For the better part of a decade, the bar and restaurant has been one of the go-to spots at the northeast corner of the Galleria Mall – the bit of the shopping center that’s been redeveloped into an upscale dining and nightlife hub. It’s a little spot mostly given over to upmarket national chains – Capitol Grille, Seasons 52, P.F. Chang’s. (Blue Martini is headquartered in South Florida, which is also where four of its six locations are.)
Then there’s the weekly fun, such as Wednesday-night ladies night – a fairly recent addition that includes half-off cocktails all night, $5 Tito cocktails all night for everybody and complimentary cocktails and champagne from 9 to 11 p.m.
Mario’s Catalina Restaurant is named for its flamboyant chef/owner Mario Flores, who puts equally strong emphasis on creating an elegant ambiance and providing outstanding service and cuisine. White linen tablecloths contrast with an assortment of colorful paintings with ornate frames and Mario’s collection of tchotchkes. The food is a combination of Cuban and Spanish favorites, like roasted pork with caramelized plantains, white rice and black beans, vaca frita, and garlic shrimp.
Founders Robert and Abby are longtime surfers and beach lovers. They were inspired by their many trips to exotic beach locations including Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, California and Hawaii. Each destination featured its own spin on acai or pitaya bowls. When they came back home, they were inspired to recreate their versions of some of their favorites. The menu features a wide variety including banana bowls like the Nica Bowl (banana blend topped with granola, banana, cocoa nibs, walnuts, strawberry and peanut butter).
El Vez, from James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr, offers a menu by chef Steven Menter that features Mexican favorites such as classic guacamole, crispy Mahi Mahi, tacos al carbon and others. The 300-seat Mexican eatery is located on the first floor of the W Fort Lauderdale and includes indoor and outdoor bars and an expansive lounge area. The W’s signature artistic décor and style are present and include a unique beer can wall art installation. If art’s not your thing, there’s also cornhole and shuffleboard.
Located inside the W Fort Lauderdale hotel, the quick and casual plant-based restaurant features healthy but tasty cuisine. They offer salads, power bowls, hot dogs and sausages, fries, shakes, coffee, beer and wine. Notable menu items include the buffalo bowl (crispy buffalo tenders, cherry tomatoes, diced carrots, celery, kale/quinoa blend and spicy blue cheese dressing) and the queso burger (SoBe Vegan cheese sauce, pico de gallo, fresno chili, crispy tortillas and lettuce).
The new location in Southport Shopping Center on 17th Street offers what customers have come to love from the first location on North Federal Highway. The Mexican restaurant is inspired by the food originating from the Baja Coast Peninsula, to be specific. They strive to bring light and fresh Mexican food that can be eaten every day to South Florida.
The healthy fast casual concept stays true to its local supply chain philosophy by sourcing much of its produce from J&J Family of Farms in Loxahatchee and herbs from Harvest Sensations in Miami. The name’s a bit of a misnomer; Just Salad also does wraps, smoothies, “warm bowls” featuring dishes like shawarma and umami, and soups.
This upscale casual eatery headed by chef Pablo Salas offers an eclectic, soulful menu that can be enjoyed outdoors with oceanfront views or indoors in an elegant dining room served in an a la carte manner. Located inside the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, the chic restaurant also features an outdoor bar and a special tequila tasting room.
Inside the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, Lona’s sister restaurant adds a Mexican-inspired breakfast experience. Tinta (which translates to “ink” in Spanish) serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Headed by Chef Pablo Salas, the menu offers omelets like the Yucatan (lump crab, cream cheese, chipotle béchamel, cotija cheese, pickled onion and cilantro) and burritos like the Smothered Burrito (stuffed with scrambled eggs, chorizo, poblano, queso, salsa roja, avocado and refried beans).