Chicken marsala, veal picatta, meatballs, and Milanese are what’s for dinner at owner and Chef Marco Vico’s Fort Lauderdale fixture, voted one of America’s 1,000-best Italian restaurants by Zagat. Indulge in hearty bowls of pasta fagioli, lasagna that features a mix of meat sauce and béchamel. The ambiance is like a resplendent Tuscan villa, complete with walls adorned with old family photos.
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.
Owner and Chef Angelo Elia has created a South Florida restaurant empire out of his original North Federal location. His dishes are punctuated by an attention toward great ingredients, like the branzino, so fresh it needs nothing more than a light butter sauce. The outstanding antipasti includes truffle-lemon carpaccio and pancetta-wrapped tiger prawns over broccoli rabe, and the fresh pasta is made in-house. Or go big with the oak-grilled NY strip, marinated in olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.
This locally owned restaurant offers a wide selection of classic American dishes. The lunch and dinner menu includes Jamaican grilled wings, crispy walnut shrimp, orange chicken and a deep-sea tuna burger. On Saturdays and Sundays, guests can choose from a selection of made-to-order brunch dishes, including six styles of eggs Benedict.
This ’80s pizza parlor features free retro video games – as well as gourmet pizzas like the Godfather (steak tips, caramelized onions, Gorgonzola blue cheese, mozzarella and cheddar cheese) and Cheeseburgerlicious (burger pieces, pickled onions, bacon and tomato, over Thousand Island dressing, mustard, mayo, ketchup, topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheese and finished with lettuce). Other menu items include salads, wraps, subs, wings, stromboli and calzones.
Located on the eastern side of the Gateway Shopping Center, this restaurant mixes Japanese and Thai food. Signature sushi rolls include Dancing Eel, Red Dragon (built around tempura shrimp), Yamu (broiled salmon) and Monster Lobster. Also available are fried rice, pad Thai and a variety of teriyaki dishes.
The lunch menu at this Italian restaurant offers sandwiches, brick oven pizzas and pasta dishes, while the dinner menu includes pasta, meat and seafood specials. For dinner, the restaurant also offers anelli, folded pizza crusts with savory fillings, and calzones.
Southwestern American cuisine with international undertones mixes with a seductive ambiance at this Fort Lauderdale culinary oasis. Chef Chris Wilber leads a talented team that prepares detailed dishes like blue corn fried oysters, barbecued shrimp tostadas, and scallop ceviche with popcorn. Standouts include: swordfish with Swiss chard-white bean ragout, tomato-avocado salsa, and green chili chorizo crumbles; and filet mignon with poblano pesto, goat cheese, zinfandel sauce and cilantro potato mash.
This trattoria offers authentic Italian cuisine in a romantic, candle-lit setting, complete with Italian-speaking staff. Chef/owner Michele Viscosi creates dishes inspired by his homeland, including carpaccio di manzo, lasagna tradizionale and osso buco d’Angello.
BRGR STOP’s second location has opened in Broward (the first is in Coconut Creek). The burger joint features boozy shakes and 18 burgers including the Peanut Butter Jelly Time (made with peanut butter tomato jam, cheddar cheese and candied bacon) and the El Chapo – fresh chorizo with taco seasoning, avocado lime crema, taco beer cheese sauce and pico de gallo. Grownup shakes include the Strawberry Shortcake (vodka, liqueur, Fruity Pebble milk, strawberry ice cream, strawberry jam and shortcake rim, topped with Fruity Pebble whipped cream, cereal, Twizzlers and Shortbread cookies).
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.
As the name suggests, Tropical Smoothie Café is known for its plentiful selection of smoothies. The menu also features bowls, wraps, sandwiches and breakfast items. Their app includes a rewards program and also allows you to order ahead. Catering and delivery are offered as well.
THIS INCREASINGLY POPULAR chain recently brought its brand of bird preparation to Fort Lauderdale. Chicken Kitchen prides itself in providing a fresh and healthy menu. Try their world famous “Chop-Chop” by choosing a combination on the menu or creating your own. Chicken Kitchen offers take-out, dine-in and delivery. You can even get them to cater an event.
The popular Cuban bakery and café has opened its first Broward location and has been attracting foodies looking for a Cuban coffee and pastelito fix. Owned and operated by a third generation Cuban-American, the food is authentic and offers a twist on classics. Be sure to try the arroz con pollo bites (chicken, yellow rice, mozzarella fritters and sazon aioli).
Seasonal cuisine and an award-winning international wine list make this casual-chic chain at the Galleria a consistent draw for locals and out-of-towners. Nothing on the menu tops 475 calories, kept down either by portion control or careful ingredient selection. Flatbreads are popular, such as spicy chipotle shrimp with grilled pineapple, feta, and roasted poblano chilies, as are vibrant entrees like caramelized sea scallops, wood-fired pork tenderloin, and roasted artichoke-stuffed shrimp. Chef’s tables are available with an amuse bouche and a five-course meal with wine pairings for each course, as is private dining for special, intimate occasions. For dessert, go with guilt-free mini-indulgences – shot glass-sized sweet treats, such as Key lime pie, old-fashioned carrot cake, and chocolate peanut butter mousse.
White tablecloths, dark wood accents, and landscape and portrait paintings adorning dark red and brown dining room walls give this chain in the Galleria Mall a classic, sophisticated ambience, as do the food and lengthy wine and spirits list. Appetizers like Wagyu beef carpaccio with wasabi arugula and the cold shellfish platter with fresh lobster, jumbo shrimp, and oysters are perfect for kicking off any VIP dinner. Entrees like the Kona coffee-crusted, dry-aged bone-in sirloin with shallot butter and porcini-rubbed Delmonico with 12-year-aged balsamic further stamp the feeling of luxury. Seafood lovers should try the seared citrus-glazed salmon with haricot verts, asparagus, and roasted cipollini onions with a side of decadent lobster mac and cheese. For dessert, try coconut cream pie, flourless chocolate espresso cake, or the trio of house-made ice creams.
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).
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.