Fort Lauderdale

Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale has a population of 170,000 and it's the largest city in Broward County, with a population of almost 2 million. That's good news for travelers: Fort Lauderdale's restaurants don't charge resort prices for mediocre food. It's a city with a full range of restaurants, from fine dining to fast food, whose owners know that the bread and butter of their businesses, so to speak, aren't travelers passing through. There are a few restaurants in Fort Lauderdale that should be on every visitor's list. Ernie's Bar-B-Q is an institution, a no-nonsense, no-attitude dive bar/restaurant where the specialties include the conch chowder and the Bimini bread—a soft, sweet bread used on their sandwiches, including the especially tasty pulled pork ones. Cap's Place is Fort Broward County's oldest restaurant and, according to its regulars, one of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale. It sits on its own island, and you can only get here on the restaurant's private ferry. Past guests who have made the journey to dine on its seafood specialties include figures as diverse as Winston Churchill and Meyer Lansky.

Occupying two circa-1903 yellow clapboard houses right on the New River, this restaurant is a picturesque place to sit with a plate of the tenderest Florida grouper in town and watch the boats go by.

In a town where bars have a way of veering into the terminally raucous, this is a sanctuary for a sophisticated, older crowd, working a quiet groove to jazz singers Valerie Tyson and Nicole Henry.

A Fort Lauderdale institution, Ernie's is famed for its conch chowder; sweet, dense Bimini bread; and assorted odd manifestos on the wall ("Eliminate material crime, graft, and corruption by eliminating negotiable currency").

A funky 24/7 diner that remains a shrine to kitsch, down to the "Champagne room," with a chandelier and pinup photos of Marilyn Monroe.

Health-minded sea grill

Founded in 1928 by legendary bootlegger Eugene "Cap" Knight, this former gambling den and supper club is a ramshackle assortment of atmospheric wooden shacks, a lackadaisical affair decorated with images of old Florida that serves a mean house smoked-fish dip.

This trendy celebrity-magnet restaurant's organic and vegan menu continually wins converts—especially for the piccata with lemon-caper sauce.

Asian-inspired dining room

The sleek centerpiece of the newly upscale north beach area, Trina, located in Starwood's Atlantic Hotel, is the brainchild of consulting chef Don Pintabona—formerly of Manhattan's Tribeca Grill—who creates Mediterranean-influenced dishes like tagine-baked Florida grouper with almond couscous.