Klaw Restaurant
Photograph: Courtesy Klaw Restaurant

The best seafood restaurants in Miami right now

Sample the fresh bounty of South Florida's coastline at Miami's best seafood restaurants, from stone crab to Mahi Mahi.

Eric Barton
Contributor: Virginia Gil
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Miami might be surrounded by water, but you’d be mistaken if you came to this city assuming it’s replete with charming seafood shacks and white tablecloth fish houses. Though our offshore bounty is famous (don’t you dare miss Miami stone crabs when they’re in season), on land, this town is home to a relative handful of excellent spots serving seafood, sprinkled from South Beach to Downtown and Coconut Grove. To find them, avoid those signs for fish sandwiches at the gas station (we only order croquetas and cafe con leches here). Instead, head instead to these Miami rooftop restaurants, oyster bars, neighborhood fish markets and Med-inspired spots, comprising the very best seafood restaurants in Miami.

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Best seafood restaurants in Miami

  • Peruvian
  • Brickell Key
  • price 4 of 4

La Mar’s executive chef, Gastón Acurio, is a legend back in Peru. But the real mastermind running the day-to-day is Diego Oka, who plates Insta-worthy dishes that taste just as good as they look (and whose kitchen antics are well worth a follow). The menu largely highlights local catch, best exemplified by bright, delicate ceviches full of tangy citrus flavor. It’s just a bonus that La Mar’s balcony has the kind of view you’d expect at a top-notch seafood spot: the waves from the bay lapping against the seawall below.

  • Contemporary American
  • West Coconut Grove
  • price 2 of 4

Look, Ariete isn’t a seafood restaurant by definition—its menu is more eclectic than that, with things like the nowhere-else-in-Miami duck à la presse. But the seafood dishes put out by chef Michael Beltran’s fine-dining restaurant are among the best anywhere, like wood-grilled oysters with uni butter, a crudo of smoked trout roe with crispy bonito and, if you’re lucky enough to find it on the menu while you’re there, a monkfish wellington that’s a gorgeous little package of originality. 

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  • Seafood
  • Midtown
  • price 3 of 4

Downtown's seafood bistro serves an array of oysters, plus excellent fish and buttery Connecticut-style lobster rolls in a delightful, laid-back setting. Despite its otherwise casual digs, it's easy to indulge here, with dishes at above the three-figure mark like Osetra caviar and the seafood towers, but you also could walk out in reasonably priced territory after pounding a dozen middle-neck clams, a bowl of chowder and some of the freshest catch anywhere done up however they're feeling that day.

  • Seafood
  • Brickell
  • price 3 of 4

River Oyster is the token spot for bivalve-loving people thanks to an unbeatable half-priced-oyster happy hour from 4:30pm to 7pm. During regular hours, the menu covers the full seafood spectrum, from fresh and local to flown-in and wonderful, like Florida’s own yellowtail or salmon that came all the way from New Zealand. Whether it’s a simple crab cake or an elaborate shellfish platter stacked with shrimp, lobster and everything else, River Oyster always delivers.

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  • Seafood
  • Omni
  • price 4 of 4

Right as you walk in, there's really no question of the freshness of soon-to-be dinner, considering all those king crabs are having a last swim in aquariums right there in the entranceway. Servers carry out the crimson crab legs stacked in a geometric pattern before de-shelling tableside, then artfully arranging them to be eaten with the totally optional herbed butter. Sure, there are other reasons to come, like the stunning remake of a historic bayfront building and dry-aged steaks from special purveyors, but those clean-the-savings-account-out crabs will surely steal the show.

  • Seafood
  • South of Fifth
  • price 3 of 4

Restaurateur Myles Chefetz rethought the fish shack into a glamorous concept where giant seafood platters accompany lobster cocktails and enough caviar to give bumps to everyone in the place. No matter the weather, it’ll be hard to choose between the dimly-lit dining room topped with all those dark wood beams or the terrace, shaded by the long limbs of a grandad oak.

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  • South of Fifth
  • price 3 of 4

Perhaps Florida’s most famous restaurant is a South Beach attraction. Thankfully they’ve ditched the no-reservation policy, although reserved tables are in limited numbers. But even if you have to wait, people-watching in the old-school bar makes the hours (!!!) go by quickly. Scoring stone crabs (October through May) in the place that essentially invented the dish is ideal, but you’ll find a solid fallback with the burger and fried chicken.

  • Seafood
  • East Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

This buzzy seafood restaurant grew from a no-frills counter spot to a large, full-service establishment with a string of TV endorsements and legions of adoring fans. La Camaronera serves it all—from fish to lobster to stone crabs—and nearly all of it is caught right here in South Florida. Everything on the menu is tasty but this is the place you go for a mondo piece of fried snapper sandwiched between a fluffy Cuban roll.

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Born in Montreal with Greek roots, Estiatorio Milos now has locations from Vegas to Dubai. It’s forever popular thanks to a simple, winning combination: Greek seafood classics served elegantly. You’ll pay for all that elegance—as in, $36 for a tomato salad and $67 for bigeye tuna—but it’s still cheaper than heading to the actual Milos. 730 1st St, Miami Beach

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  • Seafood
  • East Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

Founded in 1966 by the Garcia brothers, this family-owned spot along the Miami River serves as a restaurant, fish market and wholesaler to numerous local businesses. It’s not unusual to see Garcia’s fishing boats casting nets along the Florida shores, so why not sample it straight from the source? You’re getting nothing but the freshest fish here but the catch of the day is what makes it to the restaurant’s simple chalkboard menu—go for that.

  • Chinese
  • Downtown
  • price 4 of 4

This buzzy Chinese-Japanese restaurant from Russian restaurateur Arkadiy Novikov boasts sister locations in London, Dubai and Moscow. The crowd is equally international and characteristically posh. It's a scene but one we'll welcome for the chance to dig into a treasure trove of sashimi, maki, robata skewers and dim sum. The sweeping views of Biscayne Bay aren’t too shabby, either.

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  • Seafood
  • North Bay Village
  • price 3 of 4

This quarter-century-old bar and grill at the base of a Best Western off the 79th Street Causeway slings frozen cocktails, beer and tasty fried, steamed and blackened seafood the way you'd expect from a casual spot on the water (think buttery clams and crispy fish tacos). The views here are impeccable, and so is the fresh ceviche. 

  • Seafood
  • Downtown
  • price 3 of 4

A local pioneer in the sustainable seafood movement, Area 31 remains at the forefront serving responsibly sourced fish done up with a Spanish twist. The view alone is worth a trip here. Perched on the 16th floor of the EPIC Hotel, the Miami skyline is laid out in front of you as you dine on delicious ceviche, crudo and the like.

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  • Seafood
  • Dadeland
  • price 3 of 4

A Pinecrest classic since Bill “The Captain” Bowers opened it in 1971, the Captain’s Tavern’s decor may seem dated, but the fresh fish and welcoming buzz of energy is enough to distract. Its massive two-page menu features a slew of crowd-pleasers, including a grouper oscar made with jumbo lump crabmeat, asparagus and hollandaise; and a seafood medley mixed with fish, scallops, shrimp and spicy tomato sauce, plus a side of jasmine rice and sweet plantains. Everything is made in-house—down to the sweet chili sauce that’s served with the Thai-style lobster nuggets. Regulars know to stop in on Tuesdays for two-for-one Maine lobsters.

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