Where To Eat In Fort Lauderdale, According To The Chefs Who Work Here
Trying new restaurants always seems to be on the top of everyone's to-do list. But with so many great new food options in Fort Lauderdale, it can be hard to decide where to make reservations first.
Here are some of the best answers from 15 culinary experts who work in the Fort Lauderdale area.
Executive sushi chef, Kuro
Hometown: Fukuoka, Japan
Favorite spot: Council Oak
Why you like to dine there: Because I usually eat healthy Japanese food when working at Kuro, and I want to eat something heavy like seafood and steak!
Recommends: The 30-ounce Long Bone Cowboy Ribeye and Lobster Mac & Cheese
I love the food scene in Fort Lauderdale because of: The growth and development of the Japanese restaurant industry.
Chef de cuisine, Burlock Coast
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Florida
Favorite spot: 3030 Ocean
Why you like to dine there: They have amazing raw bar selections and handcrafted cocktails.
Recommends: Risotto with Key West pink shrimp
I love the food scene in Fort Lauderdale because: There is so much variety that you can find a cool spot anywhere you go.
Executive chef, 3030 Ocean
Hometown: Hollywood, Florida
Favorite restaurant: Market 17
Why you like to dine there: Lauren DeShields is a great chef with great experience and brings it all together there. Her charcuterie program is exceptional. She does an amazing job curing meats.
Recommends: I would obviously recommend the charcuterie board. You will not be disappointed. It takes a real skill to do what they do, and they do it well.
I love the food scene in Fort Lauderdale because: There are so many great new chefs in the area that are really putting out great food.
Chef and owner, Hardy Park Bistro
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Favorite restaurant: Casa D'Angelo
Why you like to dine there: Simple fresh food, done right.
What to try: Any of the homemade pastas; they are always perfectly prepared. Scolapasta - Zabaglione with berries prepared tableside.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because: [There] are more small chef-owned restaurants, less massive warehouses of mediocrity.
Chef and owner, Valentino Cucina Italiana
Hometown: New York
Favorite restaurant: Café Maxx in Pompano Beach
Why you like to dine there: Straightforward creativity that has stood the test of time! Their attention to quality and detail, as well as great ownership has made them a winner for over 32 years.
Recommends: Tuna Sashimi Pizza
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because: The culinary horizons and expectations are changing. More people than ever before are accepting and enjoying new, innovative styles of creative cuisine.
Executive chef, Big City Tavern
Hometown: New York City
Favorite restaurant: Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille
Why I like to dine there: I love to get off work and head over.
Recommends: A glass of champagne and fresh oysters on the 1/2 shell.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because: I love the fact that since I have been down here for five years, the restaurant scene has just been getting better and better. People are choosing local restaurants rather than the chain restaurants. I can't wait to see what the scene will be like in five more years.
Founding chef partner, Big Time Restaurant Group
Favorite restaurant: Foxy Brown
Why I like to dine there: It's a great low-key foodie locals spot still somewhat unfound by the masses!
Recommends: They do a "Foxy Dip" with sliced Prosciutto and a perfectly poached egg in this incredibly bright herbed oil. [It's] one of my favorites.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because: The dining scene in Fort Lauderdale is a great mash up. It is residential and touristy, and we have a thriving business community, so all types of customers are driving the success of all types of restaurants. Whether it is fine dining (Valentino’s), whiskey bars (Stache cocktail lounge), local craft coffee roasters (love Warsaw Coffee Company), bakeries (Gran Forno), plenty of green markets, it’s all happening! It promotes great diversity in the types of businesses that can flourish when they’re being supported.
Director of Society 8 Hospitality Group, which owns and operates Beauty & the Feast
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Favorite restaurant: Blue Willy’s BBQ
Why you like to dine there: Authentic, no-nonsense barbecue.
Recommends: The brisket.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because: [It's] developing at a rapid pace and attracting new talents and concepts.
Executive chef, PizzaCraft Artisan Pizzeria
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Favorite restaurant: Timpano
Why I like to dine there: They make delicious food, and it's somewhere I enjoying going on my time off. Executive sous chef Julian Davis is also a good friend of mine, and I love what he and his team create in the kitchen.
Recommends: The Skillet Clams Oreganata is my favorite dish there—a must-have.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because: The diversity—there are so many options to choose from. It is definitely a melting pot; you can have amazing, well-done cuisine from almost any region or culture.
Executive chef, S3
Hometown: Roslyn, New York
Favorite restaurant: Hot 'n Soul
Why you like to dine there: It’s the perfect "hole in the wall" where a husband and wife team of chefs make incredible food inspired by their past. I always love food with a story behind it.
Recommends: I always get their tasting menu when I go, which they are constantly changing. Some of my favorites would be the mole pork shoulder, the gnocchi with oxtail and the mushroom manchego toast.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because of: How the infusion of cultures play out on the plate. SoFla cuisine is a mix of classic Latin, Asiatic and Deep South, just to name the influences on the top of the list.
Executive chef, Hyde Beach Kitchen + Cocktails
Hometown: Haifa, Israel
Favorite restaurant: Steak 954
Why you like to dine there: The restaurant has a beautiful view, and you can’t go wrong with the menu. But it’s tough to choose just one restaurant; my favorite part of visiting is trying somewhere new each time.
Recommends: The big eye tuna and foie gras tacos.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because: The South Florida food scene features such a melting pot of flavors, much like the melting pot of cultures we have here. Everything is constantly evolving and with each visit I find another hidden gem.
Executive chef, Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort
Hometown: Miami Beach, Florida
Favorite restaurant: Go Bistro
Why you like to dine there: Located right near Young Circle in downtown Hollywood, it is truly a hidden gem. The restaurant features authentic ramen noodle dishes, sushi, sashimi and more. The quaint and cozy restaurant is incredible, and the food is always so fresh.
Recommends: Their Ramen Tonkotsu is my favorite dish. [It's] a rich pork broth with scallions, bamboo, nori, nitamago egg and pork belly.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because: I love that the South Florida food scene is so diverse; there are so many options, whether it be Hollywood or Fort Lauderdale. You can truly find every different type of cuisine here, and there are some incredible restaurants.
Executive chef, Oceans 234
Hometown: Sunrise, Florida
Favorite restaurant: Grille 401
Why you like to dine there: The ambiance, service and menu is always on point.
Recommends: Baby back ribs all the way!
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because of: The fusion of cultures.
Executive chef, Boatyard
Hometown: West Islip, New York
Favorite restaurant: Masamune sushi restaurant
Why you like to dine there: I just love the vibe of sushi-style restaurants and the complexity of Asian-style foods.
Recommends: Kampira (burdock root), aged tofu, soba zura, jelly fish salad – and any chef's special. You can always bet on that.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because of: The seafood variety and all of the Caribbean flare on the foods. And there are so many great and eager chefs trying out new ideas and concepts.
Executive chef, Steak 954
Hometown: North Miami Beach, Florida
Favorite restaurant: Hot & Soul
Why you like to dine there: They have delicious comfort food at a great price point. It’s not the type of food that I usually cook for myself, so it’s always a treat.
Recommends: Love the Mushroom Manchego Toast with 'shrooms and sherry cream. It’s a great snack food. Also, I’m a big, big beer guy, and I love their craft beer selection.
I love the Fort Lauderdale food scene because: It is really starting to take off. I remember interviewing at Steak 954 in 2009 when we were first opening, and I was asked my favorite restaurants in Lauderdale. There were places I loved in Miami, but I really didn’t have many in Broward, other than a few little dives. Now there are great restaurants in the area.