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.
You might guess Thursday’s, a popular new Las Olas spot, is French-Canadian from the French-Canadian classic, poutine, on the menu as a starter. For your main dish, perhaps a bouillabaisse of monkfish, shrimp, scallops, clams, and juicy lobster. Or discover a duck confit salad moistened with a Champagne vinaigrette. Dine under the light of two beautiful crystal chandeliers, which once hung in Montreal’s regal and sadly now demolished Hotel de la Montagne.
Modeled after classic taverns of New York and Chicago, BCT has high tin ceilings, wood floors, brick walls, and a patio overlooking the heart of Las Olas. The bar offers an extensive selection of libations, from California wines to locally brewed craft beers. The menu includes pan-seared Chilean sea bass with seasonal greens, and rigatoni Bolognese with Chianti-braised beef and veal topped with Grana Padano cheese. For lunch, stop in for a griddled burger with parmesan-truffle fries, or snag a stout-braised short-rib grilled cheese on sourdough with smoked maple cheddar. The late-night menu (Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m. to midnight) features pizzas, paninis, salads, and appetizers.
Valentino’s has landed on many best-restaurant lists in Fort Lauderdale over the years. But it also remained something of a secret, tucked away as it was in a Federal Highway strip mall. A move across the street will now also land it on a list of the city’s most beautiful locations, with a dining room dominated by stone and wood and an open kitchen that’s lit by studio-style lights. Chef and owner Giovanni Rocchio has cultivated a love-him-or-hate-him following, but many swear by his cooking, which includes a roasted beet salad, tortelli with butternut squash and crushed amaretto cookies, Sunday gravy with short ribs, and a veal chop stuffed with prosciutto. Rocchio worked his way up from washing dishes, and this new space could help define him as one of Fort Lauderdale’s premiere chefs.
A tribute to classic American favorites and craft beers, BJ’s is a casual dine-in (or carryout) restaurant for self-proclaimed bacon lovers. The menu includes boxes of “sticky shrimps,” or “chicken nuggs,” and even “Chuck Norris” sandwiches that include pork, coleslaw, and melted cheddar cheese on wagyu buns . Billy Jack’s offers a large variety of drafts that change daily and range from local to international, in addition to the collection of bottles or cans.
This Mediterranean mecca in the Galt Ocean Mile area is known for Greek meze, or small plates, such as gyros, spinach pie, and pikilia, a sampler of four traditional spreads served with pita. The ambiance is that of a traditional taverna – festive and loud with a lively, casual feel. Red and white checkered tablecloths and Greek paraphernalia stand out within the interior, while diners can also opt for alfresco seating under a ceiling with fans if they want to escape the noise inside.
Chef Giacomo offers Northern Italian cuisine with a twist: mushroom strudel and crusted eggplant parmigiana. More traditional fare includes veal Marsala, homemade ricotta & spinach ravioli, and cappellini filetto di pomodoro.
France is known for its grand boulevards, and now French cuisine has come to Le Boulevard du Commercial. As the name indicates, you can sample escargot made the French way, cooked in a garlic butter broth. Of course if that’s not your thing, plenty of other Gallic tastes are also on offer. Finish off your meal with the chef’s specialty dessert: the Mille Feuilles d’Escargot, a unique take on the traditional puff pastry garnished with whipped cream and jam.
This family-run restaurant has been serving steak, seafood and Italian dishes for over 60 years. Among other items, there’s petite filet mignon, cowboy steak, crowned chopped sirloin, chicken parmigiana, seafood penne a la vodka and baked stuffed shrimp.
This Italian bakery/café/wine bar offers a great variety of freshly baked sweets and savory specialties from Sicily. This intimate cafe also serves a diverse range of small plates of classic Southern Italian pastas. Their menu also features paninis, pizzas, arancini, cornetti and more. The most requested pizza dish is the Sicilian lamb pizza, while the chef recommends trying the raviola, fried dough with fresh ricotta inside. And what’s an Italian café without hot drinks? The Bake Bar has all the Italian favorites such as cappuccino. And if you want to keep it cool, try some gelato.
A trendy chain in the center of downtown, Cheesecake Factory is known for its massive menu with more than 200 selections and its decadent cheesecakes available in over 50 varieties. Inspiration comes from the world over. Unexpected offerings include the Moroccan chicken with spicy harissa sauce, miso-glazed salmon, and a macaroni and cheese burger with deep-fried macaroni and cheese balls and cheddar cheese sauce. Lunch specials cover all areas of the menu and are reasonably priced. For cheesecakes, go all-out with Dutch apple caramel streusel or wild blueberry white chocolate.
Located at the North Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale Beach, serving gourmet American dishes and cocktails.
Park & Ocean sits in a shady grove on the southeast side of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, facing A1A and the ocean. Located in the park’s old, partially indoor beachside entrance, the place’s menu includes tacos, salads, burgers and fun bar food like the scrumptious, not-so-traditional grilled cheese sandwiches made with truffles, garlic shrimp and manchego cheese. There’s an extensive beer menu, including several local brewery favorites, as well as a good selection of wines and other beverages. You can also catch some live tunes – check the schedule, but Park & Ocean usually has live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. That’s not counting the music of the lapping waves while you enjoy a cool beverage.
Located in Coral Ridge, Brown Dog Eatery is a casual spot serving lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends with a full service bar, carefully curated collection of wines and an outdoor pet-friendly patio. The place is owned by the Be Nice Restaurant Group, and fans of sister restaurant the Foxy Brown might find something familiar about the menu’s fun twists on comfort foods. Menu items include a slow-roasted porchetta served over a creamy white polenta and a crepe filled with roasted oyster mushrooms and chicken.
The Floridian restaurant and meal plan service has opened a fifth location right on Federal. Their restaurant menu includes build-your-own bowls (with chipotle mac as a base option, your choice of seven proteins and six sauces) and a “Super Food Station” that features acai bowls, avocado toast, nut butter toast and poke bowls. Their meal plan service includes two style options: weight loss or maintain. Each meal is chef-made and delivered daily for the freshest taste and quality.