Known for its beautiful beaches, waterways, and year-round average temperatures of 77 degrees, Greater Fort Lauderdale has always been a vacation favorite for couples, families and anyone looking for a relaxed ocean-side getaway. But what many of those trying to escape the winter blues may not know is — the vibrant culinary scene is becoming an even hotter reason to visit this sun-kissed destination.
And the proof is in the vanilla bean pudding. Last year, Greater Fort Lauderdale hosted its first “Taste Fort Lauderdale Series,” part of the world-famous Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which featured seven sold-out local events. Because of its overwhelming popularity, organizers have announced seven new events for the February 2017 festival, featuring celebrity hosts Neil Patrick Harris, Valerie Bertinelli, and restaurateur, Iron Chef and Cooks vs. Cons host Geoffrey Zakarian—plus more than a dozen other top chefs, celebrity authors and foodies. Tickets are available at SoBeFest.com
In addition to the delicious events that are scheduled practically year round, the city is home to some new dining venues that are as innovative as they are indulgent.
The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale’s newest restaurant, Burlock Coast, opened its doors in November 2015 in a rustic yet sophisticated space featuring an indoor/outdoor specialty rum bar and a carefully curated marketplace. The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort
welcomes back its critically acclaimed restaurant 3030 Ocean, following an extensive renovation. Boatyard, a new waterside dining concept at the former site of Bimini Boatyard, underwent a complete redesign offering an upscale vibe in a laid-back atmosphere overlooking the Intracoastal Waterways. Hyde Beach Kitchen + Cocktails, located in the recently opened Beachwalk Resort in Hallandale Beach, is a three-floor beachfront concept featuring a varied menu developed by award-winning Chef Danny Elmaleh. Beachwalk Bistro & Market also opened at the hotel, with locally sourced healthy casual fare. Louie Bossi’s Ristorante, Bar & Pizzeria on Las Olas Boulevard is a new, high-energy Italian eatery with indoor and outdoor seating.
If low-key is more your appetite, there are many outstanding local spots that serve up unique experiences and tastes. Craft coffee roasters, bakeries, green markets, whiskey bars and of course, craft beer breweries. You can tour some of the most popular breweries by Water Taxi, bus — even a cycle party, where you can peddle your way with 15 of your closest friends.
Seafood lovers will have their pick of sea-to-table dishes that change on a daily basis. And taste buds will sizzle under the sun with Floribbean cuisine that takes its roots from the diverse heritage of the area’s residents. Cuban, Jamaican, Puerto Rico and Latin American flavors blend together deliciously with fresh ingredients, a medley of spices and fresh fruits and juices.
Even with the creative flavors and fusion of cultures that continue to emerge, perhaps the most quintessential of all dining experiences in Greater Fort Lauderdale is what’s known as “dock n’dine.” Waterfront restaurants abound, and what better way to arrive than by boat, kayak or paddleboard? Patrons simply dock their watercraft and enjoy an alfresco dining experience with spectacular views.
Whatever your craving is, Greater Fort Lauderdale has a table reserved just for you. Bring your appetite for adventure and plan your foodie getaway at sunny.org/dining