Address: 17875 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach
The Buzz: As part of its 4.5 acres of oceanfront bliss, Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach gives guests al fresco dining options at four restaurants. Think front-row dining that overlooks the pristine sands of Sunny Isles amid old-world Mediterranean elegance. When it comes down to which setting, the question isn’t where but what cuisine? Costa Grill is directly adjacent to the beach, and the casual-chic fare is served in fine dining style–white tablecloths and exquisite china. Costa Grill is only open to resort guests, and residents of Acqualina and its beach club members. The other three are open to all. Ke-uH serves Japanese fusion tapas style with outdoor seating on a terrace where the ocean is steps away. Wine and dine at Il Mulino New York, which matches the Mediterranean oceanfront surroundings with its robust Italian dishes. The newest addition is Greek restaurant Avra Miami, located at the luxury residential towers Estates at Acqualina (connected to the resort by a sky bridge); Avra features outdoor seating that overlooks the infinity pool.
Contact: 877.312.9742; acqualinaresort.com
Aqui Bar & Kitchens
Address: 511 NE Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale
The Buzz: Grab a cocktail and head to the backyard. This is where different worlds collide, according to Chef Gino Perez-Ferrari. The backyard is a sensory encounter on multiple levels. The spacious patio—trees brightly illuminated with white lights, tables with umbrellas and seashells as the floor surface—also is the launching pad for Perez-Ferrari’s global cuisine where the three mobile kitchens on site create a cacophony of scents wafting through the air. The spices of the Korean glazed wings from the Asian Fusion mobile intermingle with the smoky barbecue of kebabs grilling in the Mediterranean outdoor kitchen. Add to that the sweet and savory Mexican essence coming out of Mamitas Calle Taco truck. If you weren’t hungry when you arrived, the backyard will get you there.
Contact: 954.401.0450; aquibar.com
Salt7 Fort Lauderdale
Address: 500 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
The Buzz: This modern eatery on the New River takes advantage of its prime location in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Have a drink on the riverside terrace, which gathers a trendy crowd when the sun goes down, or party on the patio at one of the specialty events that happen on most days and are listed on social media. Have a seat at one of the waterfront tables, enjoy dinner and watch the yachts go by. The menu is exquisitely curated with interesting openers including the popular sushi pizza or fresh seafood from the raw bar. There are plenty of entrée options as well, including prime steaks. For those who want to arrive by boat, Salt7 will be adding a dock-and-dine experience, offering food and drinks delivered onboard.
Contact: 954.751.7258; salt7fll.com
Ten Palms at Gulfstream
Address: Gulfstream Park, 901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach
The Buzz: We’ll go for the cliché and suggest you wager on this thrilling experience. Whether you’re a horseracing fan or not, there’s excitement in the air as thoroughbreds whisk by at this stellar restaurant overlooking the track. Bettors can wager from any table without getting up from their meal, but the best seats in the house are the tables parallel to the finish line. As far as the food, the menu is packed with American favorites (beef sliders, wings, pizzas, all-day breakfast, salads and sandwiches). Entrees include pasta dishes, chicken Parmesan and a 12-ounce boneless ribeye. The best bet is Endless Dining Saturday. For $50 per person, stay all day and enjoy an overflowing and bottomless buffet.
Contact: 954.457.6201; gulfstreampark.com/dining
Nauti Dawg Marina Cafe
Address: 2841 Marina Circle, Lighthouse Point
The Buzz: Tucked away in a residential boating neighborhood, this is a place beloved by locals. But when outsiders discover its charms and the views of the Intracoastal Waterway, they return again and again. It isn’t unusual to head out for brunch—served six days a week—and find yourself still there hours later taking in the sights as boaters come and go from the marina’s slips. Walk off house brunch specials like coconut French toast, or the hefty lobster roll, by strolling along the picturesque dock (you’ll likely spot a tarpon or two). Nauti seafood favorites include sesame-crusted ahi tuna, lobster and shrimp ravioli, shrimp quesadilla and the famed smoked mahi dip. Nauti was owned for 60 years by one family until the entire marina was sold in March to a South Carolina-based company that promised to change nothing about the eatery, including its Yappy Hour for both you and your dog.
Contact: 954.941.0246; nautidawg.com