Six Best Restaurants Serving Alligator in South Florida

Fried gator can be quite a treat when it's cooked the right way. Here's where to find some in South Florida.
Fried gator can be quite a treat when it's cooked the right way. Here's where to find some in South Florida.
Photo by Joe Szilagyi via Wikimedia Commons

At Jacques-Imo's Cafe in New Orleans, you can order shrimp and alligator cheesecake for an appetizer. It's just the sort of wild, exotic, Cajun-Creole-Bayou-style eats you'd expect from a foodie-forward city like NoLa. 

But it's here — in Florida, where roughly 1.25 million alligators reside — where gator should be the special feature on local menus. Hell, it should even be our official state dish. 

Even so, the remarkably pearly white meat is rarely used outside of seafood and Creole-style establishments. And even then, it's a hard sell. The meat is notoriously chewy, even if it does "taste like chicken." And there aren't too many people who find it more appealing than, say, the area's standard Floribbean finds like crack conch, mahi sandwiches, and Caribbean lobster tails.

All is not lost, however. If you're craving some gator, these South Florida establishments make this exotic meat worth the gamble. Whether it's fried into tasty bite-sized pieces, grilled up as a platter of ribs, or ground and formed into a Creole-spiced burger patty, we've got the best places to tackle fresh alligator in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Dixie Bar & Grill in West Palm Beach has fried gator bites on the menu.
Dixie Bar & Grill in West Palm Beach has fried gator bites on the menu.
Photo by Nicole Danna

6. Dixie Bar & Grill
5101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach. Call 561-586-3189, or visit dixiegrillandbar.com.
Dixie Grill & Bar has a long history in Palm Beach County. The establishment was founded by brothers Richard and Jay Preefer — also behind places like a Bit of Nostalgia, the Bowery, Rod & Gun, the Hut, and the Palm Beach Ale House. Together, they adorn their establishments with antiques and collectibles they've personally collected throughout the years. Today, Richard’s daughter, Rachel, and her husband, Jason, are the working owners of Dixie, where craft beer has become a focal point. The bar features 28 craft brews on tap, which rotate weekly and often feature limited-run and special releases. The menu is made up of soups, sandwiches, salads, burgers, and larger, entrée-style dishes like pasta or steak. And, listed under appetizers, you'll find fried gator, served in tiny fritter-like pieces and served with a remoulade-style side sauce. 

The Islamorada Fish Company has gator on the menu.
The Islamorada Fish Company has gator on the menu.
Photo courtesy of Islamorada Fish Company

5. Islamorada Fish Company
220 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach. Call 954-927-7737, or visit restaurants.basspro.com.
Inside Bass Pro Shops is the Islamorada Fish Company, a stand-alone restaurant that services the store and surrounding area patrons. There are a number of game meats and fish on the menu, including — of course — gator. The alligator meat comes in both appetizer and entrée portions, but the meat is treated the same: tenderized and breaded in a special blend of seasonings before it's deep-fried to a crispy golden shell. Larger, dinner-sized portions are plated in a basket with a side of special gator sauce with a choice of fries, baked potato, onion rings, coleslaw, or rice and beans.

Lulu's Bait Shack has gator and plastic gator-adorned drinks to match.
Lulu's Bait Shack has gator and plastic gator-adorned drinks to match.
Photo courtesy of Lulu's Bait Shack

4. LuLu's Bait Shack
17 S. Atlantic Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-463-7425, or visit lulusbaitshack.
Directly across the street from the beach, on the second floor of the Beach Place complex, Lulu's has perhaps the best ocean panorama of any bar or restaurant on that stretch of A1A. The breeze that fills this open-air eatery is perfect for the beach-easy bar and menu. Daytime is usually filled with tourists and undiscriminating locals, but nights can turn a tad frat-boy bacchanalian. (This is the place to order a rum runner, with a floater, in a "souvenir bikini glass" shaped like a headless lady's body.) The New Orleans-style menu offers oysters and shrimp poorboys — and fried alligator, here a true treat. Order the fishbowl-style drink with the matching plastic alligators adorning the straws and you're set.

Coconuts in Fort Lauderdale has something special on the menu: alligator ribs.
Coconuts in Fort Lauderdale has something special on the menu: alligator ribs.
Photo courtesy of Coconuts

3. Coconuts 
429 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-2421, or visit benicerestaurants.com.
Coconuts is well-known for its fresh seafood and dockside casual ambiance. Little does everyone know there's something superspecial on the menu, however: grilled alligator ribs. An entire rack, to be exact, given a special rub and marinated in a sweet and savory glaze before they're served, tender and chewy, with a choice of any of the regular menu sides.

The Deck serves alligator in an omelet for breakfast.
The Deck serves alligator in an omelet for breakfast.
Photo courtesy of Daisy Dukes

2. The Deck
619 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-537-1722, or visit thedeckftl.com.
One part hotel restaurant, one part beachside bar, the Deck in Fort Lauderdale is best-known for its "million-dollar" ocean views and locals' ambiance. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant offers a number of seafoodcentric eats. The bar serves some of the area's best tropical drinks as well, many arriving in hand-carved coconuts. But it's the occasional alligator omelet (available as a special on holiday weekends) that caught our attention. Tender nibs of alligator meat are mixed in with cheese and veggies of your choice, offering a decidedly different take on breakfast of champions — and daredevils.

The Shuck 'N Dive menu has a gator and pork burger on the menu.
The Shuck 'N Dive menu has a gator and pork burger on the menu.
Photo courtesy of Shuck 'N Dive

1. Shuck 'N Dive
650 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-0088, or visit shuck-n-dive.com.
Fried gator and gator ribs are swell and all, but the alligator dish that takes the biggest bite out of the whole Creole cooking things would have to be the gator and hot sausage patty at Shuck 'N Dive. At a restaurant best-known for its New Orleans-style char broiled oysters, fried crawfish, and crawfish étouffée, this burger serves up a serious side of something different and exotic from the Bayou. A blend of fresh-ground Louisiana gator and lean pork sausage and rubbed down with a hearty blend of cajun seasoning, then served with a side of fries, tater tots, or a bag of Zapp's potato chips.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.

Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Coconuts

429 Seabreeze Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

954-525-2421

www.coconutsbahamagrill.com

miles
Lulu's Bait Shack

17 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

954-463-7425

www.lulusbaitshack.com


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