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’m sharing my personal opinion, and sharing information, about places to eat on the water here in New Smyrna Beach. Since first writing this article, more restaurants have opened so I’ve added them.
All have excellent water views of either the ocean or the saltwater river. I prefer eating on the river because there is a lot to see. Big yachts and boats of all types and sizes may go past. Look for dolphin, manatee and jumping fish.
The Eateries Come and Go
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. With a very casual atmosphere, affordable pricing, and big fish dinners eaten right next to the water, it was very popular.
Hurricanes are hard on river residents including restaurants on the water.
Eventually the Sea Harvest location became the Dolphin View restaurant, but that closed after a short time and the place sat empty. For a while it was evident (from the water while boating) that someone was fixing up the location. Now it is the River Deck Restaurant.
At the time I first wrote this page there was no restaurant in this spot, so it wasn’t mentioned. The River Deck has a sister restaurant called The Ocean Deck. I already wrote a little about the new River Deck restaurant at my link above, and I’ve never gone inside to eat.
We stopped one day after boating thinking we could park and go in to eat, but they have valet parking, which means no boats. They let us park on the side and go in to pick up some food. I’ve never been back. I am against valet parking and I believe these new places do it to accommodate the winter residents. If you care to go, it is located right on the Indian River, just down a bit (traveling on the water) from Outriggers.
I have eaten at all of these restaurants, 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. They are in no particular order.
Click the links to see menus, photos, and more information about each place.
Outriggers is a majestic looking place because it is near the big boat marina where some pretty large yachts are docked.
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’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
JB’s Fish Camp is very casual and promoted as “A slice of old Florida“. You can also get here by boat, which we have done. They have a nice dock area. Watch out for kayakers if you come by boat.
From the mainland JB’s Fish Camp is a bit more of a drive, as you must cross the south 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, touristy 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, which is brand new thanks to damage from Hurricane Irma. In fact we were told by our server that much of the entire building is new. Recently we took the boat over and ate outside with a view of the river. I had the scallop basket this time, which was okay. I’ve eaten here since, and rented kayaks, but I wouldn’t travel back for the food.
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.
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. Watch the bridge open, as you eat, to let taller ships pass.
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 because of that view! You can’t get closer than eating right on the beach. 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 in a touristy area.
Breakers Menu is extensive and they are known for their burgers (I don’t usually 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).
Additional: Not Sure of the Name
This reminds me that there is a two-story place to eat just behind that parking lot. We had drinks and appetizers here one day when my daughter was visiting. I don’t know the name of the place, but when I look on the map it may be the Ocean Breeze Tiki Bar and Grill – link goes to the FaceBook page.
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.
Goodrich’s in Oak Hill
Not in New Smyrna, but next door to the south, after a drive through Edgewater, is a casual place with tables next to the water – the Indian River – called Goodrich’s. They have good food and nice outdoor atmosphere. I once had a bad experience with an unfriendly waitress, but that is not the norm. I do like the food here and the atmosphere is casual. Napkins, salt, pepper, etc. is on each table inside a fishing box. (They also had damage to the dock from Hurricane Irma, but it’s been nicely re-done.)
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?