Fort Lauderdale continues to evolve as a city, and is quickly becoming a gastronomic paradise. Culinary enthusiasts and foodies are constantly posting reviews singing the praises of the restauranteurs, chefs and mixologists, especially the ones in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. Five of Fort Lauderdale’s best were recently highlighted in a Hoodline article for their unique approach – not just the food on the menu, but the interior décor and their interaction with the public. These five restaurants vary wildly in their offerings, but represent the city’s unique diversity in food and culture.
Fast casual is trending across the country, with diners being won over high quality entrees served in a short period of time. Recent iterations include everything from burritos and pizza to healthy grain bowls. That’s the specialty of the new popular chain known as Beehive Kitchen. Both hormone free and gluten friendly, diners can chow down on their bowls knowing that their food was produced with as few chemicals as possible. Aside from established favorites such as the Vegan Bowl and the Protein Bowl, diners can also customize their own meal with their choices in proteins, grains, and vegetables. The restaurant raised eyebrows when it first announced its more to Las Olas Boulevard, but they’ve quickly won over diners with their healthy options and their fast and friendly service.
Timpano Italian Chophouse
Timpano Italian Chophouse takes its food as seriously as its diners do. Gastronomes rave about the fresh ingredients, the knowledgeable staff, and the expert service.The restaurant even landed the number three spot on USA Today’s 10Best Steakhouse list in 2016. Once you step inside, it’s easy to see why.The inside is styled like a traditional Chicago eatery-it is lavishly decorated, with small tables to create an intimate dining experience. The food is also all Chicago, with a Branzino to die for and a Short Rib & Wild Mushroom Rigatoni that shows off the versatility and style of the chefs. However, the star of the show at Timpano are the steaks.The AgedHalf-Cut Petite Filet is the best example-cut so that marbling runs throughout without dominating the meat, the steak is expertly seared, leaving a fine crust on the outside and a bright pink center on the inside.
The Royal Pig Pub
The term ‘gastropub’ has been a hot subject in today’s culinary scene, with both chefs and diners excited by the idea of updating traditional pub style with modern design aesthetics, from the décor to the dining and drinks. The Royal Pig Pub takes this to the next level and then some, with a dramatic approach that incorporates as much of older pub details as it does tie in contemporary bar themes. Darkly colored wood booths sit below flatscreen TVs playing sports television. The drinks menu features shaken cocktails, wines, and craft drafts from breweries across the state-stay local with a Funky Buddha Hop Gun IPA. Even the food is a play on classic pub bites, ranging from burgers that are smothered in garlic aioli and red onion jam to truffle fries covered in Parmesan cheese. Executive Chef Stanton Bundy works his magic in the kitchen to deliver the dishes that Fort Lauderdale raves over, from the RPP Mac & Cheese to the Mahi Club Sandwich. His hard work hasn’t been passed over-in 2013, he was selected by Best Chefs America to be featured in their Best Chefs America guidebook.
Osteria Acqua e Farina
The best way to describe Osteria Acqua eFarina is ‘unassuming’. The website design is simplistic, and the style of decoration can best be described as ‘minimalist’. Even the plates on the menu seem to use just the basics for ingredients: mushrooms, tomatoes, spaghetti, and dough. But don’t be fooled-the calm nature belies the talent at this Italian restaurant. Founded by chef and former owner Giovanni Rocchio (of Valentino’sfame), diners can find his presence in everything down to the bread dough recipe that he made specifically for this restaurant. You can find evidence in menu pieces such as the Formaggi white pizza, with its interplay between the sharp Parmesan and the creamy white sauce, or the Garganelli All’ Emiliana, which utilizes ragu sauce, egg pasta, and ricotta for a creamy texture. The result is an Italian restaurant that’s effortlessly cool and on everyone’s ‘toeat’ list.
Lobster Bar Sea Grill
The traditions of Northeastern style cooking meet the contemporary design ideas of today in this classic seafood and steak restaurant. In fact, aesthetics are an important part of this restaurant, from the island in the center with a full cocktail bar and chairs so that diners can sit and watch their drinks get shaken, to the plates that are arranged nicely enough for a social media photo. Executive Chef Jeff Pfeiffer sees to it that every element of the restaurant is truly interactive, from the happy hours to the dining experience. His work at the restaurant has been highlighted by everything from the Broward-West Palm New Times to The Sun Sentinel. The best examples of his approach to food can be found in the Lobster Octopus Seafood ‘Ceviche’, which utilizes the acids of fruits such as pineapple and papaya to add a citrusy flavor to the dish while also ‘cooking’ the food in the fruits’ acids.
Fort Lauderdale’s unique atmosphere and modern lifestyle are attracting attention from around the world. Everyone from artists to actors, professional athletes to those who just appreciate the eclectic vibe of the city. To no one’s surprise, Downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard is the cultural heart of the city, with the lifestyle to match. With the Downtown FortLauderdale area possessing such a strong culinary variety, it’s no wonder that everyone wants to live in the heart of town.