Tourists, locals, people who just want to get the hell outside—everyone’s always looking for a waterfront restaurant in Miami. Fortunately, there are as many places to dine with an ocean view as there are beaches in Miami. In fact, some of the best Miami waterfront restaurants are on the actual sand. Although if your vibe is less seafood shack and more yacht life, you’ll find plenty of bougie dock-and-dine options, too. Is there a cooler way to enjoy our glorious year-round summer? A Miami rooftop bar is a close second, but you can always bee-line to one after your waterfront dinner.
RECOMMENDED: The new Miami dining guidelines you should know
While many restaurants are still most closed—including several on this list—there are a number that have reopened or will do so soon. Below, we highlight those exceptions.
Best waterfront restaurants in Miami opening soon
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.
What’s changing: Disposable menus and silverware will now be available
Reopened Thu, May 21
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.
What’s changing: Single-use disposable menus will be available as well as digital menus via QR codes.
Reopens Wed, May 27
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 $95 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.
What’s changing: The riverfront areas will turn into private nooks separated by lush greenery to help with social distancing.
Reopens Wed, May 27
This North Bay Village institution draws crowds as much for its waterfront views as its impeccable ceviche and approachable beer list. 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.
What’s changing: Shuckers is keeping it casual while abiding by social-distancing guidelines, including making all silverware and menus disposable.
Reopens Mon, June 1
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. Arriving by yacht? Zuma has a special yacht-focused catering menu for upwards of $5,000, inclusive of a sommelier to help you coordinate your sake pairing on board. Fancy, right?
What’s changing: Expect Zuma’s recently launched takeout service to stick around longer
Reopening Wed, May 27
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. This place is a deal. Go for lunch and pay just $12 for three courses. Stop by during happy hour (Monday through Friday from 4 to 8pm) for $6 mojitos and $4 beers, plus live music and dancing.
What’s changing: Goodbye raw bar (all fresh seafood will be dispatched from the kitchen now) and hello to Monty’s new dockside bar, complete with high-top seating positioned six-feet apart. Monty’s will also be accepting reservations via Resy for the very first.
Reopens Mon, June 1
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 when claws are fresh and cheap compared to other local places. But it’s also great year-round. This family-owned spot puts out some of Miami’s best seafood, and you can always count on the home-style Cuban sides to accompany them. The tostones and whole-fried fish are always a winning combo.
What’s changing: You’ll likely see more sanitizing stations and disposable menus and silverware
Reopens Wed, May 27
Substance and style: La Mar isn’t the kind of restaurant that’ll sweep you off your feet with its killer views and leave you hanging with mediocre food. Nope, the food is equally as impressive as the scenery. Gastón Acurio’s talented protégé Diego Oka is at the helm of the modern Peruvian restaurant, doling out interesting ceviches, complex seafood dishes and traditional South American flavors.
What’s changing: Aside from social-distancing protocols, no further changes have been announced.
Reopens Wed, June 3
You may not be able to swim in it yet, but you sure can eat by the ocean. 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 other more light fare.
What’s changing: The restaurant will open for lunch and dinner, but close from 5 to 6pm. Reservations, which can be made via Open Table, are now required.
Reopens Wed, May 27
Best waterfront restaurants in Miami temporarily closed
What is it? Look the part of a fancy, seafaring yachtsman at this posh, bayfront restaurant where the Euro crowds, Mediterranean menu and Instagrammable views create a truly Miami scene.
Why go? It’s fun, not stuffy, and Sunday brunches take daytime partying to new levels—rosé flows, the cabanas are full, and the over-the-top seafood towers just keep on coming.
What is it? Michael Schwartz’s Edgewater restaurant boasts spectacular waterfront views and deck seating, for that only-in-Miami kind of dining experience.
Why go? 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 in on Sundays for live music while you brunch.
What is it? The folks behind Zuma bring you this equally stunning but more affordable high-end Japanese restaurant on the Hallandale Beach shores.
Why go? Book your weekend brunch here and sit overlooking the ocean while you tuck into plate after plate of sushi, sashimi and dim sum offered in unlimited quantities at the buffet. Do you know what else is bottomless at brunch? Rosé, of course.
What is it? 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.
Why go? Dock and dine in style. 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.
What is it? The buzzy, breezy outdoor restaurant went from veg-forward to Japanese, recently offering an izakaya residency with all new recipes by chef Daniel Herget.
Why go? Fresh and tasty fare that’ll leave your body intact, like salmon poké, a whole snapper, crab salad and plenty of raw-bar plates. 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.
What is it? The Wharf revived the Miami River, injecting the downtown waterfront with a refreshed nightlife scene, food trucks and outdoor fun.
Why go? 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.
What is it? This West Coast import boasts uninterrupted ocean views and a locally driven, farm-to-table menu with veggie-centric items like avocado pizza.
Why go? Malibu Farm is actually on the sand and an all-weather spot thanks to a retractable roof, which is rare but fortuituous in Miami Beach. There’s also an expansive, covered bar that’s perfect for a low-key drink after a day on the water.
What is it? Baleen 2.0 opened 10 years after its original Coconut Grove location closed and the new views have done it well. Now in Sunny Isles, the seafood restaurant wows with a more upscale experience than before.
Why go? Blow it out of the park on your next date when you book a private table for two on the sand. Does it get any more romantic than that?