Drinks and grub with a view at Sandbar Grille. (Photo: Courtesy of Sandbar Grille)
Soaking up the sun and strolling along the sand can stoke your appetite, but there’s no need to settle for quick snacks on your beach towel. Just off Fort Lauderdale’s beach you’ll find restaurants to satisfy every craving — feasting is always better with a sea breeze. Take a leisurely stroll along the city’s waterfront promenade to sample tasty eats at these local faves.
With two decks overlooking the Atlantic, Sandbar Grille is literally on the sand, making it a lovely spot for a beach break. It’s a casual and welcoming restaurant, but bear in mind that you’ll be asked to eat outside if you aren’t wearing a cover-up or shoes — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
This is the place for fresh fish tacos, accented with spicy chipotle sauce and warm flour tortillas. Order the Portuguese chips as a side and enjoy the simple goodness of the meal and the scenery.
Yo Mama’s Ice Cream
Step into the colorful confines of Yo Mama’s Ice Cream and prepare to ditch all hopes of counting calories. Cool off after the beach by sampling an array of flavors like sweet-potato pie and tiramisu.
But the real star is the shop’s signature caramel-popcorn-flavored ice cream — creamy, slightly salty and studded with kernels of caramel corn made from Pop’s Corn, also located inside the shop.
All ice cream is homemade and sold by the ounce, which means that you’ll likely pay more than $4 for a scoop. One lick and you’ll realize that the flavor and novelty of creamy and crunchy ice cream is worth every penny.
Located off the beach on the Intracoastal waterway, overlooking yachts as they sail by dockside diners, Coconuts is a water lover’s dream.
This breezy hangout focuses on seafood and classic comfort dishes, so pull up a chair and order the signature Scoobies — fried Alaskan crab claws cracked in a delectable garlic oil that may just inspire you to never leave Fort Lauderdale.
Sink into the historic ambience of the archways and ceramic tiles of Casablanca Café. Housed in the oldest structure on Fort Lauderdale beach, this charming bistro offers ocean views and some of the city’s best food. Grab a balcony table and tuck into the complimentary focaccia served with fresh pesto oil and Parmesan.
Be sure to order the impeccable Calamari Fritti. Tossed with scallions, cherry peppers and lemon aioli, it’s a perfect seafood snack.
S3 stands for “sun, surf, sand,” which is served up prettily with an elegant patio to take in the beach vistas. But that’s not the only standout at this sophisticated spot. Locals pack the lounge area to dine on well-prepared tapas but the scene-stealer is the S3 drinks sampler, a dazzling offering of three of their specialty cocktails.
You choose from a menu of 13 tropical-themed drinks, including the Sake Sunset (Hangar 1, plum sake, cranberry and pineapple) and the Frozen Lychee Mojito (Flor De Cana, fresh lime, mint and lychee), all served in bigger-than-sample-size glasses.
Lulu’s Bait Shack
A rowdy little beach bar with palm tree panoramas, Lulu’s Bait Shack is the ultimate last stop for a boardwalk stroll. Climb to the second floor of Beach Place mall and snag a seat on the balcony; then order one of the massive, fishbowl-sized drinks.
Try the Tropical Ecstasy, which delivers three different flavors of rum, plus a shot of Trader Vic’s 151. You may want to absorb some of it with an order of fried alligator-tail bites.