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BY Michael Light / On October 15, 2023

 
Today is the day! It is the quintessential Miami holiday. The opening day of Stone Crab Season 2023-2024.

Running every year from October 15 – May 1, Stone Crab Season is a rite of passage in South Florida with 99% of all stone crabs harvested in the world coming from this area despite the fact that they exist from North Carolina down to Belize.

This year, the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) has made some changes to the harvesting regulations. We won’t go over all of these because frankly, I am not an expert fisherman.

I’m more of an expert at ordering my stone crab at an al fresco restaurant with a crisp glass of white wine. What I will say is that the regulations are meant to protect the population so that we will have plenty of stone crab for years to come in the future.

If you are a fisherman and would like to get down and dirty with the new regs, you can find them here.

What we can expect is that due to the new regulations, the price of stone crab is slated to increase.

Commercial Stone Crab Market Estimates 2023 | Image Credit: Cart
Commercial Stone Crab Market Estimates 2023 | Image Credit: Carter Weinhofer

Best Places To Find Stone Crab In Miami

Now that we have that business out of the way, let’s chat about something more pleasant. TimeOut.com has ranked the top places in Miami to find stone crab. They rank the quality of the claw, the atmosphere and the price. Here are our picks from their list…

South Beach Seafood Festival - Stone Crab
South Beach Seafood Festival – Stone Crab

South of Fifth

Joe’s Stone Crab

We have discussed Joe’s Stone Crab a few times recently, most notably during Miami Spice where I mentioned that you absolutely will not receive your Miami card until you have eaten there at least once. It is a staple and this is when it shines the most.

You have three options at Joe’s. You can dine in, or you can visit Joe’s Takeaway next door if you are in a hurry or want to get takeout. You can also order stone crab to be shipped to your loved ones if they are not here to indulge with you.

Joe’s Stone Crab is located at 11 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach.

Smith & Wollensky

Located on the very Southern tip of Miami Beach at 1 Washington Avenue, Smith & Wollensky is where you are going to sit in the afternoon for one of Miami Beach’s top happy hours as the sun sinks into the horizon. As you sip your crisp white wine and enjoy the buttery crab claws, you can wave at the tourists as they pass through Government Cut, headed on their much anticipated cruise vacations.

Pay no attention to the fact that this is a chain restaurant. This location is a full-on experience.

Prime Fish

If you are into celebrity sightings, Prime Fish is where you will want to station yourself. Located at 100 Collins Avenue, Prime Fish is the sister restaurant to Prime 112 and Prime Italian. These are popular haunts for celebrities, musicians and sports stars alike.

Prime Fish boasts an elegant tree-strewn terrace or a formal black and white mermaid-themed dining room. You won’t be disappointed.

CJ’s Crab Shack

Ok so being at 600 Collins, CJ’s isn’t TECHNICALLY in South of Fifth but it is just across the street from the technical border. It is in tourist-land and sort of looks like a tourist trap, but don’t be fooled. CJ’s knows its seafood and this is no Bubba Gump chain.

When crab is in season, it’s a full on smorgasbord with a Key West flare. The nice thing about CJ’s too is that it is open late, so if you are hungry for a delicacy as a midnight snack they can hook you up.

Coconut Grove

Bayshore Club

At 3391 Pan American Drive on the historic Dinner Key, you will find an airport-themed al fresco eatery that opened last summer to much fanfare. Located in the spot where Miami’s original airport once existed, Bayshore Club represents the history of the area and offers some really good food while they’re at it.

Bayshore Club is also an all-around fun spot to hang out. With cornhole boards in the entertainment area along with fire pits, ping pong and a marina. The cocktails are all airline-themed and the vibe offers a Jetsons/Mad Men feeling to take you back to the glory days of aviation. It’s definitely a spot to check out.

Monty’s Raw Bar

Monty’s is the OG casual Grove hangout. It is located at 2550 South Bayshore Drive and there is nothing pretentious about it. It is good old fashioned casual and quirky Coconut Grove fun.

Despite the fact that Monty’s is a boozy hangout that is oftentimes riddled with UM students, it is also a popular place for people to bring the entire family. A band plays island music and the kids can dance and clown around while the parents enjoy a frozen drink and a few pounds of stone crab claws.

Of course there are things for the kids to eat as well and we always suggest responsible imbibing, but Monty’s has a laid back island vibe that will help you to relax after a hard week of work. There are also plenty of options to deliver yourself home after your relaxing jaunt under the thatched roof that don’t include driving. Stay safe!

Little Havana/Miami River

La Camaronera

In Little Havana at 1952 West Flagler, you will find the ultimate Cuban seafood joint. It started as a walk-up ventanita (window), but now is a full-fledged restaurant that has been featured on the Food Network.

Aside from the Stone Crab, people flock to the fried snapper sandwich with Cuban bread. It is nothing fancy but everything delectable.

Garcia’s Fish Market

Garcia’s is another hurdle newcomers must cross in order to earn their Miami cards. Beginning in 1966 along the Miami River at 398 NW North River Drive, the Garcia brothers were Cuban exiles with a dream and lots of dedication. Today they have one of the most popular fish markets around.

This is one of the only spots in Miami where the fish comes straight from the boat to the restaurant and onto your plate.

Please note that very soon they will be moving from their original location to the new Wharf Miami Riverside development when it is completed. If you would like to enjoy the OG location, now would be the time. Don’t miss it!

Mail Order Stone Crab

If you don’t like being in places that are too people-y, don’t live in Miami currently or if you would like to treat friends and relatives in other cities, these are going to be your options.

Of course, Joe’s Takeaway has mail order stone crab as we mentioned above, and these two spots also offer the service.

Holy Crab Delivery

I have to admit that I chuckled over the clever name, but Holy Crab delivers more than just stone crab. You can also ship or pick up wagyu steaks, key lime pie and other varieties of crab.

The stone crab range in size from medium to colossal and your order options range from Miami store pickup to 1-hour local delivery or overnight shipping anywhere in the continental United States.

The claws are caught in the Florida Keys and shipped out within 24-hours in styrofoam coolers with frozen gel packs to keep them cool. They come with the signature mustard sauce and can be stored in your fridge for a couple of days after delivery, although they are usually eaten prior to that.

George Stone Crab

Specializing in stone crab claws, colossal king crab legs and caviar, George Stone Crab is a startup venture from Key Biscayne that began in 2008 when George grew tired of the fast-paced life of an investment banker. He bet the farm on a shipment of claws and sold them to his neighbors and VIOLA! The business took off.

Today George Stone Crab has been featured in the New York Times, ABC News, The Miami Herald, The SoBe Wine & Food Festival, and the Food Network. They offer different family meal kits and also offer a special recipe key lime pie.

If you are a military servicefamily or veteran, they offer a discount as a thank you for your service.

So there are our picks to keep you occupied and full during the 2023-2024 Stone Crab Season in Miami. We hope you are able to try each option and enjoy every morsel!

Image Credit: Joe’s Stone Crab
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