Food & Drink

Miami's Best Seafood Restaurants

Published On 05/17/2016 Published On 05/17/2016
Izzy's Seafood Shack Miami
Courtesy of Izzy's Fish and Oyster
Courtesy of Burlock Coast

Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits

Ft. Lauderdale Beach Blvd

The Burlock Coast isn’t an actual place (before you start looking). It refers to the coast of South Florida where rum smuggler William McCoy used to bring in his uncut rum from the Caribbean in burlap sacks that were hidden in the walls of his ships. (A true South Floridian, to be sure.) McCoy’s quality rum has inspired the cocktail menu at this new spot at the Ritz-Carlton, which is pairing its quality cocktails with fresh-caught seafood specials, like lobster pappardelle and black grouper in lemon sauce.

Courtesy of Captain Jim's

Captain Jim's Seafood Market Restaurant

North Miami

Though this restaurant and market have been open for about 16 years, a few years ago, new ownership breathed new life into what used to be a shoddy, run-down fish shack. Each day, the market’s private boat goes out and brings back fresh catches that you can either buy in the front, or enjoy in the newly renovated restaurant space. The chef-driven menu is a lot more than just pieces of fish, though; the shrimp & grits might be the best in the city, and the non-seafood offerings, like chicken parm, are worth the trip by themselves.

Surf & Turf

Brickell

Beneath the towering condos of Miami’s financial district, you might find a little hand-painted sign on Brickell Ave by the First Presbyterian Church saying “Fresh Seafood,” with an arrow pointing towards the water. Follow it. You’ll find fresh stone crab claws (when they’re in season) for a fraction of what they’d cost at a restaurant. The shrimp quesadillas are not only spectacular, they give you epic portions of shrimp inside. And the ceviche is fresh, flavorful, and surprisingly unlikely to induce food poisonng for something that comes from a tent behind a church.

Casablanca Seafood Bar & Grill

Casablanca Seafood Bar & Grill

Riverside

Of course, there will always be a debate as to whether Garcia’s is better than its next-door neighbors at Casablanca. The menu here is a little more upscale, with stuff like the signature crab-stuffed lobster, and an impressive raw bar full of ceviches and tiraditos. It also has a seafood market, so if you’re not down for dining in at one of Miami’s best boat-up restaurants, you can grab a filet to go and grill it on your boat.

Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish

Riverside

Go ahead and call it the anti-Seaspice. Garcia’s, the family-run seafood market that’s been sitting on the Miami River since it was filled with cocaine and corpses, has been THE go-to spot to buy daily caught fish for decades. And now that the neighborhood is finally cleaning up, you can hit up the restaurant upstairs for a panoramic view of the river and Miami skyline while enjoying said seafood, and pay a fraction of what you would a few doors down.

Courtesy of Izzy's

Izzy's Fish and Oyster

SoFi

In the few short months it’s been open, Jamie DeRosa’s follow-up to Tongue & Cheek has already landed itself on a very reputable list of the best restaurants in South Beach. And for good reason. DeRosa has an exquisite collection of oysters to begin a meal, adds in creative stuff like lobster poutine, then finishes up a menu of literal catches-of-the-day and one of the best burgers you’ll ever see at a seafood joint, not to mention a menu of Boston-themed drinks that’ll make you understand a little quicker how Patriots fans got so obnoxious.

Lure Fishbar

Lure Fishbar

South Beach

Almost every Miamian gets a little jolt of schadenfreude when a restaurant that was “huge in New York” closes within six months. Thankfully, that was not the case at Lure, where, despite being a tourist-driven restaurant in the Loews hotel, it still serves up some of the best seafood dishes in the city. The NYC heavyweight has adapted its Miami menu, and plates a miso-glazed salmon and nori-crusted tuna that make a trip there worth the South Beach hassle. Add in a rotating selection of inventive cocktails and you might actually be sad if this place ever shuts down.

JWB Prime Steak and Seafood

Hollywood

We already told you how this new spot at the Margaritaville resort is one of the best steakhouses in Miami. But it serves double-duty as the seafood here is also some of the best in South Florida. The raw bar that greets you upon entrance is full of seasonal oysters from all over the hemisphere, curated to offer the best that’s currently available. And while you won’t find it anywhere on the menu, ask your server about the sushi menu, which uses all that fresh-caught stuff in ways you’ve borne witness to before.

Mignonette

Mignonette

Edgewater

Danny Serfer’s Edgewater outpost takes the same creative, high-quality approach that made Blue Collar a success and transposes it to the world of seafood. In addition to fresh oysters and a Sunny Isles-worthy caviar selection, Mignonette is serving up dishes like croissants with lobster butter, popcorn conch, and andouille-crusted redfish. But the fish here is so well-selected that you can get a simple grilled filet -- or a seafood tower -- and your meal will be just as delicious.

Captain's Tavern

Pinecrest

Though a trip down the Palmetto Expressway can seem like an interminable journey through the depths of hell, at least the end of it gives you a worthwhile reward. No, not the Golden Glades, the OTHER end of the Palmetto, where this longtime South Dade staple has been serving up fresh seafood to real locals since we called the place “Mia-muh.” Any kid who grew up on a street that started with “Southwest” has spent at least a few family meals here. And as grown-ups, they realize the seafood at this spot is still better than most of the fancy places in “new” Miami.

Estiatorio Milos

Estiatorio Milos

SoFi

When it comes to fresh fish selection, nobody is topping Milos. That’s because the fish here is literally caught in the Mediterranean within 24 hours, and the menu changes depending on what the boys back in Mykonos caught that day. You won’t find many of the traditional Miami staples like mahi or dolphin here, but rather, a daily rotation of light, simply cooked seafood that actually justifies the eye-popping prices. It’s not a place anyone who’s not living at the Continuum is going to go every day. But for a next-level, European-style experience, it’s 100% worth hitting up for a special occasion.

Oceanaire

Oceanaire Seafood Room

Brickell

When you inevitably scroll to the comments to call us out for omitting your favorite seafood spot and end it with “unsubscribe,” you’ll no doubt point to the fact that we included a chain restaurant on the list. But Oceanaire is no ordinary chain. It's allowing chef Kareem Anguin serious creative control over the menu, which is why this is also one of the most underrated restaurants in Miami. Anguin uses his own selection of fresh-caught local fish, then adds in his Caribbean background to give the menu a distinct tropical flavor, exemplified by stuff like jerk fish tacos. That, plus the impressive, ice-packed raw bar up front, make this a fantastic dining destination if you’ve got out-of-town guests in Brickell.

Courtesy of The River Oyster Bar

The River Oyster Bar

Brickell

Somehow the condo-happy wrecking ball has spared this longtime happy hour hot spot (whereas Tobacco Road could not be saved). So get in while you can! The place was actually renovated recently, and still serves up locally caught seafood seven days a week. Plus, its nightly oyster happy hour is still one of the best after-work events in the city.

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1. Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits 1 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 (Fort Lauderdale)

Burlock Coast Seafare and Spirits channels the creativity of Prohibition-era rumrunners. Housed in the Fort Lauderdale Ritz Carlton, Burlock Coast boasts an irreverence not typically associated with luxury hotels, which is why we love it. The venue doesn’t merely confine itself to one mission; it is at once a restaurant, a café, a market, and a bar, serving up sea, land, and raw dishes, like Palmetto Creek Pork Belly with black truffle grits and malbec, black grouper with artichoke, and tuna tartare. The décor has sleek and subtle hints of maritime charm, with ceiling lamps reminiscent of buoys and windows displaying panoramic views of the ocean. The rum shop and juice bar allow you to bottle a small part of Burlock Coast and take it with you.

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2. Captain Jim's Seafood 12950 W Dixie Hwy, North Miami, FL 33161 (North Miami)

Each day, Captain Jim's Seafood market’s private boat goes out and brings back fresh catches that you can either buy in the front or enjoy in the casual restaurant space. The chef-driven menu is a lot more than just pieces of fish, though; the shrimp & grits might be the best in the city, and the non-seafood offerings, like chicken parm, are worth the trip as well.

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3. Surf & Turf 609 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131 (Brickell)

Beneath the towering condos of Miami’s financial district, there's a little hand-painted sign on Brickell Ave by the First Presbyterian Church saying “Fresh Seafood,” with an arrow pointing towards the water. Follow it. You’ll find fresh stone crab claws (when they’re in season) for a fraction of what they’d cost at a restaurant. The shrimp quesadillas are not only spectacular, they give you epic portions of shrimp inside.

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4. Casablanca Seafood Bar & Grill 1717 North Bayshore Dr, Miami, FL (Downtown)

After 20 years on the Miami River, Casablanca Seafood Bar & Grill opened a second, much bigger, much-less-hidden outpost right off the marina on Biscayne Bay enticing you to dominate daily fresh catches like whole fried yellowtail, Mahon beer mussels, Florida spiny lobsters, and very precioussss New Zealand lamb chops.

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5. Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish 398 NW North River Dr, Miami, FL 33128

It’s amazing how for 50 years this place managed to serve possibly the best, freshest seafood in Miami, cold beers, and a stunning view of the Miami River and never refused service to anyone because they weren’t wearing designer sunglasses. Perhaps the next-door neighbors could take a lesson.

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6. Izzy's Fish and Oyster 423 Washington Ave, Miami, FL 33139

Not only does Izzy's offer a weekly "Tuesday Tacos & Tequila" special, but the tacos come stuffed with meaty lobster chunks, shipped directly from coastal Maine. The restaurant sources its all-star seafood selection from all across the United States, and fresh shipments are delivered to the kitchen several times a week. While the fish-joint is fairly casual, with white-tiled walls, a marble oyster bar, and relatively small dining room, the food is exceptional. Classic dishes are prepared with the utmost precision -- lobster rolls are served hot with brown butter sauce dripping down the sides, and clam chowder broth is poured over bowls of leeks, clams and potatoes at the table, while salivating guests ogle. The whole place has an air of casual sophistication -- high quality eats, in an informal, debonair space. And perhaps most importantly, the chefs at Izzy's are the proud inventors of the bacon-lobster poutine.

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7. Lure Fishbar 1601 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (South Beach)

Robert Ferrara’s Bloody Mary is Grainy and spicy, mixed with Lure Bloody Mary Mix and topped with Filthy pickle, deviled egg and shrimp, and served with a Peroni throwback.

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8. JWB Prime Steak and Seafood 1111 N Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019

JWB Prime Steak and Seafood -- named after the man, the myth, Jimmy Warren Buffet -- is an upscale, contemporary American steakhouse located inside the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. The menu boasts spear-caught fish and seafood, a raw bar, and prime cut steaks in a spacious, 142-seat, funky-chic, space. Enjoy your meal with views of the open kitchen, and enjoy a bottle of wine from the cellar wall on display. Throw your notions of Margaritaville out the window: JWB Prime is a high-end restaurant with high-quality ingredients and an air of elegance, and no, there are no cheeseburgers in paradise here.

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9. Mignonette 210 NE 18th St, Miami, FL 33132

Danny Serfer brings you this shellfish-devoted venture with an oyster heavy menu that’s also filled with lobster deviled eggs, caviar, scallops with polenta, and croissants with lobster butter.

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10. Captain's Tavern 9625 S Dixie Hwy, Miami, FL 33156 (Pinecrest)

Though a trip down the Palmetto Expressway can seem like an interminable journey, at least the end of it gives you a worthwhile reward. Palmetto, where this longtime South Dade staple has been serving up fresh seafood to locals for a long time. The menu at this seafood spot showcases specialties from around the country in a fun and casual ambiance.

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11. Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis 730 1st Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (South Beach)

Seafood shines on this authentic Mediterranean menu, created by Costas Spiliadis. The culinary focal point is evident from the moment you walk into the room: before you notice the sleek, modern environs (circular lamps glow from the ceiling, mile-high wine racks intersect walls of polished wood), you’ll see the daily catch on ice displayed by the door. If tasting menus aren’t your scene, consider swinging by for lunch -- the Dorado Royale and sushi-grade octopus remain staples of the à la carte menu, and the ambience is just as trendy.

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12. The Oceanaire Seafood Room 900 S Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33130

They only serve the top-of-the-catch because they only want to serve the freshest seafood. The menu changes frequently depending on the availability of the market.

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13. The River Oyster Bar 650 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33130 (Brickell)

Sidle up to the mahogany and slate-sided bar at River Oyster and prepare yourself for the best in local, sustainable seafood entrees and signature cocktails.