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Restaurant Reviews

GG's Waterfront Bar and Grill Shines With Fresh Seafood and Water Views

For all its uninterrupted miles of oceanfront shore and cozy Intracoastal coastline, Florida never seems to have quite enough waterfront restaurants.

You can never have too many, be they divey holes in the wall like Le Tub serving greasy, sea-inspired bar food, or a bevy of pricey, upmarket spots with all the pomp and circumstance of a Michelin-starred rating.

But not every waterside restaurant has a story like GG's Waterfront Bar and Grill, a Hollywood steak and seafood restaurant off A1A.

See also: Ten Best New Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

For a considerable span of time -- starting around the late 1940s and through the next several decades, until it changed hands in 1994 -- GG's was known as Joe Sonken's Gold Coast Restaurant. The waterside eatery, originally built in 1935, was a well-known Mob hangout, often frequented by many of New York's most famous factions.

Many years later, the restaurant morphed into a Greek tavern named Georgio's Grill, which opened to instant success in the fall of 1997, joining a string of new establishments during a short revival that saw a number of new cafés, galleries, theaters, and nightclubs. When its owners, Giorgio Bakatsias and Peter Tsialiamanis, moved on to focus on their Taverna Opa concept, Georgio's fell by the wayside.

In 2010, longtime restaurateurs Dan and Lise-Anne Serafini purchased Georgio's, what had become a tired, dark space filled with faux Roman columns, stone lion-head fountains, and heavy blue-velvet curtains covering floor-to-ceiling windows, blotting out the light and view.

"Knowing what the restaurant did in its prime and knowing its past, it was hard to pass up," says Dan. "We knew what we wanted to do and what this place could be."

See also: GG's Waterfront Bar and Grill (Photos)

Today, GG's -- an abbreviation of its former name -- has evolved into the type of place you go for fresh seafood and alfresco dining, enjoyed with cocktail in hand on a mild South Florida evening.

The once-shrouded dining room is 10,000 square feet of sprawling, open space that has made it a popular setting for special events. In a room decorated in a sophisticated palette of blue and tan, every seat in the house offers views of both the water and the open kitchen, while an expanded outdoor patio has a second bar, casual high-top seating, and TVs.

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna

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