Outdoor Waterfront Dining

Kyle Johnson

Where to eat alfresco in Miami—without getting sand between your toes.

Given Miami’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, one would expect alfresco seaside restaurants galore. But there are very few. Some of our top picks: Boat up to white-hot new seafood spot Seasalt and Pepper (422 NW North River Dr.; 305-440-4200, pictured above). It’s at the heart of Miami’s social scene these days for the wood-fired seafood casserole, filet mignon and lobster risotto.

Cruise ships pass through manmade ship­ping channel Government Cut, where the ocean turns into the bay—a beautiful sight from South Beach steak joint Smith & Wollensky (1 Washington Ave.; 305-673-2800). During the day, it’s not unusual for diners to spot dolphins from the few tables right on the water.

Weekend boating and yachting action on the Miami River is fun to watch from long-standing casual fish eatery Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market (398 NW North River Dr.; 305-375-0765). And while not directly on the water, Lincoln Road rooftop-penthouse restaurant Juvia (1111 Lincoln Rd.; 305-763-8272) offers expansive ocean views and a menu heavy on raw fish; hot-entrée showstoppers include the Chilean sea bass.