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The 20 Best Waterfront Restaurants in the United States

Columbia SandKey

There is something about dining near the waterfront that is relaxing and soothing to the soul. For those of us who love the water and appreciate the wonders and beauty of the sea, rivers, lakes, and streams, gazing out while enjoying a fine meal brings a certain kind of satisfaction. We've researched the best options within the nation for waterfront dining, and narrowed our list to help you find the perfect locale in our list of the 20 best waterfront restaurants in the United States.


20. Seaspice Miami, Miami, Florida

Seaspice is a restaurant that is situated on the banks of the Miami River. It offers guests the dual ambiance of the wonders of the natural environment of the Miami River in a location that features a 500-foot dock for yacht owners to make a landing. The waterfront scene is busy, but you also get to enjoy the magic of the city lights after dark. The Seaspice Restaurant was previously an industrial warehouse, converted into one of the most popular waterfront eateries in the Miami area with their grilled meats, wood-fired pizzettas, and house-made pasta. You can see the official website for making reservations and checking on hours of operation.

Sierra Mar

19. Sierra Mar, Big Sur, California

Sierra Mar offers some of the most breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Ocean. The restaurant is perched on the top of a cliff. Chef Elizabeth Murray specializes in signature California-style fare with a four-course menu that melds Mediterranean, Asian, and French cuisine that changes with the seasons and the locally sourced produce. This is one of the most popular restaurants in the area for marriage proposals because of its romantic ambiance.

1 Pico

18. 1 Pico, Santa Monica, California

1 Pico is a coastal restaurant that is situated at the Shutters on the Beach area of Santa Monica. The interior is bright and airy with amazing views of the seaside. The restaurant specializes in California cuisine with fresh local produce, meat, and seafood with a Mediterranean flair. The restaurant offers an ocean theme in its decor.

Grand Banks

17. Grand Banks Restaurant, New York, New York

The Grand Banks Restaurant is situated in a historic wooden schooner that is docked at Pier 25 in Tribeca at Pier 25 Hudson River Park, in New York. The views are spectacular aboard the 19th-century floating oyster bar on the Sherman Zicker ship. It featured a nautical theme with gulls wheeling overhead. The restaurant offers a magnificent view of the cityscape and the pier. They serve nautical cocktails and a variety of seafood dishes. For information about reservations visit the official website.


16. Coast Restaurant, Westerly, Rhode Island

Coast is one of the most popular waterfront restaurants in New England. The restaurant offers some of the most expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean with a bright and clean-lined interior. The menu is vegetarian and includes fresh foods from local farms including fava beans, spelt, gnocchi, and white chocolate cremeux, maple glazed sweet potatoes, and more. You can secure your reservations at the Coast website.


15. Altius, Mt. Washington, Pennsylvania

Altius is a contemporary American restaurant that offers world-class dining at premium prices. It's expensive but it offers a romantic environment with scenic views of the waterfront that surrounds the venue, along with the beautiful bright lights of the city when the daylight fades. This is one of the most popular choices for special occasion dinners in the Pittsburgh area because of the lovely views, but the food is also outstanding. Ninety-seven percent of the guests who joined Altius for a meal would recommend it to others. It's expensive, but the quality and delicious fare are well worth the expense.


14. Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Barlotta's Lake Park Bistro is the most popular waterfront restaurant in the Milwaukee area. The views are exceptional, but the food is even better. When you meld the two, it's a winning combination for the perfect dining experience. Barlotta's Lake Park Bistro specializes in Haute Bistro cooking with classic French recipes along with their signature dishes and meal options. This restaurant provides guests with the full experience of a four-course French meal. This is an expensive restaurant that most people keep in reserve for very special occasions.

Beach House

13. Beach House Restaurant, Kauai, Hawaii

The Beach House Restaurant provides amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. Guests may enjoy a relaxing walk on the beach to help settle their dinners. The ocean-front location offers lovely views both day and night, but the sunsets are spectacular if you have a window table. The restaurant has won the Hale Aina Award for Best Restaurant Kauai for a total of sixteen years in a row. The venue is known for its old-fashioned hospitality with outstanding chefs who deliver impeccable meals made of locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. All desserts, buns, and bread are made in-house. Guests also enjoy viewing the works of local artists in the decor of the restaurant's interior. For reservations visit the Beach House Restaurant website.

Mister A's

12. Mister A's, San Diego, California

The Mister A's restaurant is a contemporary French and American establishment that is located in the downtown Gaslamp district, offering romantic scenic views of the city and the riverfront. Like many of the waterfront restaurants in the area, the prices are steep, but the cuisine is so good that ninety-six percent of the guests who have dined there would recommend it to others. It offers the best ambiance in all of San Diego with stunning views and exquisite cuisine.

The Bistro

11. The Bistro at Gervasi Vinyard, Canton, Ohio

The Bistro at Gervasi Vinyard is nestled on a beautiful lake with natural features and landscaping on the outside with views of the water, the vineyard, and a historic farmhouse with an attached hotel. It's a picturesque location that offers authentic Italian cuisine with exceptional service from staff. The menu ingredients are source from local farms. There is also a marketplace specialty store, walking paths, outdoor dining options, and activities for every member of the family. Dining at The Bistro at Gervasi Vinyard is an experience that goes beyond dining.

BLue Ridge

10. Blue Ridge Restaurant, Ashton, North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Restaurant is one of the most popular waterfront restaurants in Ashton. It specializes in Southern fare with an outstanding seafood buffet and outstanding service. The venue is the most popular for its brunches. The stone facade makes the building look more like a castle with spectacular views of the surrounding wooded landscape, and a unique waterfall that runs over a manmade structure beneath the restaurant grounds.


9. Boathouse Waterfront Dining, Tiverton, Rhode Island

The Boathouse Waterfront Dining restaurant is one of the most exquisite seaside restaurants in Rhode Island. It's situated on the banks of the Sakonnet River with some of the most picturesque views of the river and surrounding landscape. This is an upscale contemporary restaurant that specializes in the best.

The Boathouse Floridas

8. The Boathouse, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

If you enjoy fine dining with a waterfront view, one of the best restaurants in Lake Buena Vista is The Boathouse. The restaurant is a modern and upscale venue with a comfortable dining room with a homey and cozy feeling. It offers spectacular scenic views of the water, with outdoor dining options. It has a relaxed vibe, but the American fare is exceptional. The menu is expansive and ninety-three percent of the guests who have eaten here would recommend it to others. It's one of the most highly rated restaurants in the central part of Florida.

The Bygone

7. Bygone Restaurant, Baltimore, Maryland

Bygone is an American gastro bistro in the historic part of Baltimore in a vibrant setting. It's an upscale luxury restaurant that offers amazing views of the city and the Inner Harbor. The restaurant fuses the old with the new in an elevated luxury dining experience with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that feels like an old-school social club. Other amenities include a whiskey bar, an open rotisserie grill, and specialty craft cocktails. Bygone is a popular restaurant for celebrating special occasions or for going out for a romantic dinner for two. The views are beautiful any time of the day, but they are more exceptional after dark when the lights of the city are at their brightest.


6. Cecconi's Dumbo Restaurant, Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, New York

Cecconi's Dumbo is a contemporary Italian restaurant located near the Manhattan bridge. It is a waterfront restaurant that offers spectacular views of the bridge and the waterfront around. It's recommended for the outstanding atmosphere and exceptionally delicious Italian fare. It's good for romantic dinners for two. Guests may enjoy outdoor seating until 11:00 pm. Some of the most popular features of the venue are its hand-made pasta, along with wood-fired pizza dishes. The Venetian-inspired food has made this one of the most booked restaurants in Brooklyn. The atmosphere is elegant yet relaxed and it offers the main dining room as well as bar and patio dinner accommodations with weekend brunch served. It's open for dinner seven days a week. The prices are surprisingly low for a restaurant of this class. It's fine dining at its most affordable.

Chart House

5. Chart House, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Chart House is located in a waterfront location in Atlantic City, New Jersey as one of its 27 waterfront and showcase locations. The owners only build in highly scenic locations. This venue offers spectacular views of the surrounding city and waterfront and has served Atlantic City for over 50 years. It provides refined dining with seafood and steak offerings on the menu. The prime rib is slow-roasted by renowned Chefs who plate the courses to perfection. The cuisine and service at Chart House are always top-notch. The venue also offers signature cocktails as well as exquisite desserts. It's a popular place to celebrate special occasions.

Chicago Cut

4. Chicago Cut Steakhouse, Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Cut Steakhouse is a restaurant that specializes in signature USDA-certified prime beef menu options. Each steak is hand-cut on-site and dry-aged to give it a unique flavor and texture. The cuts are made to order for its guests and they're available with eight optional companion dishes including chops, shellfish, eight varieties of fish, and hearty side dishes. The dinner menu is extensive. The restaurant is also open for breakfasts. Guests enjoy expansive views of the Chicago River as they dine with indoor dining or your choice of an outdoor patio that offers a clear and close-up view of the riverside.

Coast Guard

3. Coast Guard House, Narragansett, Rhode Island

The Coast Guard House is an upscale seafood restaurant in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Guests enjoy the scenic views of the Bay. It's a bit on the pricey side but it's also one of the most beautiful venues on the East coast. The food and service are both outstanding and ninety-five percent of guests would recommend it to others. The restaurant offers indoor dining with spectacular views as well as outdoor dining options. Chowder and lobster rolls are among the most popular dishes. They also offer a range of lobster options, grilled swordfish, and more. The restaurant supports sustainable aquaculture and agriculture with ingredients sourced from sustainable local farms in season.


2. Coasterra, San Diego, California

Coasterra is a seafood restaurant that is located on Harbor Island in San Diego. It's known for its scenic views of the harbor with an exceptional ambiance. This upscale seafood eatery offers both indoor and outdoor dining options. It's one of the most booked in the area for celebrating special occasions. Ninety-four percent of guests would recommend this restaurant to others.

Columbia SandKey

1. Columbia Restaurant SandKey, Tampa, Florida

The Columbia Restaurant is one of the most widely acclaimed waterfront restaurants in the Tampa, Florida area. It is a Spanish restaurant that has been family-owned and operated for 115 years. Guests may enjoy spectacular views of the Intracoastal Waterway with its radiant blue hues from the Mediterranean dining room, or the outdoor deck when the weather is nice. The prices are spendy but the food is award-winning with Spanish and Cuban dishes served by attentive wait staff. A few of the specialties include Roast Pork a la Cubana, Paella a la Valenciana, and multiple fresh seafood dishes. They also offer a menu of fine Spanish wines. The restaurant is open every day of the year, even on holidays.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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