Tacos are one of life’s simplest pleasures: easy to assemble, delicious, and they come in almost every shape, size and flavor. And while many of us celebrate tacos every Tuesday, October 4th is set aside each year in honor of the small but mighty taco and all its tasty glory. This National Taco Day don’t just taco ’bout celebrating — eat and indulge.
Here are some great restaurants and watering holes on Fort Lauderdale Beach you should definitely make part of your National Taco Day celebration plans — and best of all, if you can’t make it out on October 4, you can make any day a Taco Day celebration, with the benefit of an ocean view.
James Beard Award winning restaurateur, Stephen Starr, opened the Fort Lauderdale Beach outlet of his Mexican restaurant, El Vez, in May 2018, and the indoor-outdoor restaurant & bar has been receiving rave reviews since. While menu favorites such as the Classic Guacamole, Tuna Tostadas Ceviche and the Grilled Corn — it’s the Tacos al Carbon which turn heads every time they make their way from the kitchen. The traditional build your own tacos platter for 2 is served with your choice of Adobo Grilled Chicken (29), Grilled Shrimp (38) or Grilled Skirt Steak (42) with ample sides of rajas, onions, queso fresco, guacamole, crema, salsa roja & warm flour tortillas for you to assemble into your own masterpiece. www.elvezftlauderdale.com
With a menu that reflect a dash of Florida flair and creative American touches, the cuisine at Sea Level Restaurant & Ocean Bar is dining at its most inspired. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean at Marriott Harbor Beach Resort, the restaurant serves up the region’s freshest seafood, choice cuts of meat and high-quality produce to appeal to every palate. For National Taco day or any day take a tip from YELP reviewer Elise K. of Philadelphia who claiming “Literally the best part of my vacation was the Baja Fish Tacos at Sea Level.” And don’t forget to try a cocktail, where bartenders offer the Garden to Glass method of mixology. These drinks are prepared with the freest squeezed juices and herbs from the chef’s organic garden. www.sealevelharborbeach.com
LONA CUCINA Y TEQUILERIA
Mexican chef Pablo Salas’ chic new Mexican eatery Lona, named New Times’ Best Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale in 2018 and located on a stunning strip of beachfront real estate, offers its own take on soulful Mexican cuisine. The menu is diverse, with highlights like pumpkin tamales, braised beef cheek, and cabbage al fuego (grilled cabbage with cream, cotija cheese, truffle oil, pipian sauce, and cauliflower puree) — but it’s the Duck Confit Tacos which are a must out of the ample taco selection. Of course, no South Florida Mexican restaurant would be complete without a proper Taco Tuesday, and Lona’s “Taco Tuesday” raises the bar, where from 4 to 7 p.m., you can order up $5 tacos and 1/2 off Tequila cocktails. lonarestaurant.com.
As the name implies, red meat is the star of the show at this Stephen Starr award-winning ocean-front eatery Steak 954, located ground level at W Fort Lauderdale, but one of the most Instagrammed dishes has to be their Yellowfin Tuna Tacos. Whether indulging on these bite sized morsels at Happy Hour ($10) or starting your dinner with the amp’d up version of Yellowfin Tuna & Foie Gras Tacos ($19) with avocado salad, chipotle aioli & lime citronette, your taste buds will thank you for adding a little seafood to your menu. Steak 954 also serves up a delicious Sunday Brunch of traditional selections with a twist of the sublime; Lobster Avocado Toast, Cuban Style Egg Sandwiches, Adult Pop Tarts and Tacos, of course. www.steak954.com
Offering modern-coastal fare with a distinctly local undercurrent, Burlock Coast at The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale Beach, is an innovative restaurant-café-market-bar that channels the creativity of Prohibition era rum runners. Their irreverent spirit shines throughout the buzzing atmosphere that has helped make it a stand out on the Fort Lauderdale Beach culinary scene with both locals and visitors. With an eclectic menu, gastronomes will go wild for the bite size Pork Belly Tacos laced with Roasted Corn, Avocado Crema and Tomatillo Salsa. Likewise, you’ll want to make it a point to head over on Tuesday from 5-10 pm, when you can indulge in two tasty chef’s daily tacos + one mouthwatering handcrafted margarita for just $10. www.burlockcoast.com
Considered “Fort Lauderdale’s Best Kept Secret,” Pelican Landing at the renowned Pier Sixty-Six Marina, is where those in know locals and visitors go, for breathtaking views and food to match. One of the only things to compete with the stunning sunset views along the Intracoastal is the locally inspired cuisine with tropical influences, which shines in their signature and fan favorite, Fish Tacos. Simply prepared with the Local Catch of the day and topped with red cabbage slaw and pickled vegetables inside a flour tortilla you will surely be satisfied, but if you forego the fries for the Side Salad — a mixture of baby greens, cheery tomatoes, cucumber, cashews and fresh shredded coconut, you will be beaming ear to ear delighted. www.pelican-landing.com
From the restaurateurs and culinary masterminds behind South Florida hot spots such as YOLO, TRP Taste, Boatyard, Spatch and Rooftop, S3 Restaurant is located streetside at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. More than just Sun, Surf & Sand, S3 is best known for its upscale-casual, resort-like ambiance, and culinary offerings which blend a dynamic variety of coastal cuisines to create an oceanfront dining experience like no other. While the menu is centered on shareable items, we wouldn’t blame you one bit for wanting to devour their Fish Tacos all by yourself. Served up in a corn tortilla and topped with Jalapeño Slaw and Avocado Pepper Salsa, the lunch only entree is accompanied by Black Beans & Rice. www.s3restaurant.com
As the name implies, El Taquito , which translates to “little taco” features tacos — but it doesn’t stop there. Boasting home-cooked dishes inspired by owners Osvaldo and Angelica’s own family recipes, you can count on only the finest ingredients, and most exquisite and flavorful traditional street foods found in Mexico, from their little restaurant on Fort Lauderdale Beach. While you can enjoy Fajita, Chimichanga, Enchiladas, Quesadilla and a pretty hearty breakfast too, their Tacos are the star of the show. Crispy or hand rolled in warm tortillas, your choice of stuffings include chicken, steak, fish, shrimp, pork or sausage. Oh, and did we mention they start at $1.99 each? www.eltaquitomexicanrestaurant.com
LULU’S BAIT SHACK
Founded on Cajun Cuisine and Mardi Gras morals, Lulu’s Bait Shack brings the best of the bayou to Fort Lauderdale Beach. And while one may not associate the Bourbon Street or The Big Easy with Mexican cuisine, there is just something about the palm trees, ocean views, salty breeze and sipping a cocktail out of a coconut that make the association possible. Add to that their Fresh Mahi Tacos with Blackened Mahi and Chipotle Ranch, the Asian inspired Ahi Tuna Tacos with Seared Sushi Grade Ahi, Ginger Asian Slaw, and Cucumber Wasabi Sauce, the Key West Shrimp & Lobster Tacos with Cajun Grilled Shrimp & Lobster in a Crisp Corn Tortilla with Fresh Squeezed lime, and we’re sure you will find a way to make the association. www.lulusbaitshack.com
Man cannot live by Chicken Wings alone. Well, maybe they can — but at Hooters they are out to prove there is more that you can do with Buffalo Chicken Wings than you’d think. Take their Buffalo Chicken Tacos for example — grilled or crispy and tossed in your favorite wing sauce, they’re stripped from the bone and topped with cabbage, pico de gallo and your choice of ranch or bleu cheese, then piled high inside flour tortillas. And if seafood is more your thing, the Baja Shrimp or Mahi Tacos are perfectly seasoned and and grilled then loaded with cabbage, pico de gallo and a special sauce and wrapped in flour tortillas — and that’s something to hoot about. www.hootersflorida.com