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Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

There was a time, perhaps not so very long ago, when truly excellent Fort Lauderdale restaurants were hard to come by. But that’s not the case anymore! Like many cities across the country, Fort Lauderdale has found itself in the midst of a culinary renaissance, so to speak, with chefs bringing fresh techniques and flavors into their kitchens to surprise and delight locals and visitors to the coastal city. In fact, things in the city are heating up so much that Fort Lauderdale restaurants might soon draw as many tourists as the city’s famous beaches and canals.

Quick List: 3 Great Fort Lauderdale Restaurants With a View

If your ideal Fort Lauderdale dining experience includes digging into fresh seafood dishes while watching the sun set over the water, you’re in luck. Fort Lauderdale has plenty of excellent spots located right on the beach or near the city’s famous canal system. Here are three of our top picks for dining near the water:

Anglin’s Beach Cafe ($)

Anglin’s is exactly what most people picture when they picture a beach-side cafe: a rustic shack situated mere steps from the ocean that serves simple, fresh fare like clam chowder, crab cakes, and coconut shrimp.

Le Sugar Reef ($$)

If you’re looking to impress a date, you can’t go wrong with this spot, where the expertly-plated scallops, garlic shrimp, and grilled snapper are rivaled only by the excellent ocean view.

Jungle Queen Riverboat Dinner Cruise ($$$)

Why dine near the water when you can dine on the water? Passengers on the Jungle Queen enjoy a buffet of shrimp, ribs, chicken, and other fare while cruising down the New River to the cruise-line’s own tropical isle.

Spotlight On: Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour

If you’re looking for kid-friendly restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, you can’t really do better than an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, especially if you’re hoping to cool down after a day at the beach. So why not head to nearby Dania Beach to chow down at the best one in town. Since 1956, Jaxson’s owners have made everything in house, from the ice creams to the hot fudge to the soda syrups, and the servers even dress in old-timey red-and-white striped outfits. The decor, however, is more kitschy than old-fashioned, featuring an eye-catching array of vintage memorabilia, including stop lights, merry-go-round horses, and license plates from every state.

Kids will love: the carnival-like atmosphere, free popcorn, and savory dishes like a 1-lb “artillery” hot dog (and, you know… ice cream).

Parents will love: the candy shop situated near the parlour’s front entrance, which showcases hard-to-find sweets they’ll remember from their youth.

Don’t miss: the punch bowl sundae. The monstrous sundae feeds 12 people and is served in an actual punch bowl with 36 scoops of ice cream, bananas, whipped cream, and all the other traditional toppings. It’s also topped with lit sparklers (yep). It’s so impressive, in fact, that we featured it on our list of 10 Ice Cream Sundaes to Try Before You Die.

Quick List: Latin American Dishes to Try in Fort Lauderdale

Like, its sister-city to the South, Miami, Fort Lauderdale is home to a large Latin American population. Great news for foodies, since it means there are a number of excellent Cuban, Puerto Rican, Colombian, and Peruvian restaurants. If you’re unfamiliar with the cuisines of Latin America, here are few standout dishes you may want to try while you’re in town:

  • Frita. This tasty Cuban beef sandwich features a seasoned patty topped with crispy potato straws and onion,s and is considered Cuba’s answer to the American hamburger!
  • Causa. You might be forgiven for mistaking this colorful, layered Peruvian casserole for an elaborate pastry. But it’s actually comprised of a base of mashed, spicy potatoes, which is topped with layers of avocado, eggs, and fresh fish.
  • Arepas. Popular in both Colombia and Venezuela, these savory corn cakes are often split and filled with toppings such as seasoned meat, cheese, and avocado, and eaten like a sandwich.
  • Jibarito. Though it was technically invented in Chicago, this unique steak sandwich has been adopted by Puerto Rican chefs everywhere, and features sliced, fried plantains in place of bread.
  • Papusas. Salvadorian papusas are similar to arepas, but have a texture that’s a little closer to a thick tortilla. They’re also traditionally stuffed with a spicy cabbage slaw and tomato salsa, in addition to other fillings.

Editor’s Pick: El Guanaco

This spot, much loved by both tourists and locals, effortlessly blends Mexican and Salvadorian cooking styles with just a touch of Florida flavor thrown in. Try the bean and cheese papusas or the churrasco steak, which comes topped with chimichurri and is served with rice and plantains.

Spotlight On: The Brazilian Grill

Fort Lauderdale is home to a number of well-regarded steakhouses, including outposts of national favorites like Ruth’s Chris and Morton’s. But in an area of the country so well-known for its Latin American cuisine, it makes sense that one of Fort Lauderdale’s best steakhouses would hail from Brazil. Of course, this rodizio-style restaurant works a little differently than your run-of-the-mill American steak spot. Here’s what to expect when you dine at The Brazilian Grill:

Unlimited meats. Yes, unlimited. Servers bring skewers of grilled steak, pork, chicken, sausage, and other delectable entrees to your table and will continue to come back and carve until you say “when.”

Not-so-standard salad bar. In addition to unlimited meats, your meal includes trips to a salad bar that also serves a number of traditional Brazilian side dishes, such as rice and beans and fried yuca.

Save room for dessert. This sounds like a nearly impossible task, but some reviewers call The Brazilian Grill’s key lime pie the best they’ve ever eaten.