Local’s Picks: Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a food lover’s destination. From authentic Italian cuisine and cozy coffee spots to steakhouses and microbreweries, this vibrant city offers diverse flavors and atmospheres. Here’s a guide to some of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale for local flavor.

Local Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale Picked by Locals

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Caffe Europa

Caffe Europa is known to have the best coffee in town. Located on Las Olas Boulevard, this café offers a genuine Italian dining experience with robust espressos, creamy cappuccinos and delectable pastries.

Beyond coffee, Caffe Europa serves Italian dishes, including homemade pastas, fresh seafood and wood-fired pizzas. Plus, it’s a perfect spot for brunch or a romantic dinner.

Cap’s Place Island Restaurant

For a dining adventure, head to Cap’s Place Island Restaurant in Lighthouse Point. This historic restaurant, accessible only by boat, offers an experience packed with rich history and rustic charm.

Cap’s Place is renowned for its fresh seafood, including the famous hearts of palm salad and broiled pompano. As the oldest restaurant in Broward County, dining here is like stepping back in time, surrounded by the natural beauty of Florida’s waterways.

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Shooters Waterfront

Offering scenic views of the Intracoastal Waterway, Shooters Waterfront ranks among the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale with great views. This upscale restaurant combines a relaxed atmosphere with a menu that features seafood, steaks and cocktails.

Shooters is an ideal spot for brunch, lunch or dinner with a view. In addition, the restaurant hosts live music, morning yoga and brunch on weekends, and cooking classes (dates subject to change).

Funky Buddha Brewery

For a more casual experience, Funky Buddha Brewery is a must-visit. Known for its innovative craft beers, this microbrewery also serves American cuisine.

During the meal, pair a local brew with a gourmet burger, flatbread or appetizer like chicken wings. The chill atmosphere and friendly staff make Funky Buddha a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy a laid-back meal.

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Steak 954

Ranked among the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale for steak, Steak 954 stands out with its sophisticated ambiance and menu.

Located in the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel, this upscale restaurant offers prime cuts of beef, caviar and rack of lamb. The luxurious setting, complete with a jellyfish aquarium, enhances the dining experience. In addition to steak, Steak 954 serves fresh seafood, hearty sides and decadent desserts.

The Rusty Pelican

The Rusty Pelican, perched on the edge of Biscayne Bay, is a Fort Lauderdale favorite known for waterfront views and fresh cuisine.

The menu features a blend of contemporary American dishes with a focus on seafood. Popular items include the lobster risotto, grilled mahi-mahi and crab cakes. The Rusty Pelican also offers a selection of wines and signature cocktails.

La Carreta

For a taste of authentic Cuban cuisine, La Carreta is the place to go. This restaurant offers a warm, welcoming atmosphere and a menu full of traditional Cuban dishes.

From classic ropa vieja and lechón asado to the famous Cuban sandwich, every bite at La Carreta bursts with flavor. For a boost of flavor, pair the meal with a refreshing mojito or a cup of rich Cuban coffee.

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Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor

To complete a journey of sampling the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, enjoy dessert at Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor.

This iconic ice cream shop in Dania Beach has been serving up sweet treats since 1956. With its nostalgic décor and homemade ice cream flavors, sundaes and milkshakes, Jaxson’s is the perfect place to indulge. Be sure to try their Jumbo Sampler sundae, a creation perfect for sharing.

Looking for more things to do? Read about Fort Lauderdale’s nightlife scene.

Interested in visiting soon? Check out these spacious vacation rentals in Fort Lauderdale.

Article contributed by Rene Grajales, owner of iTrip Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Rene and his team professionally manage short-term and vacation rentals in Fort Lauderdale and welcome all guests to enjoy this tropical destination.