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Miami’s absolute best seafood restaurants

With all of those miles of coastline, you’d expect to eat fresh catch as good as this

Eric Barton
Virginia Gil
Written by
Eric Barton
Contributor
Virginia Gil
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Northern transplants arrive in Miami expecting fish caught at the docks that morning, served up grilled or blackened, maybe just a bit of lemon or butter for good measure. For the locals, they want the big platters of seafood Abuelo used to order from that tucked-away spot down in Little Havana. The good news is that Miami still lives up to both those expectations, with glitzy seafood restaurants serving pretty plates of crudo and grilled filets, and then also decades-old spots that long ago mastered Latin coastal dishes. Just a simple crispy snapper served on a Cuban roll at one of Little Havana's best restaurants? A ceviche plated to look like a piece of art? Yup, we’ve got that, plus bushels of fresh oysters and peel-and-eat specials for days at these, the best seafood restaurants in Miami.

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Miami

Best seafood restaurants in Miami

  • Restaurants
  • Peruvian
  • Brickell Key
  • price 4 of 4

Technically, the executive chef is a celebrity back in Peru, perhaps the country’s most famous cook. 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. The menu largely highlights local catch and seafood you’d find on a trip to Peru, best exemplified with bright ceviches that somehow are full of tangy citrus flavor and also preserve the delicate taste of the fish. 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Midtown
  • price 3 of 4

Downtown's upscale 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • 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.

  • Restaurants
  • 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • 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.

  • Restaurants
  • South of Fifth
  • price 3 of 4

Perhaps Florida’s most famous restaurant is a South Beach attraction. A strict no-reservation policy can make for long wait times, but 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • South Beach
  • price 4 of 4

With a separate entrance and a terrace that overlooks Miami Beach, Lure Fishbar inside Loews Miami Beach doesn’t feel like your typical hotel restaurant: The vibrant space is hip and good-looking, just like its clientele. Give Lure a whirl for date night or before hitting 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.

  • Restaurants
  • 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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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Dadeland
  • price 3 of 4

A Pinecrest classic since Bill “The Captain” Bowers opened it in 1971, this spot is beloved by everyone who’s ever entered its doors. The 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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  • Restaurants
  • 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.

  • Restaurants
  • 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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  • Restaurants
  • 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.

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