For many locals, Downtown Fort Lauderdale offers some of the finest, most varied dining of any city its size, spawned in part by the advent of new luxury hotels all around. Some of the best bars and tastiest restaurants can be found along the street of Las Olas Boulevard Blvd. Las Olas Boulevard is filled with stores and great restaurants where you have a choice of dining outside along the street or inside.
Here’s a list of the best restaurants on Las Olas Blvd in Fort Lauderdale in no particular order.
A Las Olas landmark, Big City Tavern is a consistent spot for good food, good spirits, and good times. It is reminiscent of the great old taverns of Chicago, New York, and Boston, and it is a great compliment to the restaurant scene of Las Olas Boulevard. The diverse menu commingles Asian entrées such as pad Thai, Italian options such as homemade meatballs and cheese ravioli in a toasted garlic marinara, and American dishes such as the grilled skirt-steak Cobb salad. Desserts are all house-made and delicious. The pistachio brown-butter bundt cake with honey-roasted spiced peaches and pistachio gelato, the caramelized banana sundae in a mason jar, and the devil’s food cake ice cream sandwich are all heaven on Earth. Big City is open for lunch, dinner, or a night for drinks, and they even offer a special late-night menu.
Chima Brazilian Steakhouse offers a chic dining experience with a swanky bar, and an impressive dining room filled with tables that accommodate both large and small groups. On the periphery of the room, the abundant salad bar offers a variety of specialty salads such as bean, potato, caesar, and soy, and side items might include mashed potatoes, soups, cold cuts, fruits, and veggies. While you’re seated and enjoying your selections from the salad bar, over a dozen different meats will be making their way to your table. Top sirloin, lamb, chicken wings, ribs, and several cuts of beef highlight the main dishes. Ask for your favorite temperature and they’ll get it for you! When you’re overly stuffed, flip your coin over to let the meat servers know you’ve had enough. Arrive for happy hour or dinner, or both, and settle in for a pleasant dining experience.
Under the guidance of chef Johnny Vinczencz, this Las Olas Boulevard restaurant crafts a menu of Florida-inspired New American cuisine with Latin and Caribbean influences. This Las Olas namesake has been a favorite for years. The restaurant, which serves lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, features a wide range of dishes like the tuna poke with wakami, or the jerk seared local black grouper with Key West-style conch chowder. Add an impressive selection of cheese (an assortment of 39 from all over the world), amazing desserts (i.e., the warm chocolate chip cookie sundae or the three berry crème brûlée pot pie), and inventive brunch plates (Captain Crunch crusted fried chicken and waffles) and you have yourself a winner.
Lobster Bar Sea Grill, the newest addition to Las Olas Blvd, is an elegant and classic seafood restaurant. Every surface of the restaurant seems to be covered in white subway tile resembling a subway tunnel. The menu serves upscale seafood dishes in a sleek setting with dramatic lighting and a marble bar. Being on the intracoastal, their menu specializes in whole fish and lobster, but it still has a strong steak list from its Atlanta roots. The Raw Bar is equally impressive with a multitude of whole fresh fish, oysters, and an entire octopus on display.
Over the years, many restaurants have come and gone from the Las Olas Boulevard dining scene. Not Timpano: it has stood in the same location for the past 17 years. In such a transient town, that’s saying something. The street has changed, but Timpano hasn’t: The spot is still serving well-done takes on Italian classics. Whether you choose to sit inside the dark steak-house interior or al fresco to watch the Las Olas crowds, you will taste some of the best food on the boulevard.
Yolo was the first place on the block to feature it’s own fire pit and outside bar. This Las Olas spot serves tasty fare with style to eager Fort Lauderdale crowds. The name stands for “You Only Live Once”, and the atmosphere represents that ideology- the decor is modern chic and the atmosphere is always vibrant. For a sophisticated dining experience try YOLO’s well stocked contemporary American menu with specials such as forever braised short ribs, sautéed jumbo lump crab cakes, rotisserie greek chicken, or santorini grilled octopus salad. The spot also has a nice selection of sweet treats for desserts. The bread pudding is some of the best in town, and the Thursday winter s’mores bar is the only one around. The cocktail and wine menu is similarly jam-packed with weekly specials and favorites for every palette. After dinner fun can be found just next door at O-Lounge for some music and drinks.