From the boardwalks lining Greater Fort Lauderdale’s coast out to the suburbs near the infamous swamplands of the Everglades, you’ll find restaurants as diverse as the region’s landscape. Beachfront eateries teeter from toes-in-the-sand high-end seafood spots (that are both dog- and kid-friendly) to trendy taquerias pouring hundreds of types of tequilas and mezcals.
Along Fort Lauderdale Beach, hotels open up to farm-to-table eateries championing Florida’s finest farms (and fish!); world-class steakhouses sourcing prime cuts from across the country; and swanky Japanese eateries helmed by celebrity chef-trained teams for an atmosphere that’s cosmopolitan yet coastal chic.
If you’re cruising around the coast on the Water Taxi, you can hop off at spots around Las Olas or The Wharf Fort Lauderdale on the river, where five local food pop-ups—ranging from BBQ to tacos—set up an al fresco version of a food hall (There’s even a James Beard Award-nominated chef behind the centerpiece restaurant, for those who prefer sit-down dining.).
Nestled between galleries and boutiques on Las Olas are some of the city’s most sought-after spots that draw a stylish crowd to buzzy lobster bars, craft beer-centric gastropubs, and Asian-fusion eateries that even feature private picnics served on gondolas that cruise through downtown’s series of canals. If you’re on a boat of your own, you can even dock at some of the restaurants along the Intracoastal Waterway, whose terraces show off views of the many yachts drifting by. Indulge in lavish brunch specials, catch-of-the-day specials (or can grill your catches), and over-the-top seafood towers.
Seafood restaurants in Greater Fort Lauderdale range from casual beach bars and dockside eateries (where cracking crab with a mallet is part of the experience) to elegant fine dining with curated wine lists to match the quality of cuisine being served. In neighboring areas like Dania Beach and Hollywood, you’ll find landmark establishments that attract a mix of locals and visitors—which include an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, underwater mermaid dinner experiences, and Polynesian tiki fire shows, making them a popular attraction for families with children.
Many of the pedestrian-friendly boardwalks and areas like Las Olas, FATVillage, and Downtown Fort Lauderdale are dotted with European-style cafes and coffee shops, wine and craft beer bars, DJ-helmed rooftop restaurants, and more laid-back dining options like delis and smoothie bars, if you want a quick grab-and-go snack for the beach.
In the summer, throughout August and September, you can eat your way around some of the best restaurants in Greater Fort Lauderdale during Dine Out Lauderdale, when eateries offer prix-fixe, three-course menus for $35 or $45.
Dine al fresco overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. Or cozy up at the fire pit for a dish as memorable as the sunrise. From minimalist chic to stately brick and wood, you’ll find an atmosphere to suit your taste.
Find that margarita-centric tiki bar you’ve been dreaming about. Catch the Polynesian dancers spinning fire and magic. Stop in for a quick bite at a casual diner. Grab a creamy gelato to cool off from the beach. Or make a night of it with a lavish sit-down affair. Mingle with the locals over pastries and stay for lunch at one of the elegant bistros.