That time of year is coming; when “friends” you haven’t seen in years decide it would be a good time to visit you.
We really don’t mind when we get out of town visitors, it allows us to catch up and they often take us out to dinner. Most of the time they ask for suggestions for places to dine along the beach. Of course, we have the usual stand-bys, Aruba and Casablanca, but a few new places have opened, and some other places have new chefs of have been rechristened.
3030 Holiday Dr., Fort Lauderdale
One of the best places for dining right on the beach, Sea Level Restaurant at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott, has a new chef, Javier Jaramillo, who has developed a menu inspired by the vibrant and bold flavors of the Caribbean. Setting Sea Level apart from other seashore eateries is the restaurant’s wall-to-wall chalkboard which acts as a tester for potential menu items daily. Many of these specials are inspired by Jaramillo’s Caribbean background. New dishes include: Angus steak, cooked sous vide before being grilled and served with crispy potatoes and a malt vinegar sweet and sour sauce; grouper ceviche is served with cucumber and studded with tiny cubes of sweet potato and Mexican corn. A Caribbean twist on fish and chips pairs yucca fries with lightly breaded and tenderly fried grouper. A dessert of lemon sorbet with macerated fruit is the perfect palate cleanser.
If you prefer something a little more upscale, head across the pool to 3030 Ocean. Although you can order off the menu a la carte, the restaurant is known for its tasting menus. The five-course menu with wine, is $120 per person. Menu format is as follows: first course-raw bar, second course-appetizer, third course-fish, fourth course-meat, fifth course-dessert.
S3 Restaurant Sun - Surf - Sand
505 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
The name could just as easily stand for steak, seafood, and sushi, which is what the sharable concept menu features at this upscale, casual-chic spot with a laid-back atmosphere. Outdoor seating provides breathtaking views of the Atlantic and Fort Lauderdale Beach. It’s great for cocktails, lunch or brunch.
Pelican Grand Beach Resort
2000 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
The Pelican Grand Beach Resort offers varied dining options. Ocean 2000 features new American fare and is a grand dining experience. It also includes an ocean-front patio, that features small-plates fare with bold flavors, accompanied by a serious mixology program of classic reinvented cocktails. The Emporium, open daily from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. (an hour later on weekends), is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. It also features gourmet coffee beverages and baked goods.
213 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
This place is a mass of contradictions. Although you might expect Spanish food from the name, the menu is mostly Italian. It’s a tad pricier than you would think from the décor, but the location? Perfect. If you want to save a few bucks go for lunch or dinner.
Backflip @ Plunge Hotel
4660 El Mar Dr., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
This is the ultimate laid-back beach bar, serving local brews and rum-fueled cocktails in a thatch-covered hut that would make Hemingway smile. The menu highlights street-style eats such as tacos, sandwiches and some fresh salads, served right on the beach.
The Atlantic Hotel
601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Coastal showcases Italian-inspired coastal cuisine. The beautiful oceanfront views on the patio are a draw and it’s one of the few places that not only welcomes dogs, but also offers a barkBISTRO menu for your fur-baby. For something more casual, head up to the fifth-floor pool deck and check out Sky Bar for a robust selection of appetizers and salads, sandwiches and burgers.
1116 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach
If you’re headed down to South Beach, Gianni’s restaurant, located inside the historic Villa Casa Casuarina, formerly known as the famed Versace mansion, has extended its dinner schedule, now serving guests seven nights a week from 6 p.m. to midnight. Gianni’s now serves lunch seven days a week from noon to 4:30 p.m.
The 7th Annual Pompano Beach Brazilian Festival returns Oct. 20-21, at the Pompano Beach Community Park, 820 NE 18th Ave. (N.E. 10th St. & U.S.1). Enjoy the art, culture, music and cuisine of Brazil. For more information, go to brazilianfestpompano.org.