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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. http://dbacafeandwinebar.com/ (Down to earth, eclectic American food


    http://coconutsfortlauderdale.com/ (Great outdoor venue on the intra-coastal


    http://www.candelarestaurant.com/ (off the beaten path gem


    http://www.eduardodesanangel.com/ (Upscale, "Mexico City" type Mexican...no 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 - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/884522

                    1. Blue Willy's
                      Hot & Soul
                      Cafe la Buca
                      Dona Raquel

                      1. How about a good Peruvian place? And, who's got the best pizza - and what's the best Szechuan in the area?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bucksguy14

                          The best pizza, in my opinion, is Anthony's Coal Fired. That said, you have to like a charred, thin crust. Don't know about Peruvian and we do not have great Chinese food down here.

                        2. High end: Lobster Bar (steak and seafood)

                          Lively / night out: Yolo

                          Casual: Coconuts

                          Brunch: Steak 954

                          Breakfast: Anglins Cafe

                          Italian: Kitchetta

                          Pizza: D'Angelo's Pizza

                          Burger: Rok:Brg or BurgerFi

                          Food truck: Nacho Bizness

                          Bbq: Red Cow

                          View: Pelican Landing (casual)

                          Sandwich: Gran Forno

                          Best bang for buck on Las Olas: Caffe Europa

                          Not gourmet but decent options for that strange combo of sushi and Thai: Sky Thai Sushi / Asia Bay

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mrmagee

                            That should be Kitchenetta for Italian.

                            Also Rocco's Tacos is a Mexican hotspot - consistently busy

                            1. re: mrmagee

                              I'd do Blue Willy's over Red Cow for BBQ and don't think it's close.

                            2. The 2 block area of Himarshee just west of the RR tracks is very hip, and full of great local spots. Upscale burger joint, ethnic, and great pub food.

                              I think the coolest is the new Himarshee Public House. They broke the bank on designing this place, it's awesome. Great innovative food, too. Drinks are a heavy pour, you don't need too many.

                                1. Gran Forno-go to the bakery on Las Olas not the restaurant. Go early, once they sell out of sandwiches that is it for the day.
                                  Foxy Brown
                                  Roccos Tacos
                                  Sweet Nectar
                                  Big City Tavern
                                  Lobster Bar
                                  Johnny V
                                  Royal Pig

                                  There is a dive Cuban place almost on the corner of Sunrise and Andrews that is a walk up that has the best Cuban and Cuban coffee on the planet. Can't think of the name even tho I've been there multiple times.

                                  1. Tap 42 and 15th Street Fisheries are definitely two of our favorites. You can't beat the beer selection at Tap 42 and there's nothing better than sitting on the dock at 15th Street Fisheries and watching the yachts go by.

                                    Enjoy your visit :)


                                    1. It ended up that I only at a few meals at restaurants. I was able to get a place with a kitchen for 2 of the weeks I was in Ft. Lauderdale and I also was able to have dinner at the homes of friends and former neighbors from Pa. The places I did go to were - H2O Cafe, which was decent, but pricey - Hot & Soul, which I thought was really good and inexpensive and the kind of place I wish was here in Pa. I did not get to the Rustic Inn Crabhouse, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing since I found that the place was sold a while ago and, the friend who told me about it said it was not the same. So, thanks for all the info. I'll probably be back in the area early next year and I'll be checking this thread for ideas.

                                      1. Tucker Dukes in Deerfield Beach.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: FTLToday

                                          Agreed, Tucker Dukes makes a great burger.