Choosing the best seafood restaurants in Miami—a city surrounded by, well, sea—is no easy task. It’s a seafood-lover’s utopia, from the exceptional raw bars you’ll find in South Beach to expertly prepared shellfish served at a number of downtown Miami eateries. After working up an appetite exploring the best Miami attractions, discover Miami’s top spots for stone crabs, oysters, conch fritters and, of course, lobster, with our guide to the city’s best seafood spots.
Best seafood restaurants in Miami
Hit up the Edgewater neighborhood’s casual yet classy haunt, located across from a historic Miami cemetery. An old-school marquee hanging above the kitchen maps out your next adventure in oysters. There are usually about eight options, and it’s okay to ask for help when making a selection (if you’re not familiar with the flavor profile of bivalves from British Columbia, for instance). The vibe here is not pretentious. Classic seafood preparations, prime rib, hearty lobster rolls, soups and an extensive list of veggie sides round out the menu. We recommend taking a close look at the wine list before ordering the same old Chardonnay. It’s divided into several sections that recommend varietals by style (tart+fruity), food order (for crudo) and more.
Just because LoKal and Kush’s littler sister The Spillover is dedicated to seafood, doesn’t mean the Coconut Grove restaurant is a lighter alternative to the two. There’s no holding back here with hearty fried fish and lobster sandwiches, where the chunked meat literally spills over the side of a toasty bun. As if you thought a BLT wasn't already filling enough, there's an entire Maine lobster stuffed inside The Spillover's version. Even the vegetables are decadent, including the popular roasted buffalo heirloom cauliflower smothered in house-made blue cheese dressing.
White-washed walls, oversized windows and a panoramic mural by Claudio Picasso is how chef and restaurateur Jamie DeRosa does a New England fish shack in the 305. In short, Izzy Fish & Oyster is so Miami—in the best way. A decidedly chic, South Beach vibe aside, the cozy restaurant (40 seats total) serves up traditional northeastern fare, including a constant selection of six varieties of oysters exclusively from Island Creek Oysters. Though what New England eatery would be complete without a lobster roll on the menu, prepared both in the Connecticut style (tossed with butter and served hot) and Maine style (bound together by mayonnaise and topped with Old Bay Seasoning)? To wash it all down, a selection of craft beers and wine.
When you can’t commit to one style of seafood, Midtown Oyster Bar covers cravings from all sorts of geographical regions. The Mediterranean-inspired menu is peppered with crudos, New England classics like clam chowder and a lobster roll, and an array of Italian dishes—fritto misto, branzino and spaghetti vongole to name a few. But where the restaurant really shines is in its selection of oysters. Among its east coast and west coast varieties are the exclusive Fishers Island oysters from New York, which you’ll only find locally here.
The neighborhood oyster bar that’s withstood Brickell’s pervasive construction and street closures, and outlived Tobacco Road (which once occupied the space to the left), continues to thrive and offer the freshest oysters around. Its sleek, minimalist interior, fantastic raw bar (oysters, ceviches, clams and seafood cocktails, plus glorious sauces) and daily fresh catches are what make this place a winner. The local business crowd loves it, especially during the daily happy hour (4:30–7pm) when oysters are just $1.
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.
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.
With a separate private entrance and a terrace that overlooks Miami Beach, Lure Fishbar inside the Loews South Beach doesn’t feel like your typical hotel restaurant. Sure, the clientele is mostly guests—albeit beautiful, young well-dressed ones—but the space feels vibrant and authentic, even if you do come across a corporate event or two. The menu is a sampling of classic dishes and a few trendy small plates, like tuna tacos and caviar-topped deviled eggs that bode well with the South Beach crowd.
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 Executive Chef Wolfgang Birk’s innovative seafood, much of it sourced from the waters you can gaze out upon, would surely be packing in the patrons. The menu changes regularly, but expect fresh ceviche, tartars and crudos. Also in keeping with the restaurant’s dedication to fresh and sustainable seafood is the range of entrées, featuring traditional proteins done up with a Spanish twist. Not to be missed is the swordfish served with a sweet corn chorizo salsa.
Whether dining outside under the Palms at the edge of Biscayne Bay or in the historic coral stone dining room, this restaurant is like nowhere else. It's a slice of Florida that that feels more like the Keys than Miami. But it's a lot more than atmosphere that brings in the locals. The menu is dedicated to fresh local seafood, prepared in a variety of styles—from Asian to Caribbean to Mexican—so there’s something for everyone.