Preparing the Thanksgiving dinner is one of the great, ongoing American traditions. As enjoyable as it may be, throwing a Thanksgiving dinner can be a major pain if you're not the domestic type. It takes days of planning, costs tons of money, creates a major mess, and can contribute to ample amounts of stress.
When you think about it that way, who needs it?
Maybe you love cooking dinner but your arm is broken or your oven isn't working. Maybe the kids are away and it's just two of you this year and doing dinner at home bums you out. There are a lot of reasons to dine out on T-Day, and that's why some restaurants choose to stay open.
No matter the reason, if you're looking to avoid the emotional trauma, dishes, chaos, and confusion, handing over the cooking and cleaning reins is probably in your best interest.
That being said, if you don't want to end up at Denny's on our national day of giving thanks, you should probably plan ahead. Most restaurants won't be open at all, and those that are will fill up quickly.
Whether you're looking to eat the best turkey you've probably ever had, feel good about yourself for giving back, soak up some South Florida beachfront views, or get in on some kitschy entertainment, the 954 has a plethora of merry dining options.
Here are our picks for the ten best restaurants for Thanksgiving dinner in Broward County — you can thank us later.
1. Tropical Acres
2500 Griffin Road in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-989-2500, or visit tropicalacres.com.
This place is just about as family-oriented as you're going to find in any South Florida restaurant — it's been owned by the same heirs and assigns since 1949. Even with a fire a few years back, the place has kept much of its original Old Florida charm, and it serves traditional Thanksgiving and steak-house-style meals to match. Ranging from $23.95 to $31.95, four-course dinners come complete with salad, soup, meat and potatoes with veg, and desserts on Thanksgiving Day from 2 to 9 p.m. Options include roast turkey, prime rib, rack of lamb, and Virginia ham. Call for reservations, as seats here get snatched up fast.
2. 3030 Ocean
3030 Holiday Drive in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-4000, or visit 3030ocean.com.
Even though South Florida is better-known for its seafood offerings than for traditional American cuisine, it's a versatile region. In keeping with that flexibility, 3030 Ocean is switching it up with some conventional — yet extraordinary — Thanksgiving options. The beachfront spot will be serving roasted turkey breast ($35) with turkey leg confit, chestnut stuffing, local fall vegetables, cranberry tartar, and natural jus as well as its regular land and sea menu. For $58, the turkey dinner can be upgraded to include roasted butternut squash soup with maple crème fraîche and pecan pie with salted caramel ice cream for dessert. If you've got a picky pescetarian, vegetarian, or meat-and-potatoes lover, this place has got you covered.
2400 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-712-0580, or visit chimasteakhouse.com.
Though most people tend to go for the Thanksgiving side dishes, some are all about the meat. If carnivorous cravings describe your style of eating, this Las Olas Brazilian spot might just be your place. In addition to its regular rapacious rodizio (grilled meats) offerings, Chima is serving some holiday specials, including roasted turkey, turkey stroganoff, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin pie all for the regular all-you-can-eat price of $52.50. You might avoid carb overload, but you'll definitely get a good case of the meat sweats.
4. The Dubliner
210 SW Second St. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-523-1213, or visit dublinerfortlauderdale.com.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be about, well, giving thanks. Sometimes it's best to do so when giving back. While serving at a soup kitchen isn't for everyone — you can decide for yourself — other charitable options exist. To help you feel good, the Dubliner is serving prix fixe turkey dinners with an Irish twist for 21 bucks apiece with 100 percent of the proceeds going to charity. Be thankful you're such a good person.
5. Steak 954
401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-414-8333, or visit steak954.com.
One of the greatest aspects of spending time — whether you live here or are just visiting — in South Florida is proximity to the beach. If you're looking to up the jealousy factor for Northern relatives or just take in some ocean air, Steak 954 is serving ethically conscious holiday meals for meat eaters and vegetarians. Diners get free-range turkey with gravy, cranberry-ginger chutney, traditional stuffing, whipped potatoes or sweet potato purée, haricot verts with blistered tomatoes or roasted spaghetti squash, cheddar cheese jalapeño corn bread, and charred broccolini with hollandaise sauce. For dessert, enjoy pumpkin soufflé with warm scotch caramel and pepita brittle ice cream or brown butter and pecan praline monkey bread with whipped vanilla bean mascarpone.
6. Old Heidelberg
900 W. State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-463-6747, or visit oldheidelbergdeli.com.
Thanksgiving may not be a traditional German celebration, but these folks know how to party for any occasion. (Hint: It's all about the beer.) While you probably wouldn't think so, this über-kitschy German spot draws quite the Thanksgiving Day crowd. In addition to its regular menu, Old Heidelberg is offering a selection of holiday specials ranging from $14.99 to $20.99, including traditional turkey and honey-roasted ham, Bavarian schnitzel, and Zigeuner Goulash. As usual, lederhosen are always welcome but optional. Early reservations are highly recommended.
7. Sublime Restaurant & Bar
1431 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-615-1431, or visit sublimerestaurant.com.
Thanksgiving is not necessarily supposed to be about gorging on tons of meat. Unfortunately for those looking to be cruelty-free, finding holiday dining options is no easy task, whether it's at a friend's house or a restaurant. For anyone looking to celebrate the holiday sans animal products, Sublime is preparing a three-course vegan meal for $39 per adult, $29 per kid. Guests start off with Waldorf salad and get to choose from Gardein "turkey" or stuffed roasted acorn squash, followed by pumpkin "cheesecake" or apple pie à la mode. It's an option to really be thankful for.
8. Lola's on Harrison
2032 Harrison St. in Hollywood. Call 954-927-9851, or visit lolasonharrison.com.
Thanksgiving dinner is known for packing on the calorie count. It's best to walk some of it off as soon as you can. While taking your after-feast constitutional and meditating on all you have to be thankful for, it's nice to have something interesting to look at. Cool street art should keep your mind off the sleep-inducing effects of turkey's tryptophan. After all, if you live in beautiful South Florida, one only has to look around to feel grateful. For anyone looking to stroll before or after indulging, Lola's on Harrison is offering guests traditional holiday options in addition to its regular menu from 2 to 7 p.m. on the day of giving thanks.
9. Oceans 2000
2000 N. Ocean Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-556-7667, or visit pelicanbeach.com.
Holiday feasts are about eating copious amounts of food, family-style. Whether your family is not around or just doesn't want to deal with the effort of putting together a meal at home, you should still be able to eat a bounty of carbs and other Thanksgiving calories. To keep you satiated in beautiful surroundings, Ocean 2000 will serve a holiday buffet right next to the beach with seatings at noon, 2:30, and 5:30 p.m. The cost is $65 per adult, $32 per young adult, with kids under 4 eating for free.
3599 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-563-3272, or visit maikai.com.
One of the best parts of any holiday is sitting back and watching the family show. Aunt Mildred is probably hollering at Uncle Bob for who-knows-what, and your sister is probably throwing a fit about your mom not catering to her newest dietary whim. (She's a gluten-free pescetarian this year.) Unfortunately, when you take the cooking — and possibly the family — out of the equation, the day can be kind of boring. For those of you looking to get some Thanksgiving entertainment, this over-the-top retro-Polynesian spot is serving a special holiday meal with or without a show. For $41 with a show, $30 without, and $15.95 for kids 12 and under, Mai-Kai will prepare patrons a pupu platter with turkey or ham and all the American fixings. Besides, you know you'll walk out with some superclassy holiday photos.