Fort Lauderdale's Seafood Restaurants: One of Many Reasons to Visit the City
By Dale Mack
Fort Lauderdale Local Expert
Fort Lauderdale, Florida prides itself in knowing how to welcome and entertain its guests. With millions of eager travelers arriving each year for vacation, a honeymoon, a business trip, or even to scout out a new home, you can rest assured that you're in good hands. Once you're settled in and are ready to find seafood in Ft. Lauderdale, know that 10Best has you covered. Our editors and locals search the city and suburbs for the top places. Then, we showcase popular restaurants like Grille 66 & Bar, and Sea Level, we highlight eateries with great user reviews, like the pleasant Sunfish Grill. We also help you find areas where Seafood is prominent - the East Fort Lauderdale area, for example - so that you not only get terrific dining recommendations, but you also have choices of a number of choice to pick from. For dinner with a great view of the Intracoastal, stop at Joseph's On The Water, or 15 Street Fisheries. After shopping on Las Olas Boulevard, it's off to Tarpon Bend to indulge in a great menu in a great atmosphere. Want to join the party at the beach? Stop in at Lulu's Bait Shack for awesome food and fun. For elegance, plan a visit to Grill 66 & Bar, or the lovely 3030 Ocean. Of course, for a fun and adventurous experience, it's an evening at The Rustic Inn. After all, if you're going to eat, you may as well do it right and take advantage of Fort Lauderdale's best.
Lulu's Bait Shack
Just say the name and you know this is a fun place to be. Lulu's Bait Shack is a staple on Ft. Lauderdale Beach on the second floor of the playful and happening Beach Place complex, just north of the intersection of Las Olas Boulevard and A1A. What a perfect place for a weekend night or to bring those out-of-town guests and introduce them to the lively scene that is Ft. Lauderdale. Enjoy an amazing selection of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and seafood dishes -- and even Cajun specialties. Nightly live music, tangy Buffalo shrimp, beer and enviable frozen cocktails draw a scene to this fun, hip seafood house and bar. And don't forget to purchase the souvenir glass so you can brag to all your friends later. (954-463-7425)
Juniper On The Water
Located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway with its spectacular views of dazzling passing boats and yachts and what South Florida is known for, Juniper's On The Water offers these incredible views year-round in an unpretentious yet assuredly romantic atmosphere. Whether dining on the covered patio or inside the elegantly casual dining room, patrons enjoy perfectly prepared seafood, succulent steaks and featured favorites like the fisherman's platter or the delicious fresh snapper soufflé. Juniper's also features "Le Cabaret", an intimate live music venue perfect for conversation and cocktails. Juniper's is the only venue that offers Cabaret Entertainment along with the up close and personal views of the Intracoastal. (954-544-3370)
Presenting an appetizing menu of such unique items as Scallop Kakiage, Conch Fritters and Key West Shrimp, this funky seafood house has earned an enthusiastic following for its simple, delectable preparations of fresh fish, presented artistically and beautifully to anticipating patrons. The small restaurant is decked out in clever retro style and, in addition to perfectly cooked fish, offers boldly flavored sauces, nice wines, fresh breads, and scrumptious homemade desserts. Beef and chicken dishes are well done too. Considered an undiscovered gem by many locals in the know, Sunfish Grill is not far from the beach or downtown. Reservations recommended; casual dress. (954-564-6464, 954-788-2434)
Located in the Riverwalk area since 1999, Tarpon Bend is a perfect combination of a fun, casual seafood restaurant with an air of stylish sophistication. This popular eatery welcomes visitors and locals alike to relax in its main floor and balcony seating areas with plenty of windows and a modern feel. Natural wood tones are accented by black padded chairs with silver accents. Sit back, sip luscious cocktails and nibble on shellfish while perusing the raw bar, appetizer or cocktail menu. Select from such items as the Crab-Crusted Mahi Mahi, Salmon Provencal or the Sizzling Seafood Kettle. Live music is performed every Friday night, and Monday nights feature live reggae music. (954-523-3233)
Rustic Inn Crabhouse
What started as a self-admitted hole-in-the-wall, Rustic Inn Crabhouse has grown up to become a classic local favorite. Be sure to dress casual at this dockside seafood house, as diners garbed in fashionable bibs and grubby attire crack crabs with wooden mallets at picnic tables. What fun! In addition to crabs, shrimp, lobster, seafood pasta, and a variety of fish, grilled or broiled, make tasty dinners; meanwhile, chicken and beef dishes keep landlubbers from going hungry. Daily lunch specials run $5-7 and include side items (usually fries and coleslaw) and a beverage. Try Tuesday's dolphin platter with potatoes, rice and sautéed veggies. (954-584-1637)
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)
This seafood restaurant is located in the Riverside Hotel on beautiful Las Olas Boulevard. If it's seafood you're seeking, look no further. Offered here is delightful tempura coated lobster tail, pan fried catfish and Parmesan dipped Alaskan cod are among the options at dinner, including great salads and many family favorites. Indigo also had a kids menu so be sure and bring the entire family. Consider arriving early for a delicious breakfast every morning. Menu items include pancakes, French toast and Belgian waffles. Boulevard specials consist of a combo plate and complimentary beverage. Try the Indigo (eggs, potatoes and toast with country ham, bacon or sausage) or the Continental mini-pastry basket. Fruit and cereals are also available. (954-467-0045, 954-467-0671)
Grille 66 & Bar
No question about it, this enchanting waterfront steakhouse exudes luxury. Located in the Hyatt, Grill 66 offers balcony dining that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway with its grand stream of boats and yachts and picturesque views. The 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 accompaniment to the meat. A long-time local favorite, Grill 66 is sure to become every visitor's favorite as well. (954-728-3500)
Sea Level Restaurant and Ocean Bar is located at the elegant Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa and has become the talk of the town. With menus that are fresh and inventive, and with seating indoors or outside under a covered patio with amazing views and the feel of the sub-tropical breezes, enjoy Florida at its finest. Under the direction of Executive Chef John Leslie, this memorable menu at Sea Level is an innovative cuisine from enticing starters to several items meant to share, to hearty entrees and tempting desserts. And don't forget to try a cocktail, where bartenders offer the Garden to Glass method of mixology. These drinks are prepared with the freest squeezed juices and herbs from the chef's organic garden. (954-765-3041)
Residing at the beautiful Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa, 3030 Ocean is a clear departure from the stereotypical seafood room, as this restaurant's interior is cloaked in rich colors and classy dark woods. The menu changes frequently and emphasizes organic ingredients. Starters such as watermelon and French feta salad complement the raw bar, and main course offerings might include grilled pompano on wild arugula salad with passion fruit vinaigrette or tempura tuna with sweet rice, pickled cucumber and sesame chili sauce. The Goombay Smash (rum, banana liqueur, orange and pineapple juices), Frozen Oreo Mudslide (Kahlua, vanilla vodka, Bailey's, Oreos and cream), and Blackberry Mojito highlight the cocktail menu. Rarely is there such an exquisite setting with such delectable fare. (954-765-3030, 954-525-4000)
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 nine 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.
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