Close your eyes and picture it: You and a handful of your sun-kissed amigos are coming in hot to an 8:30pm dinner reservation aboard a yacht co-captained by Paris Hilton, Diddy and whatever member of the Kardashian clan Kris Jenner allows to leave the house that day. Paparazzi! Wild dolphins! Okay, we may have gone a bit overboard there, but we don’t think it’s outrageous to say this: We know of no better way to enjoy a summer meal in Miami than via the dock-and-dine method. Is there a cooler way to arrive anywhere? Perhaps parachuting onto the best rooftop bars in Miami or rollerblading into the best South Beach clubs but that’s, like, it. Docking prices vary—be sure to call before navigating your fancy yacht to dinner.
Dock and dine waterfront restaurants in Miami
Downtown’s modern Japanese mecca is not only accessible by yacht; the restaurant also encourages it: Zuma has a special yacht-focused catering menu for $5,000. Once on board, you’re joined by a sommelier to enjoy a sake tasting, followed by a feast of Japanese fare. To arrange your trip, contact the Epic Hotel’s dockmaster (firstname.lastname@example.org), which, yes, is an actual job.
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. You can dock for $3 per foot Monday through Saturday and $5 per foot on Sunday (reservations required). You can also order off the Mediterranean menu and have it brought to you onboard.
You’ll leave this waterfront restaurant with your beach body intact, thanks to its fresh, izakaya options. For a limited time, Lido features a seafood-heavy Japanese menu that includes salmon poké, a whole snapper, crab salad and plenty of raw-bar plates to choose from. Arrive during happy hour (Mon–Fri 4–7pm) for $7 frosé, $4 beers and $7 Asian disco fries with bonito. Docking is first come, first served, and prices vary.
Here’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. For boats less than 50 feet in length, you’ll be charged $50 per person ($200 minimum), and for boats more than 50 feet you are charged $3 per linear foot ($500 minimum). Sadly, no boats less than 20 feet are allowed.
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 draws folks in, that bay view keeps them coming back. You can dock at the nearby Rickenbacker Marina (rmimarina.com). Call ahead to arrange a dock slip.
Shuckers is a neighborhood favorite. This place has bougie views with an unpretentious vibe, and some damn tasty seafood to back it up. Order some wings, beer and ceviche. Enjoy that view. Repeat the process until happiness is achieved. If you arrive by boat to eat, docking is free.
This brunch spot, a favorite for sailing celebrities, packs a punch in both price and decadence. Should you order the $95 A5 Wagyu hot stone? Absolutely. You already paid $2 per linear foot to dock your boat for the first two hours (after that, you’re charged hourly). Be warned: There’s a minimum spending requirement based on the size of your boat.
If you’re lucky, a spot on Garcia’s very limited dock space will be available when you arrive for lunch. If you manage to nab a spot, prepare for some of Miami’s best seafood. Garcia’s is a salty old-school fish joint that’s earned generations of fans with its fresh catch. It’s a must-visit during stone crab season too.
For Key West vibes in Coconut Grove, Monty’s is an easy choice. The popular tiki hangout serves strong frozen cocktails and fried seafood, two things that pair perfectly with a boat day. Plan ahead and make a slip reservation at Grove Harbour Marina (groveharbourmarina.com). Monty’s is just a few hundred yards away.
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. Plus, is there a better way to celebrate a successful day on the water than with a frozen Rum Runner? Of course not. Just tell the dock attendants (they’re in the blue shirts) that you’re eating at Whiskey Joe’s and docking is free.