15th Street Fisheries illustrates a key facet of the circle of life: you feed the fish, and the fish feed you. Every evening, guests head to the edge of the docks to feed schools of giant tarpon—fish that can grow up to 8 feet long—with shrimp from the nearby store. It's a feat made possible by the restaurant's location on the Lauderdale Marina, a hub for pedestrians and boats alike on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Floating above the silvery tarpon, yachts, fishing boats, and other charters pass in view of the upstairs dining room. The space resembles an upscale boathouse with eclectic seafood entrees to match. Start with a bowl of Bahamian-style conch chowder or shrimp and grits, then choose from an impressive list of prepared fish, including miso-glazed Chilean sea bass and pan-roasted black grouper. The Maine lobsters on the menu weigh 2 to 3 pounds, depending on how often they crawled ashore to go to the gym, but you can also order a spiny lobster tail with baby bok choy. Downstairs, the dockside café offers more casual fare and live music on weekends.
Sea Level pampers patrons with a patio perch that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and quality dishes infused with beachy zing for a tranquil tropical feast. The lunch menu packs a pescatarian punch, with seafood options such as the fish tacos ($18), swimming in a tortilla tank of pico de gallo, mango relish, queso fresco, and key-lime mustard aioli. Sunset revelers and those who don't believe in noon can dive into the dinner menu, letting stomachs ponder how much of the one-pound peel-your-own-shrimp ($16) it would take to break free of the restrictive tyranny of buttoned pants. Sixteen-ounce rib eyes ($39) are composed of Harris Ranch USDA–certified black angus beef, then slathered in a choice of béarnaise, rosemary, herb-butter, peppercorn, or chimichurri sauce. Side options ($7), such as fried plantains, sweet-potato fries, and sautéed mushrooms, can accompany self-conscious steaks into dark stomach caves. Sea Level's indoor and outdoor seating gifts hungry eyes with beautiful ocean vistas as well as protection from angry outdoor breezes.
It takes four weeks for Lauderdale Grill's prime rib to age to the tenderness deemed best by their chefs. Then, after cooking onsite in hickory smoke, these succulent cuts are available by the 10 or 14 oz serving or as a sandwich on a grilled roll. The cooks here also plate up tuna, mahi mahi, and salmon, as well as bar food favorites such as wings and burgers. Tastier and more fun than a daily sock darning schedule, a daily soup schedule also holds a place in the menu, featuring chilis, chowders, and stews each only offered once a week. And happily for cocktail-lovers, the Broward/Palm Beach New Times raved about the spot's weekend bloody mary bar, calling the homemade mix used "outstanding."
Let Shula's score on all five of your senses with brilliant playcalling from its menu, beginning with a cluster bomb of fresh, seasonal oysters ($12). Steakhouse aficionados can frolic over premium Black Angus hills and dales of a juicy 16-ounce prime rib (served with Yorkshire pudding, $38) or roll with an 8-ounce filet mignon ($38). Contrarians may shun bovine entrees in favor of aquatic prey such as fresh jumbo sea scallops, served with roasted tomatoes, garlic spinach, and beurre blanc ($30).
Though you can always drive up to the Historic Downtowner Saloon, that's not the recommended way to arrive. Instead, customers might want to take the water taxi right up to the downtown stop to get a preview of the river views granted by the restaurant's riverfront patio. Here, guests can enhance their waterside experience with expertly prepared American fare and 20 new craft beers waiting to quench to the most discerning drinker.
While new owners now helm Historic Downtowner Saloon, its chefs tend to their culinary labors, be it slow-roasting prime rib or turning out seafood specials, sandwiches, and appetizers. In the kitchen, they grill slabs of sizzling sirloins and pair them crab cakes drizzled in a Cajun remoulade. Once delivered to guests, ancho shrimp tacos do flavorful dances across palates, while a raw bar, stocked with bowls of littleneck clams and Caribbean jerk shrimp, puts appetites on ice. Most nights of the week, a live band serenades guests with tunes as relaxing as surfing on a waterbed—unless there are sharks inside the waterbed.