Between the salty smell of fresh sea air, the balmy breezes, and the soft soundtrack of  waves lapping at the sandy shore, Fort Lauderdale Beach restaurants are the best place in town to relax and enjoy a great meal. Whether you’re a beach bum or a lady who lunches, you’re sure to find a place that will please your palate with a side of scenic views.

Casablanca Cafe

Date night is more charming than ever at the Mediterranean-themed Casablanca Cafe. Patio tables are hard to come by, but it’s worth waiting for one so you can soak in the scenery while you savor roasted eggplant ravioli with goat cheese or chili-dusted sea scallops with crispy plantains and chipotle-orange caramel sauce. Even if you end up sitting inside, the ambiance is charming; the building dates back to 1927, when it was the very first house built on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Burlock Coast

Part Prohibition-era speakeasy, part food market, and part sit-down restaurant, Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits manages to seamlessly blend the charm of alfresco dining with the refinement you’d expect from an eatery in an upscale hotel. From the fried oysters with pickled peppers and remoulade to the filet mignon with bone marrow and truffled Yukon puree, this is good eats meets whimsy with a heaping helping of seaside scenery. It all adds up to one of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale.

Steak 954

Between the glowing jellyfish tank, the striking green decor, and the jaw-dropping beach views from the patio, it’s hard to know where to look when you’re dining at Steak 954. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to keep your eyes trained on your plate when the chef is serving up dishes like big-eye tuna with foie gras tacos or prime dry-aged bone-in ribeyes.

s3 Restaurant

S3’s motto is “where the sun, surf, and sand meet,” and that’s reflected in the eatery’s laid-back vibe. The dress code is casual, the decor is anything but stuffy, and the menu focuses on coastal cuisine with a few fun twists. The Scottish salmon comes with a quinoa apricot pilaf and shishito peppers, and there’s a tuna pizza, but perhaps the biggest surprise is how hard it’ll be to leave the colorful couches surrounding S3’s patio fire pit.

 

3030 Ocean

3030 ocean

3030 Ocean has a lot going for it, starting with a chef—Adrienne Grenier—who knocked out the competition on Food Network’s Chopped and ending with dining room views of the waterfront. Surrender control to Grenier and her cohorts by opting for the chef’s Surprise Tasting Menu, or create your own four-plate tasting by choosing from dishes like albacore crudo, sauteed head-on Key West pink shrimp, Palmetto Creek Farm pork loin, or coriander-roasted swordfish.

 

Thai on the Beach

One of the best Fort Lauderdale beach restaurants is easy to miss, hidden away above a pizza place. But make the effort to find Thai on the Beach and you’ll be amply rewarded with memorable takes on authentic Thai dishes like nam sod—a zesty mix of ground chicken, ginger, chili, onions, peanuts, and lime juice—and coconutty green curry. There are a few Japanese-inspired picks, too, including a salmon tempura roll and a few
versions of seaweed salad.

Terra Mare

terra mare

Small plates, big flavor, and an eye-catching ocean-blue wall combine for a memorable dining experience at Terra Mare. The menu focuses on locally sourced seafood fashioned into thoughtful bites like smoky grilled octopus and tuna crudo with jicama and coconut milk. There are land-based delights, too, and the restaurant is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, leaving plenty of options for diners eager to sample the work of Aquavit-trained chef Johan Svensson.

Lona Cocina y Tequileria

lona cucina

Chef Pablo Salas takes everything you think you know about Mexican cuisine and dials it up to 11 at Lona Cocina y Tequileria. The guacamole is spiked with crab, and the tamales are stuffed with pumpkin and served with crispy kale. Add to that an agave-centric cocktail program and a bottle menu featuring more than 300 tequilas and mezcals, and you’ve got a cantina muy caliente.

View the full list at www.smartertravel.com and more top picks in the immediate area