Fort Lauderdale is world-known for its cruise port and is synonymous with cruising itself. Each year millions of visitors pass through the city en route to Port Everglades to embark on the time of their lives. Within just miles of this gateway are many classic restaurants that are eager to welcome new patrons as well as locals with the best food. We at 10best have scouted the area and have chosen ten of the top eateries to recommend. These restaurants have been around for many years and know how to please eager travelers. If it's steak that you're craving then make reservations at Grill 66 & Bar where patrons eat in style with great views of the playful Intracoastal Waterway and even pull up in their boat for the evening! Or consider Chuck's Steakhouse, a classic restaurant that holds a stellar reputation and a mouth-watering menu, or even Tropical Acres Steakhouse, which has been a local mainstay for over 60 years. Is eating organic important? No problem. Market 17 is just the place. With farm-fresh and organic ingredients of the tastiest kind, health-conscious diners have found their favorites right here. And, of course, for the seafood lovers it's got to be 15th Street Fisheries, which has been serving the finest seafood and is a local icon. If it's diner food that's craved stop at Lester's Diner, just blocks from the port's entrance. And for dessert? No place will hit the spot like Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant. Welcome to Fort Lauderdale and enjoy!
Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant
Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant in Dania Beach, just a couple of miles from Port Everglades, is a local favorite and truly a legendary and unique eatery with ice cream which is made on the premises and a food menu of family-favorites. Their out-of-this-world ice cream and tantalizing toppings are prepared daily on the premises using the freshest dairy cream, berries, and nuts. Jaxson's sodas, sundaes and other ice cream treats are topped with real whipped cream. Besides the endless ice cream options, Jaxson's offers a delightful menu of great salads, burgers, hot dogs, wraps, chicken and cold sandwiches. This playful and eclectic restaurant has been featured on The Food Network's Top 5 "Cool Quenchers" and will be featured on an episode of "Unwrapped". It is also home to one of the nation's largest collections of rural American memorabilia. Take your time to look at this world-class automobile license plate collection from every state, which has been put together by Udell himself, and browse through the fascinating gift shop when you walk in and take home a t-shirt or other souvenir. This is definitely a part of the Fort Lauderdale experience. (954-923-4445)
With three locations in South Florida and one just outside the entrance to Port Everglades, the legendary Lester's Diner has been around for over 40 years and for good reason. With prime locations, prime food and prime service, Lester's is where locals know to go for the best in a great diner-type breakfast. Infamous for the 14-oz. coffee, top it off and dive into that delicious stack of pancakes, Belgian Waffles, enticing French Toast or an endless array of omelets. Also try the bagels, Gyro & Two Eggs or the "LEO", which stands for Lox, Eggs and Onion, or perhaps the always-favorite Eggs Benedict, all prepared just as they should be. (954-525-5641)
Tom Jenkins' Bar-B-Q
Tom Jenkins' Bar-B-Q is known for its succulent ribs and famous BBQ sauce, this cozy eatery bustles with families dining at picnic tables and boasts that this is a taste that you will never forget. Classic soul food dishes such as collard greens, mac'n'cheese, baked beans, corn bread and sweet potato pie complement the meat. Before you leave, be sure to grab a bottle of Jenkins' signature sauce to take home. So, as the friendly staff puts out the invitation to put on your comfy casual clothes and get to know your neighbor at their Southern style restaurant where everybody is family. (954-522-5046)
Trendy and festive best describe this Italian restaurant, which has plentiful portions that are creatively presented. Not the place for a quiet, intimate dinner, this bistro is known for its upbeat late-night crowd. If you like a party atmosphere and you want the best veal chop in the city, this is your place. Voted the "best chop" several years running, this dish is huge, tender, and flavorful. Served with roast garlic and wine reduction along with fantastic mashed potatoes and vegetables. This is a meal fit for a king or queen. Upscale casual attire. Reservations accepted only for parties of six or more. (954-522-6620)
Tropical Acres Steakhouse
Family-owned and operated since opening its doors in 1949, and under the management of the family's third and fourth generation, Tropical Acres Steakhouse comes highly recommended by locals and tourists alike. Broward's oldest steak and seafood restaurant, there is no doubt they are the experts. Voted South Florida's Best Steakhouse and also awarded with the Sun Sentinel's Grade A Rating, Tropical Acres Steakhouse is known for serving the finest steaks and seafood in a clean, cozy and fun atmosphere. This is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal on any occasion, including weddings. Specialties include everything from rich Gorgonzola toast and buttery escargot to saut� frog legs, original crab cakes and succulent steak au poivre. (954-989-2500)
Coco Asian Bistro and Bar
Located near Port Everglades on the popular 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale is the Coco Asian Bistro and Bar. This elegant, upscale restaurant is a draw to locals and the many visitors that visit annually. Asian food lovers savor striking flavors and international wines in this sophisticated dining room. Chef Mike Ponluang has taken Asian dining to the next level of fine dining. With his more than 30 years of cooking experience, 15 of which were spent at the acclaimed Thai Pepper, he has transformed this cuisine to a level rarely seen. The menu features mouth-watering dishes that must be tasted. Coco Asian Bistro and Bar is an experience not soon forgotten. (954-525-3541)
15th Street Fisheries
Voted Best Waterfront Restaurant in South Florida in a 2011 Sun-Sentinel Readers 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)
With more and more people searching out organic foods in farmers markets and specialized supermarkets, there has been much talk about town concerning Market 17 Fresh Farm Restaurant and Bar. Unique, as there aren't many restaurants that boast of an enticing farm-to-table organic menu, what they like to call "wine country cuisine", something you don't see much of in South Florida. Serving only clean, fresh food, the fish and seafood are caught by fisherman, the meat and poultry produced by ranchers, and the produce provided by farmers and none of it will not contain any unnecessary pesticides, chemicals, hormones or steroids. Now that that's settled, think about the menu options. Each is served in a eye-catching, beautiful plating, and every taste can be satisfied here. The menu changes depending on what is available so each visit offers delicious options that will keep you coming back. (9543990017)
Dining at Chuck's Steakhouse is one of those great experiences that is unforgettable. Diners tell their friends and family of the incredible food and great service, and it isn't long before they show up, too. If a juicy cooked-to-order steak is what you're craving, Chuck's Steakhouse is the place to go. Chuck's opened its Florida location in the late 1970's and continues to offer a family-friendly neighborhood atmosphere, knowledgeable and dedicated staff and the finest aged Western choice beef available. Steak options include the Porterhouse Steak, Top Sirloin, Filet and Prime Rib, alongside other menu musts like house-made fish dip and Black Diamond Tuna. Unmistakably one of Fort Lauderdale's most treasured eateries, Chuck's Steakhouse will continue their proud tradition for many generations to come. (954-764-3333)
Grille 66 & Bar
No question about it, this enchanting local favorite waterfront steakhouse exudes luxury. Located in the Hyatt, Grill 66 offers balcony dining that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway. Available for the boating enthusiasts who want to arrive in style is a convenient 400 foot dock. The award-winning menu offers popular appetizers such as crispy shrimp and calamari, filet mignon carpaccio, and a charcuterie platter. Main course offerings include lobster, crab cakes, veal and lamb chops in case a strip steak, filet mignon or porterhouse doesn't do the trick. Artfully prepared potatoes and green veggies provide a satisfying accompaniments to the meat. Grill 66 & Bar has set a new standard in Fort Lauderdale for the finest in steakhouses. (954-728-3500)
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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