Best Raw Bar Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2006 - Southport Raw Bar
1536 Cordova Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Readers' Choice: Tark's
Those scary written warnings that accompany servings of un-cooked shellfish are so uninviting, it's a wonder anyone eats raw oysters or clams. Risking hepatitis or vibrio just to swallow something salty and slimy takes a particular breed of cat (or kitten). But raw oysters are, in fact, a delicacy and reputed aphrodisiac, and South Florida's a prime spot for both Gulf and Atlantic varieties. Unlike many other restaurants -- even shacks right on the water -- Southport always shucks oysters to order, instead of letting them sit refrigerated on the half-shell until they develop the texture of rubber cement, the way some establishments do. Observe as plastic milk-crates packed full of the bivalves make their way from coolers in back to tubs of ice at the shucking station. At $9 a dozen (cheaper during happy hour), the oysters fit in well with Southport's no-frills, slightly divey setup. The smoked fish dip and fried offerings (clams, oysters, catfish, scallops, etc.) consistently cost about half as much as you'd find elsewhere but are invariably twice as good; its Philly cheesesteak is enormous and authentic, and beer and wine flow freely (and cheaply). Besides, after more than six years of swallowing those sea-salty little items, we're still alive, healthy, and ready for more.