A Fort Lauderdale staple since 1982, this Italian-American eatery will bring you back to Sunday dinners at your Nana’s house – if you’re Italian, that is. Expect Sinatra to play in the background as Chianti flows and platters of shrimp oreganata, veal Francaise, and zuppa di pesce are shared family-style. Intimate meals also work inside Runway’s setting, with its low lighting and mellow atmosphere. Don’t miss the Sicilian stuffed peppers (served cold with red wine vinegar and stuffed with bread crumbs, capers, olives, anchovies, and grated cheese), and the plump meatballs with marinara. Big-time diners will want the surf and turf entree, a combination of New York strip and South African lobster tail.
Dockside dining is just one attraction at this eatery perched on the Intracoastal just south of Oakland Park Boulevard near A1A. The vibe is Florida-casual, and you can expect to see men in Hawaiian shirts disembarking from boats and strutting inside. Traditional bar bites, Floribbean fare, and international offerings comprise the menu, including crabcakes, fried calamari, coconut shrimp, seared ahi, and conch fritters. You can also order half-pound beef burgers, overstuffed wraps, and out-of-the-ordinary takes on fish, like the blackened mahi Reuben sandwich. Cocktails run the gamut, including fruity martinis, thick frozen margarita-like concoctions, and enormous fish bowls filled with fizzy, vodka-based drinks.
The first thing you receive, after the warm welcome, is a basket of warm bread and a small bowl of garlicky chimichurri sauce to dip it into. Run by Salvadorans, the restaurant has a cozy elegance and serves generous portions of everything, including ceviche, mariscada soup and churrasco.
Anthony Bruno, of Runway 84, opened this pizza joint in 2002 because he couldn’t find the “well done” pizzas of his native New York here in Fort Lauderdale. The flagship location has since become a nationwide chain. Ashy flavor permeates the crust of pies like the “Paul & Young Ron,” piled with meatballs, sausage, ricotta, and hot or sweet peppers. Oven-roasted chicken wings and salads round out the menu, and beer and wine are served.
The founder of Anthony’s Runway 84 and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Anthony Bruno teamed up with restauranteur Michelangelo Mozzicato to open a casual restaurant with a Santa Maria-style grill as the centerpiece. The menu consists of American classics with a Florida twist – appropriate for a place in the old Dirty Ernie’s building.
The casual café now has two locations, with a new spot on Wilton Drive joining its existing Marina Mile location. The largely Greek-inspired menu features unique favorites such as konafa (fillings such as spinach, eggplant, beef or lamb in a thin, shredded golden-brown pastry) and pita bread mini-pizzas. Or try favorites such as taramosalata, saganaki, moussaka and baba ganoush. Open all day, it also offers a full breakfast menu, as well as take-out and delivery.
In the new 47,000- square-foot Whole Foods on 17th Street, Sushi Maki is serving their rolls, poke bowls and wok-fired dishes straight from the grocery store. On their menu, you’ll find volcano fries (seasoned fries topped with kanikama salad, spicy mayo and eel sauce), Aji Amarillo Poke Bowl (salmon, avocado, edamame, mango, serrano, crispy noodles, aji amarillo sauce, togarashi, sweet mayo and sushi rice) and bento boxes.
If a tourist ever made his way to this neighborhood hangout just south of the swing bridge, you’d feel inclined to reward him with a beer, which would be easy, as craft brews line one wall of the place (under poster-sized vintage postcards of Fort Lauderdale). A friendly, eclectic crowd comes here for beer and food that goes well with it – fish tacos and pizza being the most popular.
Owners Sean and Blaise McMackin revamped the former Brownie’s Bar location with this eco-friendly gastropub known for American craft beer, bourbon, and artisanal burgers. Many unique dishes are offered, such as tuna-watermelon sashimi with jalapeno and lime, and Berkshire crispy pork belly with huckleberry jam and farro. Burgers come with surprising toppings like fried green tomatoes, beets, Bibb lettuce, apples, and Rogue River blue cheese.
After a long four-year process, Bar Rita has finally opened its doors. The two-story, 5,500-square-foot restaurant serves up modern Mexican food with an eclectic margarita menu. You can enjoy rooftop city views alongside menu items such as build-your-own bodega bowls and a selection of tacos including truffle barbacoa and carne asada cheesesteak. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
Chef Stefan cooks up chicken Marsala with spätzle, wiener rostbraten, Hungarian goulash and Holstein schnitzel. With the warm décor, and the music, it always feels like Oktoberfest inside. The large, attractive bar next to the dining room is a cozy place to sit with a mug of German beer.
Begin with the colossal stone crab claws or homemade meatballs before choosing between lobster and shrimp Fra Diavolo and a 10 oz. barrel-cut filet mignon. Or perhaps you’d prefer apple cider-marinated pork chops. For dessert, there’s vanilla bean crème brulee and chocolate soufflé.
Chef and owner Mike Ponluang’s elegant Asian bistro offers large private booths and the finest fusion fare, including sushi and a lunch menu with noodles and bento boxes that’ll lure you back multiple times a week. Lobster Pad Thai is Ponluang’s signature dish, but everything is worth trying here, from Chinese dumplings to Vietnamese fresh rolls, and enormous entrees like pan fried Chilean sea bass with pineapple and red curry.
Located inside the Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Lauderdale, this chic restaurant and lounge serves food and drinks.
A popular watering hole for boat crews, this Irish pub offers Irish breakfast (all day), lunch, dinner and late-night fare. Try the fish & chips, corned beef and cabbage, chicken pot pie or Buffalo chicken wings. Then grab a pint.