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Waterfront Dining Miami

Not always so easy to find… but worth it when you do.

Seaspice on the Miami River

It’s a Miami-specific conundrum: so much water surrounding us, yet so few spots to actually enjoy it. But thankfully, there are many places that have been taking advantage of their waterfront locations for years and a few newer ones that have popped up recently to maximize that alfresco potential. We indulged in the views and all the fresh seafood to bring you this list of our favorite waterfront dining in the city.

Zuma Miami {270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Downtown; 305.577.0277}

Upscale Asian dishes complement a dock crowded with million-dollar yachts. If you’re looking to indulge, reserve a spot during their weekend brunch where the restaurant rolls out almost the entire menu: buffets of endless fresh sushi, skewers of marinated beef and vegetables from the robata grill, and prepared salads. Then there’s a bottomless glass of Louis Roederer Champagne in addition to Bloody Marys made with robata-grilled tomatoes. And it all goes perfectly with the waterfront views of downtown. 

La Mar {500 Brickell Key Drive, Downtown; 305.913.8358}

Peruvian Chef Gaston Acurio’s downtown Miami outpost occupies a gorgeous waterfront spot at Brickell Key’s Mandarin Oriental. The main dining room is awash in shades of watery greens, sandy grays, creamy beiges, and polished wood, but it’s the enticing outdoor terrace that offers glittering views of downtown. It provides the perfect backdrop to Chef Diego Oka’s contemporary Peruvian dishes with colorful tweaks.

Mondrian South Beach {1100 West Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.514.1910}

On Sundays, the place feels a bit like a Jay-Z video with bikini-clad pool lovers waving at the massive yachts that cruise the hotel’s enviable bayfront location. But during the week, the scene is more sedate with downtown skyscrapers twinkling in the distance and Mondrian Caffe’s menu of crowd-pleasing dishes like Kale Caesar and grilled skirt steak to keep you satisfied.

Garcia’s Seafood Grille and Fish {398 Northwest North River Drive, Downtown; 305.375.0765}

This Miami institution has been doing it right for years. Fresh seafood, reliable service, and a steady stream of locals tucking into platters of stone crabs and poached shrimp. Putter up to the back of the restaurant where waiters provide service directly onto the boats.

Seaspice {422 Northwest North River Drive, Downtown; 305.440.4200}

This two-building complex on the Miami River has already proven a hit with downtown’s well-heeled crowd. The restaurant’s large warehouse-like windows roll up giving the dining room a pleasant indoor-outdoor feel. The history of the spot dates back to Howard Huges, apparently it was his seaplane hangar and still has the rusted rigging intact to prove it. A dock that spans 250 feet with an additional dock across the river has hosted its share of mega-yachts that (sometimes) block the river views.

Kiki On The River {450 Northwest North River Drive, Miami; 786.502.3243}

And right next door is this boho-chic modern Greek taverna with those same Miami River views, this time framed by whitewashed nautical seating, lush greenery, and trees festooned with glass orbs. Chef Steven Rhee whips up food of the gods with mezzes, grilled seafood, lamb chops, and luscious feta-topped salads. 

Artisan Beach House {10295 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour; 305.455.5400}

The restaurant at Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour’s classy spot is the stuff of postcards.  The gorgeous sprawling dining room features floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean and the busy Haulover inlet, where speedboats regularly putter by. Whitewashed walls and comfortable leather booths balance the grandeur of the setting, but the best spot to dine is still the outdoor patio where ocean breezes mingle with views of Haulover marina and the bar’s loungey soundtrack. The seafood-centric menu features quinoa tuna poke and charred octopus with Vadouvan carrots.

Duffy’s Sports Grill {3969 Northeast 163rd Street, North Miami Beach; 305.760.2124}

This massive restaurant-lounge has a whopping 200 flatscreens, an outdoor pool, and a 500-foot dock. Located on the west side of the intra-coastal waterway, Duffy’s is known as a sports-watching haven and a popular happy hour spot. Extensive covered patio seating makes it an ideal spot to take in the salty breezes.

By Sara Liss, contributing writer

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