[In Miami, you need to know the right places to dine because its culinary community is a mix of locally owned spots and gourmet industry tycoons. And since sometimes, the best restaurants are are off the beaten path, it’s best to know a local who can provide the inside scoop. And when it comes to food in Miami, there may be no better local to provide that info than Jennifer Chaplin Tolkin (aka @thefoodlegend) who has pulled together this list of the best waterfront restaurants in Miami. Enjoy–Ed.]
Best Dock and Dine
The Lido Bayside Grill
For a spot in the sun, try The Lido Bayside Grill at the Standard Hotel. The menu features fresh Mediterranean fare, and The Lido is open for breakfast and lunch! Breakfast opens at 7am, and Lunch/Brunch begins at 12pm. It is “First Come First Dock” at Lido, so the earlier the better to get a spot for your boat. They charge fifty dollars to dock too. The Mussels a la Planch and the Artichoke Frites are a must!
40 Island Ave, Miami Beach
If you are looking for upscale Italian, Il Gabbiano is your spot. Reserve your table early, and come enjoy the river views, as you nibble on a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano, bruschetta, and fried zucchini. Get ready for a traditional (heavy!) Italian feast, along with white table cloths, and some of the best service in town. TheFoodLegend’s favorites—Fettuccine alla Bolognese and Orecchiette ai Broccoli di Rape e Salsiccia.
335 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami
Grab a seat at Cipriani, if you can! This is a hard reservation to get on a Saturday night, but come early and grab a signature Bellini from the bar. Trust me, it’s worth the wait. Cocktails are served in small shot glasses, and the food will not disappoint. Views of the Miami River enchant while the sun is up, but Cipriani gets going as the sun goes down. Menu favorites incudeProsciutto “di Parma” with Mozzarella di Bufala and Baked White Tagliolini with Praga Ham. Do not leave without trying the homemade Vanilla Ice Cream!
465 Brickell Ave, Miami
Kiki On The River
Also accessible from the water, Kiki On The River has an upbeat and fun dinner scene paired with some of the best Greek cuisine in Miami. If you are looking for authentic Mediterranean fare with a riverfront view, Kiki’s is your spot. If you are arriving by boat, be sure to book a slip at least one day prior, as the spots book up quickly. As far as pricing goes, on the weekends it is $5 per foot. The menu is extensive, and you really can’t go wrong. Don’t miss Kiki’s fries; Fried potatoes, with oregano, lemon, and feta cheese.
450 NW North River Dr, Miami
Pull up to Zuma at the Epic Hotel via boat or car for one of the most impressive brunches you will ever see. Offered on Saturday or Sunday from 11:30am-2:30pm, indulge in bottomless Asian-inspired cuisine. Brunch is broken down into three tiers: Classic, Signature, and Premium. Priced at $95, $175 and $395, without tax and tip. Sip on cocktails, but make sure you finish your drink before ordering another! TheFoodLegend’s favorite dish– the truffle hotpot. This creamy rice dish is served with wild mushrooms, vegetables and topped with shaved truffle.
270 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami (Located in the Epic Hotel)
On the Ocean
Le Sirenuse Miami hails from the Italian dream hotel based in Positano. The founding family, the Sersale’s, has brought a little slice of Italian heaven to Miami. Pass the Champagne Bar and step into one of the most luxurious oceanfront restaurants in Miami! Insider tip, Le Sirenuse has live music on Thursday nights beginning at 8pm. We drool over the Parmigiana di melanzane tradizionale (Traditional Eggplant Pramigiana), Insalata di zucchine (Zucchini, Pesto, and Pecorino Cheese), and Spaghettone Pomodoro e basilico (Spaghetti from Gragnano, Tomato, Basil).
9101 Collins Ave, Surfside
Sunset Harbor is Miami’s newest booming micro-neighborhood that makes you feel like you are walking around a mini New York City. Hailed one of the hottest foodie neighborhood’s in Miami, here you will find everything from fresh juice spots to Thai street food, and some of the best pizza in Miami!
Dreamer Acai Juice Matcha
Dreamer is a health foodies dream. You can find acai bowls, fresh sandwiches, fresh juice, and smoothies on their menu. Oh, and let’s not forget, they have coffee and gluten free pastries too! Sit in front of their pink flamingo wall for an Instagram-able photo! TheFoodLegend’s favorites: Acai, Peanut Butter and Almond Milk with Kiwi, Strawberry, Cacao Nibs, Chia Seeds, and Gluten Free Granola.
1225 20th St, Miami Beach
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The Miami outpost of Mark Iacono’s famed Brooklyn pizza joint is one of the best spots for a casual dinner. Start off with the Kale Caesar Salad, all-beef meatballs and beef pepperoni chips. Follow up with a 24-inch brick-oven Pizza. Add any toppings you want, but my favorite is the classic cheese. If you’re still hungry, order a Nutella pizza for dessert. Friday through Sunday’s, Lucali stays open until midnight in case you need to get your pizza fix late night.
Step next door into Bay Club for one of the best happy hours in town. From 5pm-8pm order half price drinks, and get free chicken wings and meatballs from Lucali. Stop by on a Thursday night for some late-night karaoke.
1930 Bay Rd, Miami Beach, FL
Stiltsville Fish Bar
This newcomer to Sunset Harbor, the Stiltsville Fish Bar is bringing southern hospitality to Miami Beach. Executive Chefs, Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, owners of Root & Bone, opened to rave reviews. Set on the harbor, dine outside to see the stunning sunset and enjoy the fresh Miami air. Stiltsville’s menu is full of fresh fish, sweet snacks, and large plates that are all great to share. The Sweet Corn Spoon Bread is a must to start, followed up the Buffalo Fish Wings and Crispy Whole Snapper.
1787 Purdy Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139
Swing by South of Fifth, or south of fifth and Alton road to taste some of the best Miami classic restaurants. These are the spots that never go out of style.
Joe’s Stone Crab
Hands down the most iconic restaurant in Miami, Joe’s Stone Crab is a must-try classic. At this century-old, casual spot, you will see some diners sporting flip-flops and shorts. Joe’s famously does not take reservations, so if you want to get a table, go early and get ready to wait. They open for dinner at 6PM only during Stone Crab season (October through May). Pair the Crab Claws with some of their other popular favorites including Grilled Tomatoes with melted cheese, Hashed Browns, and Key Lime Pie. Try Joe’s Take Away, next door, for stone crabs on the go and some of the best breakfast in town!
11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL
One of Myles Chefetz’s first babies was Prime 112. If you are looking for a scene, look no further – Prime 112 is the real deal. Order the Deviled Eggs with White Truffle and Caviar or a foot-long hot dog to wet your appetite. Followed by a juicy Japanese A5 Kobe filet or the Crispy Tempura Lobster with Lobster pancakes. You will be rolling out of Prime 112, full and happy. You might bump into some celebrities on the way out! Visit variations Prime Fish and Prime Italian.
112 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL
All the dished at Chef David Lee’s Planta are plant based and delicious. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself eating watermelon instead of tuna! Try the Watermelon Poke or Coconut Ceviche to curb your cravings. Enjoy their recently opened brunch menu served Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 3PM. The Banana Bread and savory Cinnamon Bun are to die for!
850 Commerce St, Miami Beach, FL
The brain child of Chef Justin Smillie and renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr, Upland is located in the heart of SoFi. Try Smillie’s signature California-inspirited cuisine with menu items including pizza, pasta, and skirt steak. Everything tastes out of this world, but make sure you don’t miss the Sausage and Kale Pizza, Crispy Duck Wings, and Bucatini Cacio e pepe. If you can’t get a reservation, go early for a drink, they won’t make you wait long!
49 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
The Design Districtis the most creative neighborhood in Miami. Here you will find high-end shopping, art galleries, work out spots, and celebrity chef restaurants.
If you need a quick coffee and a snack, stop by OTL. The casual spot serves all day breakfast, salads, sandwiches, and homemade pastries. Try the Overnight Oats the Avocado Toast to power you through a full day of shopping in the Design District.
160 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137
Aubi & Ramsa 21+ Ice Cream
Aubi & Ramsa 21+ Ice Cream is an adult-only ice cream shop (you have to be 21 years old), that puts liquor in ice cream! Try it in the store, or take some scoops home to enjoy over some great Netflix! Explore the menu, but some of my favorites are: THE WHITE RUSSIAN, A velvety Coffee Liqueur Ice Cream made with 1 shot of Grey Goose & 1 shot of Kahlua or the STOUT & TRUFFLE Beer Ice Cream Made with Guinness Draught.
172 NE 41st. STREET Miami Design District
Ghee Indian Kitchen
Ghee means “pure.” Chef Niven Patel brings pure goodness to Miami through his Indian cuisine. Ghee’s menu is everchanging depending on the harvest from the farm that the restaurant owns. Ghee brings a freshness to the Miami food scene that we definitely needed. TheFoodLegend’s favorites—Garlic Naan, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Veggie Samosa.
3620 NE 2ndAve Miami FL
Inside Bal Harbour Shops, Miami’s luxury shopping destination, you will find some of the most exquisite collection of designer boutiques and restaurants. If you’re looking for a light bite after some serious shopping, try Makoto! Makoto is a Japanese staple in Bal Harbour, featuring sushi, robata dishes, as well as Premium American Wagyu Steak. TheFoodLegend’s favorites—Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and Shortrib Yaki Noodles.
Image Credits: Kiki on the River.