Fort Lauderdale’s first gluten-free restaurant specializes in vegetarian dishes – excellent salads plus Portobello and raw lentil burgers – but it also offers a tuna melt and a BLT (with turkey bacon) on house-made waffle bread. Save room for delicious quinoa cupcakes topped with seasonal fruit jam and goat cheese icing.
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 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.
Valentino’s cheaper cousin (and occupying its former space), this warm, neighborhood place offers an array of pizzas (including prosciutto with shaved Parmesan and arugula) as well as other tempting Italian dishes. The eggplant sliced thin, fried and layered like lasagna is a popular item.
Arrive by boat or auto at this seafood mecca tucked inside Lauderdale Marina to experience breathtaking views of the 17th Street Causeway drawbridge. Seafood dominates here, from shrimp ‘n’ grits with trugole cheese and applewood-smoked bacon to wild blue crab cakes with double mustard cream, scallions, tropical slaw, and yuzu tobiko. Waterfront cocktails are a major draw here, but don’t leave the kids at home – they can help feed the tarpon that crowd the dock while you order another round of margaritas.
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.
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.