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Kiki on the River
Photograph: Paul Stoppi

The best waterfront restaurants in Miami—is there really anything better?

Miami’s best waterfront restaurants serve up all types of fare at every price point. This is paradise, after all.

Virginia Gil
Falyn Wood
Written by
Virginia Gil
&
Falyn Wood
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If we could dine at one of Miami’s best waterfront restaurants every day, we would. Unlike other big cities on the edge of the Atlantic, this is not an entirely unattainable dream. Whether you’re a tourist or local, looking to splurge on a whole oceanfront experience or simply eyeing a little sunshine and salty air with your $1 oysters and cheap beer, this place has it. Sure, we might be spoiled by the abundance of pristine Miami beaches, and our rooftop bars offer their own spectacular views. But we know why you’re really here. From seafood towers and chef-guided omakase to dog-friendly decks where piña coladas flow like water, your imagination is truly the limit when it comes to selecting which best Miami waterfront restaurant to dine at next.

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Miami

Best waterfront restaurants in Miami

  • Restaurants
  • Argentinian
  • Miami
  • price 3 of 4

This charming bistro and bar tucked away on Miami’s Little River overlooks an active manatee sanctuary and fits right in among its Art Deco-era neighbors. Flanked by layers of tropical foliage, the pastel-hued indoor-outdoor spaces exude understated, Old World glamor while the slow-moving river encourages a relaxed pace. The intimate ambiance and seasonal menu featuring re-invented Argentinian classics, typical aperitifs and boozy cocktails will instantly transport you to a charming Buenos Aires cafe.

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

Substance and style: La Mar isn’t the kind of restaurant that’ll sweep you off your feet with its killer views and then leave you hanging with mediocre food. Nope, the food is equally as impressive as the scenery. Diego Oka is at the helm of the modern Peruvian restaurant, doling out interesting ceviches, complex seafood dishes and traditional South American flavors. To welcome back guests post lockdown, Chef curated a special dine-in menu featuring 18 items, including new Peruvian-inspired rolls. Plus, for the first time ever, La Mar now offers curbside takeout.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Miami

Another hit from Miami restaurateur Matt Kush, this riverfront spot at the recently refurbished Selina Hotel in MiMo takes its culinary cues from France, sprinkled with a dash of Kush’s signature kitsch and humor. Brunch on the water is the move here. If you’re feeling bold, order the frog legs, or stick to classics like onion soup or coq au vin. Either way, there’s no mistaking the view of the Miami River for the Seine, though your vantage point of the adjacent strip club is pretty remarkable for different reasons.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Pinecrest
  • price 3 of 4

Three years after Hurricane Irma unleashed its wrath, the historic Red Fish Grill in Matheson Hammock Park reopened as Redfish by Chef Adrianne in 2020 with a fresh look and new leadership. Decidedly more polished than its previous Old Florida incarnation, Redfish still boasts its iconic coral rock exterior and those priceless 360-degree waterfront views. You’ll feel like you’re dining at the edge of the world, with plenty of shade and all the chilled wine and fresh seafood your heart desires.

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  • Restaurants
  • Miami

This buzzy beachfront restaurant and club is actually on a petite man-made island in Biscayne Bay. An ideal gathering spot for boozy brunches and larger parties, the boho-chic ambiance pairs with bottle service and DJ spun tunes for a unique, Euro-inspired waterfront dining experience in Miami. Reservations are hard to come by, but the wait is totally worth it once you’ve dipped your toes in the sand.

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • South Beach
  • price 3 of 4

The Mondrian’s recently revamped Baia Beach Club makes excellent use of the South Beach hotel’s expansive and beautiful bay frontage, especially during sunsets. The open-air restaurant and bar features a menu of coastal Mediterranean fare. During the perfectly timed Sundown Happy Hour (Mon–Fri 5–7pm), enjoy discounted bites and a selection of $12 specialty cocktails that will make the glittering views all the more magical

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Miami
  • price 2 of 4

Unlike some of the more upscale options, sandals are encouraged at Whiskey Joe’s— the beachy, laid-back Key Biscayne attitude is definitely present here. Fresh off the boat? There’s no better way to celebrate a successful day on the water than with a frozen Rum Runner. Just tell the dock attendants (they’re in the blue shirts) that you’re eating at Whiskey Joe’s and docking is free.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • East Little Havana
  • price 4 of 4

This Downtown waterfront spot is a favorite for sailing celebrities and packs a punch in both scenery and decadence. Blow your budget and feel great doing it. Should you order the $MP wood-fired seafood casserole? Absolutely. Look around—you won’t be the only one tucking into a pricey bowl of crustaceans or mounds of caviar. It’s just how people roll here.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Miami
  • price 3 of 4

Key Biscayne’s most famous restaurant is where brunches, anniversary dinners, weddings, baby showers and all kinds of special celebrations regularly go down. Plenty of folks will argue that the Rusty Pelican has the best view in all of Miami. And they’re sort of right. While the solid seafood and classy atmosphere draw folks in, that bay view keeps them coming back.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • North Bay Village
  • price 3 of 4

This North Bay Village institution draws crowds as much for its waterfront views as its impeccable smoked fish dip, chunky corkscrew fries and festive frozen cocktails. It’s one of the few places in Miami where dining with a view won’t cost you, but don’t expect more than a few notches above a beach shack. It’s a sandals-and-T-shirt kind of place where the vibe is relaxed and the seafood is always fresh.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown
  • price 4 of 4

Downtown’s modern Japanese mecca is accessible by yacht and by land. No matter how you arrive, the palm-tree shaded terrace awaits with views of the Miami River and Brickell Key. It’s a fun people-watching spot as most boats navigate this stretch to get to and from Downtown. Through mid-October, in anticipation of their tenth anniversary, the interior dining room will be closed for renovations. In the meantime, “Zuma Alfresco” will be fully operational for dinner and weekend brunch on the air-conditioned terrace.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Coconut Grove
  • price 2 of 4

For Key West vibes in Coconut Grove, Monty’s is the clear choice. The popular tiki hangout serves strong frozen cocktails and fried seafood, two things that pair perfectly with a boat day. Go for happy hour (Mon–Fri 4–7pm), when a lively mixed crowd comes for the legendary $6 Pain Remover cocktails, $1 oysters and shrimp, and live island music starting at 5pm.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • East Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

Garcia’s is a salty, old-school fish joint that’s earned generations of fans with its fresh catch. A must-visit during stone crab season (when claws are cheap compared to other local places), it’s also great year-round. This family-owned spot puts out some of Miami’s best seafood accompanied by home-style Cuban sides. The tostones and whole-fried fish are always a winning combo.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Miami Beach
  • price 3 of 4

This West Coast import boasts uninterrupted ocean views and a locally driven, farm-to-table menu with veggie-centric items like avocado pizza. Malibu Farm is actually on the sand and an all-weather spot thanks to a retractable roof, which is rare but fortuitous in Miami Beach. There’s also an expansive, covered bar that’s perfect for a low-key drink after a day on the water.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • South Beach

Open daily for lunch and dinner, the Setai’s beachside restaurant is a relaxed, Bali-inspired retreat that non-hotel guests can take full advantage of. Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities lounging by the pool while you tuck into fresh salads, seafood dishes and more light fare.

  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • East Little Havana
  • price 3 of 4

Enjoy a Greek feast on the dock at the handsome Kiki on the River, which—as the name so clearly states—is located along the Miami River. Arriving by boat? Order from Kiki’s Mediterranean menu and have it brought to you on board. Though a yacht isn’t necessary to enjoy the waterfront view: there’s no bad seat in the house.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • price 3 of 4

The folks behind Zuma bring you this equally stunning but more affordable high-end Japanese restaurant on the Hallandale Beach shores. Book your weekend brunch here and sit overlooking the ocean while you take in a generous pre-fixe menu of sushi, sashimi, dim sum, large plates and dessert. ETARU does bottomless one better by starting everything off with a selection of proper brunch cocktails upon arrival.

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  • Restaurants
  • Fusion
  • Design District
  • price 4 of 4

Michael Schwartz’s Edgewater restaurant boasts spectacular waterfront views and deck seating, for that only-in-Miami kind of dining experience. A hyper-local menu designed by a James Beard-winning chef, featuring tender octopus, Argentine-style empanadas and cheesy yuca bread, among the delectable bites. Pop up to the breezy rooftop deck for happy hour snacks and drink specials from Mon–Fri 5–7pm.

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Belle Isle
  • price 2 of 4

The buzzy, breezy outdoor restaurant takes cues from its bayfront perch, offering up veg-forward coastal fare made with locally sourced ingredients and line-caught seafood like blackened grouper and whole branzino. An assortment of lighter dishes will leave your body intact, like the gazpacho, tomato salad and plenty of options from the raw bar. Arrive during happy hour (Mon–Thu 4–6pm) for $7 frosé, $8 punch and $4 tacos. Docking is first come, first served, and prices vary.

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  • Restaurants
  • Overtown
  • price 2 of 4

The Wharf revived the Miami River, injecting the downtown waterfront with a refreshed nightlife scene, food trucks and outdoor fun. It’s a great option if you want to do a little bit of everything. The bar takes care of the drinks, and a caravan of food trucks (brace for doughnuts, stone crabs, and fish and chips) ensure everyone is nice and full—plus, you can even kill calories on the dance floor, courtesy of the talented rotating DJs.

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