The Best Restaurants for Dining Alfresco in Florida
Sea views, seafood, and five-star reviews from thousands of diners? We’ll take a reservation at each of these Sunshine State eateries, please.
Whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, some of the most memorable parts of any vacation are often the meals—those hours spent breaking bread, shooting the breeze, and toasting to friends both old and new.
While the quality of the cocktails and grub can certainly make or break a meal, we’d argue that ambiance is just as important. And when you’re by the sea, the best way to create an alluring environment is clearly to take your table outdoors. (Of course, there are some delicious exceptions to this rule.)
With hundreds of miles of coastline and year-round balmy weather, Florida understandably has a smorgasbord of outdoor dining options. And OpenTable—the world’s go-to source for online restaurant reservations—recently rounded up the Sunshine State’s best of the best restaurants for alfresco eating.
Related: The 10 Best Little Beach Towns in Florida:
Based on more than 12 million reviews from the site’s resident gourmands (and regular diners, too), OpenTable whittled a list of 30,000 restaurants across the country down to just 100. Their annual 100 Best Al Fresco restaurants in America considers, specifically, restaurant ratings from April 30, 2018 through March of 2019.
Of the top 100, a quarter (naturally) hail from the Sunshine State—meaning that regardless of whether you live or vacation on the Atlantic or Gulf coast, from the panhandle to the Keys, there’s very likely a crowd-pleasing restaurant with enticing outdoor seating nearby.
If you prefer to be spoiled with award-winning options, however, you might want to stick with South Florida. The region—from Naples on the west coast to Fort Lauderdale on the east—boasts a buffet of outdoor dining faves, with four winners from each beachfront city. In Fort Lauderdale, Shooters—an Intracoastal mainstay that’s a stop on the town’s famous Water Taxi route—boasts elevated fare and an ultra-relaxed patio (cozy cabanas included). Boatyard, another top pick that’s a newer addition to the fleet of Fort Lauderdale’s dining choices, entices reviewers for its people (and boat) watching and tasty Bimini bread.
If oceanside indulging is your ultimate pleasure, though, reviewers recommend Deerfield Beach’s JB’s on the Beach, a casual come-as-you-are hangout known for their fresh seafood and fruity drinks. And Florida, perfect as it is, has spots for those seeking both ocean and prime sunset views. That’d be, according to diners, at Latitudes on Sunset Key, a secluded island just off Key West’s Mallory Square—where the ultimate sunset celebration happens night after night.
Anyone else hungry? Take your pick from the 25 best alfresco dining spots in Florida, according to OpenTable diners:
Amara at Paraiso: Miami, Florida
Blue Moon Fish Co.: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Boathouse: Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Boatyard: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Bon Appetit: Dunedin, Florida
Campiello, Naples: Naples, Florida
Carmelo’s Italian Ristorante: Punta Gorda, Florida
Continental Naples: Naples, Florida
Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, Longboat Key, Florida
Farmer’s Table: Boca Raton, Florida
The Grand Marlin of Pensacola Beach: Pensacola, Florida
JB’s on the Beach: Deerfield Beach, Florida
Kyle G’s Prime Seafood: Jensen Beach, Florida
La Mar by Gastón Acurio: Miami, Florida
Latitudes on Sunset Key: Key West, Florida
Louie Bossi Ristorante: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Mediterrano: Naples, Florida
MiraMare: Naples, Florida
Ocean Prime: Tampa, Florida
Ophelia’s on the Bay: Sarasota, Florida
Preserved Restaurant: St. Augustine, Florida
Salt Rock Grill: Indian Shores, Florida
Shooter’s Waterfront: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse: Miami Beach, Florida
Ulele: Tampa, Florida