Where to Eat and Drink in Fort Lauderdale Now
With 23 miles of beach along the Atlantic, an average temperature of 76°F, and 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, it's no wonder Greater Fort Lauderdale receives more than 12 million visitors per year. Add to those perks a new wave of dining and drinking establishments, and this South Florida scene is only getting hotter. Here, we present six of the newest spots to grab a bite and a buzz in Broward County.
It's challenging to halt the ordering process at Sweet Nectar, where a custom designed charcoal grill and extensive raw bar keep diners lingering on its patio well into the evening hours. Brunch here is an elaborate affair, with inventive offerings including challah French toast, a soft shell crab BLT, and duck bacon. To complement the menu's appeal is the restaurant's charm, from the cocktails served in mason jars to the cafes au lait served in metal milk cartons.
What to Order: Rose mimosas are flavorful and bottomless, and the aji panca coulis gives the char-grilled octopus a kick.
Hot & Soul
Any preconceived notions diners might have upon stepping into the strip mall-situated Hot & Soul are quickly forgotten after one bite from husband-and-wife team Mike Hampton and Christy Samoy. The duo calls upon their time in South Florida, San Diego, and New Orleans to inspire their menu, which ranges from chicken and andouille gumbo, to mole-steeped Colorado pork shoulder with jalapeno slaw. The team keeps the diner at the center by offering half portions of several dishes, in addition to a six and eight course tasting menu—the best way to sample this couple's culinary prowess.
What to Order: It's easy to fill up on the chicken adobo, a hearty heaping of on-the-bone chicken thighs, bay leaves, and peppercorn, but be sure to save room for the decadent sheets of dark chocolate bark, decorated with pistachios, sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil.
Funky Buddha Brewery
Chances are South Florida visitors and locals alike will encounter Funky Buddha Brewery offerings around town before ever setting foot in its Oakland Park space that opened last June—but they should. Daily rotating food trucks, a 30-barrel brew house, and more than a dozen varieties of creative flavors (think Blueberry Cobbler Ale, Chocolate-Covered Cherry Porter, and Floridian Hefeweizen), make this 20,000 square-foot property well worth a visit. On Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, guests can learn more about the facility through guided tours (tasting glasses in tow) before trying their hand at the property's adult playground, complete with bocce ball, corn hole, and giant Jenga.
What to Order: Opt for any of the brewery exclusive creations, which serve as micro trial batches before a flavor makes its way to the 30-barrel production line.
Hungry sun-seekers need only venture across Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard to S3, a vibrant eatery from the folks behind Las Olas scene pleasers YOLO and O Lounge. A comprehensive menu comes in shareable portions, from specialty sushi (a Thai tuna roll features avocado, coconut, macadamia, and jalapeno) to small plates (ricotta gnocchi packs in flavors of truffle and shiitake). Culinary offerings might chart the globe, but an airy dining room opening onto oceanside views keep diners pleasantly grounded in the blissful Floridian surroundings—especially between sips of banana coladas.
What to Order: Satiate hunger pangs quickly with a round of the tomato bread—simple, but flavorful slabs of bread topped with grated tomato, olive oil, and manchego.
Mixologist John Lermayer helms the bar at Stache, where he pours an array of both classics (French 75s and Pimm's Cups) and original creations (a smoky Mezcalero is balanced with Aperol and grapefruit). When patrons aren't dancing in the dual-level, 5,000 square-foot space, they're taking a break in any of the mismatched vintage armchairs for prime views of the venue's other entertainment: a rotating mix of cabaret shows, concerts, and black-and-white silent films that play in tandem with the music.
What to Order: Embrace the Southern summer with the Peach Whiskey Cobbler (Buffalo Trace bourbon, mint, and fresh peach).
Arrive early for your reservation at Kaluz to enjoy a drink on the lounge-chair-studded, Astroturf lawn. Start with the wine list, whose 130 options offer as much variety as the land and sea focused menu. Modern American dishes offer a slightly unusual take on classic dishes (think quinoa salad, barbecue chicken flatbread, and barrel-cut filet mignon) and are served in enormous portions. Save room for the heaping bread pudding dessert, decked out in dried cranberries, Grand Marnier, and vanilla custard, and served with multiple spoons.
What to Order: The Bar Harbor Crabcake abounds with jumbo lump crab, Old Bay, lemon, parsley, and roasted red pepper.
Nicole Schnitzler is a freelance writer who covers travel, food, drink, lifestyle, and culture. When she is not planning her next adventure, she can be found exploring bakeries, record shops, and drink lists in her Brooklyn neighborhood. She is most comfortable with a pen in one hand and a fork in the other.
Photo Credit: WEBDINER (Sweet Nectar); Courtesy of Hot & Soul; Courtesy of Funky Buddha Brewery; Barry Grossman (S3); Courtesy of Kaluz Restaurant
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