The best seafood restaurants in Miami

Florida is blessed with some of the finest fruits de mer in the United States—find out why, with our guide to Miami seafood restaurants

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‘Go fish, go fresh’, as they say at My Ceviche restaurant in South Beach

‘Go fish, go fresh’, as they say at My Ceviche restaurant in South Beach © Felipe Cuevas

Joe's Stone Crab

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

South Florida’s most famous restaurant, Joe’s (which turned 100 in 2013) is as much a Miami must-see as Ocean Drive. It attracts locals, tourists and celebs, serving seasonal stone crabs (October–May) with a "secret" sauce, garlic creamed spinach, fried sweet potatoes, coleslaw and hash browns. If you don’t like seafood, try the fried chicken, or the liver and onions. Joe’s doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared for a horrendously long wait, first to register your name, then for a table. Alternatively, if you can’t face that, just go with takeaway from the adjacent shop.

  1. 11 Washington Avenue, at 1st Street
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Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Down by the river, tucked behind a maze of downtown freeways and bridges, this seafood shack is a hidden gem. From the nautical interior and rustic waterfront deck to the fishing boats that chug by, this place oozes character. Conch fritters, gorgeous ceviche and Florida stone crab are warm-ups for the entrées: juicy grilled jumbo shrimp, say, or grilled yellowtail, grouper or lobster, served alongside buttery parsley potatoes, green plantains, Caesar salads or fries. The Key lime pie is one of the best in town. Tricky to find, but worth the effort.

  1. 398 NW North River Drive, at NE 2nd Avenue
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Area 31

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Even if it didn’t boast one of the city’s most spectacular views—the Miami skyline is laid out in front of you from the 16th floor of the EPIC Hotel—chef E. Michael Reidt’s innovative seafood, much of it sourced from the waters you can gaze out upon, would surely be packing in the patrons. Reidt was recently named one of Ocean Drive Magazine’s "hot new chefs," and fresh ingredients are his culinary weapon of choice—he’s got his very own patio garden to prove it. The menu changes regularly, but expect fresh ceviche and tartares. Reidt gets experimental with a section of the menu labelled Chefie Things; on a recent visit it yielded crispy fish collar, smoked shrimp guacamole and pork cheek with a chilli graham cracker crumble.

  1. EPIC Hotel, 16th Floor, at SE 4th Street, (270 Biscayne Boulevard Way)
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AltaMare

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

On a forgotten stretch of Lincoln Road, this mom-and-pop setup is the antithesis to glitzy Miami. But the fresh, simply prepared seafood—done with an Italian slant—has earned the restaurant a loyal following. Typical entrées might be fettuccine with wild ocean rock shrimp; beer-battered yelloweye snapper with crispy Yukon gold wedges; or local grouper with sunchoke purée and cilantro salsa verde. Softly lit, AltaMare has a warm ambience that makes up for the humdrum decor.

  1. 1223 Lincoln Road, at Alton Road
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River Oyster Bar

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Take a sleek, minimalist interior, a fantastic raw bar (oysters, ceviches, clams and seafood cocktails, plus glorious sauces) and daily fresh catches, and you have a winner. The local business crowd loves it, and fans say these are the freshest oysters in town.

  1. 650 S Miami Avenue, at SE 6th Street
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Oceanaire Seafood Room

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4

A cross between a glam ocean liner and a swish 1930s nightclub, Oceanaire is certainly visually appetizing. As befits the elaborate nautical setting, the seafood menu is exhaustive—and expensive. But the seafood—from Ecuadorian mahi mahi to Palm Beach cobia, Peruvian ceviche to Costa Rican wahoo—is top notch. Appetizers and side dishes are old school: jumbo shrimp cocktail, New England clam chowder, creamed corn and sour cream mashed potatoes. Desserts—baked Alaska, root beer float, ice-cream and cookies—are similarly comforting. Be warned: the portions are huge, and the effusive service borders on parody.

  1. 900 S Miami Avenue, at 9th Avenue
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My Ceviche

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

With a name like My Ceviche and a tagline that reads "Go Fish, Go Fresh," it doesn’t take the most imaginative of diners to get what the theme is here: yes, it’s fresh fish. Fusing elements of mostly Mexican cuisine with Asian, Caribbean and Latin American elements too, this tiny storefront is really little more than a takeaway stand. But if offers some of the most flavorful bites on the beach, making it a great spot for a quick and cheapo lunch while you’re doing the beach thing. You pick the size and the protein (fish, shrimp, octopus or all three) for your ceviche, which comes in six varieties and is served with sweet potato, yellow corn and spicy popcorn.

  1. 235 Washington Avenue, at 22nd Street
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Gibraltar

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Gibraltar is different from most of Miami’s all-style, no-substance waterfront eateries: it provides priceless views of Biscayne Bay and pricey nouveau seafood that is actually worth every cent. Located on an island just off Coconut Grove, the restaurant boasts a glass-walled indoor space and a classical waterside courtyard. The menu is fish and shellfish, and the preparation and execution are top class.

  1. Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, Grove Isle Drive, off S Bayshore Drive
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