What are the Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale?

Searching for the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale? This guide dives straight into highlighting the cream of the crop, from beachside bistros to posh dining venues. Satisfy your hunger for the best restaurants Fort Lauderdale has to offer, without the fluff, just trusted recommendations for every palate and occasion.

I do understand that everyone has their own preferences, budgets, and styles.  For that reason I am providing this list as a guide, and not in a typical “rankings” summary. If you want my personal rankings, scroll to the bottom and find them separated by the cuisine type and you’ll see I went into great detail highlighting my experiences as well as a short list of my top places to dine.

This list will draw some praise as much as it will draw criticism.  It’s also difficult to rate a restaurant on one experience, but in my case of living here for over 20 years, most of these thankfully have been frequented many times.  Your mileage may vary, but take my notes and use them to your advantage whether you are a tourist or a local!

Overview of our Fort Lauderdale Restaurants Guide

  • Fort Lauderdale is a foodie’s paradise with a vibrant dining scene featuring award-winning restaurants like DUNE, trendy beachside spots, and a plethora of comfort food joints.
  • Waterfront dining is a major draw in the city, with a mix of casual dockside eateries and upscale oceanfront restaurants offering stunning views and diverse cuisines.
  • For those looking to indulge outside of meal times, the city boasts must-visit weekend brunch hotspots, happy hour favorites with great deals on drinks and bites, and a variety of outdoor dining options to enjoy the sunny climate.

Places to Eat in Fort Lauderdale

A bustling dining room with a view of Fort Lauderdale beach

Fort Lauderdale’s dining scene is a culinary canvas painted with a myriad of flavors. The city’s reputation as a food haven has been cemented by restaurants like DUNE by Laurent Tourondel, which was named the best restaurant in the city by the Miami New Times in 2022 and has made it onto the James Beard semifinalist list for the first time in years. From Grilled Spanish Octopus to Yellow Tail Crudo, DUNE’s menu is a testament to their culinary expertise, offering a symphony of flavors that delight the palate. The classy outdoor seating, private dining choices like the wine cellar, and the killer cocktails add to the restaurant’s charm, making it one of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale.

But DUNE is just the tip of the culinary iceberg. The city is dotted with an array of top dining destinations, each offering a unique gastronomic experience. Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, mouthwatering steaks, or inventive cocktails, Fort Lauderdale’s restaurants have got you covered.

While I’m not one for awards or media praise, I can tell you that DUNE is legit.  Our server, Randy, was one of the best servers we’ve had in Fort Lauderdale and extremely honest about every dish.

Trendy Eats and Beachside Treats

If you’re looking for a side of beach vibes with your meal, Fort Lauderdale won’t disappoint. The city’s beachside restaurants serve up a tantalizing array of dishes with a trendy twist. Take The Katherine, for instance, which we have added to our rotation.  This New American restaurant wows diners with its global influences, serving up innovative dishes like Clam Chowder Fries, (which were my favorite) Slow-Braised Duck Orecchiette, and Thai-Style Crab Rice.

It’s not just American cuisine that’s getting a trendy makeover. The city’s trendy eateries offer a delightful blend of tradition and innovation, including:

  • Neapolitan-style pizza and Short Rib Pappardelle at the best Italian restaurants
  • Isan-style cuisine at Larb Thai Isan
  • American classics around the clock at The Floridian

Fort Lauderdale’s Italian and Thai restaurants are also making waves.

Classic Comfort Food Favorites

Fort Lauderdale boasts a wide variety of comfort food options. The city’s steakhouses are top-notch, serving up everything from hand-cut beef tartare and dry-aged steaks to all-you-can-eat rodizio dinners. If you’re in the mood for Cuban comfort food, Padrino’s Cuban is the place to be. Known for their beef empanadas, plantain, and Cubano sandwiches, Padrino’s is a must-visit for any food lover.

But the comfort food journey doesn’t end there. The city also boasts a variety of Southern-style BBQ and American comfort food options. Some popular places to try include:

  • The Floridian, known for their ‘Fat Cat’ specials
  • LaSpada’s Original Hoagies, famous for their hearty sandwiches
  • Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar, where you can enjoy delicious pork belly tacos during happy hour.

There’s something for everyone in Greater Fort Lauderdale when it comes to comfort food.

International Delights

Fort Lauderdale’s international dining scene is also expansive. For a taste of Spain, Café Seville offers traditional Spanish dishes like tapas and seafood entrees, served in a cozy Spanish-style ambiance. If you’re in the mood for a fusion of flavors, Casa Sensei combines Latin and Asian influences to create a menu that’s as creative as it is delicious.

Moroccan cuisine also deserves a mention. At Dar Tajine, you can savour traditional Moroccan dishes like zaalouk, kofta, and merguez sausage sandwiches. It’s a culinary journey that’s sure to leave you with a newfound appreciation for Moroccan cuisine.

Fort Lauderdale Food on the Water

A waterfront restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the ocean

The waterfront dining scene in Fort Lauderdale offers a rich variety of delectable choices. From casual dockside joints to elegant oceanfront establishments, the city offers a variety of dining options with stunning views of the water. One such place is Southport, known for its delicious seafood dishes and nautical-themed dining room. If you’re looking for a great view of the water, make sure to grab a seat on the dock.

That’s just the beginning. The city’s waterfront restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, hearty comfort food, or creative fusion cuisine, Fort Lauderdale’s waterfront restaurants won’t disappoint.

Casual Dockside Dining

If you like your meals with a side of stunning views, Fort Lauderdale’s casual dockside dining options are just the ticket. These Fort Lauderdale restaurants offer a laid-back dining experience, allowing you to enjoy delicious food while taking in the beauty of the city’s waterways. Coconuts, for instance, is a popular spot by the Intercoastal Waterways, known for its indoor and outdoor seating and delicious food options. And if you’re visiting after 5 pm, don’t forget to try their crab empanadas and grilled oysters.

Another dockside dining destination is Shooters Waterfront. Known for its upscale feel and cozy outdoor dining with fire pits, Shooters Waterfront is a great place to unwind and enjoy a meal while taking in the views.  Shooters is one of our favorite weekend brunch spots, and if you are lucky enough to get a spot at the outside bar on a Saturday, you will be in great hands with Stephanie and her team.

Elegant Oceanfront Establishments

For those looking for a more upscale dining experience, Fort Lauderdale’s elegant oceanfront establishments offer a unique blend of fine cuisine and breathtaking sea views. Dune, for instance, serves up cuisine inspired by South Florida’s coastal flavors, like roasted Atlantic octopus and seared diver scallops. But be prepared to shell out a little extra, as a meal at this classy spot by the ocean will set you back between $31 to $50.

But Dune isn’t the only oceanfront establishment worth visiting. Other fancy oceanfront restaurants in Fort Lauderdale include:

All known for their classy vibe and amazing ocean views, Auberge Beach Residences stand out as a prime example near the vibrant Las Olas neighborhood.

If you are looking for more casual, I also made a list of where to find food trucks in Fort Lauderdale. You can find some real gems on this list!

Fort Lauderdale’s Best Weekend Brunch Spots

A table set for weekend brunch with a view of the Intracoastal Waterway

Experiencing brunch in Fort Lauderdale is an absolute must. The city’s brunch spots serve up a variety of unique dishes, bottomless mimosas, and waterfront views, making them the perfect way to kickstart your weekend. Some popular brunch spots in Fort Lauderdale include:

Fort Lauderdale boasts a brunch scene as well!

However, it’s more than just the food that matters. Fort Lauderdale’s brunch spots also offer a variety of unique experiences. Looking for bottomless mimosas with your brunch? Head to Shooters Waterfront or Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery. Fancy a waterfront brunch experience? Shooters Waterfront and Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery have got you covered.

Happy Hour Hotspots: Unwind and Indulge

A vibrant bar area with a variety of happy hour drinks and appetizers

Relaxing at one of Fort Lauderdale’s happy hour hotspots is the perfect way to end a day of culinary exploration. These establishments offer great deals on drinks, appetizers, and more, making them the perfect place to relax and indulge. Some of the top happy hour hotspots in Fort Lauderdale include:

  • Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar
  • Shooters Waterfront
  • Union Kitchen & Bar
  • Rooftop @W1LO

The city’s vibrant happy hour scene is sure to impress.

But these hotspots offer more than just drinks. Many of Fort Lauderdale’s happy hour hotspots also offer great deals on food. At Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar, for instance, you can enjoy discounted prices on tacos, while Shooters Waterfront offers deals on seafood dishes. Whether you’re looking for a place to unwind after a long day or just want to enjoy some great food and drinks, Fort Lauderdale’s happy hour hotspots have got you covered.

Oh, and I wouldn’t be a proper guide if I didn’t share with my the top pizzerias in Ft Lauderdale!

Al Fresco Dining: Outdoor Seating Options

An outdoor seating area surrounded by lush greenery and palm trees

With its 260 sunny days per year, Fort Lauderdale is ideal for dining al fresco. The city is home to a range of restaurants offering beautiful outdoor seating options, allowing you to enjoy delicious food while basking in the Florida sunshine. Some of the top outdoor dining spots in Fort Lauderdale include:

  • Tinta at Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach
  • Dolce Salato Pizza
  • Shooters Waterfront
  • Evelyn’s Fort Lauderdale
  • Rhythm & Vine
  • Boatyard
  • Coconuts

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor dining in Fort Lauderdale.

However, al fresco dining in Fort Lauderdale offers more than just pleasant weather. Many of these restaurants also offer stunning views of the city’s waterways, adding to the overall dining experience. Whether you’re looking for a casual lunch spot or an elegant dinner venue, Fort Lauderdale’s outdoor seating restaurants offer a dining experience like no other.

Hidden Gems: Off-the-Beaten-Path Eateries

Beyond Fort Lauderdale’s famous restaurants, the city also boasts hidden culinary gems and lesser-known eateries. These establishments offer a unique dining experience, with innovative dishes and a cozy atmosphere that sets them apart from the mainstream options. Some of these hidden gems include:

  • Room Nine01
  • Twice Removed
  • The Fitz Bar & Lounge
  • Mama Hank’s
  • Here & Now

These hidden gems offer a unique culinary experience that’s worth exploring.

These off-the-beaten-path eateries offer a wide variety of cuisines, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for some baked goods from Cyth & Co., hearty sandwiches from Room Nine01, or creative dishes from Twice Removed, Fort Lauderdale’s hidden gems are sure to impress. And with locals giving great reviews for these eateries, you know you’re in for a treat.

A Taste of Local Seafood: Fort Lauderdale’s Finest Seafood Restaurants

Seafood enthusiasts will be delighted. Fort Lauderdale’s seafood scene, including the lauderdale by the sea area, is as diverse as it is delicious, offering everything from fresh catches to local favorites. From Sea Watch on the Ocean to Southport Raw Bar and Blue Moon Fish Company, the city’s seafood restaurants serve up a culinary experience that’s sure to satisfy even the most discerning seafood lovers.

However, these restaurants offer more than just outstanding seafood. These restaurants also offer stunning views of the city’s waterways, adding to the overall dining experience. Whether you’re in the mood for crab tostada at Sea Watch on the Ocean or seafood gumbo at Blue Moon Fish Company, Fort Lauderdale’s seafood restaurants offer a dining experience that’s second to none.

Plant-Based Paradise: Top Vegan and Vegetarian Options

If plant-based cuisine is your preference, Fort Lauderdale has a variety of vegan and vegetarian dining options, including:

  • Tinta- Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach
  • PLANTA Queen Fort Lauderdale
  • SoBe Vegan
  • Blue Tree Cafe
  • Vegan Junkie Burgers
  • The Rabbit Hole
  • Leaves & Roots Lounge

These vegan and vegetarian restaurants offer a range of delicious, plant-based dishes that are sure to impress.

However, it’s not only the food that stands out. These restaurants also offer a unique dining experience. Some examples include:

  • Planta Queen: Enjoy a mix of Asian-inspired vegan dishes in a tropical setting.
  • Bulegreen Cafe Yard: A vegan-friendly brunch spot.
  • Milk Money Bar & Kitchen: A vegan-friendly brunch spot.
  • SoBe Vegan: A vegan-friendly brunch spot.
  • PLANTA Queen Fort Lauderdale: A vegan-friendly brunch spot.
  • Fresh: A vegan-friendly brunch spot.
  • Parlour Vegan Bakery: A vegan-friendly brunch spot.

Looking for something in specific?  Check out my recommendations based on cuisine:

If you had to twist my arm and get me to rank the best restaurants in or near Fort Lauderdale, here’s my list.  Any with hyper links lead to my full review with photos.

  1. Billy’s Stone Crabs (Hollywood)
  2. Casa D’Angelo
  3. DUNE
  4. Mastros
  5. Lobster Bar Sea Grille

So that’s it! A short list of the best places to eat in Fort Lauderdale.  I know there are dozens, if not hundreds of restaurants that I missed, but these ones came to mind right away.  I’ll aways update this list as I come across more great Fort Lauderdale restaurants.

Despite all of these amazing restaurants we have, there aren’t currently any that are Michellin star rated in Fort Lauderdale.


And there you have it! A culinary journey through the diverse and delicious food scene of Fort Lauderdale. From trendy beachside eateries and classic comfort food joints to hidden gems and vegan havens, this South Florida hotspot offers a dining experience for every palate. And with stunning waterfront views, beautiful outdoor seating options, and a thriving happy hour scene, Fort Lauderdale is truly a food lover’s paradise. So, why not embark on your own culinary adventure and discover the flavors of Fort Lauderdale?

Frequently Asked Questions

What food is Ft Lauderdale known for?

While in Fort Lauderdale, you should try some of the local seafood, such as stone crab, mahi-mahi, and Florida spiny lobster. Additionally, the city is known for its Cuban influence, so trying some authentic Cuban cuisine is also a must. The city is popular for its fresh seafood and Latin-inspired restaurants.

What is the nice street in Fort Lauderdale?

The nicest street in Fort Lauderdale is Las Olas Boulevard, known for its variety of bistros, clubs, and restaurants, making it a must-visit destination for food lovers. Check it out next time you’re in the area!

Does Fort Lauderdale have a downtown?

Yes, Fort Lauderdale has a downtown that offers a vibrant mix of urban amenities, including highrises, businesses, restaurants, boutiques, and museums with a tropical touch. It’s known for its glamour and charm, making it a modern sub-tropical urban center with an enviable beach.

Is Fort Lauderdale known for partying?

Yes, Fort Lauderdale is known for its vibrant nightlife with a variety of entertainment options including dancing, gaming, bars, restaurants, and live music. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back evening or an energetic night out, Fort Lauderdale has it all!

What’s the best restaurant in Fort Lauderdale?

The best restaurant in Fort Lauderdale is DUNE by Laurent Tourondel, according to the Miami New Times in 2022.

5/5 - (1 vote)


Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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