Fine Dining on the Water in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is America’s megayacht capital – and as such, it’s got plenty of great places for fine dining on the water.
3300 E Commercial Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
On the southwest corner of Commercial Boulevard at the Intracoastal Waterway, the restaurant is a striking landmark before you even investigate the menu. The modern building with Midcentury Modern flourishes announces a place with modern American menu style and flair.
Favorite dishes include scallops pomegranate, maple leaf duck confit, Hatfield Farm pork chops and Danish ribs. Kaluz is also known for its steaks, while for the diner in a more casual mood, sandwich menu favorites include the Colorado lamb burger and South Beach chicken club.
The wine list includes an excellent little Opus One, while the cocktail list offers a light, Floridian twist on classic favorites. It’s a cocktail list best enjoyed overlooking the water, which is something Kaluz does well. Kaluz’s location on the Intracoastal makes it the perfect docking location. It’s a quick walk over the bridge and down the street to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea’s lively beach area, where there’s always a good post-dinner nightcap to be found.
Blue Moon Fish Co.
4405 W Tradewinds Ave, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308
It’s hard to miss Blue Moon’s faux-art deco exterior from the Intracoastal. The landmark at the northeast corner of the Commercial Boulevard Bridge has for many years mixed Florida casual with on-the-water style.
The raw bar is never a bad place to start at Blue Moon; the wine-braised crispy octopus offers something a bit different. Or, for a real signature treat, go with the Blue Moon Iced Seafood Tower, an impressive arrangement of seasonal shellfish, oysters, ceviche, tuna poke, lump crab cocktail, jumbo shrimp and clams.
Seafood likewise dominates the main course section of the menu, but not to the detriment of dishes like the Moroccan spiced rack of lamb. The expansive outdoor area is also a winner and offers plenty of seating, even in the busiest months.
3033 NE 32nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
When Spring Break was king in Fort Lauderdale, Shooters was, well, a different kind of place. But the place with a pool known for wet T-shirt contests has in more recent decades gone respectable – and upmarket. Today, Shooters’ huge waterfront outdoor space offers all sorts of spaces, from intimate dining to big group-suitable spaces to more lounge-style hanging out. There are massive amounts of dock space and something for everybody inside.
The menu is all about that modern Floridian style, and it’s augmented by a drinks menu that, among other things, offers an excellent selection of champagnes and sparkling wines. One great time to enjoy those is late on a Sunday morning; Shooters brunches are legendary in Fort Lauderdale.
Shooters is a genuine Lauderdale landmark and a place that’s reinvented itself like few others. For a true taste of the Venice of America lifestyle, it’s tough to find a better place.
15th Street Fisheries
1900 SE 15th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
On land, this Fort Lauderdale institution is down the very end of a tucked-away street in a residential neighborhood. On water, it’s in what might be the Fort Lauderdale answer to Times Square. Located at historic Lauderdale Marina, just north of the towering 17th Street Bridge and Port Everglades beyond it, the restaurant offers a taste of local history along with some outstanding plates of seafood.
The rambling restaurant building has the look of a particularly stylish Old Florida house of refuge, and there’s a certain sort of refuge most certainly on offer here. Upstairs is where the more formal dinners occur, while Fisheries Dockside gives patrons a more laid-back meal experience in the nautical bar or even, as the name would indicate, out on the dock.
The menu is not complicated; if you like straightforward seafood, you’re home. While you’re there, another must-do involves the restaurant’s famous visitors. Tarpon congregate at the docks in front of the restaurant because, well, they get fed there. Tarpon snacks are even for sale at the next-door marina store if you want to get in on the act. There are plenty of restaurants that will let you eat fish in Fort Lauderdale; this is about the only one where you can also feed them.
429 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
With Coconuts, you have to start with the Scoobies. The restaurant’s signature appetizer is as beautiful as it is simple: blue crab with a generous amount of garlic. Beyond that, there’s a section of the menu called “Usual Suspects,” so you know how much this place is going to lean into Florida seafood classics. We highly recommend finding out what the fish of the day is before making any further choices. The Sunday brunch also features some definitely Floridian seafood options.
Coconuts sits in the beating heart of the Fort Lauderdale social scene, where the Intracoastal and the busiest part of the bars-and-restaurants main beach drag are separated by almost nothing. The cocktails – try the Save the Whales, or maybe the Bermuda Triangle Margarita – offer that sense of Fort Lauderdale fun.
Whether it’s frozen drinks and live music, Sunday brunch, or a candlelit meal for two, the Venice of America offers plenty of great options for waterfront dining. There are few places better for an evening of docking and looking out over the water as you dine.