Fort Lauderdale Restaurants

Fort Lauderdale Restaurants… with over 4000 places to eat (according to a local tourist guidebook) if you can dream it—you can find it!

One of the great things about spending a lot of time in Fort Lauderdale, is that you have more time to explore and experience everything it has to offer—and we love to experience food and restaurants!

It's pretty much common knowledge that a good percentage of Fort Lauderdale is inhabited by snowbirds, tourists, and "hybrids" like us, and we all seem to have the same things on our minds while we're here: The Beach, Shopping, and Eating (and not necessarily in that order).

While sitting at the beach enjoying the surf and sand, the conversation always inevitably turns towards food. Since we are all (more or less) on holiday while here, food is a big part of our day. So, finding the best restaurants becomes sort of our vocation while on our vacation, and Fort Lauderdale restaurants provide just about every choice and option you will ever need to satisfy your hunger.

Before we hit the beach, we like to hit one of many tempting breakfast spots. 
There are some really great ones very close to our place but our top pick has to be Mom’s Kitchen (1940 NE 45th St, Oakland Park, FL) off US 1 which is about a 10 minute drive from us. They won us over on the first visit – not only were we greeted by practically the whole staff , but two waitresses offered us coffee. Our order was taken promptly, then our food was brought out by someone else – they all work together! And the food was terrific – it's aptly called Mom’s – it’s like your own mom is in the kitchen making your breakfast. As far as Fort Lauderdale restaurants go, it does get very crowded sometimes so you either have to time your visit just right or have a little patience and wait for a table. Oh, and it costs just a little more than a mother’s day card for a complete breakfast.

Other bright breakfast spots include the joints along Commercial between A1A and the pier, including the newly renovated one directly on the pier itself. Because they're all so close to each other, if one has a wait, just walk to the next one! It's not your last meal, and you might discover a new favorite. Here's a shot of the one at the foot of the Commercial Pier since its been renovated.

Our best brunch tip: Blue Moon at the bridge off Commercial. They have this great deal: for just under $30, it’s not only all you can eat, (including starters such as oysters, shrimp, salads, omelets and other standard brunch fare) you can order ALL of their regular entrees as well (do NOT miss the filet mignon meatloaf) as many times as you want. Personally, our record is four entrees! They even include a Bloody Mary or Mimosa in the price. Save a little bit of room, this all you can eat includes desserts too – they have molten centered chocolate cake that we could eat 6 of. Okay, 7.

If you find yourself at lunchtime in the Galleria mall, beating the heat, try P.F. Chang’s. They have a large, covered patio providing shade and it's always fun watching people practicing retail therapy. We love their fried green beans, and the minced chicken in lettuce “cups”. The waiters are considerate enough to always ask if you have food allergies.

If you want to take a picnic to the beach, stop by La Spada’s, where they rightly boast "Best damn Hoagies in Town." Watch them while they make your lunch, often they dramatically toss the meat in the air onto the bread, adding a little performance flourish to your sandwich. We go to the one on Seagrape off Commercial, steps from the beach. Last visit we noted that they only accept cash.

Value is always on our mind when travelling, whether on short or long trips and Fort Lauderdale restaurants get this.Plenty of early bird specials are offered, like at the Old Florida Seafood House. There you cannot only choose from a variety of fish entrees, you can also choose how they prepare it for you – baked, grilled, blackened or fried.

If you want a great beach view, Sea Watch (6002 North Ocean Blvd. which is about a mile north of Commercial on the A1A) has some terrific early bird specials, too. Below is a picture we took of the restaurant from the beach.

There aren't a lot of places directly on the sand – many have views from across the street, which is still nice, but sometimes you just feel like being on the beach – nothing beats hearing the surf and strolling on the sand after dessert. We prefer to have lunch here and sit in the back area which is more casual, especially in the winter, because if it gets dark out you really can't tell where you are even though the restaurant is just 50 yards from the surf directly on the beach. 

Something unique to Fort Lauderdale restaurants is the combination of Thai/Sushi in one venue. We haven't seen this phenomenon in any other US city. We love the broader menus with more variety, even though we are total Sushi freaks but this way you can enjoy a meal with friends that aren't fond of raw fish.

Our top pick is Tee-Jays Thai Sushi at 5975 North Federal. It's in a strip mall but don't let that dissuade you, the ambiance inside is great and the food superb.

If you've got a hankering for something completely different try the Polynesian restaurant, Mai Kai. This is definitely not one of your average Fort Lauderdale restaurants.

They have an authentic Polynesian floor show, replete with fire dancers and girls who gyrate their hips faster than the pina colada blender! Try a Pu Pu platter and the roasted duck. They have a terrific Happy Hour too. It's a little Disney World-ish and the food is good (not great) but it's a lot of fun. We took this shot of the show when we were there to celebrate a friend's birthday.

Another option for something different in Fort Lauderdale restaurants is The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant, on Federal US1 and Sunrise Blvd. Everyone gets a different colored fondue fork, and the conversation flows as smoothly as the wine as you all spear your meat or vegetables and cook your food. They have several fondue courses – cheese, oil or broth for meat and shrimp, and chocolate. Here's a tip we found out a little too late: You don't have to have a full 4-course dinner – you can go in and just have the cheese fondue, or stop by after dinner elsewhere and enjoy their chocolate fondue for dessert.

And if you're looking for some table-side fun, you have to try the Mozzarella appetizer at Todd English's Da Campo Osteria in the Il Lugano Hotel.

For even more Fort Lauderdale dining table-side fun, check out Chima on Las Olas Blvd. where the meat and food are literally endless.

Hungry yet? Keep coming back, because we will be posting more details as we get the time. Just remember, the choice and variety that Fort Lauderdale restaurants provides is so vast that the town is your oyster – literally, there are lots of places that serve fresh oysters.... if that's your thing.

Check out some of the other Fort Lauderdale Restaurants discussed in our blog.

Go to the Fort Lauderdale Tips Home Page

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