Foodies feel right at home in Fort Lauderdale. Located here is an abundance of natural and whole food options at every corner of Broward County. Demand has brought about a much celebrated food festival; a number of specialty food stores, both nationally known and local favorites; and farmers markets, both large and small - some in their own customary accommodations and others in make-shift convenient set-ups in local parking lots. Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood, Florida — Photo courtesy of Dale Mack
The Las Olas Wine and Food Festival has become an annual staple for local foodies. This annual celebration of all things food is welcomed by an ever-increasing fanfare, complete with local celebrity chefs and the city’s finest restaurants offering samples of their favorite dishes. The boulevard is blocked to traffic, and attendees can mingle and perhaps even discover a new eatery that they have missed.
Specialty food stores are certainly aplenty in and around Fort Lauderdale. Chief among them is the very popular Whole Foods with three locations: Fort Lauderdale, Plantation and Coral Springs. Foodies flock to these for their organic favorites. Whole Foods Market — Photo courtesy of Stanley T. Bird, Jr.
With five South Florida locations, Doris Italian Market & Bakery is everyone's favorite specialty Italian market, and the constantly full parking lots prove it. From imported wines to the freshest fruits and veggies, the not-your-ordinary pastas and tomato sauces, the freshest meats that are sliced to order and cases of amazing Italian pastries and desserts that no one can pass by without a peek and a purchase, Doris' is considered by true foodies as a local gift.
And for those who demand their meat come from a specialty butcher shop, locals go to Smitty's Old Fashioned Butcher Shop in Oakland Park. Located in an average shopping strip, Smitty's is known for their super-fresh and absolute highest quality cuts of beef, pork, lamb, poultry, veal and game.
Also offered are top wines from a Napa Valley Cab to an Australian Shiraz, and professionals are on hand to recommend what goes with what. Smitty's also provides a unique niche for Fort Lauderdale, being the yachting capital of the world: The experts here cater to the needs of the world's finest super yachts and can have food on board within 48-72 hours under most circumstances. Without question, this is the ultimate super service for Fort Lauderdale foodies.
With the popularity of farmers markets and the availability of locally grown goodies, Yellow Green Farmers Market, just a few miles west of the coast off Taft Street and I-95 in Hollywood, is dedicated to integrating green living into the heart of daily life. This 100,000-square-foot, open-air facility holds over 300 booths that offer fruits and vegetables, seafood, olives and olive oils, pastas, plants and flowers, pet food, jewelry and freshly made breads. The space also hosts an ice cream stand and even a masseuse.
Other farmers markets have sprung up throughout Fort Lauderdale, the closest being right in the heart of downtown each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Plaza at YOLO on East Las Olas Boulevard at Fourth Avenue. Nearby Wilton Manors, Davie, Pompano Beach and Oakland Park also make for convenient spots for locals to buy locally grown produce.
And for those devoted foodies who wish to move up to the next level and hone their cooking skills under the instruction of the pros, Publix Supermarkets offers specialized cooking classes via Publix Aprons Cooking School, located in their Plantation store on University Boulevard and I-595/ Future chefs get hand-on training that suits the professional cook as well as the beginner, so they can create their own gourmet delights.
Foodies in Fort Lauderdale enjoy a wide variety of outlets and celebrations of their culinary passions.