There are more than 4,000 restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, and new eateries are opening practically every day. With all those options, what’s a hungry foodie to do? The answer: Check out the following list of the best Fort Lauderdale restaurants to help you decide which spots to add to your itinerary.
The Best Fort Lauderdale Restaurants
The Fort Lauderdale restaurants below offer the gamut from spicy south-of-the-border delicacies to seafood so fresh you can almost hear the waves slapping against the boat.
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Chima is an oasis of calm nestled into the bustling heart of Las Olas Boulevard. Happy hour is practically a way of life at this Brazilian-style steakhouse, and the bar and lounge areas are hopping from late afternoon on. Grab a stool and some half-priced drinks and eats, or book a table and tuck into the rodizio, a seemingly endless parade of 15 cuts of meat accompanied by a salad bar and traditional sides. Don’t miss out on the picanha, prime sirloin kissed by the grill yet still perfectly tender.
This is Italian-American cooking at its best, and it should be since Chef Louie Bossi has been rolling meatballs since the age of eight. Bossi and his culinary skills have grown up quite a bit since then. There are still meatballs on the menu, but they’re in the company of mouthwatering dishes like the house salumi (the chef is certified in the art of charcuterie) and pizzas topped with a whole host of gourmet ingredients. Save room for the gelato—it too is made in-house—or end your feast with a selection of imported cheeses. Your taste buds will thank you.
Lona Cocina y Tequileria
Chef Pablo Salas takes everything you think you know about Mexican cuisine and dials it up to 11 at Lona Cocina y Tequileria. The guacamole is spiked with crab, and the tamales are stuffed with pumpkin and served with crispy kale. Add to that an agave-centric cocktail program and a bottle menu featuring more than 300 tequilas and mezcals, and you’ve got a cantina muy caliente.
Casino restaurants can be hit or miss, but this Japanese-themed eatery at the Seminole Hard Rock is a big winner. Traditional dishes like chawan mushi (an egg custard dish) are served alongside citrus and soy gels that turn simple sashimi dishes into gastronomic revelations. Order big and share; chef Alex Becker’s bites are anything but shy, and you’ll want to taste the whole lot.
What’s better than sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll in? Cozying up on Boatyard’s patio with a plate full of that day’s catch. The food here is ultra-fresh, with a shellfish cart that changes daily and a “hook to table” section that traces seafood back to the exact fishermen who reeled it in. There are also wood-fired steaks with sumptuous sauces on the side—the shiitake bordelaise is umami incarnate—and a pork osso buco with black-eyed peas, collard greens, and Creole mustard that merges Southern flavors and NOLA pizzazz into one unforgettable dish. Try to get a chair under the giant tree growing in the center of the patio so you can yacht-watch and Instagram the stellar view as you eat.
From the rustic-chic wood floors to the sparkling chandeliers, Jackson’s Prime exudes a welcoming mix of warmth and class. Although there are plenty of seafood, poultry, and vegetarian options on the menu, prime steak is the main event here. The high-quality, uber-juicy cuts of beef are classic steakhouse fare, but unexpected twists such as shrimp plantain stuffing and mango papaya chutney add a touch of coastal flair that reminds diners of their proximity to the beach.
Canyon has been one of the best Fort Lauderdale restaurants for fusion cuisine for more than two decades, and there are plenty of reasons why the crowds keep coming. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but small plates like the Thai-inspired sweet and spicy calamari and masala-dusted venison medallions with serrano-chili-blueberry sauce are worth the wait. Head down for tequila Tuesdays and get half off your favorite agave-based liquor.
Authenticity is everything at Rocco’s Tacos. The sour mix is made in-house, the tortillas are shaped by hand and cooked on a traditional comal, and there’s not a soggy chalupa in sight. What you will find are sweet-and-spicy Mexican street corn sprinkled with cilantro, adobo-rubbed chicken tacos, and sizzling molcajetes, a stone platter laden with meat, seafood, or surf and turf served with all the fixings. There are a few playful items, too, like a raisin-studded kale salad with chimichurri yogurt dressing and Korean tacos with hoisin barbecue beef, kimchi, and smoky peanut salsa. Wash it all down with a sampling of Rocco’s 425 tequilas and say “Salud!”
Small plates, big flavor, and an eye-catching ocean-blue wall combine for a memorable dining experience at Terra Mare. The menu focuses on locally sourced seafood fashioned into thoughtful bites like smoky grilled octopus and tuna crudo with jicama and coconut milk. There are land-based delights, too, and the restaurant is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, leaving plenty of options for diners eager to sample the work of Aquavit-trained chef Johan Svensson.
Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits
Part Prohibition-era speakeasy, part food market, and part sit-down restaurant, Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits manages to seamlessly blend the charm of alfresco dining with the refinement you’d expect from an eatery in an upscale hotel. From the fried oysters with pickled peppers and remoulade to the filet mignon with bone marrow and truffled Yukon puree, this is good eats meets whimsy with a heaping helping of seaside scenery. It all adds up to one of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale.