Miami is home to many fish markets and swanky seafood restaurants, but nothing is worse than setting yourself up for an oceanfront experience and finding that the fish was frozen before being served to you. True South Floridians accept nothing less than the freshest seafood with the natural flavors of the sea from which it came. These top Miami seafood spots are sure to give you a first-class experience with dishes appealing to the eyes and the taste buds.
This 20-year veteran in the seafood industry is one of the country’s most celebrated fish markets. Overlooking the Miami River and illuminated by beautiful Downtown Miami, the restaurant’s atmosphere suggests the laid-back island-style markets of Key West. Dine outdoors and get the view of the local commercial fishing boats bringing in the fresh catch that will soon grace your plate. You can even come by boat and dock right next to your table if you decide not to take advantage of the complimentary valet parking.
This upscale spot offers local and international dishes including the Signature Stuffed Lobster and the Sopon Marinero; the servings of this traditional seafood soup are huge, so be prepared to share with everyone who will already be eyeing your spoonful. They even serve breakfast for those who can’t get enough of the fresh catch straight from the boat to the table.
The service can be delayed, but the quality and view make up for it. You won’t regret stopping by for this seafood experience.
If you want a piece of historic Miami, Red Fish Grill will take you back to the vanished post-war era before the city became a flashy hub for party goers.
Located on what was originally Matheson Hammock beach, the restaurant offers a postcard view along with its sultry pan-fried red snapper. The oriental sea bass is full of flavor and is beautifully presented; you’ll struggle with whether to snap a picture before you dig in! With its light-decorated palm trees, this romantic spot is an ideal place for couples to have a special night. Reservations are highly recommended and definitely opt for an outside table.
Although this is one of the more expensive locations on the list, the history, ambiance, and gourmet dishes at the Red Fish Grill make it all worthwhile.
The River is a casual contrast to the upscale seafood restaurants in Miami. It’s always busy, which is a testament to how great the food really is. Whether you’re looking for a nice dinner with a loved one or a fun night out with friends, you’ll always be accommodated. Their diverse menu has gems like BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Blue Crab & Gnocchi. Their happy hour is a joy with half-price oysters and discount drink specials.
Located in congested Brickell, The River has increased in popularity, and it may be difficult to get a table even on weekdays. It’s recommended that you make reservations if you have a party of three or more; if you get a chance to grab a seat at the bar, go for it. The River is the best of both worlds: the happening happy hour spot and the upscale treasure for tasty seafood treats.
After 100 years of serving their original recipes for crab cakes, key lime pie and many succulent sauces, Joe’s Stone Crab has become a landmark and go-to spot for Miami tourists. The wait lines are long and their famous stone crab claws can put a dent in your wallet—but Joe’s Stone Crab will still blow you away. You will walk away feeling spoiled and full of delicious crab meat. Joe’s Take Away is an excellent asset that allows you to get the fresh seafood wholesale and to-go but without the long lines.
If you’re not well versed in the land of stone crab, the staff is very helpful in guiding you through the best experience possible. Don’t mistake Joe’s Stone Crab for a crab shack: It had a humble beginning as a crab stand, but this historic landmark holds its own with the most upscale spots on the beach. Skip the gimmicks and enjoy your favorite fresh catch and savory, traditional recipes that have kept people coming back for a century.
You can’t go wrong with this Little Havana location founded by the Garcia brothers, 11 fishermen from Cuba. It’s a fish market so you know you’re getting the fresh-off-the-boat experience with any menu item you choose. The $4 Shrimp Empanadas or the $5 Snapper Sandwich will surprise your wallets and your taste buds. The chef specials blend cultural dishes with your favorite seafood making it a meal like no other. Green plantain, fried shrimp and sweet mojito sauce make up the infamous La Cubanera; it’s a burst of flavor crafted with just the right amount of spice.
The attentive staff provides excellent service to accompany the traditional Cuban dishes and fresh seafood that captures the natural flavor of the sea.