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Novikov stone crab
Photograph: Zeinab Kristen

The best places to devour fresh stone crabs in Miami

The season is finally here and we’ve found the best places serving up stone crabs in Miami. Bib up and dig in.

By Jennifer Agress and Ryan Pfeffer

September 2019: Another season of stone crabs in Miami is here and, like every year before it, that means more places to visit for fresh claws. Joining the Joe’s and the Garcia’s of the world, we have Time Out Market’s oyster spot Salt & Brine and Downtown’s upscale Asian restaurant Novikov. South Florida is ground zero for super fresh seafood, and this year’s stone crab season is poised to be the best yet. 

You need to know where the best places for stone crabs in Miami are when October 15 rolls around. That date marks the start of stone crab season and, until it ends on May 15, this juicy South Florida delicacy is in high demand. During that time we really use the coveted stone crab claws whenever possible. It’s not rare to find some claw meat lurking in one of the dishes of Miami’s best breakfast restaurants. Expect to find it at more than one of the best restaurants in Miami and at almost all of the best waterfront bars in Miami. We might just put in a smoothie. Don’t judge! But, when it comes to the crab—pure and simple—we find that these places never disappoint. 

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The 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? Time Out Market’s seafood counter does everything from oysters and lobster rolls (pictured here) to fresh claws. 

Why go? Salt & Brine is not messing around for its first stone crab season. Chef Christian Plotczyk is sourcing his claws from nearby Florida City and pairing them with his house-made Chinese mustard mayo. After years of the regular sauce, we think it’s time you dipping in something new.

Best stone crab claws in Miami

Joe's Stone Crab, Restaurants and cafes, Miami
Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

Joe’s Stone Crab

Restaurants American South of Fifth

What is it? The most famous crab shack in Miami—and possibly the entire state of Florida. Joe’s is an institution. Old-school servers dash back and forth in coats and tails. There are no reservations. And the food—from the reasonably priced fried chicken to the very pricey stone crabs—is all delicious.

Why go? You go to Joe’s for the experience. It is a time machine of Miami decadence and hospitality, where you will leave full, dazzled and happy. 

Novikov stone crab
Photograph: Zeinab Kristen

Novikov Miami

Restaurants Chinese Downtown

What is it? London import Novikov showcases its stone crabs in the restaurant’s seafood market, a focal point for diners who can pick their favorite fish—or in this case, claw—from what’s on ice in the actual dining room.

Why go? Novikov’s sauce game is strong. Get (market price) claws with your choice of creamy nori, ginger and sesame vinaigrette, or mustard yuzu goma. Lunching on a Friday or Sunday? Pair your claws with a $23 bottle of Whispering Angel.

Stone Crabs, Flikr
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Thomas Hawk

Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish

Restaurants Seafood East Little Havana

What is it? A no-fuss riverfront restaurant that is basically a Miami landmark at this point. This is one of those places that has enough regulars and loyal customers to fill a stadium. Why? Because the product is fresh as can be, occasionally coming off the owners' own fishing boats.

Why go? With the restaurant’s onsite market, you can take some home.

Stone crabs at Monty's Raw Bar
Photograph: Deyson Rodriguez

Monty’s Raw Bar

Restaurants Seafood Coconut Grove

What is it? Monty’s is a Coconut Grove happy hour tradition but during stone crab season there’s more reason to come down to the waterfront tiki restaurant than just strong frozen drinks. Monty’s offers stone crab claws priced per piece, ranging from $8 to $28 for the jumbo size. Stop by during happy hour, weekdays from 4 to 8pm, and score medium claws for just $5. 

Why go? The sun is setting, you’ve got a rum runner in your hand and your server just plopped a pile of stone crab claws down on the table. This could be you.

Stone crab claws Miami
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Ines Hegedus-Garcia

Golden Rule Seafood

Restaurants Seafood Miami

What is it? A family-run joint that dates back to 1943. Unlike some of the fancier options above, there is no dress code at this neighborhood favorite. Come in a bathing suit and flip-flops. Just make sure you’re hungry.

Why go? Because on a nice night, Golden Rule’s impressive backyard tiki hut is the perfect place to crack open some claws.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Truluck’s Miami

Restaurants Seafood Brickell

What is it? An upscale surf and turf joint catering to Brickell’s collective fancy taste. On a budget? Stop by the restaurant’s Stone Crab Lounge from 3pm to 7pm Monday through Friday and 4pm to 7pm Saturday and Sunday for half-price drinks and appetizers.

Why go? For a rib-eye and a large order of fresh claws. Find some excuse to celebrate. You deserve it.

Lobster Bar Sea Grille
Photograph: Courtesy Lobster Bar Sea Grille

Lobster Bar Sea Grille

Restaurants Seafood South of Fifth

What is it? A flashy surf and turf joint perfect for an anniversary celebration or your dad’s birthday. The lobster is generally the star of the show here but you’ll see plenty of South Florida stone crabs being carried through the elegant dining room during season.

Why go? Starting October 17, the restaurant offers jumbo and colossal stone crab claws, when available, sourced locally from the Florida Keys as well as the Bahamas. Pick your favorite from the ice display and get ’em solo with sauce, as part of a seafood tower or cooked inside your favorite Grille dish. 

Burlock Coast
Photograph: Jipsy Castillo

Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits

Restaurants Seafood

What is it? A very good reason to make the drive up to Fort Lauderdale. Find this fancy restaurant inside the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton. You can see the ocean from the dining room, which somehow makes the stone crabs taste better. We have no proof of this. Just a hunch.

Why go? Because the crabs are served with an amazing mango mustard for dipping. Ask for an extra.

Stone crabs
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Larry Hoffman

Captain’s Tavern Restaurant

Restaurants Seafood Dadeland

What is it? An institution in Miami’s Pinecrest neighborhood and a hidden gem you’ll be glad you found. If it’s stone crabs you’re after, you’ll find them as a starter cocktail ($19 for 1/2 pound) or sold by the claw at market price.

Why go? Because Tuesday is two-for-one Maine lobster night! Stone crabs and lobster? Sounds good, huh?

Ella's Oyster Bar
Photograph: Paul McDermott Photography

Ella’s Oyster Bar

Restaurants Seafood East Little Havana

What is it? We love everything about this cute Little Havana seafood spot, which does everything from its namesake mollusk to fresh Florida stone crabs during season. Pair a couple of claws with a coconut mojito (because you are in Little Havana) and say a quick little prayer of gratitude that you’re lucky enough to be in Miami for the seasonal feast.

Why go? Check the chalkboard menu for daily raw bar specials and make your own seafood tower from the day’s catch. 

Seafood platter
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Bastien M

Prime Fish

Restaurants Seafood South of Fifth

What is it? If it starts with the word “Prime” in Miami, it’s going to be bougie. Prime Fish is no different. At this eat-and-be-seen spot, you’ll find luxury up and down the menu and—during stone crab season—plenty of market-priced colossal claws.

Why go? Because you want a fancy night out at a buzzy place that hasn’t forgotten that the food is supposed to be the main event.

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