When it comes to dining, sometimes it's about the thrill of a great restaurant find and the lure of a well-kept local secret. And more often than not, it’s simply about great-tasting food. Here are a few of Fort Lauderdale’s hidden epicurean gems that are not only delicious, but also too good to be kept a secret.
ONE | ChillBar
Tucked behind the Yellow Green Farmers Market, is a hip outdoor bar and restaurant with a fun and artsy atmosphere. ChillBar, which is only open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday during the Yellow Green Market, is a popular brunch spot owned by husband and wife, Frank and Beth Becker. Frank Becker is trained in macrobiotic cooking while Beth, a former opera and jazz singer, was in search of a new, creative outlet. One of their bestsellers is Hunter's Baked Stuffed Salmon, named after their oldest son. Farm-raised Chilean salmon is filled with dates, green onions, candied pecans and three cheeses served over basmati rice. In addition to a mimosa bar, ChillBar serves a wide range of specially fermented spirits and cocktails such as Empress Chill–a mix of elderflower liqueur, lychee and vodka with a lemon sugar rim and topped with Thai basil.
1940 N 30th Rd, Hollywood, FL 33021
TWO | Park & Ocean Restaurant
Park & Ocean is a charming restaurant and garden tucked under a shady grove located on the Southeastern side of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Not only do guests get to enjoy a sumptuous array of farm-to-table dishes, but also are treated to nature’s best views from the oceanfront seating area. Their Adventure Lunch menu includes comfort foods and favorite beach eats such as pressed Cuban and grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and tacos. Their in-house brewery called Shady Brewing offers rustic iced tea on tap, in-house cold brewed coffee and specialty beers that feature some of Florida’s finest fruits.
3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
THREE | Voo la Voo Cafe
A Wilton Manor dining treasure, Voo la Voo Cafe is a casual eatery inspired by the French countryside. Order at the counter then take a seat either in the quaint dining room or out in the lovely tented patio. French fare includes tasty omelets with varieties such as Smoked Salmon-Brie-Arugula-Pesto and Bacon-Potato-Green Onions-Cheddar Cheese. But the real crowd pleasers are their sweet and savory crepes. One can go with the usual Nutella Crepe, or be more adventurous with Pineapple Coconut and Caramel, Guava Paste & Cream Cheese or Chicken Bechamel Crepe and Prosciutto de Parma with Egg, Swiss Cheese, Stewed Tomatoes and Basil Crepe. These French concoctions can be paired with imported and domestic beers, classic French cocktail favorites or wine from their well-curated list.
2430 NE 13th Ave, Wilton Manors, FL 33305
FOUR | Pelican Landing Restaurant
Pelican Landing is a casual waterfront bar located at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, meaning guests are treated to views of the Intracoastal Waterway, as well as the downtown Fort Lauderdale skyline. Diners can watch the boats sail by or catch the sunset, while sipping on a Peach Cosmo and savoring bites of their Pelican Burger. Award-winning chef Greg McGowan has put together a menu that celebrates the freshest catch of the day, along with coastal staples. Dishes include Bahamian Conch Fritters, Grilled Mahi Arugula Salad, Fish Tacos and Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak –all best consumed with ice cold beer or a signature cocktail.
2301 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
FIVE | The Secret Garden Restaurant
The romantic harborside restaurant is an exquisite gem nestled between the Fort Lauderdale beach and the Intracoastal Waterway. The Secret Garden Restaurant at The Pillars Hotel is adorned with a white palette, French doors, and rattan and mahogany detailing that celebrate the stunning architecture and design of the 18th century British Colonial plantations in the Caribbean. Dining areas on the balcony and individual patios also offer views of the Intracoastal Waterway or the pool. The seasonal menu may be small, but will surely consist of impeccable dishes such as Prosciutto Wrapped Sea Scallops, Duck Breast au Poivre and Mediterranean Style Swordfish.
111 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304