With sunny weather, pristine water views, and beach-friendly temperatures year-round, outdoor dining is a popular way to enjoy Greater Fort Lauderdale’s diverse dining scene. From waterfront locales along rivers and boardwalks to resort restaurants and alfresco shopping and entertainment centers, here are the best spots to dine outdoors.
If you’re strolling along the 2.5-mile-long, brick-paved Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, you’ll come across nearly 50 different restaurants. One of which is 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort (also a Water Taxi stop). Other Hollywood restaurants include GG’s Waterfront Bar & Grill, where patio seating looks out at the Intracoastal Waterway and its famous yachts, and Le Tub Saloon, a local institution offering prime dockside seating across the street from Hollywood Beach.
The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton, is also just a boat ride away (and offers complimentary dockage if you’re dining at one of the restaurants). Patio seating is available at the resort’s coastal breakfast spot Point Royal and the poolside and beachfront Playa, a Latin-American spot with a rum and tequila bar.
In Dania Beach, along the canal, Rustic Inn is a local go-to for its laid-back dockside seating. It's the kind of place where getting messy is encouraged (thus the paper-covered tables), and dining is an experience complete with bibs and mallets meant for cracking the restaurant’s “World Famous Garlic Crabs.”
On Fort Lauderdale beach, you’ll find countless fine dining spots like Japanese-Korean fusion Takato and trendy taquerias like Lona Cocina & Tequileria (definitely order the lobster quesadillas). Along the Intracoastal, locals often post up dockside at no-frills seafood spot Coconuts and for the raw bar and brunch at upscale Boatyard.
In Pompano Beach, enjoy brunch, lunch, or dinner, along with panoramic views of the ocean, at Oceanic at Pompano Beach Pier, or Intracoastal sights from a table at The Rusty Hook Tavern.
Beer Gardens & Marketplaces
On the Las Olas Riverwalk, The Wharf Fort Lauderdale unfolds along the banks of the New River with nautical-themed bar and dining spaces inspired by summers in the Hamptons. Think communal tables under blue-striped umbrellas and local Fort Lauderdale pop-ups helmed by some of the city’s best chefs. Take your pick of four bars and five food concepts, and bring your pup along too, or reserve a table at the nearby casual-chic Rivertail, five-time James Beard Award-nominated chef José Mendín’s seafood-driven spot.
Also in Fort Lauderdale, the vibrant Sistrunk Marketplace & Brewery is, as its name suggests, both a food hall and brewery that’s home to 10 different vendors and a sprawling outdoor terrace with sleek picnic tables.
Fort Lauderdale has countless taprooms, wine bars, and craft breweries to choose from, including Riverside Market and Cafe, nestled between the Sailboat Bend and Riverside Park neighborhoods. There, you can sample one of 550 craft beers or specialty wines alongside a selection of salads, sandwiches, and pizzas in the dog-friendly outdoor dining area.
North of Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Rhythm + Vine is the city’s take on an urban beer garden. Expect a rotating roster of food trucks serving up bites in the outdoor patio space, drinks from a vintage airstream, and local DJs spinning music.
If you’re looking for restaurants in Sunrise, look no further than Sawgrass Mills, home to more than 350 shops and a mix of popular dining options like Matchbox in the upscale, alfresco stretch of The Colonnade and The Oasis area, where you’ll also find a cinema and arcade.
Further north, the open-air shopping and dining center Promenade at Coconut Creek features a dozen different outdoor dining options from Greek to Japanese and American (the bustling hub is home to World of Beer). Meanwhile, the 102-acre Dania Pointe in Dania Beach is like its own little community and hosts events like a night market and farmers market, in addition to featuring nightlife hangouts from Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar to fast-casual restaurants (In Ramen Asian Street Eatery) and sit-down dinner spots, including Ocean One Bar & Grille.