Best stone crab claws in Miami
Joe’s isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a Miami Beach institution. Here, you’ll find dolled-up waiters donning coats and tails, swirling around the room carrying glasses of bubbly, the restaurant’s famed key lime pie or fried chicken. Of course, the claws are the main event. Run by the Weiss family (the patriarch of which first started Joe’s in 1913), Joe’s earns loyal crowds despite the fact that there is an omnipresent line waiting (the restaurant doesn’t accept reservations), and meals usually come with a hefty dose of sticker shock (claws for two will run you well over $100). Still, many will say loud and proud: Joe’s is worth every penny.
Part of Myles Chefetz’s Prime restaurant empire, Prime Fish is known for its massive plates of seafood, heaping piles of East and West Coast oysters, Maine lobster cocktails, Petrossian caviar (averaging a cool $120 to $280) and much more. From October to May, you can grab a seat on the tree-strewn terrace or in the fancy spot’s black-and-white, mermaid-themed dining room and feast on an order of the market-priced colossal claws. You won’t regret it.
Way down south in Palmetto Bay, Golden Rule is a family affair that was first opened as a seafood market in 1943 (in the same building it’s in today). The restaurant serves as both a market and a laidback spot to grab lunch or dinner. It’s run by husband-and-wife duo, Pam Mullins and Walter Flores, along with their children, all of whom the locals know on a first name basis. When stone crabs are in season, this South Dade hangout is packed with hungry folks in search of a cold beer and fresher-than-fresh claws.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Ines Hegedus-Garcia
Located on the sophisticated and always bustling Brickell Avenue, Truluck’s has the best stone crab special in town. During season, go there for all-you-can-eat claws every Monday night. Here’s the deal: for just $79, you’ll get endless Pacific Gold stone crabs paired with a soup or salad and a side dish. The best part? Truluck’s owns its own fisheries in Naples, where crabbers get the daily fresh catch and deliver them to the restaurant within 24 hours. You couldn’t get them any fresher unless you went out and caught the crabs yourself.
After the Garcia brothers escaped communist Cuba in 1964, they came to Miami with a dream: to start their own seafood business. That dream turned into the wholesale, fresh fish market, Garcia’s Brothers Seafood (which opened in 1966), and later that decade, Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market. Sitting right on the Miami River, this laid-back, Downtown hotspot is known for its fresher-than-fresh seafood, friendly service, and because it’s still run by the Garcia's, a definite family feel. Stone crabs come straight from the brothers’ own fishing boats, and with the restaurant’s onsite market, you can even get your claws to go.
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Chris S.
Lobster Bar is an experience that will make both your eyes and taste buds pop. Showcased gloriously at the entrance, it’s hard to miss the white Thassos marble ice display holding the day’s freshest catch. And if you couldn’t already tell, this place isn’t exactly casual—white herringbone subway-tiled walls and crystal chandeliers are here to remind you of that. But, at the end of the day, it’s about the food. And beneath all the glitz and glam, you’ll find local stone crabs from Key West to feast on with a side of Lobster Bar’s famous “secret sauce.”
With culinary darling Paula DaSilva at the helm (and a location in the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale), this seafood spot is a no-brainer. Just steps from the sand, this oceanfront haunt is one of Fort Lauderdale beach’s liveliest spots to get breakfast, lunch, dinner or happy hour. The raw bar, of course, is not to be missed. On it, get your stone crabs served with a sophisticated and oh-so-Florida twist: mango mustard.
This timeless Coconut Grove spot is one of the only places to get stone crabs year-round in Miami (they fly them in from Boston during the offseason). With its prime waterfront location, umbrella-topped tropical drinks, cozy tiki huts and marina views, Monty’s is essentially a piece of island paradise in the Magic City. It doubles as a very popular happy hour spot for college kids and old Miami hippies alike. Things get pretty packed on Friday—when, from 4pm to 8pm—one can enjoy half-priced cocktails and raw-bar specials such as stone crab claws (available at market price).
Don’t be fooled by CJ’s touristy vibe (it is on Ocean Drive, after all). Once inside, you’ll realize it’s more like a friendly local’s spot you’d find in Kendall or Key Largo. If the name doesn’t give away that this is a haven for seafood lovers, the decor certainly will. Mirrors covered with shells and tea light lanterns line the walls, mingling with other nautical designs. The motto here is “where crabs are king,” so naturally you can’t go wrong with the crab selection, which includes Alaskan king and snow. Stone crabs are available during season and served with a side of old bay for an extra kick.
This Pinecrest institution, located off U.S. 1, is one of the neighborhood’s best-kept secrets. It’s where locals go on Tuesdays for BOGO deals on lobster tails. If it’s stone crabs you’re after, you’ll find them as a starter cocktail ($19) or sold by the claw at market price (available in medium, large, jumbo and colossal sizes). The claws are served fresh with no frills—just everything at Captain’s Tavern.
You’ve had dinner—now it’s time for dessert
The best desserts in Miami range from over-the-top sugary creations to simply sinful treats. That diet can wait.