Outdoor dining in South Florida can be hit or miss. Most of the time, it’s a miss: It’s just too humid and hot to enjoy a meal outside, especially if it’s an hours-long affair. The only time you can probably eat outside without breaking a sweat is winter aka right now. It’s not freezing cold out, and it’s not 100 degrees either. It’s a nice balance that’s ideal for al fresco dining.
Our advice to you is to take advantage while you can. Fortunately, Hollywood offers plenty of great dining options with a decent waterfront view. Here are a few of those eateries:
Caribbean and French influences abound at Le Sugar Reef, the oceanfront eatery located at 600 North Surf Road on Hollywood Beach. As you’d expect from a place so close to the water, seafood is one of the main attractions at the homey restaurant. Items like the gumbo, pan-seared snapper and tropical fish stew are hearty and priced reasonably for the area.
There’s also a big spotlight on plant-based cuisine, which should make vegetarians and vegans very happy. The spinach and fresh berries salad, in particular, is a beauty to behold. Pasta also makes an appearance on the menu, including a salmon tomato-pesto pasta that make good use of the restaurant’s fresh vegetable selection.
While much of the menu leans on the healthier side, desserts embrace French decadence wholeheartedly. Profiteroles, crème brûléeand croissant bread pudding are just a few of the treats waiting for you to give up on your diet.
Since 2010, GG’s Waterfront Bar and Grill has been serving up modern American fare for the masses. Seafood is a staple here, with an emphasis on raw bar specialties and stone crabs. The place always seems to draw a crowd and understandably so: It overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway.
Standouts on the menu include the whole fish selection with haricots verts, the “Pow! Pow! Shrimp” with sweet and spicy chili sauce, and the jumbo Alaskan king crab legs. Raw bar selections range from light to huge (e.g., Colossal Crab Cocktail), so appetites of all sizes are sure to leave happy.
If you’re on a budget but still want to enjoy the view, happy hour has you covered. There’s nothing like experiencing the sunset here with a craft cocktail in your hand. Best of all, you can come as you are. Dress up for a hot date or come in shorts – GG’s Waterfront welcomes all.
Latitudes, the signature restaurant inside Hollywood Beach Marriott, provides guests with a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean in a casual setting. An all-day menu consisting of laidback dishes like island calamari, roasted chicken quesadilla, mahi tacos and burgers – to name a few – ensures that diners can live it up without breaking the bank.
There’s even a tiki bar to enjoy fun libations and cool off in the South Florida heat. The extensive drink menu features an assortment of local and macro beers along with creative adult beverages like the Bali Blossom, a refreshing mix of grapefruit rum, fresh strawberries and basil, cold-pressed lemon juice and agave nectar. Most of the drinks clock in at under $10, a pricing you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere – especially with this kind of backdrop.
Margaritaville Beach Resort offers the best of both worlds: a view of the Atlantic and a view of the Intracoastal. It’s also home to a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from cafes to full-blown fine-dining establishments. Consider it a mini-city of sorts.
For an oceanfront view to remember, the property’s Landshark Bar & Grill is the place to be. The al fresco dining on the deck not only gives you a great view of the water, but it also gives you a great view of the entertainment. Chill out and nosh on a shrimp po’boy, the spinach and artichoke dip, or fish tacos while watching adrenaline junkies try out the FlowRider, a fun surfing simulator for the adventurous.
If you’re in the mood for just a drink with your view, the resort’s namesake business might be a better bet. Margaritaville lives up to its name with a varied selection of the famous libation. You can tell they had fun making the menu: Feelin’ Hot HotHot, Who’s to Blame and the Last Mango in Paris are some of the entries on the drink list. Had a hard day? Take your drink with you in a 22-ounce souvenir blender that offers discounts on refills. There’s no shortage of beverage options here.
Before you know it, South Florida is going to get hot again. Before it does, make the most of the nice weather with these restaurants that offer a lot more than just a pretty view. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
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Geoffrey Anderson Jr.