No one can argue sunning yourself on the deck of a boat beats sweating in traffic, and throwing a line over a cleat beats trolling the streets for a parking spot. Dock-and-dine restaurant service has its perks.
Lucky for us, Miami's waterways have a number of lovely places to drop anchor and have a bite to eat. Nearly anywhere there's water, there's a restaurant with a dining room just steps from the dock.
It would be nice if water taxis traversed the Intracoastal day and night, but if you don't have a seafaring vessel there are still plenty of ways to take advantage of all that dock-and-dine has to offer. You can throw down for a membership to Freedom Boat Club, which provides access to a fleet of pleasure craft to rent by the day. There are also Airbnb-style apps, like GetMyBoat, that allow you to peruse all manner of boating vessels.
To put it mildly, dock-and-dine options are plentiful in Miami. Here are our top picks for living your best boat life.
Slip away to Greece via a slip on the 150-foot dock at Kiki. The restaurant's Mediterranean island-inspired waterfront setting takes advantage of the pristine stretch of the Miami River, offering anyone who visits a sample of Mykonos in Miami. Built at the site of one of Miami's original fish markets, the space features a romantic outdoor patio and dining area that truly embraces the spirit of the Mediterranean. Don't miss the restaurant's branded Sunday Funday. Known for its Champagne bottle parades and napkin twirling celebrations that last well into the night, it's all served up with fresh beats from a live resident DJ. Reservations are required on weekends if you're coming by boat, and they are preferred — although not entirely necessary — during the week. The docking fee is $3 per foot Monday through Friday, and $5 per foot on Saturday and Sunday.
Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill40 Island Ave., Miami Beach786-245-0880lidobayside.com
As its name suggests, Lido is located on the bayside stretch of Belle Isle, and it's certainly off the regularly trodden path. The restaurant offers a uniquely beautiful outdoor area to enjoy a seafood-centric menu in a peaceful, tropical setting. Partake of a breathtaking sunset view overlooking Biscayne Bay while gathering with friends over a frosé, ice cold martini, or one of their addictive frozen Arnold Palmer cocktails. The restaurant's wide-scope view of the water is a beautiful spot to tie up, too. Lido makes available a few hundred feet of dock space for boats up to 40 feet, usable on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee to dock is $50 for the first four hours — definitely enough time to toss back a few drinks, grab some grub, and take a few selfies by the water.
Seaspice422 NW North River Dr., Miami305-440-4200seaspice.com
Seaspice is a scene straight out of Saint-Tropez, an airy boathouse-style establishment rumored to have once been owned by the billionaire founder of Trans World Airlines, Howard Hughes. Hour-long waits for a seaside table mean there's plenty of action. Sit back and watch as the kitchens churn out the menu's Mediterranean-tinged dishes that range from house-made pasta and seafood casserole to rack of lamb or their signature pizzetta, all of it cooked in the restaurant's 1,000-degree wood-burning oven. Visit by boat and you can sit alongside 60-plus-foot yachts as they drop anchor for a decadent lunch. Seaspice's waterfront space boasts more than 500 feet of private dock, making it the perfect spot to sail up for a dock-and-dine evening, or for dockside pickup via their online ordering platform. Those arriving by boat are encouraged to make reservations to dock for lunch or dinner. Fees begin at $3 per foot for first two hours, but it's free to tie up while grabbing a to-go order.
Nestled in North Bay Village, Shuckers has been welcoming guests by land and sea for 30 years. Known for its picturesque views, grilled wings, and a wide variety of seafood, the restaurant can accommodate vessels up to 65 feet. Sailors on the go might want to order from the new "Sail Away" menu by calling ahead; a staff member will bring your order directly to the dock, no disembarking necessary. The family-style menu includes the restaurant's "Sandbar Platter," which feeds up to four people and includes 40 grilled wings with a choice of dipping sauce and a Caesar salad or sidewinder fries. Then there's the bikini platter — 16 to 20 beer-steamed shrimp served with cocktail sauce, garden salad, and choice of dressing. Domestic beers are available, as are to-go bottles of wine and liquor. (Boaters receive a free mixer with the purchase of a bottle of liquor.)
Zuma Contemporary Japanese Cuisine270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami305-577-0277zumarestaurant.com
Located inside the Epic Hotel near the Port of Miami, Zuma Miami offers an izakaya and robata-grill dining experience. While the menu includes a number of decadent dishes, the outdoor terrace offers the opportunity to dine at the water's edge. That means you can enjoy more than 80 varieties of sake, sip on house-infused shochu, and indulge of miso-marinated black cod, all while overlooking the Miami River. Zuma’s first stateside outpost is also a great place for boaters, and stands as one of the only restaurants accessible to large boats thanks to a nearby marina and bayside entrance. Those who arrive by vessel are welcome to use the hotel’s slips to enjoy day and evening restaurant docking, on-vessel catering services, and 24-hour staff and security. Those interested in docking at Zuma should contact the Kimpton Epic Hotel dockmaster at 305-400-6711 to make a reservation.
This article was written by Nicole Danna and published by the MiamiNewTimes.com