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Indulge in the Finer Things at the Fine Dining Restaurants of Greater Fort Lauderdale

By Angela Caraway-Carlton

If you have a taste for the finer things and want to splurge on an epic night out (or even better, someone else is paying), here’s a look at where you can indulge in fine dining around Greater Fort Lauderdale.

Ciao Bella!

Fort Lauderdale knows authentic Italian food, and beloved chef Angelo Elia’s Casa D’Angelo has a solid reputation for its sophisticated ambiance, top-notch service, and mouth-watering dishes that often showcase ingredients imported from Italy. Tables fitted with white tablecloths and soft, glowing lighting set the mood for savoring bread made from scratch, branzino cooked to perfection, meat dishes like veal chop parmigiana, pastas galore, and a long list of fine wines.

Hidden in the Rio Vista neighborhood, you’ll find another gem loved by locals, Primadonna, which is known for its modern take on Italian classics. The coastal-chic vibe invites you to stay awhile, while servers spoil you. The menu features delicate plates of homemade pasta, risotto, or filet mignon.

Carnivore Cravings

If an elegant meal for you means enjoying a prime cut of meat, head to Mastro’s Ocean Club where tables overlooking the water and live music will give you all the feels. Kansas City bone-in strip steak, Japanese Grade A5 Wagyu, and Australian tomahawks garner the attention, along with standout sides like lobster mashed potatoes and gorgonzola mac and cheese. The grand finale should be their famous warm butter cake, a soft-on-the-inside yellow cake with a caramelized top that arrives warm and topped with a scoop of ice cream. If you’re craving pricey seafood like stone crabs, shrimp, and oysters, go for the Luxury Hour, a fancy happy hour Sunday through Thursday from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.

If you’re looking for steak with a side of scene, Steak 954 on Fort Lauderdale beach lights up the night with its glowing jellyfish tank and sweeping beach views during the day. Start with seafood towers crowned with Alaskan king crab, shrimp, and oysters, then move on to melt-in-your-mouth filets or tender bone-in ribeye, and the can’t-miss truffle potato gratin.

Bet on this one: Council Oak Steaks & Seafood tucked inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers a high-energy ambiance with tables overlooking a lavish pool with flowing waterfalls, and an open kitchen where chefs are busy using the wood fire grill and coal oven. Just like its name, the restaurant’s menu is a good mix of prime cuts of beef and fresh seafood, and it’s been recognized by Wine Spectator with an “Award of Excellence” consecutively since 2009.

Craving the elegance of a steakhouse from the past? Diplomat Prime, situated in The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, boasts a rich and stately, yet modern aesthetic that will fit any special celebration. Think dry-aged steaks, local, seasonal seafood dishes, classic cocktails, and an extensive wine list meant to impress.

Order the Seafood

At the stunning Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, nestled along a quarter-mile stretch of private beach, you’ll find the upscale 3030 Ocean, where chefs prepare beautiful plates that are seafood-centric and packed with local ingredients. Spring for the chef’s tasting menu and wine pairing for the full effect.

They know how to make you feel special at Blue Moon Fish Company, another waterfront restaurant with a long-running reputation for excellent service and mouth-watering fish dishes. Standouts include their firecracker oysters and their fish dishes like the blue crab-stuffed grouper have a cult-like following. Don’t be surprised if they treat you to complimentary bubbly if you’re celebrating.

In Hollywood, cozy up in the elegant second-floor dining room of Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant, a longtime institution in Hollywood known for its stone crabs and floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views of the Intracoastal Waterway. Here, you’ll order Alaskan king crab legs, colossal stone crabs, and many fresh fish dishes. Sit back and let them spoil you.

Other Standouts

If you’ve been to Napa, then you know the prestigious Auberge name. The posh DUNE restaurant at Auberge Beach Residences & Spa looks like a modern beach house, and is known for its gorgeous indoor and outdoor settings (especially those beach views). Indulge in their signature dishes like Floridian black grouper with shellfish vinaigrette or lump crab spaetzle with heirloom tomatoes, and a Napa-inspired wine list.

From the moment you step into The Capital Grille, the experience is one of comfortable elegance. African mahogany paneling and Art Deco chandeliers provide a warm, stately setting for the restaurant's nationally renowned dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood, and acclaimed world-class wines. 

For gourmet Chinese food at its best, make reservations at Rainbow Palace. The restaurant is draped in beautiful décor and the tuxedoed waiters will indulge your every whim. Start with the shrimp and lobster dumplings or scallops sautéed in Grand Marnier, and then they’ll roll out the carts to grandly serve you plates of delicious Chinese specialties.

In Pompano Beach, discover a true chef-driven meal at Cafe Maxx, where Chef Oliver Saucy has been treating guests to innovative creations since the 1980s. The ambiance is stylish but not snooty, and those in-the-know are here for the attentive service and ever-changing plates made with fresh ingredients. Maybe you’ll start with caviar pie, or sautéed foie gras, then move on to entrees like duck confit, lamb chops, or jumbo sea scallops.

Greater Fort Lauderdale is here for those with caviar and Champagne dreams … or whatever you may be craving.

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