Stone crab is to Florida what deep-dish pizza is to Chicago. It’s an iconic meal that you’d be silly not to try when you visit. When you rip open the thick, black-tipped claws, you’re left with a delicate and oh-so-sweet meat that never seems like enough. Of course, you must dunk the meat into the signature, creamy mustard sauce before giving it a taste.
Unlike deep-dish pizza, Florida stone crab is seasonal, meaning it only graces the menus of restaurants for a few months out the year. The small but mighty crustaceans are usually served shrimp cocktail style—cooked, cracked, and on ice. From October 15 to May 15, you better flick your eyes to the specials board of these restaurants serving the best stone crab in South Florida.
Joe’s Stone Crab
Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach is the OG of seafood restaurants in South Florida. It’s been serving juicy stone crab since 1913 and prides itself on tradition and hospitality. Joe Weiss, the founder, invented the signature mustard sauce that’s served with the dish no matter where you eat it.
While you wait in an undeniably long line, you’ll notice other, anxious customers stretching their necks at tables, itching to get a taste of the thick and shiny claws. Joe’s is pricey, but that’s what happens when you dine at one of Miami’s most famous culinary experiences. As it’s in the name, you might as well order the (jumbo) stone crab claws.
Billy’s Stone Crab
Billy’s Stone Crab in Hollywood showcases Florida’s freshest seafood. Navigate your way through a menu filled with Florida lobster tails, grouper, and Mahi-mahi, until you land on the words “all you can eat stone crab.” Yes, we’re serious. Billy’s is the place to go if you think you can handle an endless supply of medium, large, jumbo, and colossal stone crabs. If you’d rather boil the stumpy crustacean at home, Billy’s front entrance leads to its own seafood market where you’ll find the black-tipped claws on ice and in bulk.
Key Largo Fisheries
40 percent of Florida’s stone crabs come from the Keys, and the crabs go straight from the boat to the restaurant at Key Largo Fisheries. You can snag fresh-caught crab from the market and save them for dinner while you stop by the next door cafe for lunch. The menu would make even the most conclusive person indecisive. Here you’ll find items such as a Cuban Mahi sandwich, lobster BLT, and conch salad. And don’t even think about skipping on the Key lime pie.
The Stoned Crab
The Stoned Crab has all the quirkiness of Key West in one place. Located just off the docks, the restaurant’s private fishing boats deliver fresh-caught stone crab on a daily basis. While The Stoned Crab has a market where you can purchase the claws in bulk, the restaurant serves a steaming bowl of stone crab bisque that gives its lobster cousin a run for its money. Enjoy your meal on the breezy, open-air deck for ultimate Florida feels.
Book a table and dress in your best for a fancy night out at Truluck’s in Fort Lauderdale. Don’t worry, you’ll get a bib when you order the stone crab. It’s fresh crab claws are served chilled and pre-cracked. Once you free the meat from the shell, dunk it in specialty mustard sauce and never look back. We recommend going for the jumbo size as the small will leave you wanting more. Let your food digest with a walk on the beach that’s just a few blocks away.
The Fish Peddler East
The Fish Peddler East isn’t exactly a restaurant. Rather, it's a well-known, local seafood market in Fort Lauderdale. Its loyal customer base keeps coming back because it continues to provide the freshest seafood in town. Stone crabs, shellfish, and other ocean creatures are caught daily by local divers. Stop by for the claws and leave with smoked sea bass, blue crab, salmon belly, and lobster bisque. It’s like going to Target, only at a seafood market.
Golden Rule Seafood
Golden Rule Seafood in Miami is a restaurant and market that serves a colorful bucket of stone crab. This family-run joint goes all the way back to 1943 when it made a commitment to serving the freshest and finest seafood. Show up in flip-flops, shorts, and a T-shirt to blend in with the tropical theme. Ordering the clunky stone crab claws on ice should be a no-brainer when scanning the menu. But also consider digging into the crab cakes, smoked fish dip, and Caribbean fried conch to share with the table as you sip a cool glass of pinot grigio that pairs well with all that seafood.
CJ’s Crab Shack
Crab is king at CJ’s Crab Shack on Ocean Drive in Miami. When stone crabs are in season, you can bet this place showcases the crustaceans like royalty. CJ’s is always bumpin’ as it’s right in the heart of Miami’s busiest street. After hitting the beach, pop into this nautical theme crab shack to feast on a pound of stone crab. If it’s not the season, there are other, worthy crab candidates that are begging you to order them. We’re talking snow crab, Alaskan king crabs, and crab cakes.
When you walk into Kelly’s Landing, you’d think you’re in Boston thanks to thw Red Sox paraphernalia decorating the restaurant. But this Fort Lauderdale joint serves all the best seafood from the cold waters of New England to the warm waters of Florida. The menu is filled with items like “wicked good” soup or “best lobstah” in town, but the stone crab is the star of the show when it’s in season. Ask for a side of the signature sauce for dipping the meat on the way to your mouth.
New York and South Beach are both graced with Lure Fishbar. The menu features an unusually long list of options that might leave you staring at it for hours if you’re not careful. Its fish-loving clientele keeps coming back for menu items such as grilled whole daurade or the signature rolls, but stone crabs are a major crowd-pleaser when it's in season. After enjoying a fine dining experience at Lure South Beach, take a walk along Lincoln Road for some prime people-watching.
Lobster Bar Sea Grille
Dress intentionally before walking into Lobster Bar Sea Grille in Miami. This fine-dining restaurant oozes elegance with crystal chandeliers and white tiled walls. But other than the setting, the menu also stands out. As it’s in the name, lobster is the star with an entire section dedicated to the “Rolls Royce of lobsters” (that includes a four-pounder for two people!). But don’t skip out on ordering sweet stone crab when it’s in season. The claws are sourced from local purveyors in Key West, just a 3-hour drive away.
Monty’s Raw Bar
Enjoy your meal in an island-life, tiki hut setting at Monty’s Raw Bar in Coconut Grove. Other than hosting an insanely fun happy hour with live music, strong cocktails, and raw bar, Monty’s serves some of Florida’s favorite seafood in style. It’s stone crabs are served pre-cracked with a side of homemade spicy mustard sauce. If you’re missing Florida’s claws out of season, don’t worry! Monty’s ships in Pacific stone crab from California. Florida natives will boast that it’s not the same, but they’re still sweet and juicy.
Cod and Caper’s Seafood
Cod and Caper’s is your one-stop-shop for seafood. It’s a wholesale distributor, market, and cafe in North Palm Beach. Grab something to-go from the market, or sit down and enjoy a casual lunch or dinner. Other than digging into market-priced stone crab in season, go for the crabmeat cocktail (colossal lump crab meat served with a lemon, garlic aioli) or dig into Cod and Caper’s crabby potato (potatoes and bacon whipped and topped with jumbo lump crab meat and Gruyere cheese). And those are just appetizers!
The clean setting and menu of PB Catch Seafood and Raw Bar mirror its mission to provide the best sustainable seafood options weaved into a memorable culinary experience. You can order from a freestanding raw bar that’s supplied with a gracious supply of oysters, or be blown away by its innovative menu that includes Florida’s favorite claws in season. Make a night out of dining at PB Catch in West Palm Beach as it’s only open for dinner.
Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market
You’ll notice as soon as you step into Garcia’s located in downtown Miami, that it’s rooted in family and tradition. Originally operating as a fresh fish market in 1966, it evolved into Garcia’s Seafood Grille that’s still owned by the same family. Anthony Bourdain even made a visit to Garcia’s on the Miami episode of “The Layover.” He quotes the establishment as being “no flash and no pretense” just how he likes it. It acts as a restaurant, market, and wholesale business that uses its own fishing boats to drop off the catch right at the docks. When in season, go for the jumbo stone crabs that come with two side dishes.