Though Nikki Marina claims it is "knot just a place to dock your yacht," it wouldn't hurt to arrive in one. Granted, you can pull into a slip with whatever showy marine vessel you managed to inherit from Daddy, be it a catamaran or a Cigarette, but don't dare pull up in a Boston Whaler and expect the staff to run to you with martinis and oysters on the half shell. Come here when you want to be seen relaxing with the leisure class, lounging in linen accouterments, sipping mojitos, and noshing on Nikki's Delight of the Sea; this $200 platter is stocked with Alaskan crab legs, Maine lobster, poached shrimp, oysters, crab claws, Volcano coconut tiger shrimp, and sushi. Polish it off with a tres leches meringue ($8), if you still have room available in your belly. No doubt you'll wish to linger a while, mesmerized by the rhythmic lapping of the Intracoastal waters and the soothing crash of a large fountain. On a sunny Sunday, take in the brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with its sushi, salads, pasta bar, fresh-made waffles, and omelets ($37.95 per person). There's nothing more Florida-chic than eating right near the boat slips without a bothersome umbrella or a drunken bunch of catfish-feeders around.

This place takes its seafood seriously. Though the menu is merely two pages long, there are so many succulent selections that it may take you and your lovey some time to decide. Choices include delicately steamed Prince Edward Island mussels marinière ($7), shrimp cocktail served with a nontraditional zesty mustard sauce ($8.75), Maryland lump crab cake kicked up with black bean/tomato/corn salsa ($8.75), and Atlantic salmon served cold smoked with crème fraiche and a small, light, buckwheat pancake ($8.75). You can also get the salmon sautéed with cucumbers, dill, capers, and lemon ($22). Plus, you can add a broiled, stuffed Florida lobster tail with drawn butter to any entrée (four ounces, $9; eight ounces, $18). Pure marine mayhem for the taste buds. A real treat is the tuna lovers' tasting menu, which includes the moist, ruby red slices starring as sashimi, tartare, and spring roll filling with wakame ($8.50). Not into the raw stuff? Take heart. The basil risotto with shiitake mushrooms and grilled shrimp, scallops, and mussels is simply heavenly ($24). Regardless of what you choose, Brooks will get it right. After all, the place has been serving seafood to South Floridians for nearly a quarter of a century.

OK, it's not the place to dine solo if you're planning to slog through another chapter of Finnegan's Wake. But if you're reasonably pulled together (leave the fanny pack at home) and arrive somewhere between happy hour and midnight, you're bound to find yourself inexorably drawn into the crowd that congregates at Las Palmas. Brush up on your rendition of "Feelings" for the late-night karaoke session. Slide up to the sushi bar under what is "the largest tiki hut on the east coast," according to the website. Dancing eel rolls here go for $9, volcano rolls for $14.95. Bide your time while pleasure boats unload their bevies of beauties at the dock. Your Polynesian pork chops might set you back $17.95, but you could find yourself eating it next to a table full of Miss Florida USA hopefuls. Big difference between being alone and being lonely, isn't there?

Grandpa's in town for the season, and it's clearly time to get the old coot married off again. You could pour through Google listings for Golden Years dating services, but here's some advice: the 70-something eye candy at Old Florida Seafood House ought to give him an excellent excuse to refill that Viagra scrip. This three-decades-old Lauderdale institution, complete with busy raw bar, stuffed sharks on the walls, and threadbare carpet, is a favorite with the finest local ladies of a certain age, who arrive on a Sunday evening decked out in their best duds, coifed and manicured and presumably perfectly weddable. You and Gramps can discuss their assets over an appetizer plate of shrimp Florentine ($8.95) and a bowl of oyster stew ($8.95), an entrée of freshly caught fish -- broiled, baked, or sautéed ($18.95 to $21.95), or a plate of sautéed veal with lobster tails (in season). The early-bird special is rather pricey between 4:30 and 5:30 (the three-course meal costs $17.95 Monday through Thursday, $19.95 Friday through Sunday), but it does give the erstwhile ladykiller ample opportunity to linger long enough to get noticed.

The cousin-from-Camden contingent has arrived, half a dozen nippers in tow, and by day six, you've stage-managed everything from airboat rides in the Everglades to daytrips to Disney. Worse news is in store: Your loud-mouthed sister-in-law has dropped in for a surprise inspection. Drastic times require drastic measures, so raise the salty old ghost of Cap Knight. Cap's Island Restaurant, which is set in two 80-year-old buildings on an island at Lighthouse Point, can be reached only by ferry. And it boasts enough nostalgic charm and locally caught seafood to stifle the in-laws -- at least for as long as it takes 'em to down a glass of chablis at the hand-built bar, peruse a couple of hundred old-Florida photos, and read all about how Cap and his wife ran a gambling and bootleg rum operation on the premises. If you still need a little distraction, introduce them to the Knight family -- a sister and two brothers who still run the place. Then all of you can polish off a plate of broiled dolphin ($24.95) and a slice of lime pie ($5.95). Sate them with histories, stuff them full of house-made fish dip, and for pity's sake, send them home on the next 747.

Ulysses and his hearty crew sailed the dark canals of Broward County. As they approached Pembroke Pines, Ulysses ordered his men, good and true, to lash him to the mast. For they approached Pitios, whose siren scent of deliciousness called to the stomach and could drive hungry men mad. The crew stuffed beeswax in their nostrils, and Ulysses ordered he not be released under any circumstances. As they passed Pitios, Ulysses caught a whiff of the Greek sausages, gyros, imported feta cheeses, and phyllo-wrapped spinach pies. "In the name of Zeus!" Ulysses gasped as he worked against the leather bindings. Then he beheld the pita bread: freshly baked, soft on the inside, with an ever-so-slight crunch on the outside, just like his mom, Anticleia, used to make. "Agamemnon, free my anxious maw!" he yelled to the heavens. Change jingled in his toga, surely enough to buy any one of the affordable entrées that run from $3.25 to $9.25. Owners Michael and Katerina Giannomoros stood waving. "Oh, Styx," he groaned, "cheap and authentic Greek food."

You'd never dream of setting foot in an Olive Garden, much less a Red Lobster, but that doesn't mean their parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., is giving up on you. Darden introduced a high-end, low-cal restaurant this year that's drawing yuppies as inexorably as a Prada close-out sale -- Seasons 52. Here's an idea whose time has come: delicious, elegantly plated little morsels, grilled in olive oil rather than butter, incorporating seasonal ingredients, whole grains, and lightly cooked vegetables -- promising a caloric content below 475 per dish. Among those we recommend: grilled deepwater sea scallops, cedar plank salmon, and mesquite roasted pork tenderloin. Prices range from $8 to $21.75. And, get this: If you're vegetarian, vegan, or on any kind of fad diet -- like the amazing new chocolate and vodka diet (it really works -- call us and we'll fill you in!) -- Seasons' kitchen will accommodate you without flinching. OK, so the thimble-sized desserts, gargantuan wine list (more than 60 wines by the glass), and plush Intercontinental Hotel-flavored setting don't have the personality of your Aunt May's frayed living-room rug. But heck, it's even better this way. So tuck your oh-so-precious politics in your back pocket, relax, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Our American romance with Asiatic foodstuffs shows no signs of slowing -- and now some genius has dreamed up a gigantic, all-you-can-eat Eastern food complex adapted to our very Western waistline -- Super Size Me-San. At Crazy Buffet, a budding Florida franchise with outlets in Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm, discerning diners can fork over $19.99 to begin at the sushi bar, which features 50 kinds of sushi, sashimi, and rolls, a lineup stretching as far as the hand can reach. A full dinner plate of dragon rolls, rainbow rolls, kimchee rolls, chunks of glistening raw tuna, yellowtail, and salmon is just a little something to whet the appetite. Next stop: the seafood table, for snow crab legs, shucked oysters, cold boiled shrimp, marinated mussels, seared scallops. And for a little variation, the salad bar offers cold comforts. A fourth course entails tough choices: pick your own beef, chicken, and bean sprouts for the chef to stir-fry, have a steak or a mess of shrimp grilled on the hibachi, or both. Or all. Just don't forget to stop by the Peking duck-carving station on the way back to your table. Finally, it's crucial to save a little room, maybe roughly the size of your small intestine, for a dessert table laden with cakes, pies, and ice cream -- because there will be no taking home leftovers in doggy bags -- you gotta live for the moment.

The top views in Hollywood come courtesy of the ocean-facing tables at Hasan Kochan's 13-year-old restaurant on the Hollywood Broadwalk. Those tables have withstood annual flocks of snowbirds, the gentle if charming weirdness of the area, and a handful of hurricanes. But taking the long view must be Kochan's talent. The Broadwalk is coming in for a big revitalization that's bound to pay off for him -- that is, unless somebody decides to plunk down a high-rise next door. In the meantime, you can take advantage of those tables, particularly offseason, for the panorama they offer of the skaters, bikers, and scallywags who ply the two-mile walkway. The food is homemade and moderately priced ($3.95 to $9.95 for small plates, up to $16.95 for entrées). Among our favorites are the feta- and parsley-stuffed cigars, the little Turkish pizzas topped with lamb and vegetables, and the dish of fried sardines with a side of thick cacik -- a yogurt and cucumber salad as mild as an ocean breeze.

The state of dining in many museums is disappointing. You're part of a captive audience. What a pleasure, then, to know that after you've strolled the goldfish ponds and other loveliness of the Morikami's gardens, some fine and affordable Japanese food is waiting at Cornell, which overlooks all the flora and babbling brooks. Start with the seaweed salad, a plentiful plate mixed with sesame seeds and mild hot peppers in a vinaigrette sauce for $4.50. Tuna, shrimp, grouper, and salmon rolls run $4.50 to $5.50. But it's the luncheon specials that make the day. For the budget-minded, the beef bowl, at $6.95, is a meal in itself, with strips of stir-fried beef, onions, fresh mushrooms, and carrots. Jumbo shrimp in Asian leek sauce is a steamed delight that includes rice and vegetables for $8.95. For vegetarians, there's Asian eggplant with garlic sauce for $6.95. For the true Japanophile, there's the eel bowl, in which this favored seafood is baked in sauce and ladled over rice. Cornell is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission into the museum is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for kids.

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