Fort Lauderdale is no slouch when it comes to street food, with plenty of options like The Whole Enchilada, My Market, Primanti's, and of course, LaSpada's. Yet when it comes to a sit-down midday meal that offers more than sandwich shop, the question remains: "Where should we go for lunch?" It is perhaps the question I'm most often asked since I've moved here. After the jump, behold: the lunch list. Consider the options and stake a spot for tomorrow.
1. The Downtowner: For the crowd
A divey bar close to the courthouse (and jail) offers solid sandwiches, great people watching, and riverside seats. If it's liquid lunch you're looking for, this is your spot, with daily beer specials and one of the best Guinness pours in town.
2. Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House: For the eggs
There's an array of items to seduce your palate at the cheerful stop on Himmarshee that serves breakfast and lunch until 3 p.m. every day. Though fish stew and pancakes are delightful (and filling), farm fresh eggs on a BLT is as delightful as anything on the menu. The quality of ingredients here elevates dishes from stick to your ribs to damn near elegant.
3. Gran Forno Pronto: For the bread
The people, the menu, the setting, and the price point hit a sweet spot
for lunch in particular. Behind the counter sits a beautiful crusty loaf
several feet long, stacked with Italian meats, provolone, and arugula. It's tough to
order wrong here, especially when it comes to pizza and bread, though a
favorite is the meatballs. Milk and bread crumbs from the area's most
heavenly bakery ensure that they're light and nearly pillowy. Doused
with red sauce and a healthy heap of Parmesan, they're among the most
delicious in town.
4. Luigi's Coal Oven Pizza: For Neapolitan pizza
Stick to the traditional Margherita Napolitana at Luigi's, likely made by DiMeo himself. Pair it with a glass of wine, a selection curated by DiMeo's wife, who's also the wine buyer at Whole Foods.
5. East End Brasserie: For the view
Three courses are $18 at this newly opened spot in The Atlantic Hotel. Start with the ginger, a cocktail with Domaine de Canton, pineapple, brandy, and candied root and be save room for a feast. A seat on deck is ideal, as it's across the way from the Atlantic.
6. Eleventh Street Annex: For the charm
In a nod to childhood nicknames, owners Jonny Altobell and Penny Sanfilippo who refer to themselves as the Ugly Sisters riff on a sense
of humor that pervades the spirit of the place. A chalkboard lists the
day's five features, which include homemade soup, a rotation of
sandwiches, and variations on mac and cheese. A plus for picky eaters:
The sisters accommodate vegan and vegetarians as well as food allergies,
so be sure to give a heads-up.
7. Coconuts: For your dog
The seafood-heavy menu is slightly fancier than at your average
shore side snack shack so you'll see more locals as well as polo-shirted yacht captains than
thong bikinis here. What you'll also see: plenty of pups, since the outside deck is dog friendly. Listen for the specials before ordering. It's a laundry list, but usually features more creative dishes than the menu offers.
8. El Guanaco: For cheap eats
Whether it's quesadillas, pupusas, or tacos you crave, this Salvadoran mom and pop shop has got you covered. Owner Christina Ardon will help you navigate the menu should you need it, as well as accommodate special orders like the breakfast taco.
9. Charcuterie Too! For the specials
Lunch at this cafeteria on the second floor of the main library won't set you back more than $10, but check out the signature specials before heading over. New Times sings about its curry, as well as the oatmeal cookies, giving it the 2011 award for best place to eat lunch daily.
10. Tom Jenkins: For the character
Smoky ribs, pulled pork, and chicken hit the mark here, having earned a handful awards in our area not known for 'cue. Yet it's the character that draws regulars. Housed in a log cabin off South Federal, you'll often find yourself in line waiting for meat dressed in a molasses and honey spiked sauce. Not a meat eater? Collards, mac and cheese, or a Mississippi style catfish sandwich should do the trick. Or go straight for dessert, like a slice of sweet potato pie.
What have we missed? Shout out favorites places and dishes in the comments.
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