As the first Fort Lauderdale outpost by James Beard-nominated chef Jose Mendin, Rivertail delivers an incredible culinary experience. The seafood restaurant features outdoor seating with a covered patio overlooking the New River as well as a raw bar and Caribbean décor throughout. Menu items include Bahia-style Brazilian Stew (cod, shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari, dende oil and cashews, served with coconut milk, citrus and cilantro) and Curry Striped Bass (green curry, red curry and aromatic herb salad).
Traditional pub fair as well as seafood (Guinness barbecued shrimp) served indoors and out, though most people love sitting on the outside terrace filled with nautical paraphernalia. You can watch the traffic on the New River, as well as whatever games are playing on the TVs, and, at night, enjoy the live music. Water accessible.
With three other South Florida locations already proving successful, this trendy Mexican restaurant chain is trying Fort Lauderdale. They serve tacos, burritos, bowls and brunch. Menu favorites include the Phili Burrito (grilled rib eye steak, Mexican rice, Oaxaca cheese, rajas, black bean refrito, potato sticks and red chili crema) and the Late-Night Burrito (guajillo braised short rib, roasted pork, roasted chicken, Mexican rice, black bean refrito, Oaxaca cheese, mariquita sticks and salsa rosada).
A lively place to kick back along the New River, the historic Downtowner is a casual bar-restaurant offering live music Thursday and Saturday nights and during Sunday’s blues brunch. This watering hole with a view dishes up wings, burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Specials like Monday’s “rib night” and Tuesday’s “tacos and trivia” attract fun-loving locals aplenty. Wine bottles typically max out at around $30, and there are ample brews available in bottles or on tap.
Not to be confused with Tex-Mex, a taqueria primarily focuses on tacos themselves. Short rib, prime rib-eye carne asada and other premium cuts of meat are brined, smoked and braised then stuffed into homemade corn masa tortillas for an upscale version of Mexican staples. Did we mention there’d be tequila? TacoCraft has a collection of more than 100 varieties of tequilas — blancos, reposados, anejos, and super anejos — ranging from $8 to $100 per shot.
Yet another stylish and sophisticated restaurant has landed on the Boulevard and is right at home with its equally compelling neighbors. Seafood and steak dishes are paired with wines and cocktails. Menu items include South African lobster (two tails broiled, drawn butter), bacon wrapped filets “Oscar” style with king crab (with grilled asparagus and béarnaise) and sides like crab fried rice with mushrooms and scallions.
At this modern-day Mexican restaurant located in the heart of downtown, the menu includes everything you want to see on a Mexican eatery menu plus a barbecue pulled quesadilla, a buffalo chicken burrito and – wait for it – Nutella tacos (with strawberries and banana). They also serve up some tasty margaritas and craft cocktails.
Owners of the Pirate Shop and Pirate Bar on Fort Lauderdale Beach, Roberto and Claudia Guerios jumped at the opportunity to pillage, er, purchase the dilapidated property a few years back and have since transformed it into a full-scale pirate’s lair draped with skull-and-crossbones flags and decked out in a decor reminiscent of wooden pirate ships. You’ll find an array of seafood specialties, including sweet and sour shrimp, conch fritters, and herbed chardonnay-shallot mussels.
The popular sushi spot has multiple Miami-Dade locations; now they’re laying down roots on the Boulevard. And they’ve brought fan favorites with them. These include the Fifty (shrimp tempura, crab salad – MSC certified Alaskan pollock, masago cream cheese, avocado, chili-lime mayo, eel sauce and crispy shallots) and Might Shroom Roll (multigrain rice, spinach, shiitake mushroom teriyaki, avocado, radish sprouts and sriracha mayo).
Perfect for on-the-go professionals who need a quick pick-me-up throughout the day, Java and Jam sits on Las Olas Boulevard and offers a quick way to get your food fix. Their grab-and-go counter contains pastries, overnight oats, granola and more. For those who have time to dine in, all-day breakfast begins at 7 a.m. and lunch at 11 a.m. Menu items include Taco Eggs (white corn tortilla, two sunny-side-up eggs, bacon, avocado, roasted salsa verde, queso fresco and spatch peri-peri sauce), omelets, pancakes, salads, sandwiches and more.
Located west of the Himmarshee bars, this is the place to go for a rustic breakfast, featuring the best pancakes you can find in town. Made with buttermilk, organic flour, sour cream and fresh, free-range eggs, these pancakes come served in a cast-iron pan with Vermont maple syrup. Try the “Mexican Ship Wreck,” a play on huevos rancheros served with oven-roasted yukon gold potatoes or scrumptious cheese grits.
Fresh-faced 26-year-old executive chef Stanton Bundy helms the kitchen within this pork-centric powerhouse in the former Samba Room space. An open kitchen with a rotisserie pumps out plates of brown sugar-brined jerk chicken wings, pulled duck nachos, and grilled free-range turkey meatballs. Poultry aside, this place is all about pork, so go for the rotisserie ribs or barbecued pulled pork sliders with fried pickles, cheddar, spicy mustard, and cabbage slaw. For those craving “lighter” fare, try the warm spinach salad with balsamic bacon vinaigrette, candied walnuts, and Shropshire blue cheese.
Sushi has been available on Las Olas for over two decades now, but Thai food is relatively new. Here the menu mixes Japanese and Thai favorites – gyoza and spicy beef salad, miso soup and tom ka kai – and then throws in some twists, like filet mignon green curry. There are over three dozen basic and specialty rolls to choose from.
This snazzy downtown hotspot is routinely packed for lunch and dinner, offering contemporary American dining in a casual-elegant setting. The menu revolves around a wood-burning grill that imparts signature earthy flavor into dishes like grilled artichokes with lemon aioli and grilled grouper with coconut-conch stew and crispy yucca. Meat-lovers will be enchanted by the “forever-braised” short ribs, served with creamy potato risotto, roasted carrots, and crispy shallots.
This Las Olas pizzeria allows you to be your own master chef and create your own pizza (or pick an item from the menu if you’re not feeling that ambitious). Options include Spicy Hawaiian Pizza (classic red sauce, shredded mozzarella, ham, bacon, pineapple, jalapenos and crushed red pepper) and Creamy Parmesan and Shrimp Pizza (creamy parmesan, shredded mozzarella, shrimp, black olives, broccoli and diced tomatoes).
A swanky restaurant at the office end of main street with a chef, Eric Baker, who has a Superior Diploma in French cuisine. The emphasis is on seafood, though there are steaks (filet mignon, NY strip, rib eye) as well as eight different types of fish served whole. The live lobsters, “steamed and cracked,” weigh in at two, three and four pounds.
Big red wines, martinis, bone-in steaks, and juicy chops combine with Chicago Supper Club sophistication at this high-end Italian-style steakhouse in the heart of downtown. Live music is performed at 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Thursday in Timpano’s Starlight Lounge, providing a backdrop for aged beef, savory flatbreads, and classics like calamari fritto misto and osso bucco.
Walking along the Riverwalk, or perhaps sailing down the New River, you may have noticed a new addition to the waterfront standing downhill from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The two-story Huizenga Pavilion is part of the center’s $58 million expansion. A private reception area occupies the top floor, while Marti’s New River Bistro fills the ground floor.
National chain Del Frisco’s Grille has opened its first South Florida location in downtown’s newly renovated Las Olas Square complex. The modern menu is curated by chef Shawn Quinn and features prime, hand-cut steaks and freshly caught seafood with bold flavors and fresh ingredients. The award-winning wine list and handcrafted cocktails are also worth trying. The 8,083-square-foot restaurant includes a private event space.