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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.

        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!

              1. We just enjoyed a week in Fort Lauderdale and here are some of the restaurants that we visited:

                Bravo (near the 17St Causeway) Good basic Italian with excellent service. This spot was near our hotel so a good choice for the first nite as we had a super long travel day.

                Greek Islands Taverna - I love this spot and I love their Greek potatoes. Great Greek appetizers and excellent moussaka

                Johnny V's - our pick two years in a row for Christmas dinner. Excellent food and service. Very expensive

                Timpano Chophouse - good steaks but not outstanding. I probably would not go back.

                Eduardo San Angelo - excellent food and service and a very different menu. Also expensive but I would go back in a heartbeat!

                Old Heidelberg - This was a mistake. We love German food and thought we would try this spot but it is not good.

                Lester's - since we had a car, this spot was great for some breakfasts as we were at the Marriott and Lester's is just a short drive. My husband is nuts for the biscuits and gravy. Good, cheap breakfasts!!

                Bonefish Grill - I know it's a chain but the fish here is outstanding. Great service and terrific seafood! I wish we had one here in Rhode Island!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Emilyc

                  I lived in NYC for several years and went to many of its top restaurants. I agree that FLL does not offer the same high end range, but you can still have some great meals there. I recommend Eduardo de San Angel (I agree 100% with the comment in the previous post) and Sunfish Grill (I had a great seafood meal there in November - shrimp soup, shrimp pasta and their version of key lime pie).

                2. I married into a Greek family and Greek Islands Taverna is one of the best Greeks places that I've been to and we eat a lot of Greek. Cafe Sharaku would be well received in any town. Croissant Time bakes amazing croissants...no yucky commercial dough that even upper end bakeries use. I like Johnny V's and many of my out of towner foodie friends think it some of the best food they have ever had. I just think it's really expensive for what you get. If I'm going to dish out money like that, I much rather go to Norman's in Orlando and get amazing ambiance and really imaginative food.

                  Johnny V
                  625 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

                  Cafe Sharaku
                  2736 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306

                  1. You guys are forgetting 3030 Ocean -- it's on the beach and the chef there is tops -- he wins all kinds of awards

                    They change the menu every day

                    Seafood is the star here

                    3030 Ocean
                    Harbor Beach Resort Marriott, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

                    1. Valentino's amazing
                      Grateful Palate is also good, love the chefs table
                      Trinas - Somtimes amazing, sometimes... not so much
                      Johnny V's is always mentioned but my limited experiences were mixed

                      Casual places

                      Coconuts, probably the best deal for good food on the water
                      Primanti Brothers pizza, looks like a dive but great food
                      The Floridian - great diner food

                      Johnny V
                      625 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

                      The Grateful Palate
                      817 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316