Boats and yachts play a large role in Fort Lauderdale’s economy, as do the hospitality and restaurant industries. Those worlds collide during the 2018 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Oct. 31-Nov. 4, when big boats, big wallets and big appetites converge at Bahia Mar Yachting Center.
The show will offer numerous on-site food and dining options, and many tasty meals await a short ride away. Here are six restaurant picks for visitors and locals looking to impress visitors.
Beach House Pompano — 270 N. Pompano Beach Blvd., Pompano Beach, 954-607-6530, BeachHousePompano.com. This stunning, two-story, $6.5 million oceanfront restaurant opened in March 2018 and has the makings of a South Florida treasure. Its casual vibe, smart decor and simple yet tasty food should have tourists and locals flocking for years to come. The emphasis is on fresh seafood, and the excellent Key lime pie rivals the one found at Joe’s Stone Crab.
Casa D’Angelo — 1201 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, 954-564-1234, Casa-D-Angelo.com. Chef Angelo Elia’s flagship celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and the Italian fine-dining stalwart remains as sharp and sophisticated as ever. Elia, whose growing culinary empire has grown to include restaurants in Boca Raton and the Bahamas and pizzeria-cafes throughout South Florida, recently added a stylish new bar and lounge to the restaurant.
Etaru — 500 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-477-8068, EtaruRestaurant.us. The stylish second outpost of a concept launched by the team behind global brands Zuma and Roka, Etaru specializes in refined Asian small plates, sashimi and Japanese robatayaki charcoal grilling. It opened in June 2018, offers a delectable Sunday brunch with unlimited rose or champagne, and the terrace is a good spot for people watching.
Jackson’s Prime — 3300 NE 32nd St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-765-6316, JacksonsPrime.com. Veteran restaurateur Jack Jackson (Burt & Jack’s) has teamed up with veteran chef Johnny Vinczencz (Johnny V) to launch a steakhouse near Galt Ocean Mile that is elegant but not stuffy. It opened in 2017, and is cozier than the upscale chain steakhouses in town. The food is straightforward and very good, including baked stuffed lobster reprised from the Burt & Jack’s menu.
JWB Prime Steak and Seafood — 1111 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, 954-874-4462, JWBRestaurant.com. The fine-dining restaurant at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort bears the initials of James William (Jimmy) Buffett and should appeal to sons of sons of sailors and the rest of the nautical crowd. It features well-prepared food and professional service in a relaxed, resort-casual setting. Chops, steaks and seafood are good, and don’t miss the spear-caught local fish of the day.
Lona — 321 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-245-3069, LonaRestaurant.com. I’ve had mixed experiences at Lona, enjoying dishes prepared personally by star Mexican chef Pablo Salas soon after the restaurant’s January opening but enduring an uneven ride during a later, unannounced review visit. Things have improved, according to diners whose opinion I respect, and the handsome, oceanfront restaurant at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort has enough creative and authentic touches to get the nod as my Mexican pick. The restaurant features a lovely (but sometimes loud) terrace and dozens of tequilas and mescals.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-356-4508. Follow my food adventures on Instagram: @mikemayoeats. Sign up for my weekly dining newsletter at SouthFlorida.com/EatBeatMail. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/groups/LetsEatSouthFlorida.