Dining with a View

March 12, 2012 | by —Hadley Henriette | Homepage

Gibraltar at the Grove Isle Hotel & Spa

Café Sambal
With its outdoor seating facing the twinkling lights of downtown, Café Sambal at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami may just have the best water views in the city. Chef de cuisine Eduardo Quintana serves up Asian-infused dishes such as a Thai omelet, Singapore noodles, and fresh, innovative sushi worthy of that hotel’s luxurious brand.
500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami, 305-913-8358

Cantina Beach
Stunning ocean views, three types of tableside guacamole, and 85 brands of premium tequila (expertly poured by a master “tequilier”) await diners at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne’s casual, beachfront, tiki-style eatery. Chef de cuisine Andres Parlange, from Chiapas, Mexico, presents a regional Mexican menu of classic dishes such as pork rib carnitas and queso fundido with flour tortillas. 455 Grand Bay Dr., Key Biscayne, 305-365-4500

Crazy About You
From the people behind Spanishand Cuban-owned Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita, this Brickell waterfront spot has a patio looking out on Brickell Key and Virginia Key, plus a cozy-chic interior with lots of clean lines, raw wood, and leather. Its sliding prix-fixe menu gives you a range of price options, and specializes in robust Latin takes on Mediterranean fare (the misoglazed orange roughy is to die for). 1155 Brickell Bay Dr., Miami, 305-377-4442

Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market
This no-frills downtown spot on a wharf-filled stretch of the Miami River is half fish market, half restaurant. Pick out a whole yellowtail snapper from the market’s cold case, then have the chef grill it to smoky perfection. Also delicious: Garcia’s famous stone crab claws, creamy she-crab bisque, and fresh Florida lobster tail with a side of plantains. 398 NW North River Dr., Miami, 305-375-0765

Gibraltar
Jutting out into Biscayne Bay at the tip of Grove Isle, this romantic restaurant has 180-degree views of the water, with intimate outdoor tables tucked between palms along torch-lit pathways— a setting that’s delivered a “yes” to all but one of the many would-be husbands who’ve proposed there in the last three years. The menu is seafood-intensive, and brunch shines with unlimited Champagne and mimosas, and an extensive raw bar.
4 Grove Isle Dr., Coconut Grove, 305-857-5007

Il Gabbiano
As elegant as it gets, Il Gabbiano offers a terrace with views of the mouth of the Miami River and Brickell Key, attentive waiters in white jackets, and exceptional Italian cuisine. Hunks of Parmesan, garlic bread, and fried zucchini come gratis before the main event, with notable dishes such as homemade ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms in a black-truffle Champagne sauce. Dinner ends with a traditional shot of housemade limoncello.
335 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-373-0063

La Piaggia
Daytime-only La Piaggia is a little slice of St-Tropez in South Beach, complete with a jet-set clientele, three-hour lunches, and gallons of its fabulous house rosé from owner Robert Pascal’s Côtes de Provence vineyard. Enjoy views of Government Cut while lingering over traditional French Mediterranean fare such as grilled dorado with ratatouille. There’s also a new five-course prix-fixe Saturday brunch.
1000 South Pointe Dr., Miami Beach, 305-674-0647

Rusty Pelican
“Rusty” no longer applies to this Virginia Key institution, thanks to a recent $9 million makeover producing a second-floor ballroom, an elegant, warm dining room, and a new outdoor patio with fire pits by which to enjoy spectacular Miami skyline views. A “small plates” menu offers charcuterie, sliders, and sea bass ceviche, while entrée highlights include whole fried snapper and tagliatelle. 3201 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne, 305-361-381

PHOTOGRAPHS BY T HRILLIST.COM (GIBRALTAR); THINKSTOCK.COM (CIGAR)

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