Miami’s Best Waterfront Dining

Kiki on the River

Given the prolific waterways in and around Miami, diners can choose from a variety of dazzling waterfront views: from ocean and river to bay and Intracoastal. Here, we highlight three restaurants where noteworthy cuisine and mixology pair with dreamy scenery, each highlighting a different body of water. 

The Rusty Pelican

There’s no better place to ogle Miami’s growing skyline than from this waterfront institution along Biscayne Bay, located opposite downtown’s glitz on Key Biscayne. Arrive in the early evening to grab a seat around one of the coveted outdoor fire pits, and watch the city illuminate after dusk, classic mojito or colorfully garnished G & T in-hand. (Alternatively, mix things up with one of specialty, hand-crafted cocktails like the “Mr 305,” a blend of Voli 305 vodka, fresh lime juice, elderflower liqueur, basil, mint, and cucumber, topped with sparkling wine.) Stay for a dinner of contemporary, Pan-American cuisine underscored by fresh local seafood, including a colossal three-tier seafood tower and crispy whole local snapper, served over creamy coconut orzo with arugula and corn salad, and drizzled with roasted jalapeño lime dressing.

Kiki on the River’s garden aesthetic pairs well with the restaurant’s Mediterranean fare.

Kiki on the River

A taste of the Greek Isles lands in the South Florida tropics at this Mediterranean restaurant along the Miami River in downtown. Prepare to feast, choosing from a menu of Greek-influenced dishes such as the feta-laced watermelon salad, grilled octopus, and grilled lavraki (a prized Mediterranean sea bass). On weekdays, the nautical-meets-floral high-design, waterfront setting skews romantic; on weekends, expect Mykonos vibes (albeit tempered by today’s social distancing rules) with live DJs, sparkler-capped Champagne bottles, and patrons dancing tableside (and previously table-top). Your best option for said party scene is “Sunday Funday,” beginning at 1 p.m. when Miami’s in-crowd kicks off the week with a napkin-throwing, Champagne-drinking throwdown. 

These three eateries boast noteworthy cuisine and mixology paired with dreamy views

Smith & Wollensky 

The Miami Beach outpost of this iconic steak house flaunts ocean views as delicious as the famed hand-butchered, dry-aged steaks. Thanks to a prime location along the edge of South Pointe Park, tables overlook the Atlantic in a swath of South Beach that’s delightfully quiet. Enjoy an elegant, alfresco dinner that can be bikini-conscious (think chilled shellfish, baby gem lettuce salad, and simply prepared prime cuts), or unapologetically decadent (hello crispy, battered “angry shrimp” with lobster butter sauce, Oscar-style filets, truffled mac and cheese, and coconut layer cake)—either with a side of light sea spray from the surrounding waves.

Text by Paul Rubio

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