So much about the beautiful sunny Fort Lauderdale is unforgettably romantic. Couples of all ages have headed to the Venice of America for its ocean-side Five-Star hotels, sparkling romantic waterways, blue-wave beaches, elegant shopping and the finest options for that perfect romantic dining experience. Fort Lauderdale is indeed the essence of beach-chic. From the world over these eager guests arrive to soak up the sun and take in the playful atmosphere and to celebrate life and to make memories with that special occasion. We at 10best know this city very well and are happy to suggest ten of the city's most romantic restaurants that will meet and surpass every expectation, and offering everyone's favorite cuisine. Clearly one of the city's most outstanding and romantic restaurants is the Grille 66 & Bar. Beautifully situated right on the Intracoastal Waterway can peruse this eatery's award-winning menu and take in the unmistakably romantic setting. Steak lovers get set for a treat – and a tough decision to make. Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, right on Las Olas Boulevard holds fast to its reputation for its amazing steaks and other menu items and its phenomenal vibe. Or perhaps it is Shula's On The Beach or 954 Steak at the W Hotel that will make for that perfect steak and perfect evening in a fine dining experience. Seafood lovers will keep coming back to the famous 15th Street Fisheries. This waterside dining option with its impeccable menu and stellar service is what it's famous for. And this is just the beginning!
Choose seating inside or out, whether to enjoy a drink from a list of beers (both domestic, imported or draft) or signature cocktails, such as the Kaluz Cadillac margarita, chocolate martini, coconut mohito or a Voli skinny cosmo. Also, choose from a stellar list of wines, including sparkling, Chardonnay, alluring and aromatic whites, Cabernet Sauvignon, bold reds, Pinot noir and others. Take in the calming waterway and subtropical scenery, and peruse the exceptional menu. This brings back diners back again and again. Choose from a list of enticing appetizers, flatbreads and salads. From a list of burgers and sandwiches for a lunch or casual dinner, Kaluz offers the veggie burger, classic cheeseburger – who can resist? – or the very decadent-sounding prime rib burger. (954-772-2209)
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 decor 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)
Sarafina is one of those Italian eateries that draws you in just by the name and the homey feel of its signage and the sheer anticipation of what is inside. While you may miss it by driving by, look carefully and stop in. Great things come in small packages. With its warm and welcoming Tuscan style dining room, decorated with photos of Italy, features a patio overlooking Middle River. Delicately prepared dishes such as braised short ribs, roasted lamb and rigatoni Bolognese attract discriminating diners, and a selection of pizzas is also available. Service is attentive, and the wine list offers popular affordable options. (954-463-2566)
Casa D'Angelo is a traditional Italian restaurant and serves classic dishes served in a formal and elegant setting. Locals rave of this place and it is a good place for toasting the important moments in life. Chef Angelo Elia created the restaurant's menu with recipes handed down to me from generations of passionate Italian cooks. Pasta, seafood, veal, and beef dishes are complemented by rich sauces, the wine list is extensive and well chosen, the dining room is elegant, and the service is extraordinary. Finish with cappuccino and creamy, bold tiramisu for the perfect celebratory meal. Reservations recommended. Business attire. (954-564-1234)
Chima Brazilian Steakhouse
Step through the revolving doorway, and it's evident this steakhouse aims to be the biggest and best. Located on Las Olas Boulevard, Chima Brazilian Steakhouse offers a chic dining experience that is a step above. The swanky bar features hardwood floors, a black curved countertop and stools, and the impressive dining room is filled with tables that accommodate large and small groups. On the periphery of the room, the abundant salad bar offers a variety of specialty salads such as bean, potato, Caesar and soy, and side items might include mashed potatoes, tabbouleh, soups, cold cuts, fruits and veggies. Top sirloin, lamb, chicken wings, ribs and several cuts of beef highlight the main dishes. Arrive for happy hour or dinner, or both, and settle in for a pleasant dining experience. (954-712-0580)
Although it is primarily known as a romantic setting for a beautiful evening out, Casablanca Cafe is equally as enchanting for a luncheon with friends or for business. This Fort Lauderdale Beach treasure is artfully housed in an authentic two-story Spanish home overlooking the always changing beachfront. The lunch menu is certainly as enticing as their dinner options with Calamari Fritters, delicious Steamed Mussels and Clams or perhaps Escargot with Attitude, which just might also serve as a conversation piece. Also available are soups, salads, sandwiches and enticing entrees such as Linguini Del Mar, Tropical Florida Mahi, Hibachi Grilled Salmon and Fish & Chips. Eat outside to take advantage of this sub-tropical paradise, or take a seat inside under the warm glow of Moroccan lamps, stucco walls, dark wood and wrought-iron accents. (954-764-3500)
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)
Steak 954 at the W Fort Lauderdale
Located in the recently christened $205 million W Hotel, Steak 954 is one of the most esteemed chophouses in town. This elegant signature Stephen Starr gourmet steakhouse restaurant boasts an irresistibly alluring, boutique-style oceanfront setting, and the flawlessly prepared cuisine is equally appealing. Discerning diners enjoy dry-aged beef from hand-picked ranches, Tajima Kobe from Australia and fresh local seafood, as well as exquisite wines and spirits from across the globe. Don't leave without indulging in a selection of delectable desserts such as pumpkin souffle and Heirloom Apple Bread Pudding, which add the perfect finish. Steak 954 is an ideal setting for an unforgettable formal evening on the beach, or even to impress that out-of-town client. ((954)414-8333)
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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