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Best Restaurants in Ft. Lauderdale

I'll be traveling down to Ft. Lauderdale in January and we are looking for a really nice special-occasion-type restaurant to go to while there and was hoping you could help us out with recommendations. I tried searching the boards, but couldn't find any recent posts. We enjoy all types of cuisine but will most likely choose a Contemporary American, French, or Italian restaurant unless there is another specialty that we should definitely try. Money is not an option (we are really looking for the best Ft. Lauderdale has to offer). Thank you very much in advance for your help!

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  1. I did some more searching and found a few places that looked very good: Canyon, Cafe Maxx, Eduardo San Angel, Trina, Himmarshee, and Fulvio's. Which of these would you recommend? Or is there somewhere better that I missed? Thanks for the advice!

    2 Replies
    1. re: nyfoodie10

      I ate at eduardo once and while it was good it did not knock my socks off. I have found the food in lauderdale to be disappointing in general. Not that it is not good but it just did not live up to expectations. I am no expert on the area though...but I suggest wherever you go you shoud adjust your expectations down accordingly especially given your handle.

      1. re: nyfoodie10

        None of the places you listed will compare to a Per Se or EMP and the like; but some of them will offer you a terrific meal. Like tpigeon, I'm in the minority on this board in that it doesn't particularly float my boat, but that's due more to the type of cuisine than the food itself. I love the food at Canyon; but even compared to the close quarters found in most NY restaurants, it can be very crowded, especially if you're seated by the bar. If you like Southwestern food, you'll be happy with thers, although it's not as creative as one of Flay's restaurants. The food is also good at Himmarshee and it's nice to walk around that area of town this time of year; but also like Canyon, it's just not what I'd define as a special occasion type of restaurant. I haven't been to Fulvio's in years and only once to Trina; so can't really coment on those. Cafe Maxx is a solid restaurant for contemporary American and has been my family's go to dining destination when we want to go somewhere close to home for a good meal with a daily changing menu that has yet to disappoint. Having said all that, if you're looking for a truly blow out knock your socks off kind of restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, you may be disappointed as tpigeon said. When we want a truly special occasion meal, we head to either Miami or Palm Beach. Having said all that, there are still several fine restaurants here in Broward where you can get a terrific meal and even dine al fresco, something you surely can't do back home in January.

      2. I would recommend Valentino's for Italian in Ft. Lauderdale.
        http://www.valentinoscucinaitaliana.com/

        1. I agree: fine dining in Ft. Lauderdale is not the oo-la-la experience a foodie would hope for.

          Surprisingly, no one replying mentioned Johnny V, 625 east Las Olas Blve., 954-761-7920.
          A memorable experience each time I've eaten there. Imaginative, tasty food. Expensive.
          In a class by itself.

          Jim Riedy
          Ft. Lauderdale

          1. On Las Olas:

            Jackson's is a very nice steakhouse
            Timpano's is good. http://www.timpanochophouse.net/
            Chimas is fun if you want a Brazilian steakhouse

            Although I haven't been recently, I have always liked Blue Moon Fish Co the times I've been there. It's on the intercoastal & Commercial Blvd

            I had a good meal at the Sunfish Grill on Oakland Park Blvd (between US 1 & Bayview Dr), though it has gotten mixed reviews here.

            Happy dining ;)

            1 Reply
            1. re: GoodEaterJLN

              With all due respect, Timpano's is (or is like) a chain and Jackson's is also mediocre. Blue Moon Fish Co is strong on atmosphere, being on the intra-coastal, but, otherwise is a disappointment. However, it would be a nice place to go for lunch. On Fridays, they have 2 for 1 lunches. We haven't been in a while, but we had an excellent meal at Cero at the St. Regis (now the Ritz Carleton, I believe) on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Johnny V is very good. I agree with Chowfather, that for great Italian, you should go to Valentino's on S. Federal Hwy.

            2. I have a restaurant that may be what you are looking for.Rino's Cucina, chef owner, Rino Balzano, Italian of course, reopened his original location, (which was called Il Tartufo), 2 months ago. His clentele has a sophisticated palate. His culinary skills are honed and wants his guests to be thrilled, not just satisfied. Rino has been Chef to every A list Movie star & entertainer that comes to this town since the early 90's, Robert DeNero, was filming here and made Rino's his constant private dining spot. The walls are lined with celebrity photos. Just last week I was there having dinner there,Jose Feliciano, was in town for a concert, he brought his whole troop to the restaurant, we were lucky enough to have a private concert with Rino singing (beautiful voice), and Jose playing guitar. I have followed Chef Rino where ever he has moved, I'm sure you will be pleased.
              the address is: 2980 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 33306 Reservations phone: 954 563-9767
              He has a classical guitarist on Thursday & Friday!