Time and time again, Shooters Waterfront tops everyone’s favorite list for weekend brunch. The Intracoastal restaurant has been a fixture in town since opening in 1982 and delivers in both atmosphere and cuisine. While there’s a decadent brunch buffet, the lobster benny is a must, and so is the gorgeous fruit and artisanal cheese board, decked out with honeycomb, grapes, berries, and crackers. Head over on Saturday morning for a free Yoga and Yolks event hosted by local instructor Taryn Allen. The hour-long flow on the dock is followed by a complimentary Champagne toast and $5 credit to your brunch bill.
Intracoastal views and a New American menu make this a prime spot for relaxing during lunch or celebrating a romantic dinner. It’s located just under the bridge intersecting Commercial Boulevard and the waterway and features tasty options, including sweet ginger calamari, shrimp and goat cheese flatbread, and Thai noodles with shrimp. There are also some sophisticated pairings: think maple-leaf duck confit and Kaluz Chilean sea bass served with sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts with a lemon beurre blanc sauce. Their Key lime pie also merits a visit.
Located in the world-class Auberge Beach Residences on the northern end of Fort Lauderdale beach, Dune‘s wow factor is visible at the outdoor patio. Grab a seat at the wraparound bar or on a comfy couch overlooking the Atlantic. The best time to soak in the view is during Social Hour (Wednesday through Friday from 4-6 p.m.) to savor bites like ahi tuna nachos and the Dune burger along with half-off rotating signature cocktails, house wines, and mixed drinks.
This newer alfresco addition has garnered a reputation for outstanding service and idyllic views to match. It’s nestled at the edge of the Lauderdale Marine Center, so yacht-watching is aplenty. Weekdays are perfect for the 954 Happy Hour featuring $9 select appetizers and Aperol spritzes, $5 wells and house wines, and $4 domestic bottles (available from 3-7 p.m.). Eat and imbibe while posting up at the floating dock.
Every day’s a party at Lona Cocina Tequileria. Helmed by chef Pablo Salas, the restaurant housed inside the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach serves up contemporary Mexican fare with an unparalleled beachfront view to match. Its upbeat vibe is sure to put you in a good mood, while the spicy avocado margarita kicks things up a notch. Popular bites include the lobster quesadilla, skirt steak fajitas with adobo peppers, and tacos al carbon with mesquite-smoked chicken.
The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale is known for being a powerhouse brand in luxury lodging, but the high standards don’t stop at turndown service. Burlock Coast is an extension of this hospitality and offers farm-to-table fare sourced from area farmers. The restaurant’s focus on modern seafood is shown in dishes such as the local grilled wahoo and seared catch of the day. Sip and savor with a prime seat overlooking Fort Lauderdale Beach.
This laid-back-dining destination is a must for watching boats cruise up and down the Intracoastal. You can dock your own vessel and dine—just be sure to add an order of the oh-so addictive Bimini Bread to your meal. The restaurant is known for its dock that’s anchored by a sprawling gumbo limbo tree, providing shade for those sweltering afternoons. Stop by for Boatyard Bliss Happy Hour for $9 oysters, $5 apps, and $6 signature cocktails.
Located on the twenty-fifth floor of The Dalmar hotel is Fort Lauderdale’s tallest rooftop oasis. Retro furniture outfits Sparrow’s outdoor terrace and offers panoramic views of land and sea that are perfect for unwinding during happy hour or busting a move when the DJs start spinning at sunset. This urban rooftop offers an assortment of cocktails inspired by the rainbow: think the Green Shogun, an “adventurous” cocktail made with Pierre Ferrand 1 er Cru de Cognac, Ford’s Gin, green Chartreuse, cocoa, matcha, and pineapple juice.
The newly revived Pompano Pier has churned out a swath of must-visit eateries along the beach in recent years, including Beach House Pompano. Its second-floor rooftop lounge is where you want to be. It features a full bar in addition to eight stadium-seated banquettes for unmatched views of the ocean and nearby lighthouse. It’s the perfect location to celebrate a birthday while sipping bottomless mimosas during brunch and indulging in everything from the crab cake benedict to the tuna poke surf stack to the BRG burger.
The team that brought the original Quarterdeck to Fort Lauderdale has a locale off the 17th Street Causeway, offering a super laid-back retreat for any day of the week. Different from its sister locations, this one sports a second-floor rooftop and serves up American comfort food in addition to an extensive sushi selection. The neighborhood hangout is a great spot to kick back and enjoy local beers with friends.
Nestled near Las Olas Boulevard, Rooftop is an ultra-chic garden lounge with stunning views of the skyline. It’s a go-to for locals who want to sip bottomless Moët & Chandon or house Champagne during Babes and Bubbles on Sundays from 2-5 p.m. Live beats on Sunday Funday provide an upbeat ambience until 10 p.m. Sip Set Happy Hours are a must on Thursdays and Fridays (4-7 p.m.) and early Saturdays (2-5 p.m.) when you can imbibe craft cocktails (favorites include the Garden Party, Zaddy, and Sunset Sipper), $5 Tito’s cocktails, and half-off all food, including nibbles of everything from buffalo chicken empanadas to matcha green tea doughnuts.
What’s not to love about this waterfront-facing café housed inside a historical, two-story masonry? The Mediterranean Revival architecture creates a lovely atmosphere full of sidewalk porches and balconies to dine while enjoying the fresh air. Pop by for a balanced breakfast of a roasted veggie frittata or a smoked salmon bagel after a quick run along A1A, or stop back later in the evening as piano music sets the scene for a truly gourmet meal. Fans of this hot spot rave about the roasted eggplant ravioli and Moroccan lamb shank. This gem is a must for locals and tourists alike.
The quaintest location for a morning coffee or smoothie is at Boulevard, which has recently expanded its menu to offer all-day, drool-worthy brunch. Think dessert pancakes, pancake tacos, brunch burgers, boozy milkshakes, bottomless cocktails, and more. Enjoy savoring these dishes while on the outdoor patio facing Broward Boulevard, nestled among the city’s newest residences. It’s a great alternative to the usual long waits for weekend brunch. The best part—you can enjoy this meal any day of the week.
No matter the time of day, Ann’s Florist Coffee and Wine Bar will be a pleasant surprise to the senses. Start your morning with a cappuccino and fresh pastry on the patio to people-watch along Las Olas, all while the scents of fresh-cut blooms waft over from the flower shop. Evenings often include an ambience of live music perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine in hand.
Fans of this Italian cuisine powerhouse on Las Olas know of its outstanding wine selection and delicious Neapolitan pizzas, pasta, and antipasti—you can’t go wrong with the Quattro Carne pizza or cacio e pepe. Head to the back and enter the whimsical piazza ideal for birthday celebrations and intimate date nights. The space is complete with an assortment of garden party furniture, exposed brick walls, and fanciful gazebos. There’s also a bocce ball court for those who want to try their hand at the classic Italian pastime.
Locals flock to this outdoor wine garden not only for its selection of boutique wines and Italian cuisine but also for the intimate ambience created via twinkle lights and plenty of lush greenery in the garden-style terrace. It’s still a bit of a hidden locale, but one visit will make it part of your weekly rotation. Head over for happy hour from 4-7 p.m. to savor dishes of piccolo lobster ravioli, gnocchi al pomodoro, and small caprese salad with fresh heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, and arugula. This spot is also date-night approved.
This locals’ hangout has all the makings of a perfect night. Grab a Garden Mule or Chapo’s Tunnel from the Airstream (they have one of the best rotating cocktail menus in town) while area DJs play cool tunes. Twinkle lights in the beer garden, Jenga and Connect Four, and retro furniture make this one backyard party you don’t want to miss. With a newly expanded yard section featuring a cargo container bar, it allows for guests to embrace the bar’s #justchill vibe, especially during its monthly activation, “The Garage Sale.” Peruse the maker’s market featuring 30 plus local vendors while enjoying live acoustic music, food trucks, and bottomless cocktails every second Sunday of the month.
This low-key, rustic coffee shop is tucked away in Wilton Manors but packs a flavor punch. Locals know the go-to order is the namesake artisanal iced coffee made with 24-hour cold brew, condensed milk, brown sugar, and whole milk. Their menu features inventive bites appropriate for breakfast or lunch, like avocado or Nutella slicers and a delicious waffle of the day made with either fresh fruit or chocolate chips. Post up in the magical space featuring vintage-style, tranquil gardens nestled within a gated artists’ community. A quick stroll through the property reveals a handful of fantastic murals and public art hidden in all the right places.
Known for its rodizio-style cuisine, Chima Steakhouse on Las Olas is a posh, stylish venue. The indoor dining room is reserved for gauchos (meat chefs who wear the typical uniform of loose-fitting trousers, leather boots, and an orange scarf) to carve meats tableside with a large knife, but the outdoor patio glowing under twinkle lights is the spot to spend weekday happy hour from 5-8 p.m. Discover bold flavors in bite-sized offerings of short rib sliders, grilled lamb chops, and filets wrapped in bacon, and pair them with a glass of wine or specialty cocktail.
For a culturally immersive dining experience with panoramic waterfront views, head to Casa Sensei, offering a Latin American twist on traditional Asian comfort food. Sitting outdoors is an option, but for an exciting alternative, book a private dinner cruise on one of three eco-friendly, electric-powered boats in partnership with Riverfront Gondola Tours. You’ll enjoy your dinner of options like kimchi fried rice, wagyu turf rolls, and lobster guac while embarking on a 90-minute ride, offerings views of stunning waterfront homes, tropical foliage, and South Florida’s famous wildlife of manatees, peacocks, iguanas, and more.