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Jan 26, 2014 07:55 AM

Where do the locals eat in the Ft. Lauderdale area?

Heading to Ft. Lauderdale in a few weeks for a month's stay. I haven't been in the area in about 4 years, so I don't have a good idea of where I want to go except to say that I'll definitely have at least one meal at the Rustic Inn Crabhouse. I don't want (and can't afford) to eat at the top restaurants every day, something no one does in the place where they live. I'll have a car and I'm willing to drive up to an hour for a good local place. The only food I really don't like is Indian, so feel free to recommend anything other than that. I've been in Orlando the last few winters and there's a great thread there, that was created by "Yosemite Sam", that's updated annually and is a great resource for folks like me. So, I'm guessing there's a good chance that some of the Ft. Lauderdale area residents can come up with an equally good thread for your area!

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  1. (Down to earth, eclectic American food

    ) (Great outdoor venue on the intra-coastal

    ) (off the beaten path gem

    ) (Upscale, "Mexico City" type tacos!!)

      1. My regular places:
        Southport Raw Bar
        --Outdoor intercoastal seating, cheap but tasty and fresh
        Tap 42
        --Great beer selection, awesome brunch
        Riverside Market
        --Homey atmosphere, great beer selection
        DBA Cafe
        --Diverse menu, relaxed atmosphere
        Tee-Jay Thai & Sushi
        --Consistently good, fresh sushi
        --Upscale southwestern, have a prickly pear margarita
        Bascilic Vietnamese
        --Near the beach in Lauderdale by the Sea, excellent pho

        9 Replies
        1. re: eliselaurel

          We have a one night pre-cruise stay coming up in FLL and I had been looking for something casual for dinner within walking distance of our hotel.

          Tap 42 and Southport Raw Bar were two spots on my list. I know they are totally different, but would you pick one over the other or think one is more reliably good?

          1. re: bte576

            They are both definitely very different. Food at both is very good but I prefer Southport for lunch over dinner since it's more of that kinda menu to me (oysters, clams, wings, etc.) and it is much more casual great for right after the beach or a boat ride to eat on the dock. Tap 42 has great food with a more diverse menu and a nice atmosphere but still pretty casual. The only thing I've had trouble with is spotty service on a few occasions. If your a drinker Tap 42's selection is much more vast but can be more pricey.

            1. re: bte576

              I agree with eliselaurel and would add that Southport is quite casual and somewhat dated. While the food is good, I would also bear in mind that Tap 42 is a busy (loud) and popular drinking spot.

              I do also have a few suggestions that might fit your pre-cruise itinerary.

              Market 17 - Very highly rated fine dining with a focus on local, fresh ingredients ($$$)

              Bimini Boatyard - With a focus on seafood the new(ish) owner has really turned this waterfront staple around. ($$)

              15th Street Fisheries - Old school Florida waterfront dining with okay upscale dining upstairs ($$$) and good casual dining downstairs ($$). This one would be an nice walk!

              The Chef's Pallet - This is the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute's Culinary School restaurant where on Thursday and Friday night you can watch the student's prepare your meal. The food is quite good as is the price and it's definitely a chowhound's type of fun. ($) Reservations required





              1. re: LiveRock

                Thanks for both responses! I'll look up some of these others, but we are really looking for a come as you are casual spot for bar dining not a sit down meal, just being we aren't sure what time we'll even get to eating dinner and we may be eating a later lunch (so we may not be in need of a big dinner)due to our flight departure time.

                If anyone has a good breakfast spot to share in that area, it would be much appreciated as well!

                1. re: bte576

                  Oh, and I will add the original attraction to Tap 42 was the beer selection as it would be nice to have some great craft beers before the cruise as I know the beer selection will much less exciting on board. I did see there is a beer release party the night we'd be going, so that might make it extra crazy...but still might be fun. We will probably just see what we're in the mood from when we get in.

                  1. re: bte576

                    We ended up doing a dinner at Tap 42 on our pre-cruise night and were able to stop in for lunch at Southport Raw Bar before heading back to the airport for our flight out.

                    Tap 42 was crazy, busy, and very loud as described...but we were able to secure a seat at the bar and had surprisingly attentive service from the bartenders despite the crowd. We enjoyed our food and it was nice to have some good brews before the cruise.

                    Southport Raw Bar was exactly what I expected--little divey, local, Florida place with nice patio seating. We ended up going with all fried seafood (last meal before return to reality of non-vacation) and it was very tasty.

                  2. re: bte576

                    In the big strip mall just before Southport is one of the best places for New England style seafood and other things. Fantastic Clams. I think it is called Kelly's. When I lived in FTL for work, I was there a lot....small bar, simple tables, friendly folks.

                    1. re: bte576

                      Casual spot for bar dining on the intracoastal = G&B Oyster.

                  3. re: bte576

                    We enjoyed


                    Downstairs is more casual

                    1900 SE 15th St, Fort Lauderdale

                2. Hot & Soul - Great gumbo and my favorite gnocci!

                  Marumi Sushi - Exquisitely authentic

                  Bravo! Gourmet Sandwich - Ceviche and awesome sandwiches

                  V&S Deli (Boca) - Italian Sub on hard bread

                  Talia's Tuscan Table (Boca) - Can't go wrong with any sandwich here!

                  El Jefe Luchador - Top notch tacos, gourmet ingredients

                  Charm City Burgers - Rock the "Cowboy Style" burger

                  O-B House - Gourmet breakfast worth the price

                  Hot Leggz - Gumbo, Po Boy's, & Great Burgers

                  Sybarite Pig - Ultimate craft beer & gastro-pub style food

                  1. Thanks for the responses folks. Now I have some homework to do to start figuring out what I'd like to try when I get to Ft. Lauderdale.

                    Just as a point of interest, here's a link to the Orlando thread I was referencing -