Sea views, seafood, and five-star reviews from thousands of diners? We’ll take a reservation at each of these Sunshine State eateries, please.

By Marisa Spyker
June 17, 2019
The Dry Dock Waterfront Grill on Longboat Key was among OpenTable's top 100 outdoor restaurants.
Courtesy of Dry Dock Waterfront Grill/OpenTable

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.

In Naples, two upscale eateries in the picturesque historic district—Campiello and Continental—are also prime for people watching (and relaxing in a gorgeous courtyard alongside mature trees).

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