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Novikov Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Novikov Miami

The 12 absolute best seafood restaurants in Miami

The catch is fresh and the oysters abundant at the best seafood restaurants in Miami

By Virginia Gil
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May 2019: Just like the catch of the day, this feature is fresh. Chef José Andrés's Bazaar Mar closed in April, but we have two worthy replacements for fish fiends. For delicious Japanese-inspired seafood, snag a reservation at Novikov, an import from across the pond. Then there's Salt & Brine, a delightful new raw bar shucking oysters inside Time Out Market Miami. Make time to check out both newbies this month.

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 and the oyster hangouts that have popped up in nabes like Little Havana and Coconut Grove to the expertly prepared shellfish served at a number of Downtown Miami eateries. After working up an appetite exploring the best Miami attractions, make a reservation at one of the best seafood restaurants in Miami, where you'll feast on stone crabs, oysters, conch fritters and, of course, lobster. 

RECOMMENDED: Explore more of the best restaurants in Miami

Best of the city under one roof

Salt & Brine - Time Out Market
Photograph: Vanessa Rogers

Salt & Brine - Time Out Market

Restaurants South Beach

What is it? A raw bar inside Time Out Market Miami serving dressed-up oysters (like kimchi crab with miso ponzu), shrimp cocktails, stone crabs, king crab legs and a killer lobster bun.

Why go? To stuff your face with pristine, sea-kissed seafood for lunch or dinner. Circle back around after work for one hell of a daily happy hour deal: half-priced oysters from 4pm till they’re gone.

Best seafood restaurants in Miami

Mignonette
Photograph: Courtesy Mignonette/Tess Gostfrand

1. Mignonette

Restaurants Seafood Midtown

What is it? Downtown’s upscale seafood diner serves Miami’s freshest oysters, plus excellent fish and buttery Connecticut-style lobster rolls in a delightful, laid-back setting.

Why go? Mignonette receives about eight varieties of West and East Coast oysters daily. To ensure that the bivalves sold pass the test, servers sample each oyster shipment to taste and study the merroir (like terroir for wine, it reveals how the ocean’s conditions affect the flavor and consistency) before each shift.

Novikov Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Novikov Miami

2. Novikov Miami

Restaurants Chinese Downtown

What is it? A buzzy Chinese-Japanese restaurant from Russian restaurateur Arkadiy Novikov that boasts sister locations in London, Dubai and Moscow.

Why visit? 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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The Spillover
Photograph: Courtesy The Spillover

3. The Spillover

Restaurants Coconut Grove

What is it? Kush Hospitality’s dedicated seafood restaurant serves an assortment of delicious marine fare like hearty fried fish and lobster sandwiches, where the chunked meat literally spills over the side of a toasty bun.

Why go? Like any Kush spot, the Spillover boasts a sizeable selection of craft beers and serves all types of ciders and mead, too. There’s also a pet-friendly patio and a dog menu. Bring your pup to happy hour and he eats for free.

The River Seafood Oyster Bar
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Kent Wang

4. The River Seafood Oyster Bar

Restaurants Seafood Brickell

What is it? Straddling the line between Brickell and Downtown, River Oyster is the token spot for oyster-loving people in both neighborhoods and beyond thanks to an unbeatable happy hour: every day from 4:30pm to 7pm, oysters are just $1.50 each.

Why go? The menu at this classic establishment covers the full seafood spectrum, from fresh and local to flown-in and wonderful, like their famous Kumamoto oysters from the West Coast. 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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La Camaronera in Little Havana
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jess W.

5. La Camaronera

Restaurants Seafood East Little Havana

What is it? This buzzy seafood restaurant grew from a no-frills counter spot. It serves all kinds of fresh fish and lobster, most of which are caught right here in South Florida.

Why go? Sometimes, all you need is a mondo piece of fried snapper sandwiched between a fluffy Cuban roll to make you happy. At least we do. Head here for the restaurant’s famous pan con minuta and wash it down with a fizzy Materva or the other Cuban soft drinks on tap.

Ella's Oyster Bar
Photograph: Paul McDermott

6. Ella’s Oyster Bar

Restaurants Seafood East Little Havana

What is it? Its Little Havana address makes Ella’s an unlikely contender for best New England-style seafood shack, but that’s just what this place is.

Why go? The oyster bar’s namesake menu item won’t disappoint—large, briny and fresh. But we’re also fans of trendier dishes, such as the tuna taquitos and sake-steamed mussels. For a taste of the neighborhood, try the Latin-inspired surf-and-turf frita topped with lump crab meat.

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Lobster Bar Sea Grille
Photograph: Courtesy Lobster Bar Sea Grille

7. Lobster Bar Sea Grille

Restaurants Seafood South of Fifth

What is it? A sophisticated seafood restaurant that’s still hip enough for the South Beach set. Marble accents and sparkling chandeliers add a touch of glamour to the whole affair.

Why go? The surf and turf is done to perfection here but Lobster Sea does more than just the classics. Try the signature grilled branzino, the flash-fried lobster tail and anything with truffle sauce.

8. Joe’s Stone Crab

Restaurants American South of Fifth

What is it? South Florida’s most famous restaurant is practically a South Beach attraction. A strict no-reservation policy makes for frustratingly long wait times, but the people and celebrating watching make the hours (!) go by quickly.

Why go? Visit during stone crab season (October through May) for a taste of their renowned claws and irresistible mustard dipping sauce.

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Lure Fishbar
Photograph: Courtesy Lure Fishbar/David Salazar

9. Lure Fishbar

Restaurants Seafood South Beach

What is it? With a separate entrance and a terrace that overlooks Miami Beach, Lure Fishbar inside the Loews Miami Beach doesn’t feel like your typical hotel restaurant. The vibrant space is hip and good-looking, just like it’s clientele.

Why go? Try this spot before a night out on the town. The menu is a sampling of classic dishes and a few trendy small plates, like tuna tacos and caviar-topped deviled eggs, which bode well with the figure-conscious South Beach crowd.

10. Area 31

Restaurants Seafood Downtown

What is it? A local pioneer in the sustainable seafood movement, Area 31 remains at the forefront serving responsibly sourced fish done up with a Spanish twist.

Why go? 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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11. Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish

Restaurants Seafood East Little Havana

What is it? 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.

Why go? 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. 

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