The Best Miami Waterfront Restaurants
If you’re trying to eat outside and stare at the water, head to one of these spots.
Being able to stare at large bodies of water is one of the biggest perks of being a South Floridian (right behind free mangoes and shorts being considered acceptable formal wear). At these restaurants, you can take advantage of that perk while also eating good things and (if you want) drinking four glasses of sparkling wine. Here are some very solid waterfront spots with outdoor seating.
Klaw makes you feel sophisticated. And that’s not just because they serve beautiful dry-aged steaks and deshell your king crab legs tableside with a fancy pair of scissors. No, even if this place only served chicken nuggets, we’d still put on nice clothes to come here. The restaurant is inside a gorgeous and historic Edgewater building with waterfront views, both on the bar’s outdoor patio and in the spacious dining room thanks to some huge arched windows that all point towards Biscayne Bay. Klaw isn’t cheap—you’re coming here for $100-plus steaks and fancy shellfish. But the food is very good, the service is excellent, and the entire experience is worthy of the very dignified building it’s in.
Tigre is a beautiful Argentinian restaurant in the Upper East Side where you can bring a date or a few friends or, really, anyone who appreciates interior design and the color green. The outdoor seating is organized along a little canal that—despite being just a baseball toss away from the hectic intersection of Biscayne and 79th—feels peaceful and secluded. The aesthetics are the selling point here, but the food is also good. There are some solid veggie options, like a simple, crunchy hearts of palm salad or tender roasted beets, but you’ll find bigger steak and fish entrees too. Whether you want to eat buñuelos or just have a few apéritif cocktails while looking for manatees—Tigre is a solid choice next time it’s so nice out that you feel guilty being inside.
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Amara At Paraiso
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 snapper. Come during the day 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.
Shuckers Bar and Grill
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. It’s casual, and the food here 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.
Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish
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.
The Lido Bayside Grill
Lido is an outdoor restaurant located inside The Standard in Miami Beach. The view (not the food) here is definitely the main attraction. Stick to small plates that are hard to mess up, like hummus or shrimp cocktail. 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 from $4-8.
Verde at Pérez Art Museum Miami
Verde has one of those views that’ll make it hard to get up even after you’ve paid the bill. This surprisingly casual restaurant in the back of the PAMM gives you a wide-open look at Biscayne Bay, and 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.
Boater's Grill Restaurant
We could pick you up, blindfold you, and drop you at Boater’s Grill, and you’d probably think you were in the Keys, not Miami. And you’d be half right. This place is located inside Key Biscayne’s Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, sitting next to a quiet cove where you might possibly befriend a manatee. The food is fine, but the view is a lot better. They also have an adjacent outdoor bar called The Cleat. You definitely want to head there after you eat, because it’s one of the best places to drink outside in Miami. And the view is even better.
La Mar by Gaston Acurio
La Mar is a very popular restaurant on the mysterious millionaire island known as Brickell Key. The food is good, but the waterfront view is the main draw of this place. It’s a very formal (and pricey) restaurant, but if you want to sit outside and stare at the Brickell skyline while you eat ceviche, tasty grilled scallops in a parmesan foam, and other Peruvian dishes that tend to involve seafood—this is where you want to be.
Monty’s Raw Bar
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/tiki hut on steroids feels a little more like Key West than Miami. Happy Hour here (Mon-Fri from 4-7pm) is a good call if you want to have $6 frozen cocktails and $1 oysters. Reservations aren’t required, and flip-flops are embraced.
This Key Biscayne restaurant is right next to a marina, so you can watch boats get pulled out of the water while you wash down perfectly fine fried gator bites and coconut mahi nuggets with frozen drinks that taste very good after a long day in the sun. It’s not the best food in town, but it gets the job done. Plus, this place is casual enough to come if you’re still sandy from the beach. Whiskey Joe’s also faces west, so try to time your visit during sunset.