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The 15 Best Ft Lauderdale Beach Restaurants

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The beaches in Fort Lauderdale don’t have their own separate town as in many communities, instead, they’re simply separated from the city by the beach highway A1A, mostly two lanes in this section of town, with a promenade and entrances to the sand leading to the Atlantic Ocean.

A little further south, hotels like the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa and the Best Western have enough land east of A1A to be truly oceanfront. While chains along the beachfront include Bubba Gump and Starbucks, Spazio, Ben & Jerry’s, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Subway, Hooters, and Taco Bell, as always, I’ve specifically avoided known national chains in favor of the local Fort Lauderdale fare. 

It was interesting to me to note that, while all my prior visits to Fort Lauderdale included significant beach time, my press trip in September did not, so there is plenty to do in this city outside the beaches. But do yourself, and your family, a favor, and spend some time walking along the promenade and relaxing at the beach. There’s a wooded play area on the southside and a plethora of restaurants to choose from along wide stretches of festively colored storefronts and hotels. 

Make a point of walking to the promenade across from Las Olas and walk north to check out just how many people have been honored by the city in the diamond-shaped plaques forming Fort Lauderdale’s Walk of Honor. If you’re here during the Holidays, stop to get your photo taken with Olas, the giant sandy snowman at the entrance to the beach at the base of Las Olas Blvd.

15 Best Ft Lauderdale Beach Restaurants

Riva Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

3030 Holiday Drive // (954) 766-3100

Prior to this year, my visits to Fort Lauderdale were typically before or after a family cruise. This summer, I had the opportunity to join my daughter, who attended a conference at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa.  I utilized my Marriott loyalty points to pay for my room and then used upgrades to acquire the vice-presidential suite status for a long weekend.

On the 13th floor, we truly enjoyed the corner space and views of both the ocean and the Intra-coastal, allowing for sunrise and sunset views. I do wish it had a second bedroom rather than an office, but the kitchen space and second bathroom, in particular, worked out well for our family.

My Marriott loyalty status entitled us to the continental breakfast at the hotel restaurant, Riva, with upgrades available to include either the buffet or dining from the menu. While I enjoyed the complimentary continental breakfast, my favorite daughter enjoyed ordering from the menu.

Riva, conveniently located on the first floor of the hotel on the far side of the guest elevators closest to the oceanfront exit to the spacious patio with lawn games and seating area with stairs down a level to the beach, allows the beach vibe to enter its soothing area without being overwhelming. It’s fairly narrow in the front with more art and width in the back allowing everyone a view of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Continental breakfast included a choice of oatmeal, cereal, or Greek yogurt parfait, seasonal fruit and berries or a banana, toast, bagel, or blueberry muffin, as well as juice and either coffee or tea. Their buffet included oatmeal, cold cereal, and breakfast breads, granola, yogurts and fresh fruit, smoked salmon, charcuterie, and artisan cheeses, omelets and eggs cooked to order, a selection of hot offerings, pancakes, waffles, juices, and coffee or tea.

The menu at Riva included omelets served with toast, including classic ham or lobster, American breakfast favorites like two cage-free eggs, bacon, pork sausage, Canadian bacon, toasted bagel, potatoes, blueberry muffin, seasonal fruits and berries, or Greek yogurt and granola. Modern classics included The All American, eggs, potatoes, bacon or sausage, toast or bagels, A Good Start (oatmeal and granola), smoked salmon and bagel, eggs Benedict, broken yolk sandwich, Belgian waffle, or buttermilk pancakes.

My daughter tended to choose the chef-crafted options, especially the avocado toast, (without the eggs for her), and another day, the Banana Bread French toast. Also on offer were a Cuban burrito and Soflo hash, both common offerings in this part of Florida.

Ft Lauderdale Beach Restaurants: Riva Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa Avocado Toast

If you do have the option to accept the continental breakfast, and your other family members decide they want to eat something else, take advantage of the “to go” option. When the server recommended this, I accepted a goody bag with milk, cereal, fruit, and muffin, as we departed. I ended up having cereal at midnight after a long movie marathon and it was delicious. My motto is “save where you can so you can spend where you want.”

If you’re out, dining is a couple, check out the 3030 Ocean restaurant, it’s swanky and a place I’d go with a significant other.

If we’d been “at home” during other meals, I’d return to Riva or one of the other resort restaurants. I like the family-friendly atmosphere and the well-informed servers. You can see the beach from the windows and always remember you’re on vacation.

Well-fed, great hotel, excellent spa, in good company, on the beach … what more could you ask?

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina

1881 SE 17th Street // (954) 463-4000

The Hilton Marina, on the Intra-Coastal, hosted me for three nights in a west villa room during this most recent trip to Fort Lauderdale. As part of that, I was required to pay a $30 a day resort fee, and $38 a night parking fee, but part of the resort fee was offset by a diner credit for their restaurants. I quickly learned that while all the food came from the same kitchen, it could be picked up at the poolside bar, or the coffee area off the lobby, or the credit could be used towards their buffet breakfast or items chosen from the room service menu.

Offerings included starters like chips and guacamole, coconut shrimp, chicken wings, farmers hummus, chicken tender basket, chicken tinga, quesadilla, gulf shrimp cocktail. 

Their salads, a winter kale salad or classic Caesar, were a nice combination with the handheld sandwiches served with fries: a soflo Cubano, fresh caught fish tacos, grilled chicken sandwich, the burger, local caught fish sandwich, or cheese steak hoagie. 

Their features include a sustainably raised salmon, New York strip steak, Rigatoni a la Chardonnay, or fish and chips. Their enhancements include a side salad, grilled asparagus, winter mushroom risotto, roasted sweet potatoes French fries. 

Their desserts include Key Lime Pie, a ricotta cream pistachio cake, or apple cobbler served with vanilla ice cream.

Having only one meal there, and a $60 credit, I chose their fresh-caught fish Mahi tacos, served with fries, asparagus, and the apple cobbler. The bartender asked if I still wanted the French fries since I was ordering the asparagus, and I did, mostly to use up as much of the credit as I could. I’d initially forgotten a drink, and my charge, which included the 19% Service charge, had already reached $50, so I asked for a soda and a cup of water. The bartender gave me a small plastic cup of Coca-Cola and told me that it was refillable.

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Mahi Tacos

As I waited for the meal to be prepared, I strolled along the boardwalk of this section of the Marina, enjoyed the views of the pool (which was too cold to comfortably swim in during December), and basked in the mid-afternoon sun.

The fish tacos were tasty, with radish and pickled onion, a touch of parsley but no salsa. The asparagus, which I’d asked to be dry-fried, was a friendly light green and quite fresh. Maybe this chef picked it up at the farmers market on Las Olas this morning. I was actually too full to eat the French fries or finish the asparagus, but it was easy to take them with me and keep them in the hotel mini-refrigerator to take home to warm up for lunch the following day.

The apple cobbler was served as an individualized cake accompanied by a ramekin of vanilla ice cream. This, too, made it to the hotel room refrigerator to be eaten at another time. The ice cream tasted freshly made, the cobbler with that delicate balance of sugar and cinnamon sprung back from my fork indicating its freshmess.

The food was good, sitting out by the pool was lovely, and the staff was friendly. It’s a nice way to wind down after a long day running around the Fort Lauderdale beaches. And twice during my visit, I heard the Love Boat theme song. Looking out over my balcony and the drawbridge, I spotted the Princess Cruise ships as they departed their moorings. It made me want to take a cruise again soon.


128 S Federal Hwy, Dania Beach, FL 33004 // (954) 923-4445

Prior to my return to Fort Lauderdale to do research for this article and attend several holiday events, I’d participated in a teleconference with people who knew Fort Lauderdale well. They waxed poetic over the joy of eating at Jaxson’s and I knew I needed to put it on my list to try. Officially in Dania Beach, it’s just south of Fort Lauderdale and well worth the few minutes’ drive.

From the parking lot, you’ll note the outside pick-up window and seating under a red and white striped circus tent. They have a coin-operated merry-go-round and horse for the kids and cut-out frames of an ice cream sundae for you to stick your head in and become part of the favorite Jaxson’s dessert for treasured family photos.

Enter the restaurant, though, and the circus-like atmosphere continues. The very front reminds me of a Cracker Barrel with candies and favorite confections from your childhood lining wooden shelves. A few feet further through this narrow passage, though, and the restaurant opens to reveal tables with benches and chairs that winds across into another large room.

Wait to be seated, and you’ll be offered complimentary popcorn in a red, geometric-shaped bowl. My server, CeCe, asked if she could get me started on a drink. She’s a dynamo, always moving yet never a wasted motion. When she recognized I wasn’t interested in soda, even though all of theirs are made in-house the old-fashioned way with no corn syrup or preservatives, offered as a 32-ounce glass with a free refill, she offered me a “Tickled Pink Arnold Palmer.” That’s pink lemonade with iced tea, offered as either sweet or unsweetened.

I just couldn’t imagine my teeth surviving that much sugar, so asked for the unsweetened tea and am quite pleased by the mixture. You can tell the difference between their pink lemonade and a typical yellow lemonade (don’t ask me to explain how, but I could tell). 

The menu shares the story. Monroe Udell and his wife, Connie, opened Jaxson’s in 1956 and remains under the ownership of their daughter, Linda Udell Zakheim, who continues to serve their best homemade ice cream and delicious food honoring her parents’ more than 65-year legacy.

Their extensive menu offers so much more than hot dogs, burgers, and chicken fingers, though people around me enjoyed those mightily. The prices may seem a bit high at first, but when you see the portions, you realize it’s a great value. Many adults split their hot dog with their teenagers so everyone would have room for ice cream. The kids ordering from the kid’s menu already receive ice cream as part of their meal so it seemed the ones I witnessed doing this must be return customers who had figured out how to get the most from their family budget and still enjoy this delightful experience.  

After quite the perusal of the menu: an appetizer combo that offers a platter with onion rings, seasoned fries, mozzarella sticks, and dipping sauces, any of those independently, a grown-up Mac and cheese with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, Nacho Grande, or chicken quesadilla, as well as 11 types of burgers, 7 types of hot dogs, “juicy cooked” chicken sandwich fingers, honey garlic fingers, or chicken wings.

With the ability to top any menu item with cheddar cheese sauce, BBQ sauce, a Cajun remoulade, gorgonzola cheese, Hickory smoked bacon, chili, sauerkraut, grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, guacamole, a scoop of Mac and cheese, an extra side of pickles, or even a fried egg, you may feel as though you are getting the kitchen sink thrown at you in the tastiest of ways. The food menu continues for another few pages to complete their available hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, main dishes, salads, and favorites. And then the kid’s menu. It’s impressive how many options they keep available.

My attention, captured by the BLT on marble rye, returned to the debate over fries or no fries. They have regular, crinkle-cut fries, sweet potato fries, seasoned fries, and batter-dipped onion rings! This is not the place to be on a diet. Since I’d spotted my childhood favorite black raspberry ice cream on the ice cream menu, I decided against the fries. I learned that because I’d ordered a meal, though, I received a discount on my dessert. I’d get a one-scoop sundae for $9.95.

Jaxson’s BLT

CeCe asked if I’d like the bread toasted, confirmed my popcorn and drink hadn’t been depleted, then ran my order back to the kitchen.

While I waited for it to be made fresh, I wandered this second dining area in the restaurant, taken with old newspaper clippings, vintage signs, and stained glass. There’s a vintage bicycle above the booths that could pre-date the entire establishment by at least a half century.

CeCe waved me down when my meal arrived. Their cole slow with a touch of paprika on top, not too much mayonnaise, just a light vinegar. Before I even tried my BLT, we discussed the merits of my sundae… did I want hot fudge or not? I was leaning towards not (I do not know why ice cream manufacturers ruined black raspberry ice cream by adding chocolate chips to it for the grocery stores), but she encouraged me, so I ordered it.

The BLT was scrumptious! Crispy bacon, beet-red colored fresh tasty tomatoes, pristinely fresh iceberg lettuce, and a lightly toasted marbled rye was perfect after a long drive. I could see myself having a meal like this after a long morning surfing.

The bells and whistles went off in the restaurant and I learned the “Kitchen Sink” had been delivered in the other room. That’s the most ginormous banana split I’ve ever seen, served in a specially designed “kitchen sink,” with the pipe acting as the base, about 1 pound of ice cream per person, flavors of your choosing, with bananas, homemade whipped cream, mixed nuts, and lots of cherries, sparklers, and plenty of American flags on top. The Jaxson’s Siren went off a few times during the hour I was there. I can only imagine ordering it if I’ve had eaten nothing all day and don’t order from the food menu… but it looks awesome.

I counted 18 different types of sundaes with combinations like shortcake and “two on a blanket,” which is pound cake, and chocolate suicide sundae, which includes 3 scoops of death by chocolate ice cream, chocolate brownies, hot fudge, chocolate chips, and an extra side of hot fudge. When you see these portions, you understand the prices. With around 30 choices of ice cream, you could come every day and order a different selection. What an ice cream lover’s paradise!

They offer banana splits, ice cream in a goblet, ice cream shakes, ice cream soda floats that are served in a 32-ounce pitcher with a “cannonball” of ice cream, and homemade waffles with ice cream, as well as that “Original Kitchen Sink.”

My single scoop sundae arrived in a bowl and, while small compared to the extravaganzas around me, was still larger than most sundaes I’ve had in my life. Their hot fudge is nearly as thick as chocolate pudding. The black raspberry had the deep, rich flavor I’ve missed, and the fresh whipped cream was the perfect foil to the hot fudge. The maraschino cherry and American flag made just the right combination on top of my dessert and had me ready for my long weekend in Fort Lauderdale. 


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Riviera Restaurant with the Hotel Maren 

525 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd // (754) 241-2020

Featuring their coastal Italian craft cocktails, the Riviera by Fabio Viviani opens for breakfast. Out early Saturday morning, it’s a nice place to stop. The first menu item I saw as we entered the restaurant space was a Tuesday special with a Smashburger and a beer for $20. Their happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, with beer at $6, wine at $7 and mixers at $8.

Their morning menu includes a croissant breakfast sandwich, Caprese frittata, chilled antioxidant granola bowl, tres deuces (2 eggs, 2 sausage and 2 slices of applewood bacon with breakfast potatoes), avocado toast, a sweet vanilla waffle, oatmeal, French toast, smoked salmon and everything bagel board, Greek yogurt, butter croissant, assorted breakfast pastries, or plain bagel. 

Riviera Restaurant Croissant Breakfast Sandwich

With sides of bacon, sausage, toast, a fresh fruit bowl, or breakfast potatoes, you can get your morning off to a great start before you hit the beach. 

Atypically for me, the caprese frittata sounded most appealing so we tried something new and was quite impressed by this take on the caprese experience. It tasted as though the mozzarella had just been formed before it was delivered to my plate. The garlic, tomatoes, and EVOO mixed nicely with a light taste and texture for the day. The aroma was magnificent.

Their breakfast beverages include an Italian drip coffee, macchiato, a Nitro cold brew, orange juice, espresso, Americana, strawberry mimosa, cappuccino, or hot tea. Whenever you stay at the Hotel Maren, there’s something to find on their morning menu. I look forward to returning for lunch or dinner someday.

411 S. Bar and Grill 

411 South Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd // (754) 522-2004

The 411 S Bar and Grill offers a breakfast menu served from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM Daily. They have a breakfast special, or the ability to create your own omelet, Eggs Benedict, a breakfast sandwich (folded 2 egg patties on a toasted brioche bun with bacon, ham, and American cheese) served with a side of breakfast potatoes, a smoked Nova salmon served open-faced on a toasted sesame bagel, their 2-2-2-2 (2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 sausage links and 2 slices of bacon), French toast with a twist since it’s made from thick challah bread cooked in a cinnamon egg batter, or triple stack Buttermilk pancakes.

I liked the 411 Salad with fresh garden lettuce, tomatoes, light red onions, cucumbers, green peppers, and black olives, served with garlic bread sticks with the option to include proteins shrimp, blackened mahi, grilled chicken, chicken tenders and your choice of dressings from Caesar, ranch, honey mustard, vinegar and olive oil or even bleu cheese, makes this a flexible option for almost every family member. I chose the grilled chicken, and it was perfectly light for a midday meal.

Other options include Charbroiled burgers with Fresh Angus beef, or fish sandwiches, tacos including mahi, shrimp, or chicken, which is likely my choice next time I visit.

I was visiting so many restaurants along this stretch of road, I didn’t have room for their starters, but in the future can easily see myself or my family choosing the BBQ pork riblets, the Buffalo chicken wings, the coconut shrimp, fried calamari, or mozzarella sticks. They even have a mozzarella tomato basil stack, spinach and artichoke dip and chips, or queso taquito dog.

411 S. Bar and Grill: Buffalo Chicken Wings

They offer six different artisan pizzas as well as fried baskets you may expect to see on the beach, including fish and chips, shrimp and chips, a combination of fish, shrimp and chips, or chicken tenders and chips.

As much as I like the food, I freely admit that one of my favorite things about the 411 S. Bar and Grill is that they offer free parking. I learned later that the beach parking lot down the road is just $4/hour, but it’s the hassle of finding the parking that keeps me on foot or traveling by Uber along most of this area.


225 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Road // (954) 559-0222

Walking along A1A on the restaurant side this Saturday morning, the music a little loud, but the servers pleasant, SOLLUNA is right across the street from the Las Olas beach entry. I reviewed SolLuna’s sidewalk menu and had to stop for their chicken empanadas. Andrea, the hostess and my server, asked for a credit card to hold my order.

It made me feel as though they must have suffered many “dine and dash” episodes and they kept my card throughout my meal, though it wasn’t charged until after I consented at the conclusion of my visit. To get all the “business” out of the way, they also charge a 15% service fee, only a portion (9%, I’m told) of which the server keeps as gratuity. I learned quickly this was not uncommon along this stretch of road.

I ordered the three chicken empanadas before I even reviewed the rest of the menu. Andrea provided me with a cup of water, and I was pleased to find it refreshing (I haven’t found Orlando water palatable so am always pleasantly surprised when I find Florida water drink-able). It had the taste of lemon and was filtered, but not carbonated. Delicious. 

For breakfast, they offer Huevos, eggs any style, Southwest omelette, Mexican omelette. You could also build your own omelette with two eggs and your choice of filling including vegetables and cheeses. The queso Blanco is probably the most refreshing, I’m told, the smoked salmon or shrimp, probably the heaviest. 

They offer a croissant, English muffin, home fries, plantains, refried beans, bacon, turkey bacon, ham, sausage, and avocado, for surprisingly affordable prices of 2 to 4 dollars. 

Their empanadas, three large, come with pico de gallo and sour cream, with innard options of ham and cheese, spinach and feta, beef, or chicken. 

For heart and healthy they offer avocado toast on marbled rye, croissant sandwich, buttermilk pancakes, granola with banana, strawberry and mango, and a lox platter. If you’re ready for a bit heavier meal try the huevos rancheros, breakfast burrito, tacos Mexicanos, Charrogoal, or Día quesadilla.

Finally the ultimate breakfast nacho, the ChilaQuiles, pan-fried tortillas, homemade salsa Roja topped by two fried eggs, crumbled queso Blanco, pico de gallo, black beans, avocado, Crema, and sour cream.

The empanadas arrived quickly (before I’d finished reviewing the menu), hot and delicious presented in a dish sectioned to allow each empanada a space and one for the pico. I learned with the first one to “milk” out the excess juices. It wasn’t until after I tried a few bites that I added the pico but didn’t feel it needed the sour cream. As I ate this crisp concoction filled with juicy chicken and light cheese, I continued to peruse the menu.

SolLuna Empanadas

Their smoothies and shakes include strawberry shortcake, Berrylicious (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, banana, and milk), a green goddess (banana, spinach, cucumber, and apple), Matt mango (Ginger), or tropical sunrise, with “steps” offered to add Chia seeds, oats, peanut butter, coconut or almond milk available. 

Drink specials include bottomless Mimosas or two for one Frosé or bloody Mary. Or as they say and write: “2 4 1 everyday”

Their brunch punch is a vodka, champagne, pineapple, juice, sprite, and cranberry juice mixer.

They offer beer, wine, tequila sunrise, mermaid Mimosa, Million Dollar Bloody Mary as well as Prosecco, Moët & Chandon Brut, Veuve Clicquot (yellow Label or Rose), and Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque

Typical morning beverages include coffee, with additives available vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, or sugar-free syrup, Baileys Kahlúa, espresso, americano, and an espresso with evaporated milk, and sugar, as well as cappuccino, avocado ice cream, a large orange juice, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, and whole or skim milk.

It’s a hearty meal, those three empanadas. It feels like I could surf all morning if the waves were out.

The LOOP Saturday Farmer’s Market

Las Olas Oceanside Park Las Olas & A1A

We are so fortunate to have farmers’ markets in these large cities. The LOOP’s market surrounds the Christmas tree and life-size ornament ball in the park for the holidays with the freshest, most colorful produce you can imagine. They’ve even pre-cut watermelon, washed strawberries, and have mango and starfruit ready to eat. 

In addition, you can get acai bowls, fruit smoothies, and fresh baked goods of all flavors and varieties. Try to keep your fruit and vege intake higher than your carb intake, and you’ll do fine. 

The LOOP Saturday Farmer’s Market Acai Bowl

For a healthy option, I stick with the produce vendors, especially when they’ve made it so convenient here by having items ready to eat. It’s also convenient to take produce like bananas, apples, strawberries, and grapes back to the hotel to wash and eat later.

Boccaccino Cafe and Pizzeria

401 South Fort Lauderdale Beach Road // (954) 767-0110

If you’re ready for a hearty breakfast, stop in at this lovely café for breakfast served with toast, homemade Fried potatoes, seasoned fruit, one or two eggs, any style, or a toasted breakfast sandwich of egg and your choice of protein on a bagel, a combination special of either pancakes or French toast with eggs, potatoes and your choice of meat, a sunrise sampler for a very hearty appetite with bacon and ham and sausages, or a classic eggs Benedict, an avocado toast Eggs Benedict, a bagel smoked salmon sandwich, or a smoked salmon avocado Benedict. 

Their take on omelets, also served with toast and home fried potatoes and seasonal fruit, include a cheese omelet, veggie omelet, spinach and cheese omelet, ham and cheese omelet, a supreme omelet, a western omelet, or a southwestern omelet. So just about anything you can think of, they’ll have. 

If you’re not in the mood for these traditional American breakfast items, they offer seven types of crepes, waffles, buttermilk pancakes, French toast, and Greek yogurt.

I hadn’t tasted crepes in quite a while, and never had them served with banana, so tried the crepes with banana and was pleasantly surprised by the flavor profile. If you like hazelnut, I think you’ll really enjoy their four options.

Since I don’t drink orange juice, milk, or alcohol, and didn’t feel like a soft drink would be a good complement to the crepes, I tried their fruit smoothie and found that to be the perfect pairing with the banana crepes. They do offer a flavored iced coffee, espresso, cappuccino, hot chocolate, coffee, or tea. Once my smoothie was done, I enjoyed their black tea.

If you’re there during lunch and dinner, they do have a nice wine list with ten red wines, mostly from France and Italy but also from Argentina and Chile. White wines, from across the globe, from New Zealand to Germany, and three sparkling wines from France or Italy.

You may even want to order one as you peruse the extensive menu. With appetizers including bruschetta, calamari, grilled Portobello mushrooms, meatballs, homemade mozzarella cakes, which would be my first choice on my return, Insalata Caprese, steamed mussels and clams, my favorite daughter;s first choice, garlic bread with melted cheese or a prosciutto appetizer. 

Their soups include a shrimp bisque or tomato basil. You can add avocado or other chicken or seafood proteins to any of their five salads.

Their entrees include a veal osso bucco, sea bass, grilled salmon, grilled mahi, spicy island chicken (curry and cumin as well as mango and hot Peppers so be forewarned it is Super Spicy), eggplant parmigiana with pasta, which would have been my mother’s choice, veal Osso Bucco Milanese, chicken or veal parmesan, chicken or veal marsala and chicken or veal piccata.

As if that weren’t enough choices, the menu continues with their pasta options including a vegetarian lasagna rollatini, linguine shrimp, broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes, linguine Primavera, pasta Campania, pasta with garlic oil and chicken, penne a la vodka sauce, fettuccine Alfredo, penne arribiatta, spaghetti, Italian meat lasagna rollatini, ravioli, which can be served either as a four cheese or lobster, spinach and gorgonzola tortellini, or three cheese baked manicotti. Wow!

Boccaccino Cafe and Pizzeria Fettuccine Alfredo

But wait… there’s more, I counted 19 pizzas! From a traditional cheese or even four cheese white pizza to the exotic Boca Chino supreme pizza, which includes pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, mushrooms, green Peppers, red onions, bacon and honey ham, or the Blanca Florentina pizza or Peloponnese pizza. 

You can certainly feel like you’re back in Italy after eating here.

Café Ibiza 

213 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd // (954) 559- 0222

I think I’ve had more Mediterranean cuisine in Fort Lauderdale than any other city, though it did account for about half my meals during my press trip so may not be a true indication of the diversity of the restaurants in the city. This was my first one during this beach trip, though, so was a nice accompaniment. I do like that they make everything from scratch with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.

It’s evident from the other customers that they have learned the value of this restaurant’s “Drink in the Sun,” bottomless mimosas promotion or the two for one Jumbo margaritas served all day every day. They have an extensive wine, beer, and cocktail list as well.

Their breakfast menu offers the typical egg dishes, and nice griddle options including Sundae waffles (!), banana foster pancakes, which were new to me on this stretch of beach, pancakes, French toast, and avocado toast. How could you not try a sundae waffle with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries? You’ll be walking for miles, after all!

Their light fare includes acai bowls, parfait apple tart oatmeal, fruit bowls, and muffins.

Their handhelds include a Croque Monsieur, cowboy wrap, smoked salmon bagel, or fresh croissant egg sandwich.

If you’re here for lunch or dinner, you have a large selection of sandwiches or burgers., the shrimp Po boy and mahi-mahi sandwich appeared to be the most popular when I was there, surf and turf or lobster linguine, fresh pan-seared tuna steak, crab crusted salmon, pan-roasted grouper, branzino, or a whole red snapper.

The server I spoke with can’t eat seafood but loves their chicken kabobs, pizzas, and other chicken dishes.

Favorite daughter would choose the clam chowder, calamari, and sauteed mussels and maybe the crab cakes from the start and share with coconut shrimp and crab scoobies, their crab finger claws in a citrus butter roasted garlic for the next visit.

With five salads to choose from, and 11 pastas, the shrimp Ibiza with sauteed jumbo shrimp, chickpeas, cherry tomato, fresh spinach and fettuccine would be an easy choice for favorite daughter’s next visit as well.

I had to stick with my favorite entree, though the Chicken Ibiza was tempting, the 8 oz filet mignon served with grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes was an easy sell for me over paella or lamb Osso Bucco. Grilled to my specifications, the steak and dry fried asparagus were delicious combined with the light mashed potatoes.

Café Ibiza  Filet Mignon

The Drunken Taco

201 Fort Lauderdale Beach // (954) 463-7209

The Drunken Taco, on a corner lot, is just plain fun. It’s the hole in the wall you’d want to go to with your friends or take visitors to if you’re a local. Self-described as having the largest tequila selection, with 301 varieties, I’d be hard-pressed to argue, not that I ever would.

Locals tell me they come (or order it through one of the delivery services) for the tacos though. I’m immediately intrigued by their Half Moon beef empanadas, but can’t find chicken empanadas, which I prefer, on the menu. They have plenty of other options though, including Appetizers from guacamole to smoked mahi fish dips or blackened fish bites, handhelds where you can build your own burger or chicken sandwiches, and three types of salad, before you reach the all-important Handcrafted inspired tacos. 

While they have burritos and fajita platters, baby back ribs and even New York strip on the menu, I think every first visit really is obligated to try one of these tacos. 

The Drunken Taco Fajita Platter

Their famous Baja chicken tacos may win out over fish tacos, but you might want to think twice. They even have Korean BBQ chicken tacos for those of you who like super spicy meat or chicken siracha tacos. Favorite daughter will enjoy those two upon our return. 

So between the seafood and meat options, I think you’ll be able to find something you really enjoy. You can also add a Taco or Guacamole or upgrade to waffle fries for an additional charge.

Their breakfast options are hidden within the Liquor menu and includes burritos, fajitas, and quesadillas.

The drink section of their menu is impressive between specialty margaritas, beach cocktails, tequila tastings, more than a dozen beers or frozen margaritas, and Bloody Marys, and two for one giant margaritas. During their happy hour all day, they have $4 ice-cold 16 oz beers or $7 vodka doubles or get a bucket for your party which includes 5 beers and five tequila shooters which could keep just about anybody punch happy through the day. Just remember to drink responsibly.

My only real disappointment? No fried ice cream on the dessert menu. They do have churros, a brownie, chocolate chip cookie, Key Lime Pie, and caramel flan.

Café Del Mar

101 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd // (954) 414-1024.

Like most other restaurants along this stretch, it appears, the cafe Del Mar offers two for one Bloody Marys and mimosas. All day, every day.

For breakfast, they have the typical beverages with coffees, espressos, lattes, cappuccino with almond mil., hot chocolate, fresh orange juice, apple juice, pineapple, or cranberry juice as well as milk. They offer pancakes and French toast, jumbo fresh eggs, four types of omelets and three types of eggs Benedict, including crab or smoked salmon. Specialties include a fresh Croissant egg sandwich or lox and bagel, as well as the typical beach fare, avocado toast.

If you’re there for lunch or dinner, though, they have many of the same appetizers as the other restaurants, with the addition of tuna tartar, arancini, one of our favorite dishes from a Dublin restaurant, homemade meatballs, a shrimp cocktail, an onion ring tower, calamari Del Mar, Mussels Alla Calabrese, or Tuscany clams. If you really have a seafood sweet tooth, try the anti- Pasto Del Mar for two.

With five salads, the one you might most prefer over local choices is the yellowfin tuna quinoa salad. This, and the shrimp and melon salad appeared to be the most popular going out to other patrons. They have five burgers on the menu, including a vegetarian option., with sides that include French fries, side salad, cream corn, Mac and cheese, rice pilaf, zucchini, squash, roasted potato with onion, green peas with onion and bacon bits, green beans with bits of prosciutto, and garlic mashed potatoes.

Their entrees include a chicken parmigiana, chicken Francese, pan seared salmon with light mixed veggies, Pesce Della Casa, seafood risotto, veal chop, filet mignon, regular rib eye, and surf and turf. They also offer a “Tour of Cafe Del Mar for two,” which is a combination of lobster, filet mignon, grilled salmon, and the chef’s selection of Fresh Market vegetables. If I’d been there with a larger group, that would have been my choice for the evening.

The chicken parmigiana, filet cheesesteak, and seafood risotto were the favorites of the server, so I decided to try the chicken parmigiana first. 

Café Del Mar Chicken Parmigiana

Their pasta options include carbonara, spaghetti and meatballs, an old-world Bolognese and Rigatoni alla vodka, with linguine clams, or lobster ravioli, shrimp scampi, pasta Del Mar, but it was the Gamberi Alla Sicilia that would’ve knocked favorite daughter’s socks off. She loves fresh shrimp with a good cream sauce and crushed red pepper. But the seafood cartocchio with shrimps, clams, calamari, and mussels in a fresh pomodoro sauce would be a close second. It’s always good to know what you’ll order during your next visit. 

In addition, we found sandwiches available for lunch from a Cuban to a catch of the day, Po’ boy, or chicken BLT, with seven pizzas rounding out the menu.

They, too, had an extensive cocktail, mules, beer, and wine list. 

I hadn’t even realized until just now that we never asked about desserts.

Con Murphy’s Ocean Bar and Grill

17 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd // (954) 686-2699

It’s always good to find an Irish bar with seating for sporting events, now serving breakfast, starting at 9 AM. Located on the second floor above the Crocs store, there must be an elevator, though I didn’t find one.

Crowds already watching a soccer game when I entered this Saturday, I could see the starters whisked from the kitchen. From grouper bites to Old Bay shrimp. More typical Irish fare included chicken tenders and Murphy fries, Old Bay seasoned and served with a three-cheese fondue. They offer a healthy salad, Caesar salad, or the Farmhou which includes romaine lettuce, egg, bacon, and blue cheese crumble with ranch dressing.

For breakfast, their “eggs and stuff,” includes avocado toast, challah French toast, Cajun shrimp and grits, American breakfast or CYO omelet, where you could choose your own bacon or sausage along with your three eggs with two vegetable accompaniments (red onion, spinach, tomato, Peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos, or cheeses including cheddar or Swiss), all served with breakfast potatoes. 

The Irish breakfast made me feel right at home with bangers and rashers, white pudding, Sunnyside up eggs, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, and breakfast potatoes. But I’ve grown more accustomed to the American chicken and waffles or steak and eggs. 

Con Murphy’s Ocean Bar and Grill Irish breakfast

They do have an Eggs Benedict on a toasted English muffin or a breakfast sandwich, which includes Applewood smoked bacon, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese on a brioche bun served with breakfast potatoes. 

It was already late enough in the day for me to go with the sandwiches and the fried mahi filet with lettuce, tomato and a cilantro crema on a brioche bun hit the spot. 

They also offer buttermilk fried chicken, Philly cheese steak, chicken Caesar wrap, burgers, blackened mahi, fish and chips, or shepherd’s pie available will keep you coming back to this most hospitable place where you’re greeted as a new friend.

If you’re ready for a warm welcome and a lively game, visit this Irish pub right across from the beach.

Food Truck Crêpe Island

17 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd // (954) 803-0774

Just a half block away from the beach across from the beach café, across from Nathan’s Hot Dogs, the beach Cigar Bar, next to the wave store is Crêpe Island’s food truck. These are your fantasy food recollections from childhood, sometimes elevated. I love a good funnel cake, but they also provide increasingly well-known crepes with fresh strawberries (maybe the fruit was sourced locally from the farmers market down the street) and waffles that can be covered with berries or loaded with whipped cream and fruit. They also offer hamburgers, pigs in a blanket, and grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Food Truck Crêpe Island Crepes With Fresh Strawberries

You get the feeling that this is one of the local’s best-kept secrets. While I am always a sucker for a good funnel cake, it’s good to know that additional crepes remain available at an extremely reasonable price, just a half block away in this little mall area. They also serve coke products, including Fanta orange and Sprite, as well as lattes, coffee, and cappuccinos.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself going back several times during your beach day. The kids will love it, too.

Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits

1 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd // (954) 302-6460

A chill vibe greets you as you enter the air-conditioned lobby with festive seating to the right and the expansive bar back to the left. It’s refreshing after being out in the sun on the beach or walking along the promenade. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of outdoor seating for those who can’t bear to pull their eyes from the beach and ocean across the road. 

Inspired by prohibition times, Burlock Coast’s rum-influence filters into its weekday evening-themed dining experiences and holidays. While I was there, they planned their Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas feast with multiple courses and appropriate liquor pairings. 

I love a theme and hop right on board with their four “Bootleg” omelets. From egg white to meat lovers, if you want an omelet, they’ve got something for you. The breakfast menu includes specialties like a rum runner stack, complete with cinnamon apple compote, and the hog and the egg with bliss hot sauce bechamel, a cold smoked salmon board, and a decadent brioche French toast sandwich with caramelized peaches and cream. They also have more traditional huevos rancheros, steel-cut oatmeal, house-made granola, and breakfast burrito.

On the weekend, brunch is the name of the game with items to share, a raw bar, greens and veggies, fish sandwiches or grilled skirt steak, the bootleg burger or southern fried chicken sandwich, the Cuban sandwich, or, from the coop, classic to specialty breakfast items. 

It always helps me to hear what the server prefers. Ours today favors the pancakes, short rib, and burgers. You won’t go wrong with any of those choices.

The BC Bottomless for $39 per person, includes mimosas, bellinis, rum punch, or Bloody Marys. It won’t surprise you to learn they have an entire page of cocktails. Currently listing fall favorites like the billionaire or pumpkin runner, smoke on the water, and falling into winter. They have their traditional vintage Burlock coast items including Stone’s new-fashioned, an A1A all day, and the Burlock which is a gin-based drink. They have the rum room, mocktails, bartender spotlights, and multiple draft and packed beers. I’m always impressed by how much I learn about alcohol from servers and bartenders at brunch. They’re a great group.

On the dinner menu, they have their raw bar and sides. The charcuterie board is a very popular item, as are the grilled octopus and pulled pork tacos. You can’t go wrong with their fish and chips or seared catch of the day. 

Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits Grilled Octopus

This close to the water, they have very fresh seafood. Their beef tenderloin with potato hash is accompanied by olive salsa that is deep and fraught with flavor. Many people around me really enjoyed the slow-cooked short rib, roasted artichoke hearts, and watercress. Favorite daughter would enjoy the truffle fries.

It’s hard to resist their holiday dessert, the Christmas tree brownie with vanilla ice cream, chosen by almost everyone. If you have the chance to try it, I highly recommend you do.

As part of the Marriott Bonvoy Elite system, members who’ve achieved gold status or above receive 10% off their total bill. Remember to tell your server. It’s one of the best Ft Lauderdale beach restaurants.

Bo’s Beach Bar 

6000 Seabreeze Blvd // (954) 616-8315

Coming from the Hilton Marina’s shuttle to the beach, this restaurant bar is the first I reached crossing into the dedicated beachfront area. Open from 11 am to 10 pm, the La Playa dance club resides above it. 

It’s bright, open floorplan allows views out towards the water with great nautical finds and country flags a jubilant accompaniment to the bright blue chairs and wood-colored tabletops. Some of the larger tables have the appearance of gathered driftwood varnished to a brilliant shine. The friendly and helpful staff seats us immediately and happily offers food and beverage recommendations. It’s one of the best Ft Lauderdale beach restaurants.

Their raw bar includes oysters, shrimp cocktail, ahi tuna poke stack, sesame seared ahi tuna. I’m more interested in the appetizers, and they have a smoked fish dip, crispy calamari, that favorite daughter loves, steamers, Buffalo wings, crispy Buffalo shrimp, and chicken tenders. They offer four types of salads and two soups, including the New England clam chowder and a Bahamian conch chowder. Five different wood fired pizzas are available. 

The catch of the day remains one of my favorite options as they create multiple dishes from the chef preparation from tacos to filets to winning recipes you just can’t find at home. 

Entrees include fried gulf shrimp, beer, battered fish and chips, fish tacos, churrasco steak, Caribbean jerk chicken breast, pork carnitas, and lobster Mac and cheese.

As I debate the merits of the Caribbean jerk chicken breast and the fish tacos, the server confirms that it is Mahi today, a local favorite and one of their best-selling dishes. Served with a mango salsa and remoulade with shredded cabbage and black beans and rice, I held the black beans and rice but greatly enjoyed this delicious Mahi Taco.

Bo’s Beach Bar  Fish Tacos

I appreciate the clever names on the menu, the “between the buns” options for either burgers or sandwiches. With omnivore, vegetarian, and pescatarian options, it’s hard not to find several things that would be good to try for either this visit or the next. You may even decide to keep a list on the notes section of your phone. The Shrimp Po boy was flying out of the kitchen as were the lobster rolls and jerk chicken. I look forward to trying them on another visit.

I walked back to Harbor Drive before I left the beach. The beach cleaning day was wrapping up with a barbecue. Never underestimate the value of a good BBQ after putting in some volunteer hours. If I lived closer (or had known the clean-up was taking place this weekend), I would’ve volunteered for this excellent cause – so take a look at the city calendar before you travel and you may be truly eating like the locals, on the beach.

Visiting other destinations in Florida? Check out our other guides:

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