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The Best of Fort Lauderdale: Restaurants, Bars, Gyms and More

by Madelaine Boyer by Ashleigh Braun by Alyssa Morlacci Summer 2017 Also on Digital Edition

We asked, you voted. This year’s definitive guide to the best of Fort Lauderdale includes the winners of categories from best beach bar, to best date night, to best grocer. Our year-long poll garnered more than 2,500 votes, so thank you to all who participated.

Boat Charter

Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi

What’s the good in living in (or visiting) the “Venice of America” if you don’t take advantage of the beautiful Intracoastal Waterways? See Fort Lauderdale by boat on the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi, which offers 18 different pick up/drop off locations at restaurants, museums and beaches. “There is no place in the entire U.S. like Fort Lauderdale—from the water,” says Philip Burroughs, director of sales and marketing for Water Taxi. We agree.   

Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi, Fort Lauderdale; 954.467.6677; watertaxi.com

 

Brewery

Funky Buddha Brewery

Specially crafted beers and a relaxed environment are the allure at Funky Buddha Brewery. Guests can try a variety of specialty beers made in house, from the Pineapple Beach blonde ale to the wild Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. Pours pair well with the brewery’s tasty bar treats, like the Spent Grain Pretzel or the Funky Wings. “We’ve definitely been cognizant of making our space as welcoming as possible, whether it’s to a craft beer connoisseur or a person who is new to beer,” says Head Brewer Ryan Stenz. 

Funky Buddha Brewery, 1201 NE 38th St., Oakland Park; 954.440.0046; funkybuddhabrewery.com


Live Music

Revolution Live

Live music in an intimate, three-tiered venue? Yes, please! Revolution Live offers a variety of performers for all music lovers, from mainstream artists like Tove Lo to niche bands and music groups like LANY. “We run a safe and clean venue. You know what you are going to get every time, no surprises,” says Owner Jeff John.

Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954.449.1025; jointherevolution.net

 

On-Demand Service App

Uber

It goes without saying that Fort Lauderdale isn’t exactly a city navigable by public transit. So, it’s no surprise Uber takes the win for best On-Demand Service App. If a day spent on the beach and an evening spent on Las Olas is the weekend agenda, Uber makes it easy and affordable to travel between destinations. It’s as simple as setting your location on the app and requesting a ride. The nearest driver is often within minutes of your location. 

Uber; uber.com


Beach Bar

Elbo Room

Its claim to fame came with the 1960 film “Where the Boys Are,” in which the Elbo Room played a spring break destination. The beach bar is still a hot spot for college students on vacation, but the nearly 80-year-old venue also plays host to those reminiscing spring breaks past. All walks of life in all age groups flock to the Fort Lauderdale landmark at the end of Las Olas Boulevard for live music and oceanfront views. 

Elbo Room, 241 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.; 954.463.4615; elboroom.com

 

Beauty Salon

Studio 703

In a sleek atmosphere that convinces guests they’ve entered a photo studio in Chicago or New York, Studio 703 offers a wide range of styling choices including fresh cuts, color services and blowouts. The loft-style Fort Lauderdale salon specializes in balayage hair coloring and highlights, and stylists have worked everywhere from New York and Miami, to Paris and Madrid. “What separates us is that we offer a simple environment featuring [impressive] haircuts and color with five-star customer service,” says co-owners Louise Cincis and Bob Pitts. 

Studio 703, 1600 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale; 305.842.1696; hair-makeup-photo.com

 

Steakhouse

Chima Brazilian Steakhouse

Named after the traditional Brazilian drink “chimarrao,” which symbolizes hospitality and friendship, Chima Brazilian Steakhouse offers just that. “Chima is a prix fixe restaurant where family and friends can come to enjoy great food and have a unique dining experience,” says Chima’s Sales and Event Manager Melissa Stamolis. Guests have the option to choose from 16 different cuts of meat and grilled salmon offered tableside by Chima’s meat chefs, or “gauchos.” Make sure to try the signature cut of meat, the Picanha or top sirloin, which can pair with any number of combinations from the salad bar. 

Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, 2400 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.712.0580; chimasteakhouse.com

 

Italian

Scolapasta Bistro

From homemade pasta to fresh, organic dishes, Scolapasta Bistro offers true Italian traditions. Guests experience an old-world Italian dining experience while they taste the made-to-order fresh mozzarella and polenta boards, or the homemade cavatelli. “The generations-old recipes were handed down from our grandmothers and grandfathers, and are lovingly prepared for our patrons every day,” says Owner Denise Silvano.

Scolapasta Bistro, 3358 NE 33rd St., Fort Lauderdale; 954.652.1185; scolapastabistro.com

 

Sushi

Sushi Song

Whether you’ve nailed the art of chopstick holding or not, a trip to Sushi Song is in order. “We are known for fresh sushi [and] positive vibes,” says Song Ketsuwan, executive chef and owner. Tourists and locals alike flock to Sushi Song to sample savory sushi made with a New York-inspired flair. Try delicious bites like the Maine Lobster Volcano Roll made with baked lobster served on top of a shrimp tempura roll or the Spiderman Roll made with soft shell crab tempura and topped with a spicy tuna tartar and eel sauce. 

Sushi Song, 209 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954.764.7664; sushisong.com

 

Music Festival

Riptide Music Festival

While our northern friends are shivering, we’re enjoying a winter day on the beach listening to live entertainment at Riptide Music Festival. Festival goers can experience a wide variety of music for all generations presented by four major South Florida radio stations. This year’s Dec. 2 and 3 event will include a Saturday lineup of alternative pop rock artists like AWOLNATION and Silversun Pickups. Sunday is for classic hits artists like Earth, Wind and Fire and The B-52’s. “For us, it’s all about our listeners that tune in every day to one of our radio stations, and bringing to life everything they love in one amazing festival,” says Riptide Executive Producer Von Freeman.

Riptide Music Festival, 1100 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 305.521.5100; riptidefest.com

 

Coffeehouse

The Alchemist 

At The Alchemist, the freshly brewed coffee, tranquil garden and healthy menu are just a few things that make it a local favorite. The coffee shop’s incredible roasts start with carefully selected coffee beans and are perfected with a proprietary process to release the flavor of the beans into pure water. If you’re not a coffee lover, The Alchemist also offers a selection of fresh-brewed teas that complement open-faced sandwiches or “slicers,” organic baked goods, oven-baked pizzas and salads. Surrounded by lush, verdant trees and quaint outdoor seating, this is the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful South Florida weather. 

The Alchemist, 2430 NE 13th Ave., Wilton Manors; 954.673.4614; thealchemist.cafe

 

Pizzeria

Luigi’s Coal Oven Pizza 

Luigi Di Meo first learned the art of making pizza in some of the oldest pizzerias in Naples, Italy. When he moved to the U.S. in 2005, he stayed true to those recipes and techniques, bringing authentic Italian-style pizza to South Florida in his restaurant, Luigi’s Coal Fire Pizza. Di Meo prides himself on using all imported ingredients from Italy and a coal oven that brings out a smokey flavor in the food he cooks to create favorites like the Margherita Pizza and the luxurious Truffle Pizza, with French goat cheese, mozzarella, spinach, mushrooms and white truffle oil. Not in the mood for a pizza pie, but still craving an Italian dish? Head west on Las Olas to sister restaurant Luigi’s Tuscan Grill, which recently updated its menu to include reasonable prices on pasta plates, like the favorite Rigatoni Bolognese.  

Luigi’s Coal Oven Pizza, 1415 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.522.8888; luigiscoalovenpizza.com

 

Burger Joint

BurgerFi 

BurgerFi first arrived on the burger scene in 2011 in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, offering fresh, high-quality burgers with honest ingredients and eco-friendly sustainable practices. Since then, it has expanded to more than 20 states across the U.S. BurgerFi menus includes burgers, inhouse “VegFi” burgers, hot dogs, hand-cut french fries and onion rings, homemade sauces and an extensive selection of frozen custards, sodas, beers and wine. From the special BurgerFi Sauce, which takes 40 minutes to prepare, to the healthy menu options such as the “Green Style” bun, this is not your average burger joint. 

Multiple locations; burgerfi.com

 

 

Vegan/Vegetarian Eatery

Green Bar and Kitchen

After Elena Pezzo’s brother made a miraculous recovery from a stroke in 2011 with help from superfoods and plant-based nutrition, Pezzo and her business partner, Charlie Grippo, decided to bring the positive influences of powerful nutrition to others. With the inception of Green Bar and Kitchen, the duo serves menu items like the GBK Burger, which consists of smokey, organic roasted veggies and spices combined with chickpea as a binder, formed into a patty topped with sprouts, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo on a potato bun. “GBK was built out of pure love to help nourish our communities with good, clean, plant-based comfort food... with a lot of flavor,” Pezzo says. “We saw with our own eyes that food and love heals.”

Green Bar and Kitchen, 1075 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale; 954.533.7507; greenbarkitchen.com

 

French/European Dining

La Bonne Crepe 

La Bonne Crepe has been serving delicious French-bistro style food since 1979. The crepes are thin and crispy, styled after a region of Brittany, France and cooked on a flat grill. Then, they are stuffed with more than 37 savory fillings and 18 sweet possibilities. La Bonne Crepe encourages customers to watch the chef make their very own crepes in its open-style kitchen, or relax outside and people watch on the iconic Las Olas Boulevard. This restaurant is ever-evolving, featuring a full-range menu in addition to its specialty crepes that makes it the perfect destination, whether you’re craving a Nutella, strawberry and banana crepe or the famous meatloaf, and anything in between.

La Bonne Crepe, 815 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.761.1515; labonnecrepe.com

 

Mexican

Rocco’s Tacos 

Rocco’s Tacos delivers a true taste of Mexico like nowhere else can, says operations director Peter Vittas. “When you first step through the door, you become part of the atmosphere, joining a diverse crowd enjoying flavors picked directly from Mexico in a casual, fun environment,” he says. The design and atmosphere at Rocco’s Tacos are intended to make guests feel as if they are dining in a hacienda off the coast of Riviera Maya. Rocco’s Tacos also has one of the largest tequila selections on the East Coast of the U.S., and an educated team of servers and bartenders to help guests find a proper pour. Other crowd pleasers include the guacamole, prepared tableside to guests’ exact specifications, to the tacos (of course), or any of the combination dinners. “Our mission has always been to exceed expectations, one guest at a time,” Vittas says.  

Rocco’s Tacos, 1313 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.524.9550; roccostacos.com

 

Seafood Offerings

15th Street Fisheries 

15th Street Fisheries, a legendary waterfront restaurant in Fort Lauderdale since 1978, is known for its fresh seafood and the incomparable views of the Intracoastal. “The fact that the restaurant is located directly inside the city’s oldest active working marina (established in 1948), adds an extra element of originality,” says Ted Drum, president of The Shipyard, a family-owned company responsible for operating Fisheries. Not only is the atmosphere exceptional, but the seafood served is some of the freshest in South Florida. Executive chef Ulises Mar explains that he partners with North Star Seafood of Pompano Beach to obtain the freshest local fish and crustaceans. “North Star sources locally caught fish, which ensures the highest quality freshness,” Mar says. 

15th Street Fisheries, 1900 SE 15th St., Fort Lauderdale; 954.763.2777; 15streetfisheries.com 

 

Mediterranean

Greek Islands Taverna 

Owned and operated by the Kantzavelos brothers, George and Sotiri (who’s also known as “Sam”), Greek Islands Taverna is a lovable spot for Fort Lauderdale locals. This restaurant’s menu focuses on the staples of the Greek diet: fresh vegetables, fresh fish, lamb and salads. Chef Sotiri’s signature dishes include shrimp, lamb chops and ribs, but customers also enjoy the amazing selection of Mediterranean dishes, the comfortable atmosphere and overall dining experience. 

Greek Islands Taverna, 3300 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.565.5505; greekislandstaverna.com

 

Sweets Shop

Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant 

Since Monroe Udell opened its doors in 1956, Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor has been a South Florida staple. Known for the best ice cream in town, Jaxson’s has evolved as the times have changed, but the way the ice cream tastes hasn’t. With metal license plates lining the walls, collections of rural American memorabilia, funky, antique decor and an old-fashioned vibe, guests instantly feel as if they’ve been transported back in time. In addition to an abundance of ice cream flavors, Jaxson’s boasts an extensive food menu and special creations like the “Kitchen Sink,”—a literal sink filled with ice cream. So, grab some friends (you’re going to need help), and dig in! 

Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant, 128 S. Federal Highway, Dania Beach; 954.923.4445; jaxsonsicecream.com

 

Beach

Fort Lauderdale Beach 

Instantly recognizable by its iconic wave wall, Fort Lauderdale beach offers more than 7 miles of Atlantic Ocean views, soft white sand, an abundance of activities for beachgoers and a wide variety of shops, hotels, restaurants and attractions. For decades, Fort Lauderdale beach was primarily known as a college spring break destination, but after a $26 million renovation that began in the late 1980s, Fort Lauderdale beach has transformed to become a world-class travel destination boasting activities such as boating, windsurfing, jet skiing, volleyball, snorkeling, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing that families can enjoy year-round, in addition to an abundance of shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and resorts.

Fort Lauderdale Beach; myfortlauderdalebeach.com

 

Hidden Gem

Riverside Market

Julian and Lisa Siegel

The Riverside Market, nestled between Sailboat Bend and Riverside Park, is a cozy restaurant known for its comfortable atmosphere and an extensive selection of craft beers. Owner Julian Siegel, or as he prefers to be called “Beerical Gangsta,” says Riverside Market indisputably has the largest and best selection of craft beer in South Florida. Some of these include Dogfish Head 120 IPA, BCBS, White Oak and Jai Alai. “We pride ourselves on having some of the rarest and most sought after beers,” he explains. The laid-back atmosphere, delicious menu and remarkable beer selection make this hangout one of a kind. “The atmosphere is authentic Fort Lauderdale,” says Lisa Sigel, chief of operations. 

Riverside Market, 608 SW 12th Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954.358.8333; theriversidemarket.com

 

View in Town

Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, Panorama Ballroom 

Where in Fort Lauderdale can you find a breathtaking 360-degree view of the area that includes the beach, downtown, waterways, port, convention center and airport tower? The Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Panorama Ballroom. This space boasts an outdoor deck and a 3,000-square-foot Pier Top that can be used for corporate events, weddings, galas, holiday parties and special events. Additionally, the ballroom rotates if requested, taking a little over an hour for a full revolution. 

Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, 2301 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale; 954.525.6666; pier66.hyatt.com

 

Waterfront Restaurant

5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar at Margaritaville 

Waterfront dining is fairly easy to come by in our lay of the land, but it’s no wonder 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar at Margaritaville rises to the top of the list. Think bar bites, tropical drinks, live entertainment and a daily sunset ritual. The Intracoastal-facing restaurant features a Water Taxi stop that takes guests to and from Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard, and it serves as a launching pad for paddleboarding and kayak excursions. After a day of exploring, guests can enjoy happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday with two-for-one draft beers, well drinks, wine and the Who’s to Blame Margaritas. 

5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar at Margaritaville, 1111 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood; 954.874.4444; margaritavillehollywoodbeachresort.com

 

Upscale Lounge

Blue Martini

Here’s three reasons why Blue Martini takes the win for best upscale bar: it has live entertainment nightly, three distinct bar areas (one set on the casual patio, one in front of the stage and another removed for a VIP area), and happy hour seven days a week with 50 percent off food and discounted drinks. The brand has claimed its spot outside The Galleria Mall for over a decade, serving more than 40 catchy cocktails like the Fly Me To The Moon and Mango Tango. And while drinks are the focus, the food is also worth taking note, like the baked brie or barbeque chicken flatbread. 

Blue Martini, 2432 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.653.2583; fortlauderdale.bluemartinilounge.com

Happy Hour

Thursday’s

Drink deals? Check. Live music? Check. Free food? Check. Did we just say “free food?” Totally. At Thursday’s, happy hour means discounted drinks, including wine and top-shelf pours, and complimentary appetizers from
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The restaurant joined Las Olas Boulevard last year, but the brand has endured more than four decades with its original restaurant still operating out of Montréal, QC. Known for its French cuisine, the restaurant also prides itself on a hardy Sunday brunch, including $12 bottomless mimosas or bloody marys, and an early bird prix fixe, three-course meal for $25. See you there?

Thursday’s, 1521 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.368.4630; thursdaysfortlauderdale.com

 

Specialty Grocer 

Doris Italian Market & Bakery

It might be impossible to shop at Doris Italian Market & Bakery without buying a cannoli, eclair, napoleon, tiramisu or cream puff that tempts shoppers from the bakery cases. In addition to sweets, the market offers fresh meats, fruits and vegetables; seafood caught daily; baked goods; and an extensive inventory of wine. The best part? It’s a family business. John Alfano, president and CEO, says the store started out as a mom-and-pop meat market and deli, and it’s since been received as one of South Florida’s premiere specialty super markets. But Alfano says the brand’s growth doesn’t distract from the business to customer relationship. “I hope our customers feel special when they shop with us,” he says. “We go out of our way to know our customers and their families. We bring that family friendly atmosphere to life.”

Doris Italian Market & Bakery, 2077 University Drive, Coral Springs; 954.346.7774 / 10057A Sunset Strip, Sunrise; 954.749.1919; dorismarket.com

 

Farmers Market

Yellow Green Farmers Market

With its 100,000-square-foot facility, 280 vendors and more than 120 different types of foods from Ethiopian, Indonesian and Indian to Dutch, Thai and Venezuelan, it’s no wonder Yellow Green Farmers Market takes the win in this category. Find everything from gourmet dog food to Amish cheese in a setting with live entertainment, chef demonstrations and children’s activities. The Hollywood-based market offers seasonal, fresh foods alongside artisanal goods created by local chefs, artists and craftsmen.

Yellow Green Farmers Market, 1940 N. 30th Road, Hollywood; 954.513.3990; ygfarmersmarket.com

 

Outdoor Park

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park 

Is it just us or is Fort Lauderdale getting a bit, uh, crowded? With traffic and construction setting the scene downtown, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park offers an escape from the hustle and bustle just north of Sunrise Boulevard. “[It’s] our Central Park,” says Jim Ellis, president of the Friends of Birch State Park board of directors. “It is a special green space in the middle of South Florida’s 6 million residents. It allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of natural Florida without having to travel all the way to the Everglades.” Visitors can unwind with a bike ride, nature trail jaunt, canoeing or kayaking adventure or lunch at the new Park & Ocean open-air restaurant overlooking the beach. The park is also a place for spotting wildlife, like the gopher tortoise, snakes and alligators. 

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, 3109 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.564.4521; floridastateparks.org/park/hugh-taylor-birch

 

Spa

The Spa at Lago Mar

If R&R is the goal, The Spa at Lago Mar is the place. This summer, The Spa will offer its Signature Wellness Ritual, beginning with an Amma, Shiatsu and Swedish massage to relieve the lower neck, shoulders, arms and hands; continuing with an anti-aging pressure points facial massage using essential oils; and finishing with a tension relief leg and foot massage. And while the Spa at Lago Mar is exclusive to guests and club members, this September, appointments will be open to the public.

The Spa at Lago Mar, 1700 S. Ocean Lane, Fort Lauderdale; 954.245.3632
lagomar.com/experience/spa.php

 

Date Night

NAKED CRAB

NAKED CRAB by chef Ralph Pagano opened at the B Ocean Resort along A1A early this year, and it’s since made a reputation for itself with popular seafood dishes in a romantic oceanside setting. During a one-on-one, order the Seafood Tower to share, or if the evening calls for a double date, take on the five-pound Crabster—crab stuffed with shrimp, crab and lobster. Round off the night by selecting Bananas Foster and Flaming Coffee from the dessert cart. Oh, and stick around for entertainment (adults only) at the neighboring The Wreck Bar where the AquaBurlesque Show starts at 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 

NAKED CRAB, 1140 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.727.7090; nakedcrabfl.com

 

Gym For Sweating It Out

CycleBar

The word “cardio” might evoke a shutter, but CycleBar does its best to mask the workout factor by incorporating LED lighting, wide-screen TV graphics and state-of-the-art audio during each 50-minute class. The indoor cycling studio opened early this year in Flagler Village, offering classes in the state-of-the-art “Cycle Theatre” complete with 50 bikes. After class, riders receive performance reports to their emails, and can cool down with fresh fruit and enhanced water in the lobby. During the summer, the studio will give away tickets to a major concert with its Summer Concert Challenge, and students and teachers will receive special pricing offers. 

CycleBar, 525 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954.715.6533; fortlauderdale.cyclebar.com

 

Sports Bar

QuarterDeck

Sports fans aren’t just loyal to their teams, they’re also loyal to their hangouts. QuarterDeck celebrates its 50th anniversary this year thanks to customers who return to enjoy the Baby Back Pork Ribs, cold brews and Sunday football. The sports bar shows all major sporting events, including UFC, and it posts local high school sports schedules on collectible cups to support athletic programs. While QuarterDeck is built on tradition, it’s also not afraid to introduce new concepts, like the full sushi menu with items like the Angry Tuna.  

QuarterDeck, 1541 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale; 954.524.6163 / 2933 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; quarterdeckrestaurants.com

 

Museum & Cultural Attraction

Museum of Discovery and Science

The Museum of Discovery and Science is kid-friendly of course, but according to President and CEO Kim L. Cavendish, there’s something for everyone—“whether you are 2 or 82.” Guests can take a simulated ride through the Everglades, experience the force winds of a hurricane, observe river otters in their indoor-outdoor habitat and catch a movie screening at the AutoNation 3D IMAX Theater. This summer, MODS will host National Geographic’s Birds Of Paradise exhibit to showcase rare birds that only exist in New Guinea and a few other remote jungles.  

Museum of Discovery and Science, 401 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale; 954.467.6637; mods.org

 

Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel

Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale

Luxury accommodations in a central location? Yes, please. Whether reservations are for family members in town for the weekend or a personal staycation, The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale is sort of a no-brainer. That’s because of its elevated pool, beachfront spa and elevated dining experience. The property restaurant, Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits, delivers a selection of seafood to diners in a Prohibition era-themed dining room or waterfront patio. (Editor’s note: You’re going to want to save room for the cheesecake.) And for guests on the go, the marketplace offers Panther Coffee and bakery items from Zak the Baker for purchase. 

Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, 1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.465.2300; ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/florida/fort-lauderdale

 

Shopping Destination

The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale

For vacationers who forgot their bathing suits at home, The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale remedies the dilemma with its close-to-the-beach location and plethora of shops. Anchored by department stores Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Dillard’s, the mall also offers 100 other stores including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Free People, J. Crew, Michael Kors and Fort Lauderdale’s first H&M. A traditional food court can be found within The Galleria, but the mall also hosts fine dining, including The Capital Grille, Truluck’s, P.F. Chang’s and Blue Martini. And while shopping and dining are a given, visitors can also get in the giving spirit during the mall’s fundraising events, like the annual Men of Style that involved 12 local charities. 

The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale, 2414 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.564.1036; galleriamall-fl.com

 

Yoga Studio

The Yoga Joint

If a yoga body is the goal, The Yoga Joint is the spot to get it. But Founder and Owner Paige Held (far left) says that’s not all her students achieve. “Not only will the classes tone and build your muscles and improve flexibility for longevity of your body, it will also build your emotional and spiritual stamina in ways you never thought possible,” she says. Held opened the first location in north Fort Lauderdale seven years ago, and has since opened two more in south Fort Lauderdale and west Boca Raton. The Yoga Joint goers are dedicated, placing “YJ” bumper stickers on their cars and outfitting themselves with Bitsy Bottom shorts and Teeki tops purchased in the studios’ boutiques. To join the craze, the studio offers new students two weeks of unlimited yoga for $40. 

The Yoga Joint, North Studio, 6131 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954.916.7253 / South Studio, 1850 SE 17th St., Ste. 303, Fort Lauderdale; 954.764.7744 / West Boca, 19575 State Road 7, Boca Raton; 561.419.9414; theyogajoint.com

 

Juice Bar

Myapapaya juicery + kitchen

When every season is bikini season in South Florida, healthy eating is always top-of-mind. Luckily, places like Myapapaya juicery + kitchen make incorporating a clean diet pretty easy. Fresh wild fish, small batch soups, sandwiches and salads make up the menu, complemented by smoothies, acai bowls and cold-pressed juices. Cold pressing is done each morning, and the staff makes its own almond, cashew and thai coconut mylk in house. “We built this place so the neighborhood would have a place they can come and give their bodies the nutrients and quality food it deserves,” says chef Adam Kanner. 

Myapapaya juicery + kitchen, 1040 Bayview Drive, Ste. 100, Fort Lauderdale; 954.338.5651; myapapaya.com

 

Local Boutique

Briny Boutique

Our guess is that this downtown Fort Lauderdale shop won Best Local Boutique for its on-trend pieces sans the sticker shock. Women’s apparel is refreshed regularly at Briny Boutique, and shoppers can expect to receive one-on-one consultations from staff members on sizes, fits and outfit pairings. What’s more are the frequent sales and parties to celebrate occasions, like Valentine’s Day (this year the store offered customers chocolates, Champagne and a $100 gift certificate raffle). For owner and CEO Alexa Chaviano, everything came full circle after finishing college. “I often remember my graduate school commencement address in which we were challenged as business graduates to go into the world and create jobs. This speech stuck with me,” she says. “Creating jobs and giving to philanthropies associated with visual impairment has been the drive behind my Briny entrepreneurial venture.” 

Briny Boutique, 274 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954.552.0217; brinyboutique.com

 

Brunch 

Colada Cuban Coffee House and Eatery

With prime real estate in Flagler Village where everything is popping up from cycle studios to beer bars, Colada Cuban Coffee House and Eatery claims the Best Brunch category. The traditional Cuban cuisine eatery offers bottomless local, craft beers, mimosas, sangria and mojitos for $15 on Saturdays and Sundays; and on Sundays the Cuban sandwiches made with freshly baked bread are swapped out for brunch menu items. The Cuban French Toast made with Cuban bread soaked and fried in cinnamon tres leches batter, and the Tres Leches Waffle Stack topped with guava whipped cream and powdered sugar are just two items on the menu that offers quality dishes priced under $10.  

Colada Cuban Coffee House and Eatery, 525 N. Federal Highway Fort Lauderdale; 954.368.4705; coladahouse.com

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