JOURNEYS

An Epicurean’s Long Weekend In Greater Fort Lauderdale

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Discerning diners know that Florida’s best-kept culinary secret is Greater Fort Lauderdale. Food, drink, and hotels are luxurious yet laid back, and there are so many great places to eat in that it’s hard to hit them all in just one weekend. As downtown dining has shifted from national chains to sophisticated indie spots, there’s a fair share of award-winning chefs making a splash, but even more small mom-and-pop gems to discover. From Caribbean cooking to succulent seafood and dockside dining, here’s where to feast, nibble, and imbibe in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

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Trip Designer

Visit Lauderdale

There's something for every palate in this friendly region, known as the Venice of America for its beautiful rivers and canals. The folks at Visit Lauderdale have the inside scoop on the newest trendy spots as well as lesser-known local favorites. Plus, suggestions on the best beach activities and outdoor activities to work up your appetite.
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Trip Highlight

Louie Bossi's

Louie Bossi's makes in-house all the pasta, pastries, bread, and gelati fresh daily, and its home-style Italian comfort food is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. From cheese and salumi platters to heaping bowls of risotto and Neapolitan pizza right out of the oven, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu.
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DAY 1Arrive in Fort Lauderdale and enjoy oceanfront dining

After a day of travel, it’s time to relax on the beach and enjoy oceanfront dining at a luxury hotel. Check into Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach and sample a parade of Japanese and Korean sharable small plates and sushi at Takato, paired with colorful tropical cocktails and sake. W Fort Lauderdale has a couple of great outdoor dining options right on the beach, too. El Vez offers Baja-style Mexican cuisine on a spacious patio, and if you’re more in the mood for steak, Steak954 serves world-class American, Australian, and Japanese wagyu steaks alongside fresh-caught seafood for a mix-and-match, surf-and-turf feast. Riviera by Fabio Vivani at Hotel Maren is another great choice for coastal Italian food by a Top Chef fan favorite.

For an even more intimate and personalized outdoor dining experience, you can charter a catamaran for a champagne sunset cruise or book a Little Gatherings pop-up picnic at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park.
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DAY 2Explore downtown Fort Lauderdale’s culinary scene

Today it’s time to discover the various culinary delights in downtown Fort Lauderdale. You’ll get your 10,000 steps in on a walking tour with Craft Food Tours, meeting chefs and small business owners along the way. Take a short break from eating to explore the Shops of Las Olas for distinctive finds, from surf gear at Quiet Storm Surf Shop and premium cigars at Havana Republic Cigar Depot to floral bouquets and gifts at Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar.

When it’s time for another meal, choose between Louie Bossi’s Italian Ristorante or a seat on the Riverwalk at Rivertail by James Beard Award-nominated chef Jose Mendin. The yellowtail ceviche taquitos and crab donuts here are great for sharing—although you may find yourself negotiating with dining companions for the last piece. Another Italian option, if you’d rather head to the beach, is Cafe Martorano, which offers hearty meatballs and late-night DJs on Friday and Saturday nights.
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DAY 3Discover Greater Fort Lauderdale’s markets, craft beer, and caviar

Now that you have a general taste for the restaurants along Fort Lauderdale beach and downtown, it’s time to venture a little farther. Start your day browsing artisan food and crafts at Yellow Green Farmer’s Market in Hollywood, the most vibrant farmers market in Greater Fort Lauderdale, before hitting the Fort Lauderdale Ale Trail for a tour of the region’s best craft beer. Caviar connoisseurs should seek out rare pure beluga caviar at Marky’s Caviar Lounge at The Shoppes at the Guitar Hotel and if you’re craving a taste of the Caribbean, head to Aruba Beach Café for jerk wings and Bimini bread.

Hardcore shoppers can sip a smoothie from family-owned Mia Fruta while browsing swimwear at aguabendita and Alma by Angel de la Guarda at Sawgrass Mills. After working up an appetite, savor a leisurely final night on the water with Riverfront Gondola Tours. There’s a dinner cruise option with a pan-Asian Latin fusion menu by Casa Sensei, or you can grab dinner afterwards back at your hotel. After all, what’s more luxurious than late-night room service?
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DAY 4Enjoy a decadent breakfast before departing

It’s time to pack up and head home, but not before one last bountiful breakfast to send you off. If you’re in a hurry, get a smoothie made with organic ingredients at Fresh First or head to The Foundry for decadent graham cracker French toast with lemon pastry crème and seasonal berries. Just a final sweet bite to remind you to come back again soon.