Miami’s Top 10 Boat-Up Restaurants to Dock and Dine
Mar 17, 2021 March 17, 2021
What could be more quintessentially Miami than spending a weekend afternoon boating? Naturally, you’ll work up an appetite! Luckily, this is Miami and when hunger strikes while you’re out at sea, there are plenty of options where you can dock your boat and dine, fill your belly, enjoy a few drinks, and discover some of Miami’s most flavorful waterfront spots.
We’ve compiled a list of our Top 10 (well 11 technically) favorite, boat-up dining spots across all price ranges, to help you choose your next feast at a waterfront restaurant.
3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne
Let’s start with a classic, and the home of one of Miami’s most celebrated chefs, as well as Florida’s coolest mixologists. Overlooking the glittering waters of Biscayne Bay, The Rusty Pelican is upscale waterfront dining at its finest, and a favorite hangout to pull up by boat any time of the day. Enjoy an eclectic menu of the area’s best fish and seafood, as well as surf and turf options, sushi, salads and appetizers inspired in the flavors of Latin America and the Caribbean, all while beholding the sparkling city lights along the waterfront and relaxing to cool, soothing music. Boat up and dock at the marina.
3301 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne
Located on the same point as The Rusty Pelican and under the same ownership, Whiskey Joe’s is your casual spot for after fishing, water skiing, or when you just want to wear your flip flops and shorts. Known for their mouthwatering island-inspired dishes, amazing waterfront views and tiki cocktails, just dock at the marina and chill.
2550 S Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove
Monty’s is a true Miami icon, set along the shores of Biscayne Bay and always alive and buzzing. In fact, you can’t even genuinely say you’ve arrived in Miami until you’ve spent an evening eating, drinking, and relaxing at Monty’s! The ultimate seaside raw bar, Monty’s delivers a lively bikini-bar environment with live music, hefty portions, fabulous drinks, Caribbean flavor, and everything that makes Miami nice. If oysters are your thing, you’re in for a treat! But the conch fritters, mahi fingers, and popcorn shrimp are also popping! In fact, both the quality of the food and the Magic City experience are guaranteed at Monty’s. Come for the sunset and plan to stay way longer than you expected. Dock at the marina or call the Boat Master in advance at 305-854-7997.
398 NW N River Drive, Miami River
Another not-to-be-missed Miami icon, set along the Miami River and offering a distinctively Cuban menu, Garcia’s has been around since back in the day before the Miami River got its makeover, when it used to just be fodder for scriptwriters working on Miami Vice. Even then it was worth making the trip to North River Drive to eat here. Through good times and bad, Garcia’s has been on the River serving up the freshest seafood in Miami, featuring no-nonsense Cuban classics such as fried whole snapper, paella, and sides like tostones rellenos (fried plantains stuffed with spicy shrimp). Prices are reasonable and the ambiance is very relaxed. This is just one of those down-home places you’ll keep coming back to, whether by land or by sea.
400 NW N River Drive, Miami River
Next door to Garcia’s, with a slightly more upscale vibe, Casablanca Seafood Bar & Grill serves up excellent ultra-fresh classic seafood dishes and special signature fare such as crab-stuffed lobster. This internationally inspired eatery also features a raw bar with an impressive lineup of ceviches and tiraditos, as well as such South Florida standards as stone crabs (seasonal), coconut shrimp, and grilled octopus. Relax and enjoy the laid-back romantic vibe as you watch your fellow boat enthusiasts cruising on the river, or boat-up to the docks.
422 NW N River Drive, Miami River
If you’re looking for an on-the-water experience that makes you feel like you’re worthy of walking on water, splurge on the refined culinary luxury at the ritzy Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge. With unique signature offerings, such as appetizers ranging from the Hokkaido Scallop Tartare in a mussels reduction with granny smith apples and Ossetra caviar, to the Hudson Valley Pan-Seared Foie Gras, and the magnificent Grand Seafood Platter that features two pounds of lobster, with prawns, oysters, and Alaskan king crab for $240. Entrées range from Seafood Casserole to Australian Leg of Lamb cooked on volcanic hot stones. If you’re looking to boat-up for ultra-fine dining, this is the place. Call ahead for docking reservations and information.
50 NW North River Drive, Miami River
Kiki’s is another favorite on the Miami River. With an exotic Greek menu and a romantic outdoor patio on its 150-foot dock overlooking the water, this carefully decorated spot recreates the flavors and character of the Greek Isles with such specialties as their unique Tuna Tartare, served with sides such as grilled vegetables. Sunday is Funday at Kiki on the River with parading champagne bottles and napkin twirling rituals that will keep you partying all night to fresh beats provided by the house DJ. You’ll need to make reservations if you're coming by boat, particularly on the weekend. There is a docking fee of $3 per foot Monday through Friday, and $5 per foot on Saturday and Sunday. If you happen to pull up on a Thursday, you can enjoy complimentary Mimosas and Martinis from 1 to 4pm.
270 Biscayne Blvd Way, Downtown Miami
Internationally known Zuma, located at the Epic Hotel on the Miami River, surprises with a unique Japanese izakaya and robata-grill menu and experience. Dine on the Bay on Zuma’s casual outdoor terrace and choose from over 80 varieties of sake while enjoying the informal dining experience and cuisine known as izakaya, which has become all the rage in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Dubai.
The menu tempts with authentic, though not traditional, Japanese dishes enlivened with quality ingredients, bold, intense flavors, and a simple presentation style in which dishes are shared at the table. Under the direction of world-renowned chef Rainier Becker, Zuma Miami is pricey but well worth the unique experience. Easy boat-up options make this a top-notch experience.
40 Island Avenue, Venetian Islands, South Beach
The Lido at the Standard Hotel is a culinary oasis surrounded by the tranquil waters of Biscayne Bay. Serving up an array of healthy spa cuisine along with the best fries in Miami Beach, you can enjoy half-priced specialty drinks during Happy Hour from 4-7pm daily. Terrace dining on a tranquil waterfront deck features a menu of seafood as well as vegetarian and vegan offerings along with a breathtaking view of the sunset overlooking Biscayne Bay in South Beach.
The Lido has a few hundred feet of dock space available for boats up to 40 feet, which you can use on a first-come, first-served basis for a docking fee of $50 for the first four hours, which is plenty of time to relax and enjoy a laid-back meal along with a few delicious cocktails in a peaceful waterfront setting with amazing music courtesy of resident DJs.
1819 79th St. Causeway, Miami Beach
Another local icon, located on the Kennedy Causeway in North Bay Village, Shuckers has been serving meals for 30 years to hungry guests arriving by land and by sea. The restaurant can provide docking for vessels up to 65 feet and they even offer a new Sail Away menu that allows you to place your order by calling ahead and a staff member will deliver it directly to the dock!
But if your water legs need a rest, you can relax and eat on their spacious terrace with spectacular views of Biscayne Bay. Shuckers is known for its array of fresh and reasonably-priced seafood, along with sports bar favorites like grilled chicken wings, and a family-style menu with specials designed for sharing.
3969 NE 163rd St, North Miami Beach
Sometimes you just want to let loose and enjoy a rambunctious sports bar with excellent chicken wings, beer-battered fish and chips, and fried shrimp you can chase down with 2-for-1-drinks all day long, every day of the week. The menu is affordable and features great burgers, soups, salads, sandwiches, and grilled meats, as well as cheap lunch specials. With dozens of flat screen TVs on deck, you won’t miss any of your favorite sports events. In fact, you can watch them all at the same time, while enjoying a view of the Intracoastal Waterway. If you need to cool off before or after your meal, take a dip in the pool, located near the boat dock
With so many options for feasting while boating, you may not want to return to dry land for a while. Our thoughts on this? Ship ahoy and enjoy!