The Best Miami Waterfront Restaurants
These aren't just the best outdoor restaurants in Miami—these are the best waterfront restaurants in Miami. Because staring at large bodies of water while eating shrimp is one of the biggest perks of being a South Floridian (right behind free mangoes, Cuban sandwiches, and the fact that shorts are acceptable formal wear). Here's the issue though, most Miami waterfront spots are tourist traps or weird clubstaurants. But these places are all solid, and you can take advantage of the view while also eating good things and (if you want) drinking three glasses of sparkling wine.
You can’t eat much closer to Biscayne Bay than at Amara—unless you own a boat or are a manatee. But if you are not a herbivorous marine mammal, then this is a really good choice because both the view and food are great. The menu is pretty much all seafood, with a small raw bar, ceviche, and a very tasty grilled fish. Come during the day (or, ideally, at sunset) if you really want to see the view in all its glory. And make a reservation for a guaranteed outdoor table, because this place is busy almost every night of the week.
Gramps is one of our favorite bars in Miami, and now you don’t have to brave the chaos of Wynwood to satisfy a Gramps craving. You can just go to Gramps Getaway in Key Biscayne. Here, in the former Whiskey Joe’s space, you’ll find pretty much everything we loved about the original Gramps: rare $12 cocktails, DJs playing songs you forgot you knew all the words to, and an old school atmosphere that’ll feel familiar to anyone who’s lived here for more than 10 years. This is more of a bar than a restaurant, but there are some very good snacks courtesy of The Lazy Oyster, a pop-up serving oysters, lobster rolls, and other small seafood plates. This is the perfect way to end any Key Biscayne beach day.
There are waterfront views at Klaw, but there's also a roof and walls. So if that (or spending a lot of money) is a dealbreaker, look elsewhere. The restaurant is inside a gorgeous and historic Edgewater building. The tables close to the window have a genuinely lovely view of Biscayne Bay—as does the small outdoor patio on the rooftop bar above the dining room. Klaw serves dry-aged steaks that might be the best beef we've ever had, as well as king crab legs they deshell tableside with a fancy pair of scissors. It is incredibly expensive, but also one of the best special occasion meals you can have in Miami.
La Mar is a Peruvian restaurant on the mysterious millionaire island known as Brickell Key. The food is always very good, but the waterfront view is the main draw of this place. It’s a formal (and pricey) restaurant, but if you want to sit outside and stare at the Brickell skyline while you eat ceviche, anticucho, and sip pisco sours—this is where you want to be. They also do one of Miami's best brunch buffets every Sunday.
Shuckers is one of the few waterfront restaurants in Miami where the prime views don’t come with incessant house music and $300 bottles of rosé whizzing by your head. Shuckers is more of a sports bar vibe, and the food is what you want in a breezy raw bar. They have good wings and decent seafood—but the best part of Shuckers is its wide-open view of Biscayne Bay. There are also a ton of TVs, and chances are they’re playing whatever game you want to see.
Since 1966, this spot has been the best place to eat on the Miami River—where you can watch yachts and old-school fishing boats drift by over the course of lunch or dinner. It’s still a good choice because it’s delicious, simple, and wonderfully unpretentious. Start with some fried shellfish, listen closely to the daily specials, and if it’s stone crab season, you know what to do. They do have a lot of indoor seating too, so if you want a guaranteed outdoor table, call ahead to ask about availability, or be prepared to wait.
Lido is an outdoor restaurant located inside The Standard in Miami Beach. The view (not the food) is definitely the main attraction. Lido faces Biscayne Bay, and it's pretty at sunset if you're at the right table. Stick to small plates that are hard to mess up. But it is worth putting up with average hotel food for this view. And if we're judging by atmosphere alone, it's one of the best waterfront spots in town. They also have a Happy Hour Mon-Thu from 4-6pm, with $5 beer and select snacks below $10.
Verde has one of those views that’ll make it hard to get up even after you’ve paid the bill. This casual restaurant in the back of the PAMM (a great museum, by the way) gives you an outstanding look at Biscayne Bay and the cruise ships docked at PortMiami. Lunch here feels like eating in the biggest, fanciest backyard in Miami. Though they stay open for dinner on Thursday, Verde is best for brunch or lunch, when you can eat pretty good pizzas, sandwiches, and salads while trying to guess how much each passing yacht costs.
This Cutler Bay spot is as close as you can get to leaving the county without actually doing so. Here, you can watch rosy-cheeked day drinkers house glasses of pinot gris at the bar, share conch fritters on the deck, or sit on the dock and watch the manatees bop around. There is no indoor seating so dress for the weather. Boaters often tie up their boats right next to tables for a fish dip and beer break. But Black Point is also one of the few places in Miami where you can catch a fish, bring it to the restaurant (filleted and cleaned), and they will cook it for you (they charge by the pound). But even if you didn't catch it yourself, you can count on this place to make some of the best seafood in Miami.
If you’re trying to eat and drink outside next to the water in Coconut Grove, the answer is pretty much always Monty’s. This big, outdoor seafood restaurant feels like a tiki hut on steroids. Happy Hour here (Mon-Fri from 4-7pm) is a good call if you want to have frozen cocktails and cheap oysters. None of the food is that memorable, but you'll happily finish it. Plus, Monty's is just a Miami classic and a day drinking staple. Reservations aren’t required, and flip-flops are embraced.
You would think Miami has lots of restaurants with unblemished views of the beach. But you’d be wrong. There are practically none, except for Ocean Social, a mostly seafood restaurant with some Southern and Caribbean influences in the back of Miami Beach’s Eden Roc. And that’s the big reason to know about this place. The food is more ambitious than most hotel restaurants, but also inconsistent and expensive (brace for the automatic 22% service charge). So while it’s not worth traveling across town to come here, it is worth knowing about if you're hell-bent on having some perfectly fine grilled fish while the Atlantic Ocean does its thing directly to your left.