Whether you are a South Florida native or are brand new to the area, a fresh idea for a date, a day of fun with the family, or a great place to grab a bite are always welcome. This month, we have compiled a list of our favorite places to go and things to do.
Here are some of the best restaurants unique to South Florida. If you’re in search of something new to sink your teeth into, we’ve got you covered!
Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House
333 Himmarshee Street
With breakfast served all day, prepared using only the freshest ingredients like organic eggs, real butter and real cream, the “O-B House” is a breakfast lover’s paradise. Be sure to order the heavenly cast-iron oven baked pancake – you’ll thank us later!
264 South Ocean Boulevard
If you plan to visit this South Florida landmark (at its new location east of Lantana), plan to go early and allow yourself time to wait in line. The food is incredible, and the location on A1A makes for a beautiful drive to or from the restaurant. The omelets are fabulous, and the raisin cream cheese French toast is a decadent breakfast treat.
Jet Runway Cafe
5540 Northwest 21st Terrace
For a unique and memorable experience, grab breakfast at this chic restaurant adjacent to Fort Lauderdale’s Executive Airport. Watch helicopters and planes take off and land while you enjoy some of the best Eggs Benedict around. Whatever dish you choose, be sure to sample the deep fried bread pudding, which is both unique and delicious.
1635 North Federal Highway
If you love Mexican food but can do without the heavy sauces and high prices, be sure to pay a visit to Zona Fresca. With nothing on the menu over $10, the restaurant offers tasty meats seasoned and grilled to perfection, fresh pico and salsa, and a laid back atmosphere. The steak nachos are fantastic, and the fish tacos are some of the best you’ll eat outside of Southern California.
Delray Beach / Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood / Miami Beach
What began in 1996 as a tiny Miami Beach pizza shop has now grown to multiple locations in the tri-county area. Pizza Rustica uses fresh, authentic ingredients and offers plenty of unique and delicious varieties of their Roman-style square pizza. A single huge slice sells for around $5 and will satisfy all but the hungriest of appetites. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better slice of pepperoni pizza elsewhere.
Fort Lauderdale / Coral Springs / Boca Raton
Whatever you like to call them – subs, hoagies, grinders, or anything else for that matter – the best place to get one in South Florida, hands down, is Laspada’s. Serving up fresh baked breads, top quality meats, and an entertaining production while it all comes together, grabbing a sub at Laspada’s is a true experience!
Charm City Burger Company
1136 East Hillsboro Boulevard, Deerfield Beach
Charm City Burger Company was the winner of this year’s third annual Fort Lauderdale Burger Battle, and for good reason; the burgers are simply amazing. Just a block off the Intracoastal in Deerfield Beach, Charm City delivers thick, juicy burgers, huge onion rings, and tasty milkshakes made with Blue Bell ice cream. Try the “Good Ole” or “Cowboy Style” burger with the shake of your choice.
Greek Islands Taverna
3300 North Ocean Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale
This Fort Lauderdale gem sits on the east side of A1A just north of Oakland Park Boulevard, and is a fantastic choice for a date night or nice family dinner. The ambience and the food are both authentic and appealing. The Greek salad is fresh and delicious and the lamb chops are a must-order. If you’re not into lamb, try the chicken or Filet Mignon shish-ke-bobs.
1611 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale
If you are a Spanish food lover in search of a fine dining experience a cut above the rest, then Mario’s Catalina is for you. The restaurant is beautifully decorated and the wait staff goes above and beyond to ensure that you receive superb service. A visit to Mario’s calls for a beef empanada appetizer, and Churrasco skirt steak or red snapper topped with garlic sauce and shrimp as your entrée. You’re also guaranteed a visit at your table from the friendly and accommodating owner, Mario himself.
Mustard Seed Bistro
256 South University Drive, Plantation
This Christian family owned and operated European style café promises to satisfy even the most refined palate. Offering delectable dishes such as pistachio crusted salmon, lump crab and sea scallop risotto and so much more, as well beautiful décor and unparalleled service, a visit to the Mustard Seed is a culinary experience you won’t soon forget.
926 Northeast 20th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale
Tucked off of the water just west of Galleria mall, Italian food lovers will fall head-over-heels for Serafina. Most of the tables are outside on the water’s edge, providing a Venice-like feel as you enjoy your masterfully-crafted and delicious Italian meal. Give the Osso Buco D’angello or the Tutto Mare risotto a try and prepare to be impressed.
1514 East Commercial Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale
If you love Asian food but are burned out on P.F. Chang’s or that seedy Thai joint next to your neighborhood laundromat, be sure to check out Thai Spice. Be cautious to not make a selection too high on the spicy scale, though, as this is authentic Thai with real hot spices that are no holds barred. The skirt steak is phenomenal, and the restaurant offers vegan-friendly dishes for those in search of a delicious meat-free meal.
There are no shortage of fun and unique South Florida date ideas that won’t break the bank. Whether you just met last week or have been married for 30 years, one of these suggestions will make for a memorable evening with your significant other.
- Grab a coffee at Brew Urban Café (brewcoffeeshop.com) and take a walk on the New River.
- Head down to Lauderdale by the Sea, grab a pita at Keese’s (keeses.com) or a burger at Burger Fi (burgerfi.com), window shop the tacky tourist stores, and walk the pier to see if the fishermen are catching anything worth writing home about.
- Go for a bike ride to anywhere; no bikes, no problem! There is a new bicycle-sharing program in Broward County with self-service bicycle rental kiosks stretching from Hollywood to Pompano. The cost is only $5 for a 24-hour pass. Visit broward.bcycle.com to find out more.
- Pay a visit the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach (spanishmonastery.com). This incredible piece of architecture from 12th century Spain was purchased and relocated to Miami in 1925. Tours are available most days for $8 per person.
- Grab an authentic Italian gelato at Sonny’s Gelato Café (realgelato.com) in Boca Raton. Catch it on the right night and your tasty ice cream alternative just might come with a romantic accordion serenade.
- Run a race together. With running races of all distances taking place nearly every weekend year-round, training for and running in one is a great way to spend time together while getting exercise and working towards a common goal. Visit sflracecalendar.com to view a list of upcoming local races.
- Visit the Pelican Grand Beach Resort (pelicanbeach.com) on the north end of Fort Lauderdale beach. Get an ice cream in the parlor on the ground floor and sit in the rocking chairs on the southern-style back porch.
- Ride the Tri-Rail
- (tri-rail.com ) somewhere together just for fun.
- Visit the Morikami Museum (morikami.org ) and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach. It’s like visiting Japan for the day without spending $2,000 in airfare.
- Visit the iconic Jaxson’s (jaxsonsicecream.com) in Dania Beach and try to conquer the “Kitchen Sink.” Diabetics need not attempt.
- Head over to Joe Picasso’s (joepicassos.com) do-it-yourself art experience in Fort Lauderdale and make some pottery together. Artistic skill not required.
- Take a walk on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. Take the trip on a weekend night and you’re almost certain to catch some live music along the way.
- Set your alarm clock and catch a sunrise on any South Florida beach. Trust us, it’s worth losing sleep for!
Pry your kids away from the iPad and Xbox for a few hours and get out and about to experience all that South Florida has to offer.
- Tailgate at a Dolphins or Hurricanes game at Sun Life Stadium (sunlifestadium.com). Pack your cooler, your grill and your favorite barbeque foods and head out to the game of your choice a few hours early. Don’t have the money to pay for tickets? Bring a portable TV and watch the game in the parking lot as you stuff yourselves, play some two-hand touch and catch the team spirit.
- Try your skills at water skiing or wakeboarding at Ski Rixen (skirixenusa.com) at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach. For the younger or less adventurous members of the family, the park itself has plenty to offer!
- Go to a Saint Thomas Aquinas (aquinasfootball.com) high school football game. The program is one of the top in the nation, and the game experience is on par with the college level for a fraction of the cost.
- Take a Monday night and head out to Young Circle in Hollywood for the food truck extravaganza. You can suit everyone in the family’s tastes for just a few bucks.
- Head all the way west in Parkland and take a family airboat ride with Loxahatchee Everglades Tours (evergladesairboattours.com). Pick a cool, sunny day and gator sightings are almost guaranteed.
- Watch the cruise ships depart from Port Everglades on a Sunday afternoon. Head to the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach around 5:00 p.m. on any given Sunday and watch the “floating cities” head out to sea.
- Take a drift fishing trip. With plenty of options for boats and locations up and down the coast, a drift fishing trip is a fun way to get out on the water without the astronomical cost of renting or owning your own private boat. Check out the Catch My Drift out of Fort Lauderdale (fishheadquarters.com) or the Hellen S (954-941-3209) out of Pompano Beach.
- Take the whole family to totally free 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning surf lessons with Island Water Sports (islandwatersports.com) in Deerfield Beach. Online preregistration is required.
The sport of paddleboarding is all the rage these days. Somewhat of a hybrid between surfing and ocean kayaking, paddleboarding is a great workout and a lot of fun. You’ll find a retailer offering rentals and/or lessons on nearly every South Florida beach.
While “mountain biking” and “Florida” may sound like mutually exclusive terms, you may be surprised to learn this is not the case. With trails at Amelia Earhart Park in Miami, Oleta State Park in North Miami, and Markham Park in Sunrise, there are plenty of spots to get those wheels turning and quads burning for riders from beginner to advanced.
For the ultra-adventurous with some cash to spare, head on up to Skydive Palm Beach (skydivepalmbeach.com) and spread your wings. Don’t worry too much about chickening out or having to learn a bunch of complicated procedures – your first few jumps are always tandem with an instructor.
If your childhood dream was to fly like the Rocketeer, that dream can now become a reality. If you haven’t seen the JetLev yet, head on over to YouTube, punch the term in the search box, and prepare to be amazed. While flights aren’t cheap, Fort Lauderdale is one of the few locations in the country where you can experience this awesome new technology. Visit jetlev.com/flight for more info, and also keep your eyes peeled for a Groupon or Living Social deal which will allow you purchase a flight experience for a bargain.
Not too Far
Finally, here are a few ideas for those looking for a family-friendly adventure not too far from home.
- Take a day trip to the Florida Keys. Stop at Robbie’s (robbies.com) on your way down and feed the tarpon out of your hands from the dock. Make a day of snorkeling or scuba diving at John Pennekamp (pennekamppark.com). Be sure to stick around for the sunset before heading home.
- Search for shells at Marco Island (marcoisland.com). Just south of Naples, and just about a two-hour drive from south Florida, Marco Island offers raw, natural beauty, breathtaking sunsets, and millions of beautiful seashells piled up knee-deep at the water’s edge.
- Visit Blowing Rocks Preserve in Jupiter. Plan your trip during an extreme high tide or just after a winter storm and watch as the rocks catch the seawater and shoot geysers of water up to 50 feet in the air. In case the blowing rocks are having more of a “sighing” day, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and an educational center are all available at the preserve.
- Canoe the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter (canoeoutfittersofflorida.com). Navigate your way around fallen logs, manmade dams, wildlife, and even the occasional alligator as you canoe your way down the Loxahatchee River from Riverbend Park 8.5 miles to Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The rental rates are reasonable and the trip can be completed in 5-6 hours.
- Take a surf trip “upcoast.” While it’s rare to score perfect surf here in South Florida, you can find some pretty decent waves just a couple hours drive up Florida’s east coast. Sebastian Inlet State Park (floridastateparks.org/sebastianinlet) is a popular destination for the sojourning surfer, as the park offers pretty consistent waves and very inexpensive campsites for those who want to stay overnight.
After all, this is the “Sunshine State,” so get out and enjoy the sunshine! While most of the country is going into a deep freeze, you have the opportunity to get out and have the time of your life this Florida fall!