Just because there aren’t large ethnic neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale doesn’t mean you can’t find ethnic markets. Name any international cuisine and you can find a store carrying just what you need to whip up some traditional dishes at home. Whether you are looking for comfort food from your childhood or trying out a new dish that may be exotic to you, you’re certain to find it in one of these places. Many of them also have small cafes, so even if the only thing you know how to make is reservations, you can still sample the delicacies of the world.
Greek Pastries & Deli
4701 N. Federal, Fort Lauderdale
Opa! This is a true mom and pop family joint and the food is authentic as can be. The storefront is located on the grounds of Holy Cross Hospital and caters to the employees there, so it’s only open weekdays until late afternoon. Not only can you pick up Greek pastries, cheeses, olives and cooking supplies, they also have a few tables where they serve up a surprisingly diverse menu for such a small place. Sure you can get the pastries, made fresh in house throughout the day and absolutely delish, but don’t miss out on the savory fare; lamb shank, real gyros, souvlaki and a whole lot more. It’s all delish and mostly priced less than $10 for a huge portion!
2645 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Is this a grocery store and deli surrounding an intimate café, or an intimate café plopped into the middle of a grocery store? Does it matter, when the staff is so successful at both? The friendly folks here are knowledgeable about their products, whether imported from Italy or made on premises from recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. They’ll also make you a nice meal to enjoy on the premises. Become a familiar face and you may get invited to one of the special dinners and tasting menus they organize for their regular customers.
Old Heidelberg Deli
914 W. State Rd. 84, Fort Lauderdale
Don’t expect an effusive greeting when you enter this Spartan storefront. You might not find the atmosphere particularly inviting or the service warm and pleasant, but you will find a nice selection of German and Austrian products, and the best wurst in town (sorry I couldn’t resist). While there is no dining option in the store, the unaffiliated Old Heidelberg Café next door, which has served the Fort Lauderdale community for decades, is known for great Teutonic fare, and a lively and cheery atmosphere!
1332 N. State Rd. 7, Margate
There are a number of markets in the area offering pan-Asian ingredients, but China Supermarket it is one of the cleanest and has a good selection of ingredients whether it be Chinese, Thai or Viet Namese. The produce and seafood are particularly good and reasonably priced.
Pond Hoppers Inc.
2629 N. Federal Hwy.
Best of British
1425 SE 17th St.
You don’t usually think of English food when the term “ethnic dining” is mentioned, but why not? Pond Hoppers and Best of British are both located in Fort Lauderdale and run by real Brits who not only have favourites (sic) across the pond in their stores, but also have a huge on-line business as well. If nothing else, you have to buy some Fairy soap.
Little Market Indian Grocery
3062 N. Andrews, Wilton Manors
Clean and well organized, the bright shop is loaded with all kinds of other exotic spices and ingredients essential in Southeast Asian cuisines. The staff is very helpful and more than willing to explain how to use ingredients. There’s a selection of frozen and fresh food as well as freshly made naan.
Sasaya Japanese Market
1956 E. Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale
This tiny shop manages to offer the largest selection of Sake in town (more than 50 brands) and still has space to carry a wide variety of canned and packaged Japanese products, as well as fresh produce and super-fresh, sushi-grade fish. There’s even a little sushi bar (four seats).
La Madame Supermarket
1548 NE 4th Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Just across the river from Wilton Manors, this place is small and not particularly clean, but the staff is friendly and they carry a range of Caribbean (mostly Haitian and Jamaican) products; fresh and frozen fish, goat meat, goat heads, fresh crab, chicken, unusual cuts of beef, vegetables, sugar cane, coconut water and other canned goods.
Fernanda’s International Market & Vintage Winery
3045 N. Federal, Fort Lauderdale
You can travel the world without ever leaving this store. It is truly an international market with everything from English lemon curd to Thai lemon grass. The shelves are stocked with caviar, foie gras, and imported Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Thai noodles. The variety of spices and packaged sauce mixes is mind boggling. It’s one of the few places you’ll find Swedish, French, Dutch and Indonesian favorites. In addition to groceries, the store also has a well stocked deli and sells breads and pastries from local bakeries such as Gran Forno and Croissan’Time. The wine selection is enormous (more than 700 varietals), and they offer mix and match case discounts. There are a few tables, where you can enjoy a light meal; everything from a deli salad or sandwich to a full entrée.