Embarking on a cruise from Port Everglades means the city of Fort Lauderdale is at your fingertips.
Bloomberg included Fort Lauderdale in their annual Where to Go in 2019 roundup because “Once sleepy, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach are waking up now that restaurants such as Florie’s have arrived.” The food scene is taking off in Fort Lauderdale and there’s no better time than the present to taste test your way through the city.
Whether you have a few days to explore before your cruise departs or just a few hours, this guide will walk you through the closest restaurants to Port Everglades as well as the cheapest spots, the most unique eats, organic and plant-based shops, the rising stars in the culinary scene, and even the breweries and rooftop bars you can’t miss on your trip.
So, check out the best restaurants that Fort Lauderdale has to offer and markdown your favorites for a mouthwatering journey along the coast before your cruise sets sail!
Closest Restaurants to Port Everglades
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from around Port Everglades. In fact, there were so many options within ten minutes driving that we had to break the list down into subcategories just to keep it organized!
First, there are the fast-food and fast-casual spots. Grab something quick and relatively cheap before you board your cruise at these eight places:
- Taco Bell
- Burger King
- Papa John’s
- Einstein Bros Bagel
- Smoothie King
Next, there’s an almost unending amount of sit-down breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurants near Port Everglades to suit every taste and craving. If you prefer to take your time to peruse a menu rather than to order at a counter, head to these 21 spots:
- Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
- La Bamba Mexican and Spanish Restaurants
- Pollo Tropical
- Outback Steakhouse
- Bistro Mezzaluna
- Coco Asian Bistro and Bar
- Indian Harbor
- Duffy’s Sports Grill
- Doughboys Pizzeria and Italian
- Bravo Ristorante
- Maya Harbor Cafe
- Carlos & Pepe’s
- New Hong Kong
- Southport Raw Bar and Restaurant
- Carraba’s Italian Grill
- Bistro 17
- Fresh First
- Laspada’s Original Hoagies – named one of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale
- Kelly’s Landing New England Seafood – named one of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale
We all know vacation starts when you step out your front door – sometimes long before you board your cruise – so if you’re looking for a bar to relax and unwind in with a few drinks after you eat, the three closest bars to Port Everglades are Waxy’s Irish Pub, the Village Well Pub, and Whiskey Neat. All three are also only 20 minutes walking from the Port so you can park your car and start the party without a care in the world!
Cheapest Restaurants Near Port Everglades
If you’re ballin’ on a budget, choosing to cruise from Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami is a great way to save money because there are plenty of cheap eats around Port Everglades.
As listed above, you can’t go wrong with the fast food and fast-casual spots like Taco Bell, Burger King, and Chipotle when you need a filling meal that won’t break the bank. But, this is a vacation after all, and eating fast food when you’re traveling is a little, well, boring. Instead, you can still keep an eye on the bottom line with this list of the best cheap restaurants in Fort Lauderdale.
It mentions quite a few tempting options, but Lester’s Diner is the closest at only seven minutes driving from Port Everglades. It serves up a variety of classic diner foods (and some Greek dishes as well, because, why not?) and is open 24 hours!
Unique Restaurants Near Port Everglades
Start your vacation with a memorable meal at these unique restaurants in Fort Lauderdale dishing up unforgettable experiences alongside their food. Of those on the list, the Rustic Inn Crabhouse and Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor are the closest to the port.
The Rustic Inn Crabhouse describes itself as “not fancy, just fresh” and serves up their famous garlic crabs with wooden mallets for you to smash them open yourself – so don’t come here if you don’t want to get your hands dirty! After you chow down, head to Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor for dessert, where you can explore “one of the nation’s largest collections of rural American memorabilia” while you devour scoop after scoop of the creamy treat.
You can also venture a bit farther from Port Everglades to three more unique spots located 20 minutes driving from the cruise terminals. Mai Kai will transport you straight to Polynesia with dancing, music, and fire performances while at Lips Restaurant drag queens take charge of the daily entertainment and at Taverna Opa you can expect Greek dancing on the tables while you eat.
Although it didn’t make the roundup by the Fort Lauderdale Daily, Joe’s Cafe is another unique eatery near Port Everglades where adults and children alike can enjoy the American diner food, outdoor swing booths, and train running overhead.
Best Health Food and Vegan Restaurants Near Port Everglades
Not only are there great health food and vegan restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, but many of them are also easily accessible from Port Everglades. If you want to eat clean before letting your diet go a bit on the ship, these four restaurants near Port Everglades serve up meals that will help you feel good both inside and out.
Fresh First, an organic and gluten-free restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and fresh smoothies and juices, is only ten minutes driving from the port, while Green Bar and Kitchen, which “embodies the concept of vibrant, plant-based, wholesome eating,” is just down the street. It was named one of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale by Timeout, so even though everything on the menu is vegan you don’t need to be following a plant-based diet to enjoy the food and flavors here.
Toss Up Salads has a few locations in Fort Lauderdale, but the restaurant on 706 Federal Hwy is the closest to Port Everglades. A quick 13-minute drive will deliver you into a casual eatery where you can order up salads, soups, and smoothies prepped in-house daily. Or, drive a few blocks further and you’ll arrive at Beehive Kitchen, where you can build bowls with super healthy bases like quinoa, sweet potato noodles, or kale salad to give your body a boost before setting sail on your cruise.
Top-Rated Restaurants Near Port Everglades
Roundups of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale by major publications like Timeout and Zagat are great places for foodies to start their search for the top-rated spots in the city. Of the restaurants included in the Zagat piece, Laspada’s Original Hoagies, Grille 66 and Bar, Valentino Cucina Italiana, Truluck’s, and The Capital Grille are the closest to Port Everglades.
Laspada’s Original Hoagies sells “the best damn hoagies in town” and is both the cheapest and the closest restaurant on the list at only a 10 minute drive from the cruise terminals. Grill 66 serves seafood in an upscale establishment on the water 12 minutes from Port Everglades and Valentine Cucina Italiana dishes up hearty Italian fare.
Finally, Truluck’s and The Capital Grille are the furthest from Port Everglades but conveniently located directly next to each other. Specializing in seafood and steaks respectively, both are great places to start your vacation on a high note and treat yourself to a truly delicious meal.
Breweries and Rooftop Bars Near Port Everglades
Finally, it’s time to celebrate the start of your vacation with a few drinks in the city before your cruise sets sail.
There are more than 200 breweries in Florida and many of them call Fort Lauderdale home. The LauderAle Brewery is the closest to Port Everglades and features 30 rotating taps and an outdoor beer garden to enjoy the Sunshine State’s fabulous weather. Tarpon River Brewing is another local favorite because it’s housed in an 11,000 square foot structure with food, home-brewed beer, yard games, and even an entire house built inside of it.
If cocktails are more your thing, outdoor bars and patios are in no short supply in Fort Lauderdale. Near Port Everglades, you can soak up the sun and some stunning city views at the Rooftop @ 1WLO, or enjoy oceanside patio seating at Pelican Landing and the Sea Level Restaurant and Ocean Bar as well. Cheers!
-Di Minardi (that’s me!), travel blogger at Slight North