9 Best Restaurants To Try In Fort Lauderdale


Where to eat when we are on vacation is an important part of the getaway experience. We have put together a smattering of fun and eclectic dining options in Fort Lauderdale for you to ponder. While Miami has long been the foodie capital of Florida, Fort Lauderdale’s food scene is breaking out. With new restaurants opening regularly and tourists looking for a getaway that isn’t quite as hectic as Miami, Fort Lauderdale is filling the void with splurge options for a great night out and budget-friendly pizza when you have the entire gang.

Whether you need a quick bite after a lengthy shopping excursion or a relaxing dinner, the many eateries and budget options in Fort Lauderdale will offer you a wide restaurant selection. Coastal cuisine, cultural vibes, pub grub, and more, along with fancy fruity cocktails, tequila, and craft brews, will satisfy your palate and your pocketbook.

View from deck, the Boatyard restaurant, Fort Lauderdale.
View from the deck at the Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale (Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett)

Splurge

Boatyard

The Boatyard restaurant offers beautiful indoor dining for cozy meals on chilly nights. However, when the sun is shining and the nights are warm, the real star is the outside deck, with seating inches from the intercoastal waterway. Home to gorgeous yachts, party boats, and other water toys, the deck at the Boatyard provides on-the-water entertainment while you dine. Whether you arrive by car or dock-and-dine, the expertly prepared seafood and other favorites will make this your new favorite haunt. 

The menu is local seafood forward, but you can also find quality steaks as well. The design your own dinner “Wood Burning Grill” section gives guests the option to choose their own protein and accompanying sauce. From the seafood list, choose Salmon, Yellowfin, Swordfish, Mahi-Mahi, or Snapper. Then, select your sauce: Citrus Butter, Shiitake Lemongrass, Lemon Vinaigrette, Saffron Nage, Mango-Pecan Brown Butter to top off your fish. The possibilities will have you earnestly studying the menu while you enjoy your pre-dinner cocktail. The steak options are similarly varied. If all those options are too overwhelming, go for the Florida Paella made with shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, fish, house-made chorizo, and saffron rice. 

Pro Tip: Ask for a seat on the patio under the tree for a fun, on-the-water, al fresco dining experience.

Thasos

A block back from the beach is Thasos, a contemporary Greek restaurant serving modern Mediterranean cuisine. Begin your dining adventure with a Cava Rose or one of their signature cocktails like their Blueberry Bellini made with Cava, St. Germaine, Blueberry syrup, lemon, and blueberries. 

The menu contains many of the usual suspects like Grape Leaves, Spanakopita, Keftedes, and Tzatziki. Thasos also highlights beautiful seafood like Pan Seared Scallops with mushrooms and Dover Sole in Meunier sauce. For a more traditional fare, select the Moussaka or the Black Angus Rib Eye with black truffle sauce. 

Pro Tip: Thasos doesn’t open until 4 p.m. It is the perfect spot for an elegant date night dinner. 

Blue Moon Fish Company

At the Blue Moon Fish Company waterfront restaurant, you find locals dining alongside visitors in the know. If you are ready for an explosion of seafood flavor, start with the Blue Moon Seafood Tower. This raw bar offering is meant to be shared with a crowd and is a beautiful presentation of oysters, clams, ceviche, tuna poke, and crab. For your entree, consider the Macadamia Nut Crusted Seabass or the Blue Crab and Corn Roasted Grouper. 

Pro Tip: Save room for the Key Lime Pie or Icky Sticky Caramel Tarte. You will be happy you did.

The Historic Downtowner restaurant, Fort Lauderdale.

The Historic Downtowner in central Fort Lauderdale (Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett)

Mid-Range

The Historic Downtowner

Perched on the waterway in central Fort Lauderdale, The Historic Downtowner offers diners a steady stream of waterfront activity with urban downtown providing an uptown backdrop. Happy Hour is weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (8 p.m. on Wednesdays) where drinks are delivered at reduced prices, and the “Happytizer” menu includes regulars like nachos, sliders, and fried pickles. 

Dine by city light dancing off the water on traditional American burgers, sandwiches, and tacos along with traditional plated options. Hard-to-top side dish options include Old Bay Fries and Sriracha Coleslaw.

Pro Tip: Tuesday is Trivia and Tunes Night beginning at 7:30. Bring your team or simply come for the music and dinner — either way, it’s a lively evening.

Harborwood Urban Kitchen

Hotel dining is not just for the weary traveler anymore. Hotels are catering to diners who want varied menus and expertly prepared cuisine. Harborwood Urban Kitchen in the Hyatt Centric Las Olas is one such restaurant. Happy Hour begins at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and runs for 2 hours. Grab a seat at the bar and watch the world pass by through the expansive glass wall.  

Share a few small plates while sipping a cool and refreshing cocktail. Amazing nibbles like the Togarashi Crusted Ahi with Yuzu Ponzu Sauce and Lotus Root Chips, the Argentinian-Style Chicken Empanadas served with a delicious Chipotle Sauce, and the Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce make a great trio to share. 

Signature cocktails include a Watermelon Well with rum, watermelon, lime, and triple sec and a Palomita with tequila, pamplemousse, lime, and rosemary. For dessert, the red velvet cookie drizzled with dulce de leche sauce is too delicious to share — everyone needs to order one of their own.

Pro Tip: Just steps from the intercoastal and downtown shopping, it is a great spot to cool off and rejuvenate for the evening festivities.

Wild Sea Las Olas

Chic vibes and sumptuous food are the trademarks of Wild Sea Las Olas. Located in the Riverside Hotel, Wild Sea offers cool indoor dining and vibrant sidewalk terrace seating for their diners. Choose from classic southern dishes like Low Country Shrimp and Grits, Pecan Crusted Daily Fresh Catch, or N’awlins Jambalaya to satisfy your need for delicious comfort food. They also offer a Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich with traditional homemade Pimento Cheese that will make your tummy happy.

Wild Sea is open for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner. You can stop by for a yummy bite, take a rest from shopping on Las Olas Boulevard, and enjoy people watching from your outside cafe table.

Pro Tip: Their weekend brunch is very popular; reservations are highly recommended. 

View from Bokampers Sports Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale.
View from Bokampers Sports Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale (Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett)

Budget

Bokampers Sports Bar & Grill

Everyone loves a great sports bar, and Bokampers is just that, a great sports bar that offers a bonus; seating on the water. With several Florida locations, they know how to deliver better than the average pub grub. Dine surrounded by big-screen TVs showcasing a wide variety of sporting events.

Draft beer and wings are synonymous with sports bars, and you can select from over a dozen finger-licking sauce choices like Scorpion, Mango Habanero, Jamaican Jerk, and Honey Barbeque. Of course, their delicious burgers and sandwiches are served up with classic sides. Wash it all down with a Bo’s Brew Pale Ale by Saltwater Brewer; itt is specifically brewed for Bocampers.

Pro Tip: Kim ‘Bo’ Bokamper, Miami Dolphin Pro Bowler, broadcaster, and restauranter, knows a few things about sports. His love of South Florida and all sports led him to his namesake restaurant, Bokampers. 

Dolce Salato Pizza & Gelato

Flavorful pizza and creamy gelato transport you to the Italian countryside. Dolce Salato Pizza & Gelato offers up classic, crispy pies along with a selection of specialty combinations. The Con Carne is loaded with ham, pepperoni, meatballs, sausage, and, of course, lots of mozzarella. The In Campagna is a heart-healthier option with mushrooms, onions, peppers, olives, eggplant, artichoke hearts, zucchini, tomatoes, and cheese. Alternatively, opt for something a little different: a Speck and Brie pie with a flavor profile that is a little taste of northern Italy.

Don’t forget to order a classic Gelato for dessert. The Pistachio, Nutella, and Stracciatella are traditional flavors, but other choices include Cherry Vanilla, Eggnog, and Salted Caramel. The decision will be difficult. 

Pro Tip: Order several 12-inch pizzas to share and taste test an array of options.

Rocco’s Tacos And Tequila Bar

Authentic Mexican cuisine and a fun, vibrant atmosphere await you at Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar. Enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and tacos made with slow-roasted pork, chicken, and grilled steak are topped with cotija cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, and other wonderful south-of-the-border flavors. Wash everything down with a selection of tequila flights from the choice of hundreds of tequilas. 

Rocco’s has several locations throughout Florida, so you are never too far from a great glass of tequila or delicious taco.  

Pro Tip: Order the Mexican Street Corn, Elotes, and enjoy a sweet, spicy, and cheesy treat.

There are not enough meals in the day to try all the great restaurant options in Fort Lauderdale. Whether you are planning a special night out, a quick happy hour gathering, or a fast and fabulous pizza, you will find just the right dining experience in this pretty vacation getaway spot.

When the time comes to head down to the Miami area, check out the 12 Best Authentic Cuban Restaurants To Try In Miami, Florida, for some delicious dining adventures. Additionally, if you are looking for activities in the Fort Lauderdale area, there are some wonderful ideas in How To Spend A Perfect Long Weekend In Fort Lauderdale.

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