Top 10 Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale on the Water

Find the best restaurants Fort Lauderdale on the water with this definitive guide. Experience waterfront dining at its finest, from casual spots to luxury venues, each with breathtaking views that promise to enhance every meal.  I’ve dined at all of these venues and have links to more in depth reviews where I’ve taken the time to go into further depth, so please enjoy and feel free to share your comments at the bottom!

Also, a few of these mentions made my list of the best seafood restaurants in Ft Lauderdale, so if you are a seafood lover, you’ll want to check out that guide as well.  Also, as I write this guide, remember, these are restaurants on the water, but that doesn’t mean that they are on the actual beach.  It’s important to go over that point up front as many people visiting may not know that we have many waterways, a river, and an inner-coastal waterway that provides waterfront dining, but many on this list are not on the actual beach.

If you are looking to be beachfront, check out this list.  Otherwise, know I’ve got you covered here for great views on water, no matter what type it is!

Waterfront Dining in Fort Lauderale Overview

  • Fort Lauderdale’s waterfront dining scene offers a range of unique culinary experiences, from Pelican Landing’s varied menu and Casa Sensei’s Latin-Asian fusion to the romantic and USA-centric dishes of Sea Watch on the Ocean.
  • Restaurants like Lona Cocina Tequileria specialize in modern takes on Mexican cuisine with an extensive tequila selection, while places like Blue Moon Fish Co. are celebrated for their award-winning seafood and waterway views.
  • Many waterfront dining spots combine great food with entertainment and views, like Shooters Waterfront’s live music and weekend brunch, proving the area’s vibrancy and suitability for any dining occasion.

1. Pelican Landing

Aerial view of Pelican Landing restaurant on the waterfront

Pelican Landing, occupying a prime spot with a splendid waterfront view, provides a unique dining experience from its second-floor location. This spot is a go-to for both island hoppers in need of sustenance and locals desiring a picturesque lunch backdrop.

The menu at Pelican Landing is as varied as it is delicious. Guests can savor a delightful variety of cuisine, including steaks, seafood, salads, burgers, and sandwiches. The restaurant’s signature dishes, such as Chicken Tomato Tortilla Soup, Ropa Vieja Smothered Tostones, and various shrimp preparations like Beer Battered, Coconut, Grilled Shrimp, and Shrimp Embrochette, are not to be missed.

Beyond food, Pelican Landing beckons with a diverse selection of beverages, including:

  • Fine wines
  • Spirits
  • Crisp artisan beers on tap
  • A variety of martinis
  • An extensive list of other liquors

Perfect for a happy hour treat as you take in the waterfront views. Open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pelican Landing gives you ample time to enjoy their succulent seafood options for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner.

2. Casa Sensei 

Entering Casa Sensei immerses you in the vibrant world of Latin-Asian fusion cuisine. This gem of a restaurant is nestled in the heart of the Las Olas dining scene, offering a unique dining experience with a beautiful waterfront view. Much like Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery, Casa Sensei’s laid back atmosphere, coupled with the gentle ocean breeze, makes it a prime spot for waterfront dining in Fort Lauderdale.

A talented culinary team is the driving force behind Casa Sensei’s innovative menu. Executive chef Richard Huang from Thailand, along with co-owners Victor and Patricia Diaz, are dedicated to providing delicious food to their patrons, making it one of the best Asian restaurants in Fort Lauderdale for three consecutive years.

The restaurant’s unique blend of Latin and Asian flavors is what sets it apart. Mouth-watering Pan-Asian fusion plates and tapas, including items like:

  • Truffle Edamame
  • Rock Shrimp Tempura
  • Charred Octopus
  • Chino Sticky Ribs

are just a few examples of the culinary delights that await you at Casa Sensei. The sushi bar offers a delightful variety of sushi options, making it a perfect setting for sushi lovers.

3. Sea Watch on the Ocean

Romantic evening at Sea Watch on the Ocean waterfront restaurant

Sea Watch on the Ocean is your destination for a romantic waterfront dining experience. This seafood restaurant provides an incredible atmosphere with a variety of seating options, showcasing local cuisine and American dishes. Offering vegetarian-friendly choices, Sea Watch on the Ocean has something for everyone. Visitors have raved about the ambiance, food, and setting, making it an ideal place for waterfront dining in Fort Lauderdale.

Among the restaurant’s signature dishes, you’ll find:

  • Savory Filet Mignon served with Béarnaise Sauce
  • Grilled Shrimp & Filet
  • Scallops & Filet
  • Lobster Benedict
  • Broiled Mahi Mahi
  • Twin Cold-Water Lobster Tails stuffed with Crab Meat

These dishes make Sea Watch on the Ocean a paradise for seafood and beef lovers.

Dinner at Sea Watch on the Ocean is served from 5:00pm to 9:00pm (Sun.-Thu.), with extended hours until 10:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays. This provides the perfect opportunity for special occasions or a delightful night out with breathtaking ocean views and a chance to enjoy their raw bar offerings.

4. Riverside Retreat: Boathouse at the Riverside

Boathouse at the Riverside, nestled directly on the New River, presents a charming vintage Florida ambiance, a lively and relaxed atmosphere, and stunning waterfront dining with unparalleled views. Guests can enjoy dishes like crab cake salad and other Mediterranean-inspired small plates, making it a standout amongst other waterfront restaurants located in Lauderdale by the Sea.

You can look forward to trying a delicious assortment of Mediterranean-inspired small plates and specialty cocktails at Boathouse at the Riverside. The restaurant’s location, near the Ritz Carlton, provides a memorable dining experience that will tantalize your taste buds.

Boathouse at the Riverside is open for all day dining from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. This leaves plenty of time to enjoy their delicious offerings in a waterfront restaurant located in one of the best spots in Fort Lauderdale.

5. Takato: Japanese-Korean Fusion with a View

Situated in the Conrad Hotel, Takato presents a distinctive fusion of Japanese and Korean cuisine. The upscale, modern ambiance sets it apart from typical Japanese restaurant designs, providing a unique dining experience for its guests.

Takato’s approach to Japanese-Korean fusion cuisine sets it apart. The restaurant offers an upscale menu with shareable small plates and entrees, focusing on sushi while avoiding stereotypical Japanese design elements to provide a unique, high-end modern dining experience.

The restaurant takes pride in using the freshest and most authentic ingredients, such as fresh seafood options like:

  • organic king salmon
  • miso-marinated salmon
  • mustard tofu
  • lemon
  • sea salt
  • mango kimchi

to elevate the flavor profiles of their dishes. Guests can delight in an exquisite array of upscale shareable small plates and entrees, with a special emphasis on delectable sushi options.

6. Lona Cocina Tequileria: Mexican Cuisine by the Beach

Lona Cocina Tequileria restaurant with beachfront view

Lona Cocina Tequileria is a stylish beachfront restaurant offering Mexican cuisine with modern twists. Its location, at 321 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, promises a scenic beachfront dining experience that’s hard to beat. The restaurant features indoor/outdoor seating, a tequila tasting room, and private spaces with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The innovative menu is crafted by the renowned Chef Pablo Salas, celebrated for his creative approach to Mexican culinary traditions. The restaurant offers a delightful modern interpretation of traditional Mexican cuisine, featuring delectable dishes such as Shrimp Tacos, Lobster Quesadilla, and Lamb Tamale. The beverage menu at Lona Cocina Tequileria is distinguished by its tequila tasting room, which offers an impressive selection of over 300 tequilas & mezcals, making it a highlight for tequila enthusiasts.

Guests can visit Lona Cocina Tequileria from 11:30AM to 1:00AM on Sundays to Thursdays and up to 2:00AM on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant also offers a bottomless brunch on Sundays from 11:30AM to 3PM and Tinta breakfast hours daily from 7:00AM to 11:00AM.

7. Blue Moon Fish Co.: Award-Winning Dining on the Intracoastal Waterway

Dining experience at Blue Moon Fish Co. on the Intracoastal Waterway

Blue Moon Fish Co., one of the best waterfront restaurants, has garnered prestigious accolades such as Zagat’s and OpenTable’s Best Waterfront Dining in Fort Lauderdale. The seafood restaurant offers a picturesque dining experience on Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway, with award-winning dishes, fantastic service, and both indoor and outdoor seating options.

The restaurant is renowned for its amazing signature dishes, including:

  • Crispy sticky ribs
  • Seabass
  • The Big Easy Seafood Gumbo
  • Lobster Bisque
  • Shrimp & Chorizo Mofongo Fritters
  • Crispy Calamari
  • New Orleans Firecracker Oysters
  • Jumbo Lump Crabcake

Whether you choose to dine inside with panoramic vistas or outside on the decks, you will be treated to breathtaking water views.

Blue Moon Fish Co. has been an amazing part of the Fort Lauderdale dining scene for an impressive 26 years, renowned for serving the freshest seafood and offering the best waterway views.

8. Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery: A Taste of Land and Sea

Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery, nestled in beautiful Fort Lauderdale Beach, offers a diverse menu showcasing unique dishes like Seafood Paella and Butchers Meat Board, all served in a delightful beachfront setting. The restaurant’s Weekend Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner menus offer a diverse and delightful culinary experience, which can be downloaded from their website for more details.

Customers have overwhelmingly expressed satisfaction with their dining experiences at Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery, as reflected by the glowing feedback and an impressive high rating of 4.4 stars on OpenTable and numerous unbiased reviews on Tripadvisor.

It’s fantastic that Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery invites guests from 08:00 am to 10:00 pm, accommodating both early birds and late diners. This restaurant is a testament to the diversity and quality of waterfront dining options in Fort Lauderdale.

9. Coconuts: A Caribbean-Inspired Waterfront Paradise

Coconuts creates a vibrant dining atmosphere inspired by the Caribbean, right here in South Florida. The restaurant is conveniently located at 429 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316, offering panoramic Intracoastal views that make every meal a memorable experience.  It’s sister restaurant, G & B Oyster Bar, is one of our favorites as well and they allow you to order off either menu.

The restaurant offers distinctive Caribbean dishes such as:

  • Jerk Salmon
  • Tender Oxtail
  • Jerk Wings
  • Codfish fritters
  • Coconut shrimp

The positive reviews and ratings, including a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Tripadvisor based on 5542 reviews, attest to the quality of the dining experience at Coconuts.

Coconuts was established by Michael Phillips with the goal of delivering great food in a casual and affordable setting to friends and neighbors. He drew inspiration from the Caribbean lifestyle for his restaurant, making it a unique and enjoyable dining destination in Fort Lauderdale.

10. Shooters Waterfront: Live Music, Weekend Brunch, and Dockside Views

Vibrant atmosphere at Shooters Waterfront with dockside views

Shooters Waterfront, a popular Fort Lauderdale haunt, provides a distinctive dining experience featuring dockside views, live music, and a weekend brunch buffet. The restaurant offers lively live music on weekends, featuring live steel drums from 12 pm to 4 pm and a DJ set on Saturdays from 6 pm to 9 pm, boasting a mix of Caribbean beats, funk, rock, and soul.  It’s a popular brunch spot on the weekends and one of the top outdoor lunches in Fort Lauderdale during the week.

The restaurant offers a fantastic weekend brunch menu featuring highlighted dishes such as:

  • Huevos rancheros skillet
  • Powerhouse egg white omelet
  • Shrimp ceviche salad
  • Assortment of delightful desserts including chocolate cakes, flans, and apple pie.

Diners at Shooters Waterfront can look forward to a delightful variety of options for bar, lunch, and dinner menus, including standout dishes like glazed salmon, crab cakes, and tuna salads. The restaurant is open from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm on Mondays to Wednesdays, providing ample time to enjoy the live music, weekend brunch, and the breathtaking dockside views.

Located next to one of my favorite steakhouses in Fort Lauderdale, Mastro’s, this is a great little area with amazing dining very close to one another.  Across the Sunrise Blvd bridge you also have Cafe Martorano, among others.

While technically not in Lauderdale, I would put Billy’s Stone Crabs in Hollywood #1 over all of these restaurants, but left it off only because it’s in Hollywood.  It offers a great view of the intracoastal waterway from the dock or upstairs restaurant.

Summary

From the unique fusion cuisine of Casa Sensei to the romantic waterfront setting of Sea Watch on the Ocean, Fort Lauderdale offers a wealth of waterfront dining experiences to explore. Whether you’re in the mood for the fresh seafood of Blue Moon Fish Co., the modern Mexican twists of Lona Cocina Tequileria, or the lively atmosphere of Shooters Waterfront, there’s something for everyone in this sunny Florida city. We hope this guide has inspired you to embark on your own culinary journey along the beautiful Fort Lauderdale waterfront.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of cuisine can I expect at these waterfront restaurants in Fort Lauderdale?

You can expect a diverse range of cuisines at these waterfront restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, including Asian fusion, traditional Mexican, Mediterranean-inspired, and a variety of land and sea dishes. Enjoy exploring the culinary delights!

Are these restaurants pet-friendly?

Yes, some of these restaurants may be pet-friendly, especially those with outdoor seating, but it’s always a good idea to confirm with the restaurant before bringing your pet.

Do these restaurants offer vegan or vegetarian options?

Yes, many of these restaurants do offer vegetarian-friendly choices. Sea Watch on the Ocean is one example, offering a variety of seafood and vegetarian-friendly options.

Do any of these restaurants offer live music?

Yes, Shooters Waterfront offers live music on weekends, including live steel drums from 12 pm to 4 pm and a DJ set on Saturdays from 6 pm to 9 pm. Enjoy the entertainment!

Are reservations required at these restaurants?

Yes, it’s recommended to make a reservation, especially during peak times. Some restaurants, like Boathouse at the Riverside, accept reservations up to 30 days in advance.

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About 

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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