South Florida is a region where cultures collide and subcultures become countercultures, but in a really good way. The uniqueness of this region of Florida lends itself well to many different types of food that really are not found anywhere else except in the countries of origin of the people that first inhabited this area.
There are also many far out, creative, fun, and flavorful eats that will give your taste buds a whole new sensation. We have everything listed here, easy to find, and even better to try in person when you are visiting Southern Florida.
Better still, we also feature a lot of the popular restaurants and eateries for the LGBTQ crowd, most of which can be found on the main drag in Wilton Manors or in Ft. Lauderdale.
Beach breakfasts are wildly popular here. Many of the restaurants serving breakfast try to do so with a view of the ocean or the nearest beach. Enjoy tropical breezes and maybe a mimosa with your morning meal at any of the following establishments.
If you like breakfast with a great view (and who doesn’t!) consider dining at Latitudes Hollywood Beach Restaurant. The majority of the tables here are stretched out along the beach side of the strait, each with their own shade umbrellas. A lot of the beach-goers here take a break from sunning themselves and playing in the surf to get a bite to eat at Latitudes, so come early and come hungry!
If you are winding your way into Ft. Lauderdale, you absolutely have to stop at Voolavoo. They make the most fantastic sweet and savory crepes, and you might even want seconds to go. Come back for lunch and dinner, too!
Louie Bossi’s Ristorante opens for brunch, and what a brunch! Located in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, you are sure to enjoy their amazing buffet of choices on which to gorge late in the morning. Sample their sourdough waffles drenched in fresh berries and maple syrup, or try their breakfast frittata.
Lunch in Florida is a leisurely meal. Of course, that probably has a lot to do with the Spanish culture that first colonized this state and made siestas part of the daily ritual. You will find that most places that are open for lunch are open most of the day, allowing you to graze as you like.
When you are headed out to lunch in Ft. Lauderdale, check out Aruba Beach Cafe. This beachside establishment boasts a strong Caribbean feel with food to match. Many of the culinary masterpieces are tropical fish dishes seasoned to Caribbean perfection.
Southern Florida cuisine is not complete without some Argentinian empanadas. Visit the Almacen de Empanadas, a truly authentic Argentinian-owned restaurant/cafe in Wilton Manors. All of the sweet and savory empanadas inspired by Argentinian restaurants are on the menu for lunch and dinner. Given its location, it’s not a surprise that this is also a gay-friendly restaurant.
Burgers and Beer is a gay-friendly establishment in the gayborhood of Wilton Manors, FL. They offer dozens of tantalizing burgers and enough types of beer and microbrews to make it worth the side trip. At first glance, they look like a tiny sub shop, but they offer much more than your usual fare.
If you are looking for the most charming atmosphere in a lunchtime seaside palace of sorts, check out Casablanca Cafe. It is a blend of old Florida with a slightly Moroccan twist. Once an elegant mansion, it has been restored and turned into a most elegant dining place. It is definitely the place to go on date night with your significant other, but you may find it easier to get a lunchtime table and still enjoy the amazing food. For added amazement, request a table on the second story balcony overlooking the ocean and the beach.
It’s always funny to think of “happy hour” as an hour. In Florida, it definitely is never an hour. It is usually four hours, and often overlaps dinner, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a couple pre-dinner drinks.
Who said, “Happy Hour is every hour with good drink and friends”? Well, it doesn’t much matter when you are visiting DrYnk Bar and Lounge, the hottest, coziest gay bar in Wilton Manors, FL. Try one of their specialty cocktails you can’t find anywhere else, and if you come in during happy hour, it’s $4 off specialty martinis and $3 off specialty cocktails.
Milk Money Bar and Kitchen is owned by a gay couple. This establishment is a gay bar and eatery in Ft. Lauderdale, but all adults are welcome (leave the kids at home). It is both rustic and elegant in its decor to appeal to all of the clientele. They boast the largest, longest list of unique hard liquor drinks and so many different beers it would take you a week to sample it all. If you need a sobering meal, they have both vegan/vegetarian options as well as mouth-watering meals for everyone else.
Apt 9F is LGBTQ-owned, and is located in Wilton Manors, FL too. It has an extensive wine menu and delicious little nibbles you can try from 4pm-7pm, their “happy hour” time. Well drinks and house wines are $5 during this time, and domestic bottles are only $2.
Dinner in this region of Florida is more about the ambiance and the experience, and not just the food. While some type of seafood is featured on almost every menu for dinner, you can get lots of other interesting and flavorful items all with some form of visual excitement or entertainment.
LGBTQ-Owned in Wilton Manors
South Florida really is a foodie’s paradise. A new restaurant called Bubbles and Pearls opening in Wilton Manors is owned and run by celebrity LGBT chef Josie Smith. It will feature oysters as the main attraction, but a lot of other seafood options will be on the menu as well.
A crazy, fun, frivolous delight, Rosie’s Bar and Grill in Wilton Manors, FL is an LGBT-friendly hangout for both locals and tourists. Some of the dishes will make you laugh, but they will also make your mouth sing. Try the fried pickles with Sriracha for starters, and then figure out what else to order off the expansive menu.
For the LGTBQ crowd that wants the most unique dining experience ever, you have to go to Tee Jay Thai Sushi Restaurant. You’re probably thinking, “Thai sushi? What on earth…?” and you’d be right. Yet it is usually that exact reaction and level of curiosity that brings the customers here. It’s a whole host of the best fresh seafood and Thai spices, plated in ways that make you think of the many beautiful symbols of Thailand.
If you prefer your fish cooked, there’s plenty of sea bass, whole snapper with spicy chili sauce, and even Pad Thai Lobster. The menu is so big you may have to come back several times to try everything that appeals to you. Tee Jay’s has two locations; one in Wilton Manors, and one in Ft. Lauderdale.
Scarpetta at the Fountaine Bleue is elegant and sexy dining at its best. This is one of those restaurants that everyone gets really dressed up for; we’re talking cocktail dresses and tuxes, or at the very least, ties and dinner jackets. The restaurant is owned and operated by Scott Conan, award-winning chef extraordinaire. It features Italian food like nothing else you have ever seen or eaten before. Reservations for this Miami Beach restaurant are strongly recommended, as walk-ins rarely get a table.
Remember when we said that South Florida was full of multicultural flavors and influences? Well, the Bombay Cafe definitely is an example of that. If you love Indian food (from India) then you will enjoy all that the Bombay Cafe in Fort Lauderdale has to offer its dinner guests. Their Tandoori and Tikka are dinner guest favorites.
The Rusty Hook doesn’t sound like a restaurant. It sounds more like a boat, but this hidden treasure in Pompano Beach, FL, is worth the discovery. Its whole snapper in sweet and sour sauce gets rave reviews, and there is enough of it for two to four to share. It features waterside dining along a lovely canal, a nice dinner view as the sun sets in Florida.
If you want something really different, try the Beach House in Pompano. This place has a quaint exterior with a fun interior, but it’s the menu that will really get ya. I’ve tried the fish tacos and many of their specialty drinks, and I was not disappointed in the least. They have everything from sushi to shrimp and cheddar grits to burgers, wings, and ribs. Lots of vegetarian options on the menu are available too.
If you actually have room after eating your way through South Florida, stop for some dessert. There are some pastry chefs here that will knock your socks off with their culinary creations.
Spencer’s Corner Bar is a gay bar in Wilton Manors featuring an entire menu of homemade desserts. These are not frozen or delivered and thawed to the bar. These are made daily and/or on demand. Chocolate layer cake, coconut layer cake, creme brulee, and the very unique blueberry bread pudding with white chocolate sauce shouldn’t be missed.
If you are just too full from the day’s eats, take one or more of these to go for later. Some people even order one of the two homemade cakes to purchase in its entirety for special occasions!
If you want to be absolutely blown away, visit To the Moon Marketplace in Ft. Lauderdale. This shop has almost every kind of candy ever made in any part of the world. You want a Japanese Kit Kat? They got it. You want a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar? They got it. You want to buy bulk Jelly Bellies in the weirdest flavors possible? They got that too. Whether you want a small treat, or you want to take home a lot of different treats to friends and family, To the Moon has what you are looking for.
It’s Beautiful and Delicious Here All Year Long
Ft. Lauderdale may be the spring break capital of the world, but there’s always something fun, exciting, and interesting to do here in Southern Florida.
If the only thing you want to do is eat your way through this region, you definitely can. However, we strongly urge you to experience many of the cultural and cross-cultural influences of the region while you explore the food. There are often food festivals here too, so be sure to look into that as you plan your trip to South Florida.
Along the way, take time to take strolls, take in the sunshine, take in the many beaches on which these restaurants sit, and just really enjoy your stay. While there are literally hundreds of cafes, bistros, restaurants, and bars for you to try while you are here, we have given you a list of some of the best.
Want to check out some more great eats all over Florida? Click here for our Visit section!
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