A native of La Mure, France, Chef Laurent Tasic's culinary passion began in his grandmother's farm kitchen, where the young Laurent helped her put together homemade country dishes. After honing his cooking and restaurateur skills in Europe, the French Antilles, and the Cayman Islands, Chef Laurent relocated to Fort Lauderdale, where he draws on his homeland's flavors at two Sage Oyster Bar & Restaurant locations. At his Fort Lauderdale eatery, he expands upon the traditional French countryside dishes of his youth by stuffing onions with veal and provolone, coating roasted duck with honey-raspberry sauce, and filling crepes with wilted spinach and goat cheese. Meals take place on a covered outdoor sidewalk or inside a dining area modeled after a romantic European bistro, where tastings of the restaurant's extensive wine collection and flavored floorboards occur every first and third Tuesday of the month. At his Hollywood location, meanwhile, Chef Laurent focuses on French-seafood preparation, serving oysters baked with roquefort cheese and pizza topped with Maine lobster from the kitchen's brick oven. The ambiance draws upon a similarly romantic aura, with soothing, dramatic lighting that illuminates the artfully arranged plates emerging from the kitchen.
As the sun dips below North Lake, strings of lights bordering Taverna Opa’s patio flicker on, casting a warm glow on the water below. The crepuscular calm lasts only a few moments at Taverna Opa: once night falls, live DJs take to the stage, furnishing belly dancers with a throbbing beat by which to shimmy and undulate. Waiters often lock arms and break into traditional zorba dancing. And, if the night reaches a fever pitch, patrons may smash their plates and toss their napkins in the air. This raucous atmosphere has earned Taverna Opa the spotlight in a slew of media publications. But though revelry is paramount, Taverna Opa doesn’t shirk cuisine: chefs marinate fresh seafood and lamb in fresh herbs and roast them on a wood-fired grill, and bartenders pour Greek wines well-suited for the succulent meats or postmeal Trojan horse christenings.
Fresh seafood and 100 feet of sweeping ocean-side views greet visitors to Joseph’s On The Water. Diners can tie their sea vessels up at the restaurant's attached dock, bidding their shirtless, shoeless dolphin friends adieu before checking out a sweeping menu of sea-culled delights. Premeal nosh such as the oysters Rockefeller, which mixes creamed spinach and Pernod under a hollandaise roof ($8.95), preps tastebuds for their aquatic degustation, while the seafood kabob skewers swordfish, shrimp, bell peppers, and onions ($23.95). Terrestrial grub includes a fresh gorgonzola salad, tossed with onions, garlic, oil and vinegar, and gorgonzola cheese ($10.95), as well as baby back ribs slow-roasted in house barbeque sauce ($18.95). A cabaret-style piano bar hosts live entertainment nightly, bringing guests soulful notes to sweeten their eats and elegant sips of wine.
Chef Scott Fredel claims that his "true love is the ocean." It was this love that led him to work as a commercial fisherman while still in high school and eventually inspired him to compete in fishing tournaments across Florida. Running the kitchen at Pilar Restaurant & Full Bar, the Miami native combines his passion for seafood with the techniques he learned while attending the Culinary Institute of America.Fredel demonstrates his expertise through simply prepared entrées that flaunt their ocean-fresh flavors. Filets of salmon and yellow-fin tuna can arrive grilled and glazed with pomegranate molasses or shiitake-mushroom vinaigrette (respectively), but not before starters such as flash-fried calamari lay a proper foundation. The menus also feature pan-roasted servings of free-range chicken as well as paella with more seafood than the national aquarium of Atlantis.Capable of seating up to 90 guests, the dining room boasts a relaxed charm that led Hello Miami to call it "the 'Cheers' of North Miami." Recessed ceiling lights illuminate the rich wooden floors and artwork-lined walls while potted dragon plants add a verdant splash of color and an endless backup supply of leafy napkins.
Beachfront dining and an expansive assortment of culinary delights create a commodious yet casual atmosphere as Nikki Beach sates eclectic appetites with a menu of fresh sushi, pizza, steaks, and more. An array of raw seafood, caviar, and succulent appetizer selections such as cornmeal-crusted calamari ($15) complement cocktails and sun-worshiping sessions, and gourmet pizzas created by Italian dough-diviner Enrico Sautto, such as the rocket and rocchetta pizza bubbling with rocchetta cheese and prosciutto crudo beneath fresh arugula, olive oil, and shaved parmesan ($16), satisfy followers of the latest circular-food diet craze.
When Tropical Acres Steakhouse first opened in 1949, a green palm tree festooned its simple menu of seven steaks, chops, and sandwiches. Today, the Studiale family tops tables with a vast menu of T-bones, porterhouses, strip steaks, and filet mignon seared in a bustling kitchen alongside pork chops and veal cutlets. Chefs ladle sauces whisked with horseradish and dill or lemon and capers over shrimp, scallops, and fillets of fish such as snapper and wild-caught salmon. Dark wood columns and beams encircle the dining room's tufted booths and wall-inlaid tanks filled with colorful fish and treasure chests billowing bubbles of steak sauce. Tropical Acres also caters events from luncheons to weddings with light or formal meals, and it hosts celebrations for up to 250 guests in a refined banquet room.
La Cocina Puertorriquena's specialty is mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish made of mashed fried plantains. Chefs use that recipe as a foundation, preparing more than 20 varieties of the dish with chunks or pork, skirt steak, and breaded shrimp. They also showcase a variety of other traditional specialties, including roasted meats and fried whole snapper. On Saturday nights, servers clear away tables to make room for live musicians and dancing until 1 a.m. The restaurant’s walls proudly display the Puerto Rican flag, which should never be nibbled on, despite its mofongo taste.