I’ve only recently returned to Florida and have only lived in the New Smyrna Beach area since October 2016, BUT I first moved to central Florida in 1979 and spent 27 years here. I lived inland, but visited the East coast often.
I decided to share my opinion of the four places to eat on the water here in New Smyrna Beach. Three restaurants mentioned here are located on the Indian River, which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway, which runs right up the east coast of the US. The Breakers Restaurant, is located on the ocean. All have excellent water views.
Over the years restaurants have come and gone, and I never was one to go out to eat all that much (kids, you know). Some of my favorite old memories were of getting take-out at the Sea Harvest. Who remembers the Sea Harvest? I miss it. Very casual atmosphere, affordable and big fish dinners eaten right next to the water. It became the Dolphin View restaurant, but that has closed too.
The blue building is still there, but the Sea Harvest is no more. Maybe the hurricanes of 2004 were too much for them, but whatever the reason, I miss their huge servings of delicious seafood. At the time of this writing the place is being re-vamped for the next seafood restaurant to take over. (That re-vamping has been going on for a while now.) The building is in a great spot, right behind a big marina which is near the North Causeway. One day it may be added to this page as a spot to eat on the water.
Enough nostalgia, on to the places that DO exist!
I have eaten at all of them, but haven’t visited them all recently. I am not a professional reviewer, just someone who lives in this area and wants to give the reader a place to start.
Click the links to see menus, photos, and more information about each place.
Located on the Indian River (Intracoastal Waterway) Outriggers has a large outdoor eating deck. The restaurant is located around in front of the big, mint green Marina.
Located just off the North Causeway (Flagler Ave.), in New Smyrna Beach, the restaurant can be a little tricky to find, as you must drive to the right of the “Villages” to find the parking area. (The drive shown in the photo goes to the condos, not the restaurant.) Then, follow the winding walkway around to the large open deck area to be seated. I’m guessing that this place is fairly new, as I don’t remember it existing when I last lived in Florida.
I’ve only ever eaten on the deck outside (see a picture of the deck and view Outriggers Menu here), but there is a large indoor seating area too. The food is pretty good, but I’ve had no meal that really stood out as a favorite. I’ve eaten there about four times.
Outside there are many tables lined up with a view of the water – as you look past the yachts lining the docks. The view is nice as you never know what type of boat will travel the waterway. It’s also possible to see dolphin, manatees and sea turtles (which can be spotted anywhere along the river).
The place strives to give an upscale feel, and it is definitely not “old Florida”. They often have valet parking, which I don’t see as necessary. Many other patrons apparently don’t either, so they park across the road in the “boat trailers only” parking area. I can’t really blame them. Who wants to have someone park their car (and then feel obligated to leave a tip) when you are going out for a casual noontime lunch on the water?
As a boat-owner who launches our boat from this area, it’s very annoying to have the trailer parking area full of cars! There is scarcely enough trailer parking as it is. I think the problem may partially be solved by stopping the valet parking.
JB’s Fish Camp and Seafood Restaurant
Totally NOT fancy, this one is “A slice of old Florida“. You can also get here by boat.
From the mainland JB’s Fish Camp is a bit more of a drive, as you must cross the causeway and then head a few miles (approximately 7 miles) down Route A1A. Because of that location, it’s away from the busy in-town areas. It is popular place with the locals, and a great place to take kids. They allow fishing from their dock, and this area is great for viewing dolphin and manatees.
Boaters can pull up to the big dock area from the Intracoastal backwaters and other patrons come to eat from the beaches which are just across the road. Fishermen can bring their catch and have it prepared for them… which many restaurants offer (Outriggers offers the same.)
The view is best outside the restaurant, where you can walk on the dock, or rent a kayak and get out on the water yourself. This waterway will lead south to Mosquito Lagoon, or wind around and head north up the Indian River. The Atlantic Ocean is just across the road.
I’ve eaten at JB’s but it was many years ago. Recently we’ve taken our boat over that way, but haven’t stopped in to eat yet, just got some photos. Because of the covered docks it’s also a good place for boaters to hide from thunderstorms. (JB’s was closed after Hurricane Irma due to damage, but it will re-open.)
It’s truly a “slice of old Florida”. I’m thankful that some special places like this are still around in a state that is so intent on growing and changing. Even if you don’t catch your own fish, I doubt you can find fresher seafood anywhere in the area.
The Grille Riverview
Located over the bridge on the North Causeway (Flagler Ave.) directly on the right. I have eaten here, but it was many years ago. There is an outdoor eating area with docks, so I believe you can pull up in your boat and walk in to eat.
The photo was taken from the bridge, shortly after Hurricane Irma, which means their docks were probably damaged.
I can’t vouch for the food, parking, or atmosphere, but it’s located in a good spot right on the river.
And right down the road…..
The Breakers Restaurant, on the Ocean
Breakers is located at the end of Flagler Ave., right on the beach. The iconic pink building is hard to miss, and I must admit this is one of my favorite places to eat – ever. The super casual atmosphere appeals to beach lovers, who can walk right in, sandy feet and all, and feel right at home. The only reason I don’t go here more often is because it is such a busy place and I like to avoid crowds of tourists.
Breakers Menu is extensive and they are known for their burgers (I don’t eat burgers, but they offer a ton of them). I usually get the fish sandwich and it’s always yummy.
The atmosphere can’t be beat as you sit at the bar facing the ocean. The waitstaff has always been very attentive, friendly and efficient. There are tables, but the best view is at the eating bar which seats many and gives patrons an excellent beach view. Do some people-watching with a magnificent ocean backdrop.
Parking can be tricky here, as the lot behind the restaurant is tiny. But they have a lot attendant who patiently helps you park! Or, go across the street and park in the big lot (which costs money if you don’t have a resident parking pass).
There is another place to eat right on the water which I will mention. It’s Chases on the Beach and it’s farther down Route A1A (South Atlantic Ave.). I have never been there and honestly I’ve always thought of it as more of a bar on the beach. Go there to drink and party more so than to have some good food. If I’m wrong, please correct me!
Also, further down the coast, in Oak Hill, is a casual place with tables next to the water called Goodrich’s. They have good food and nice outdoor atmosphere, but I had a bad experience with an unfriendly waitress which sorta turned me off the place. (They also had damage to the dock from Hurricane Irma.)
So there you have it. My list of restaurants with a water view in New Smyrna Beach. Have you been to them? What did you think?