Everyone likes to know the locals favorites of family-friendly restaurants. Of the millions of tourists who visit Fort Lauderdale every year the first question asked is "Where is a good restaurant?" And if there is the entire family in the mix the choices take on a slightly different twist, as now the restaurant must welcome an appeal to kids and family groups. We at 10best know of the best family-friendly restaurants, all within an easy driving distance of the major hotels, the airport and Port Everglades. For a taste of local legendary eateries, try the Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show. This unique restaurant is awe-inspiring with its delicious menu items and unique show. For families who especially love Italian food, Buca di Beppo is another local favorite that is known for the amazing family-style restaurant with generous family-style portions. South Florida's large Cuban community is well-known and at Laura's Cuban Restaurant, guests can enjoy this amazing cuisine in this welcoming eatery. Everyone loves diner food and Peter Pan Restaurant satisfies just those cravings. For those who pine for a Chicago-style restaurant with food unique to this city, head to Fat Lou's Chicago Style Eatery. With its memorable name and menu of favorites this will surely become a favorite. Visitors find that Fort Lauderdale is a perfect vacation destination and has a restaurant that will make a trip here memorable and fun.
Peter Pan Restaurant
One of the most popular restaurants in Fort Lauderdale is Peter Pan Diner. Just ask anyone. This popular diner-type restaurant has been open for many years and sits conveniently on Oakland Park Boulevard and Dixie Highway, just east of the tracks. Nothing fancy, just a very welcoming eatery that will surely become your favorite. Come early, especially during "season" (December - June) when Peter Pan Diner fills up quickly for breakfast, with a list of everyone's favorites that come heaped on the plate. From omelets to pancakes, eggs made to order and endless combinations of delicious options. This is where snowbirds flutter as quickly as they get back to Florida, as well as those who live here year-round. The decision of what to order isn't easy, so consider yourself warned. This is the fun part. ((954) 565-7177)
Laura's Cuban Restaurant
When you're in the mood for good times and authentic Cuban cuisine, be sure to checkout Laura's Cuban Restaurant. The restaurant is located in one of the area's most pleasant settings and is known for its delightful staff and superb cuisine. The menu at Laura's Cuban Restaurant features a wide array of great selections, made from only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, with something sureto please every member of your group. Laura's Cuban Restaurant has established itself as one of the area's favorite culinary destinations and is sure to offer you a pleasant and unique dining experience every time you visit. (9549219990)
Grampa's Bakery and Restaurant
Grampa's Bakery & Restaurant has been a local favorite since it opened its doors in 1957, serving the very best feel-good favorites of home-style food, as well as fresh-baked breads, biscuits, pastries and breads in a spot just a short drive from Fort Lauderdale. The bakery/restaurant duo was made famous by its appearance on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, when the nation took notice. Crowds line up early to get a seat and order their favorites from the extensive menu. Located in the cozy 'burb of Dania Beach, just south of downtown Fort Lauderdale and amidst antique shops, boutiques and parks, Grampa's Bakery & Restaurant is a must-stop. ((954) 923-2163)
Bahia Cabana is a delightfully breezy, casual restaurant that serves three meals a day, but it is a particularly lovely spot for breakfast. Calm and relaxed and subtle sense of fun, with great service and all the traditional American breakfast favorites, including fresh coffee, fruit, cereals, juices, stuffed omelets, eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, grits, and more. What better way to start to your day than with great service, a view overlooking Fort Lauderdale's largest marina and endless selections of excellent food choices, no doubt, this is your best bet. Conveniently, this establishment can be reached by water taxi, car or boat. (954-524-1555)
Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show
A Fort Lauderdale mainstay and local institution, Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show is an absolute must-do. This restaurant has served excellent, traditional Cantonese and American dishes in an exotic atmosphere for almost half a century. The décor makes you feel like you are on a Polynesian village, with a thatch roof, statues, tiki torches, and a bridge at the entrance. The restaurant has received excellent reviews for its Cantonese seafood dishes, grilled steak, and Peking duck. Try any of 51 frosty tropical umbrella drinks, and don't miss the Islander Revue, an entertaining showcase of authentic Polynesian dance and costume. Easy to find, just north of Oakland Park Boulevard on Federal Highway. (954-563-3272)
This is probably one of the most unusual hamburger joints around. Known for its famous hamburgers, having been voted the best hamburger in GQ Magazine and also known for being a favorite of Oprah's friend Gail. Set along the Intracoastal Waterway in a former garage guests sit among a number of old bathroom fixtures that are scattered around and surrounded by flowers and plants. The service may be slow but just be patient and take in the beautiful views of the river and the parade of boats that go by and know that when the food arrives it will be memorable. If it's not hamburgers you want decide from the menu of chicken, salads, great sides, desserts and a list of great beers and cocktails. ((954) 921-9425)
Everyone knows about The Floridian. It's one of those places that's not fancy, walls covered with celebrity pictures – mostly well-known for being a Rachel Rae favorite – and tables close to one another and fellow diners just inches away, and the place that has the best food around. From salads that catch your eye as they go by to another table, and one particular favorite, the Buffalo Burger, mark this place down as your favorite. It's especially busy on weekend mornings, when folks gather for huge omelets, fresh oatmeal, biscuits, and other typical breakfast fare. Don't expect the service to be refined or sophisticated, but do expect the food to be hearty and satisfying. There's an ATM on-site. (954-463-4041)
Buca di Beppo - Davie
With an almost legendary status in Fort Lauderdale, Buca di Beppo is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Serving family-style classic Italian dishes, this is a great place for families and friends and office gatherings, the food here is what everyone thinks of what Mom makes. With two locations locally, one in Fort Lauderdale and one in Davie, not to mention 84 other locations nationwide, you will love the incredibly friendly staff and be dazzled by the unique decor, with photos lining the walls of Italian icons such as Sophia Loren and Joe DiMaggio. And, of course, the food! Dive in and try an amazing list of delicious appetizers, salads, pastas, pizzas, entr�, desserts, beer and fine wines. Go online and make a reservation today! (9545773287)
15th Street Fisheries
Voted Best Waterfront Restaurant in South Florida in a 2011 local media poll, 15th Street Fisheries has rustic charm and waterfront views that make this Lauderdale Marina seafood house a popular destination. Take advantage of its unique location in this most famous nautical landmark to arrive in a car or a boat. There is no better way to enjoy this restaurant's many choices of fabulous seafood, drink specials, and their $5 Happy Hour menu, which includes chicken wings, calamarie, mini burgers and conch fritters, than in its ideal location right on the waterway near the amazing 17th Street Causeway drawbridge and Port Everglades inlet to the Atlantic Ocean. (954-763-2777)
Warsaw Coffee Company
Warsaw Coffee Company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is just blocks west of Federal Highway and north of Wilton Manors, Florida and patrons have had no problem finding it.
Proudly the city's newest relaxing coffee shop, catering to those can't wait for another cup, all in a sophisticated setting. Warsaw Coffee Company offers single origin, locally roasted specialty coffee along with sweet & savory artisan bake goods, craft beer and wine. Even more, available is an extensive menu of fresh salads, delicious sandwiches and even more, as well as tempting sweets that has convinced many to return over and over again. (954-990-4189)
About Dale Mack
Dale Mack has been involved in Fort Lauderdale tourism and promotions for over twenty years. Working for Travelhost Magazine in Dallas, Texas, he was especially drawn to the edition published by the Fort Lauderdale Associate Publisher; the city's beauty, its energy and the fun-in-the-sun atmosphere. When an opportunity came to relocate to Fort Lauderdale by another company, Dale accepted. He has spent the last eleven years discovering "the Venice of America" and South Florida itself.
Dale is the author of three children's books and numerous articles. He has also worked as a copywriter for the South Florida real estate market.
Read more about Dale Mack here.
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