MORE

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale isn't as flashy as Miami nor as food-driven as Delray. And it's not as wealthy as Palm Beach.

We have no trendy fried chicken joints like South Beach's Yardbird Southern Table & Bar nor recently nominated James Beard semifinalists like Clay Conley chef/partner of "the island's" Buccan.

What we do have, however, are damned good chefs and restaurateurs. Some have been here since the days of the topless donut shop. (Yes, that did exist once.)

Highly acclaimed gourmet Mexican spot Eduardo de San Angel recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.

In 1998, chef Angelo Elia brought fine Tuscan cuisine to the city with his first outpost of Casa D'Angelo, which now has locations in Boca and the Atlantis Hotel & Resort in the Bahamas.

Fourteen years ago, Dean James Max brought his modern American technique and local sustainable approach to seafood with 3030 Ocean in the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa -- he recently left, and his protégé Paula DaSilva is about to return.

In any case, here's a list of the ten best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, Disagree? Leave a comment..

Warning: You're about to get hungry.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

10. Sea Restaurant

In this nondescript strip-mall spot on East Commercial Boulevard, chef/owner Tony Sindaco pumps out a menu that is anything but commonplace. Delectable dishes, from tuna Bolognese to braised black grouper, served with ever-changing but perfectly cooked accouterments, will satisfy any seafood lover's craving -- and might convert a few haters. The mind-blowing effect totally makes sense given Sindaco's résumé; the award-winning chef spent time working in kitchens across the U.S. and Europe, including stints at Michelin 5-Star Palace Hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland, and Chef Poissoniere at the Five Diamond Helmsley Palace in New York City under Andre Rene. At Sea, Sindaco brings his haute approach to casual beach-inspired digs. That's exactly why we nominated the Lilliputian spot New Times winner for Best Seafood - 2012.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

9. 3030 Ocean

Long hailed as one of the best places for seafood in Fort Lauderdale, 3030 Ocean has racked up numerous accolades. Over the years, New Times alone has awarded it everything from Best Chef - 2009 and Best Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale - 2006 to Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying - 2002 and Best Fine Dining That Offers a Highchair - 2001. Known for its clean, modern American approach, the restaurant offers light seafood and meats prepared in a manner that respects and highlights individual ingredients -- whether it be a prime cut of meat, locally caught grouper, or farm-fresh veggies. While the restaurant has recently undergone some big changes -- founder Dean James Max left, and former chef de cuisine Paula Da Silva is back -- it's just as consistent yet as innovative as ever.

bestof.jpg
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

8. Hot and Soul

Great food does not have to be served in a formal environment. Yeah, there are times when you want to dress up to the nines, sit underneath a white tablecloth, and act all fancy and whatnot. This is South Florida, however, and most of us like to wear the most minimal amount of clothing possible. You shouldn't get stuck eating hot dogs and burgers just because you want to rock a T-shirt and a pair of shorts. Hot and Soul offers enticing homemade fare like Gnaughty Gnocchi with oxtail, San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and pecorino or Vegan Yum Bowl of coconut polenta mushroom gravy, crispy onions, and micro greens in a comfortable, friendly, and casual environment. It's international soul food at its finest.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

7. Thasos Greek Taverna

It wasn't all that long ago that Greek food could be found only in diners and casual family eateries. Thasos has turned that notion on its head. The chic Greek restaurant offers the type of healthy and light fare that inspired the whole Mediterranean diet craze. Lavraki, Mediterranean sea bass, is grilled whole with just fresh herbs, lemon, and olive oil from the island of Thasos itself. Oak-grilled lamb chops are served with grilled vegetables, quinoa salad, and feta. This place offers the ideal alternative to the overcomplicated and fat-filled menus found at most American restaurants.

bestof.jpg
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

6. Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille

Las Olas is loaded with restaurant after restaurant offering beautiful surroundings with nice food. Narrowing down a destination is not exactly the easiest of tasks. Make sure you check out Wild Sea on your next boulevard outing. Chef de cuisine Jon Sanchez, an alumnus of Thomas Keller, prides himself on sourcing the best ingredients humanly possible. Whole fish are brought in and filleted daily to ensure the original product is as fresh as can be -- the remnants are later turned into soups and stocks. These house-prepared ingredients are part of a menu that is constantly evolving, with such offerings as golden tilefish with poached clams, mushrooms, and julienned kohlrabi over a cream sauce made from the tilefish itself. You can't get much more sustainable than that. This is the way cooking was meant to be, and we're glad Wild Sea has brought it back.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

5. Casa D'Angelo

One of the leaders of the pack in terms of the Broward County dining scene, Casa D'Angelo executive chef/owner Angelo Elia is known for bringing fine Italian to Fort Lauderdale. In his original locale, Elia offers simple yet gratifying dishes ranging from wood-grilled bistecca alla fiorentina, dry-aged New York strip steak marinated in olive oil, rosemary, and garlic, and served with Vidalia onion and wild mushrooms to the gnocchi or risotto of the day. Topping off the impeccable fare, the restaurant arguably has the best wine selection in the area, with selections spanning from Elia's house Jermann Chardonnay from Italy to California cult favorite Screaming Eagle. It's like a wine geek's version of paradise.

bestof.jpg
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

4. Market 17

"Farm to table" has been a "thing" throughout most of the country for years now. While some local chefs have made efforts to source locally and sustainably as much as possible, Market 17 really brought the ethos to Fort Lauderdale. Here you'll find a menu that continually changes based upon what is humane, environmentally conscious, and seasonally available. Today you might find grilled locally caught grouper with crispy mofongo cakes, farm zucchini, sautéed kale, pickled pearl onions, and chimichurri sauce. Tomorrow it could be pan-roasted pork tenderloin with brown butter corn bread, mustard greens, broccolini, rutabaga, rainbow carrots, and mustard demi. There's no telling what will be here on a given night, but one thing is certain: You can choose what you like with peace of mind.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

3. d.b.a./cafe

What happens when you take a classically trained French chef and put him in a laid-back gastropub-type environment? Haute comfort. Dishes like apricot glazed duck confit with acorn squash crepe and Brussels sprouts, goat cheese and poached pear strudel with walnuts and sweet red wine reduction, and chicken liver crostini with onions braised in sherry offer an unexpected but ambrosial gourmet experience for the intimate and casual habitat. That's exactly what draws you in; after a visit or two, the amicable staff will have you feeling like you're eating in a mate's kitchen -- specifically, one who really knows how to cook.

bestof.jpg
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

2. Canyon Southwest Cafe

Long hailed as the gourmand haven of Fort Lauderdale, this place continues to never disappoint. Executive chef and owner Chris Wilber delivers a flavorful selection of Southwestern -- and globally inspired -- menu items celebrating bold and spicy flavors. Although the menu changes regularly, expect to see adventurous yet not-unfamiliar options ranging from cornmeal-crusted herb goat cheese poblano and smoked salmon tostada to ancho crusted salmon fillet with green chili black bean ragu and shrimp pico de gallo. Few restaurants truly stand the test of time -- this one does so with a vengeance.

The Ten Best Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

1. Valentino Cucina Italiana

For years, Valentino Cucina Italiana sat in a small strip mall on Federal Highway just south of the tunnel; the food was always great, even if the location wasn't. Then it got an upgrade, moving to a bigger and better space across the street, complete with a huge open kitchen, chef-side seating, artistic pastries, a bar with a mixology program unparalleled in these parts, a private dining room, and an overall boost in ambiance. The kitchen now churns out a dynamic menu of innovative dishes such as homemade pastas, venison with butternut squash, braised red cabbage, and blueberry as well as monkfish accompanied by sunchoke, black trumpet mushroom, and crispy shallots. Posh digs, creative cocktails, and imaginative cuisine earned this spot our pick for Best Broward County Restaurant - 2013, and we're yet to change our minds.

bestof.jpg
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.




Sponsor Content