Secret’s out – Fort Lauderdale restaurant scene is hopping
Banish visions of bikini and beer-boosted bacchanals. The rowdy crowds have moved on and today Fort Lauderdale is a fun, foodie town. I discovered this over three, brief days while being led to a whiskey den, a hidden craft coffee spot, and dining at chic waterfront tables. Meeting a charming sommelier, passionate chocolate vendor, cheese connoisseur and a mom who founded a craft brew cartel were some of the highlights along with bonding with fellow foodies. It was one discovery after another.
Here’s some of the highlights among the Fort Lauderdale restaurant and drink purveyors:
Beauty and the Feast Bar and Kitchen is tucked inside the Atlantic Hotel with sweeping views of the ocean. The menu is full of innovation, fresh ingredients and local flare. It’s a comfy spot to share small plates or a big one (our full fish platter filled us up.)
O-B House sits on a corner in the historic Fort Lauderdale district. Our breakfast overflowed with options – mango mimosas, platters of moist, tasty muffins and even a plate-size, baked pancake.
Marando Farms is an urban farmers market and an educational center for hundreds of visiting students each year. The small urban farm on a small plot has grown into overflowing acres. A snack bar serves energizing smoothies and the wine shop is well stocked with curated choices.
Brew Urban Cafe hides within the offices of C & I Studios and Lounge. Down the hall and to the left of the office entrance there’s an alternative universe where cold brew and about any other coffee or tea is available. It’s well worth hunting out and testing the overstuffed upholstery.
Blue Moon Fish Company offers award-winning waterfront dining. We enjoyed refreshing breezes from a table just across from the drawbridge entrance to Fort Lauderdale. Arriving by foot and an impressive display of fresh seafood greeted us inside the front door.
Whiskey Den is upstairs at Stache, Fort Lauderdale’s premiere cocktail lounge, coffee bar, nightclub and concert hall. We had a blast tasting Rye, Whiskey, Rum and Gin, then creating our own cocktails.
Louie Bossi is a recent addition to the Las Olas Street shopping and dining experience. Chef Bossi may have grown up cooking in NYC but he’s also a Master Pizza maker. The flat breads were inspired, our sommelier very attentive and the courtyard Bocce ball course was tempting.
Luxury, ocean front steak house, Steak 954, is open morning to late night inside the W Hotel. Inside a giant, mesmerizing aquarium shelters over 200 Moon Jelly fish!
After breakfast we headed over to Las Olas Street for a packed historical and culinary advenure with Las Olas Food Tours. Walking and talking our way along the street, in and out of hotels, and along the canal was the perfect way to burn calories (OK, a few.)
Set on a suburban neighborhood corner is the surprising mecca of Floridian brews. The Craft Beer Cartel shared how beer is made and we sipped several of the Native Beer labels best brews. When you visit don’t miss checking out the floor. It’s ’tiled’ with bottle caps in elaborate patterns.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Fort Lauderdale on a full moon night, find out if the Pelican Grand is hosting one of their veranda dinners. At Ocean 2000 you’ll dine on local seafood specialties while listening to the waves and watching the moon rise over the sea. The plantation style hotel is set as close to the water as possible. The upstairs rooms, spa and wedding/event space feel like they’re floating with views to the horizon.
I only wish that these delights were spread out over a week or two! The Fort Lauderdale restaurant and bar scenes deserve to be savored.
If you go:
- Beauty and the Feast Bar and Kitchen inside the Atlantic Hotel
- O-B Breakfast House in the Fort Lauderdale historic district
- Maranado Farms features organic and sustainable produce and local artist’s crafts
- Brew Urban Cafe hides in the FAT Arts District and within the C&I Studio offices.
- Blue Moon Fish Company is nothing like a processor’s plant. Enjoy white table cloth dining and impressive presentations.
- Whiskey Den at Stache, lounge and concert hall.
- Louie Bossi, an Italian eatery with distinctive traditional and newly crafted delicacies.
- Steak 954, a boutique steakhouse, inside the W Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
- Las Olas Food Tours introduces visitors (and locals) to the people and places that make the area so delicious.
- Craft Beer Cartel is packed with Floridian brews and is the home to the Native Beer label.
- Pelican Grand Hotel, is a luxury, plantation-style oasis on the water with gracious dining options and rocking chairs on the long deck, the better to let the wave song hypnotize you.
The Fort Lauderdale restaurant tour was part of the TBEX FAM trips and arranged by the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB. Thanks for including me! #HelloSunny