Family Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is called the “Venice of America” because of it’s intricate and extensive canal system. It’s a big yachting center with over a hundred marinas and boat yards. Sun, sand and boating, what more could you want in a family vacation? Here’s the surprising statistic, though, there are 4100 restaurants to choose from in Fort Lauderdale. Here are merely some of the best family dining locations.

Hot Dog Heaven, Inc. offer real Chicago hotdogs, second best only to their Maxwell polish dogs. Add hot peppers and tomatoes for a real treat. This is a restaurant a family and their budget can truly appreciate. It’s fast in and out, so no waiting with hungry children in tow. This is not a chain and so you get real food with original flavor. Just remember they are closed on Sundays.

mmMoe’s Southwest Grill offers truly original dishes. It’s a fun family restaurant with menu choices such as tacos, burritos, fajitas, salads and a special kid’s menu – all made Moe’s way. Everything is fresh with nothing sitting under a heat lamp as in other fast food restaurants.

Captain Shrimp, the taste of the sea. This restaurant prides itself on what they call their 5 attributes: freshness, flavor, high quality, service and price. They certainly live up to their goal in these areas. Of course, at a place called Captain Shrimp you would expect to find the menu full of mouth-watering shrimp dishes – and there certainly are that. You will also find Smoked St. Louis BBQ Ribs and real fruit smoothies. A favorite is Bahama Mama Smooth, try one.

Polo Tropical is famous for it’s fresh grilled chicken that’s marinated in fresh fruit juices. It’s a great change from all the fast food burger joints you may have been frequenting during your vacation in Fort Lauderdale. The great thing is that Polo’s also offers dishes with roast pork, ribs, shredded beef as well as skewered steak and shrimp. If take-out is more convenient, try one of their family dinners. They include a main entrée and side dishes that make it feel like it’s home cooked, only better.

The Big Cheese makes the best pizza in town as well as other Italian favorites – meatball subs too. Order a whole pizza or everyone can get their favorites by the slice. Very family friendly with highchairs or booster chairs. There’s a lot of activity going on in this place, so don’t expect a nice quiet seat in the corner.

Joe’s Stone Crab fills his menu with what made it famous in Fort Lauderdale, stone crab. If you haven’t tried Joe’s stone crab with mustard sauce or melted butter, you’ll want to put this place at the top of your list for family dining while in town. His crab dishes are served with hash browns or cottage fries sweet. He makes some awesome grilled chicken and fish sandwiches as well. Now open for dinner only starting at 5:00 pm for their 96th season.

Gator’s Dockside is a sports themed family restaurant. Any day of the week you are likely to run into a face painter, balloon artist or clown. Try the Gator Tail Poor boy wrap or the Mahi Mahi sandwich. The restaurant will be a hit with the kids and easy on the budget.

bubba gump, montereyBubba Gump’s Shrimp Company is one of those places you have to visit if you vacation in Fort Lauderdale. The kids will have a blast as they remember Bubba Gump from the movies. With it’s southern theme it boasts movie memorabilia all about. Expect a menu full of deep fried fish and shrimp offerings. But then, anything deep fried is good. Creative Commons License photo credit: to01

Rainforest Café was made for the family with it’s first conception, so you’ll find highchairs, booster seats, kid’s menus and crayons all about. It won’t be just the kids who will beg you to come to the Rainforest Café over and over again. It’s like a Disneyland rainforest with roaring lions, chirping birds, chest-pounding gorillas and thunderstorms with flickering light. But the food is all American with pastas, pizza, burgers and salads that are all high quality and yummy.

Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ clearly serves the best ribs in Fort Lauderdale. A man with a heart, he is in the process of raising $25,000 for the March of Dimes – so go buy and lend him a hand. Sonny has been running his restaurant for the last 40 years and he isn’t showing any signs of quitting. If a restaurant has been around that long, you know it has to have excellent food. Besides his specialty rib dishes, he serves chicken wings, fried okra, Sonny’s onion rings, corn nuggets and even his southern recipe Brunswick stew.

Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor is an old fashioned ice cream and candy shop where everything is made fresh right there. They offer over 50 flavors of ice cream. If you take a crowd, order the “Kitchen Sink.” It’s served in an actual kitchen sink with an ice cream lovers contents. Don’t fret, they serve all American hamburgers, hotdogs, sandwiches and salads too.

La Bamba is a great family Mexican cuisine restaurant. You’ll find a kid’s menu as well a specialty selection of Margaritas for the adults. They have great burritos and combination dishes, but if you are feeling like something a little different try the Snapper a la Broiler or Ropa Vieja. They offer a huge selection and plenty of items the kids will love to eat.

Antonio’s Pizzeria has been in the business of making great pizza for over 35 years. So many combination choices and very family friendly with awesome service. They also offer pizza subs, fresh salads, hot wings and cinnamon apple pizza for dessert. But the kids will love the “Brownie Bites.”

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Flickr/stu_spivack