Just yesterday I popped into Southport Raw Bar for lunch with a view. It was another reminder that this restaurant is a local gem. I love it.
When you go, by all means make sure to sit outside if at all possible. The back deck bumps up against the deepest canal in Fort Lauderdale, a short channel running south of 15th Street to the Intracoastal Waterway. Years ago, I lived on that canal only paces away from Southport. So yes, I'm very familiar with this raw bar. The food is reliably good, the staff nearly always helpful. But the setting makes Southport what it is. I grabbed a wooden table beside the water near some tourists who talked about the bad weather back home. To them, no doubt, this seemed paradise. It felt much that same way to me. I peered down the canal, past the marina and the apartments and the yachts. The waterway twinkled with sunshine, looking clean and inviting. The sky reminded me of a seaside scene, all blue with rows of wispy clouds that appeared like gentle breakers rolling in toward shore from the ocean. To one side, a cook worked at Southport's outdoor grill, smoking up burgers and fish beneath an old seagrape tree. Near him two cabbage palms rustled lightly in the soft seabreezes. A few motorboats came and went during my lunch, one of them carrying a large family of hungry kids. They quickly hopped off and made their way toward the food. I sipped on a lemonade-and-iced-tea, an Arnold Palmer as it's called. My spicy conch chowder was terrific and the tuna salad sandwich most tasty. But that view ... I find it utterly charming, the very image of South Florida. That view shows us why visitors come here from all over the world. That view helps us remember why many of us move here and never leave. Ah, that view. On an early spring day, it's all you really need.