, from the Eden Roc.
Photo courtesy of Ocean Social

Ocean Social

4525 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
786-961-6043
edenrochotelmiami.com

This newcomer to the Miami waterfront scene offers elevated coastal dining done in classic Miami style. Set within the iconic Eden Roc Hotel with unparalleled views of sea and sky, Ocean Social is the perfect place to enjoy an upscale dinner, a leisurely lunch by the sea, or a sunset aperitivo. The vibe is warm and inviting, the menu filled with approachable, feel-good dishes that highlight locally sourced ingredients. Wood-fired bites, colorful salads, well-crafted cocktails — dishes and drinks alike are fresh, ingredient-forward, satisfying, and designed to be shared among friends and family.
click to enlarge Petralunga offers views of Miami Beach near North Bay Marina. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PETRALUNGA
Petralunga offers views of Miami Beach near North Bay Marina.
Photo courtesy of Petralunga

Petralunga

7601 E. Treasure Dr., North Bay Village
305-397-8676
petralunga.com

This Italian establishment offers a quiet respite from tourists and crowds plus stunning views of Biscayne Bay, with the North Bay Marina and Miami Beach as a backdrop. Enjoy the chef's take on contemporary gourmet pizzas — there's even one topped with caviar — and Mediterranean fare that covers salads, fish, pasta, and meat.
click to enlarge Redfish by Chef Adrianne is a hidden gem. - PHOTO COURTESY OF REDFISH BY CHEF ADRIANNE
Redfish by Chef Adrianne is a hidden gem.
Photo courtesy of Redfish by Chef Adrianne

Redfish by Chef Adrianne

9610 Old Cutler Rd., Miami
305-668-8788
redfishmiami.com

Redfish in Matheson Hammock Park is known far and wide for its breathtaking location. This is where you come to celebrate those extra-special date nights, anniversaries, birthday milestones...and these days, simply getting out of the house. The waterfront property is no stranger to closures; it was shuttered by hurricane damage in 2017 but reopened under the vision of chef Adrianne Calvo, who transformed the space to suit dishes like ahi tuna sashimi with crisped shaved Brussels sprouts and pear, topped with ponzu aioli, soy, and truffle; and herb-stuffed branzino flavored with lemon and garlic.
click to enlarge Rusty Pelican is a go-to restaurant for waterfront views along the Rickenbacker Causeway. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RUSTY PELICAN
Rusty Pelican is a go-to restaurant for waterfront views along the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Photo courtesy of Rusty Pelican

Rusty Pelican

3201 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne
305-361-3818
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.
click to enlarge Seaspice's Miami River views are unparalleled. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SEASPICE
Seaspice's Miami River views are unparalleled.
Photo courtesy of Seaspice

Seaspice

422 NW N. River Dr., Miami
305-440-4200
seaspicemiami.com

This 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, pastas, and wood-fired casseroles fill the food menu, and there's an extensive cocktail menu to match.
click to enlarge South Pointe Park is home to Smith & Wollensky — and panoramic waterfront views. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SMITH & WOLLENSKY
South Pointe Park is home to Smith & Wollensky — and panoramic waterfront views.
Photo courtesy of Smith & Wollensky

Smith & Wollensky

1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
305-673-2800
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 $69 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.
click to enlarge Dine on Argentinian fare and soak up views of the Little River canal at Tigre Miami. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TIGRE MIAMI
Dine on Argentinian fare and soak up views of the Little River canal at Tigre Miami.
Photo courtesy of Tigre Miami

Tigre Miami

620 NE 78th St., Miami
305-456-9540
tigre.miami

On the banks of the Little River canal — and surprisingly out of earshot of 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, 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.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna
Maureen Aimee Mariano is a freelance food writer for Miami New Times. She earned a bachelor of science in journalism from the University of Florida before making her way back to the 305, the city that first fueled her insatiable appetite.