This story originally appeared on CoastalLiving.com
Ready to eat your way through the best waterfront restaurants in the Sunshine State? Starting down in the Keys and working our way up north, these spots pair Florida's coastal beauty with delicious fare.
The Florida Keys
PHOTO: GREGORY WRONA/ALAMY
Louie’s Backyard, Key West: In Key West, Louie’s Backyard is a crowd favorite first made famous in one of Jimmy Buffett’s tropical ballads. Everything is locally caught, and the food is as spectacular as the view.
Sunset Grille & Raw Bar, Marathon: Speaking of parrot heads, Sunset Grille & Raw Bar in Marathon is where to go for a killer char-grilled cheeseburger in paradise, the impressive raw bar, poolside BBQ parties with live music, and a front row seat for sunset.
Lorelei, Islamorada: Islamorada is home to plenty of tasty hotspots. Head to the mermaid-themed Lorelei (pictured) for fish tacos and Key lime pie.
Pierre’s, Islamorada: Pierre’s at Morada Bay (fans of Netflix’s Bloodline will recognize it as the Rayburn family’s fictional resort) is a must-visit for fine dining at one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF FONTAINEBLEAU MIAMI BEACH
La Côte, Miami Beach: Channel a South-of-France vibe at the swanky La Côte at Fontainebleau Miami Beach (pictured), where you can sip rosé and nosh on Mediterranean fare while gazing at the sea.
Mondrian Caffe, Miami Beach: Offering incredible water and downtown Miami views, the Mondrian Caffe has a fabulous Sunday brunch spread with bottomless mimosas.
Juvia, Miami Beach: Set atop an architectural wonder on Lincoln Road, Juvia is an upscale rooftop restaurant with 360-degree views of South Beach and beyond.
La Mar by Gastón Acurio, Brickell Key: For a chic waterfront dining experience on Brickell Key, La Mar by Gastón Acurio at the Mandarin Oriental offers an eclectic mix of Peruvian gastronomy and high-end cocktails.
Rusty Pelican, Key Biscayne: Arguably featuring the best views in the whole city, the Rusty Pelican is perched on an island in between downtown and Key Biscayne. It’s no wonder diners flock here for everything from sunset cocktails to decadent multi-course meals.
PHOTO: EDUCATION & EXPLORATION 2/ALAMY
One of the best parts about dining in Fort Lauderdale is that you can take the water taxi (or your own boat) to some of the best restaurants in town.
Boatyard: Set sail for Boatyard, an elegant seafood-centric eatery that exudes that sophisticated yachting culture.
15th Street Fisheries: Or check out 15th Street Fisheries (pictured) where there’s an upscale ambience upstairs and a more casual dockside dining option downstairs. And you can feed giant tarpon from the dock!
Burlock Coast at The Ritz-Carlton: Across from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean, Burlock Coast at The Ritz-Carlton is all about serving up local flavors and draws inspiration from the Prohibition era.
Shooters Waterfront: Offering equal parts jaw-dropping views and great American fare, Shooters Waterfront is a popular hotspot for dinner and drinks.
Kaluz Restaurant: Perched on the Intracoastal waterway, Kaluz Restaurant feels like a chic outdoor living room, with cozy seating and fire pits arranged on a carpet of faux grass and a bar that’s open to the outdoors.
The Palm Beaches
PHOTO: ZUMA PRESS INC/ALAMY
Guanabanas, Jupiter: With palm-fringed patios, stone bridges, and illuminated waterfalls, Guanabanas (pictured) in Jupiter will make you feel like you’ve discovered a secret jungle hideaway. Nosh on the shrimp skewer and crab cake combo with a side of Sanibel steamers—fresh claims harvested from Pine Island Sound.
Old Key Lime House, Lantana: Open since 1889, the bright-green Old Key Lime House in Lantana is reportedly the oldest waterfront restaurant in Florida. Order a slice of the award-winning Key lime pie and soak up one of the best sunset views in South Florida on the waterfront patio, complete with a Tiki bar serving punchy, tropical cocktails.
Benny’s On the Beach, Lake Worth: A day at Lake Worth Pier isn’t complete without a meal at Benny’s On the Beach. The ample outdoor seating gives you panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean while you dine on everything from piled-high pancakes to fried seafood platters fit for a sea captain.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE RITZ-CARLTON, NAPLES
Mucky Duck, Captiva Island: Located directly on the beach in Captiva Island, the Mucky Duck is a Florida institution. You can order everything from shrimp fried in beer batter to a fine cut of filet mignon. And the main event each and every night is sunset, so plan accordingly.
Doc Ford’s, Multiple Locations: Inspired by the main character in author Randy Wayne White’s books, Doc Ford’s is a great seafood joint with three locations: Fort Myers Beach (best water views along the Mantanzas Pass), Sanibel Island, and Captiva Island.
Gumbo Limbo at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples: Featuring a delectable seafood menu and a casual, Tiki-bar feel, Gumbo Limbo (pictured) is a delightful place for an oceanfront meal.
Quinn’s on the Beach at the JW Marriott, Marco Island: Featuring a nightly live fire dancer show, Quinn’s on the Beach is a great spot for Caribbean-style specialties and, of course, jaw-dropping beach views.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF HUTCHINSON SHORES RESORT & SPA
Drift Kitchen + Bar, Jensen Beach: Nestled on Florida’s east coast at the new Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa, Drift Kitchen + Bar (pictured) offers casually elegant al fresco dining (woodfired pizza, made-from-scratch pasta, and a fine array of house specialty items) on its oceanfront veranda.
Sand Dune Café’, Jensen Beach: For an amazing breakfast with a beach view, opt for Sand Dune Café’s fluffy omelets, French toast, and biscuits and gravy before spending a day splashing in the waves at Jensen Beach.
Ocean Grill, Vero Beach: A landmark oceanside restaurant situated directly on the sand in Vero Beach, the historic Ocean Grill dates back to 1941 and is still going strong today. Take your pick from fine cuts of filet mignon to fried oysters with a side of clam chowder.
Clearwater & Tampa Bay Area
PHOTO: COURTESY OF SANDPEARL RESORT
Carretta on the Gulf, Clearwater: Clearwater’s only AAA Four-Diamond rated restaurant, Carretta on the Gulf (pictured) offers mouthwatering Floridian-inspired cuisine in a beachfront setting. Nibble on every sea delicacy you can imagine from mussels and oysters to crab and lobster, plus plenty of hearty steak and pork chop options as well.
Ulele, Tampa: Located on Tampa’s Riverwalk, Ulele is a native-inspired restaurant and brewery, offering lots of vegetarian and vegan friendly options, as well as an extensive seafood and beef menu. They also serve adventurous items like alligator hush puppies.
Armature Works Heights Public Market, Tampa: Next to Ulele, the Armature Works Heights Public Market offers the same great river views. There, you can visit more than a dozen local restaurants in a lively communal food hall setting.
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Tampa: Famous for their expansive bay views and extravagant Sunday Brunch, Oystercatchers at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay is a hot ticket. And so is sister restaurant Armani’s, perched atop the 14th floor and featuring floor-to-ceiling water views.
Space Coast & Daytona Beach
PHOTO: COURTESY OF HARD ROCK HOTEL DAYTONA BEACH
Rikki Tiki Tavern, Cocoa Beach: Located directly above the ocean at the end of Cocoa Beach Pier, the Rikki Tiki Tavern may have a casual but tasty food menu (think grouper and lobster club sandwiches), but it has a long history of providing more than just spectacular 360-degree views. In the early 1960s, visitors and famed astronauts alike could drive their cars right onto the pier itself, offering a “grandstand seat" for the space shuttle launches at nearby Cape Canaveral.
Doc Bale’s Grill, Daytona Beach: Enjoy an endless gourmet brunch on the oceanfront at Doc Bale’s Grill at the Hilton Daytona Beach. Diners go crazy for the all-you-can-eat peeled shrimp and prime rib.
Sessions, Daytona Beach: At Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach, the luxurious Sessions (pictured) restaurant serves up fine dining dishes like tuna tartare and braised beef short ribs.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF OMNI AMELIA ISLAND
Sunrise Café, Amelia Island: Wake up to 360-degree vistas of the Atlantic Ocean at the Sunrise Café at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort (pictured), where you can indulge in made-to-order cage-free omelets, maple-blueberry organic sausage, and more.
Salt, Fernandina Beach: For a delightful splurge, Salt at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island offers AAA Five-Diamond fine-dining—perfect for celebrating a special occasion or a fancy date night.
Cap’s on the Water, St. Augustine: Another high-end eatery with drop-dead gorgeous views, Cap’s on the Water is located between Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine. Famous for their oysters, it has an expansive outdoor dining deck bordering the beach and an impressive menu of seafood platters.
Funky Pelican, Flagler Beach: With crowd favorites like the maple bourbon salmon and seafood jambalaya, the Funky Pelican in Flagler Beach is a great spot for Florida-style seafood with a twist in a laid-back atmosphere.
30A & the Emerald Coast
PHOTO: COURTESY OF BUD & ALLEYS
South Walton is home to plenty of great restaurants with jaw-dropping views.
Bud & Alley’s, Seaside: Located along scenic Highway 30A, Bud & Alley’s (pictured) has been serving up Southern coastal classics in the picturesque town of Seaside for more than two decades.
- Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant, Multiple Locations
- The Crab Trap Seafood & Oyster Bar, Multiple Locations
- With locations up and down the Emerald Coast, both Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant and The Crab Trap Seafood & Oyster Bar showcase fresh-from-the-sea eats alongside stunning water views. One thing is for sure: You won’t go hungry.
Source: Travel + Leisure Explore, May 15, 2019.