There are many reasons why people visit Pompano Beach. Often referred to as the “Heart of the Gold Coast,” this Florida city just north of Fort Lauderdale boasts beautiful beaches, marinas, and even a coral reef to see, plus numerous shipwrecks and other dive sites to venture through.
But there’s another reason to make that trek. Much has changed in Pompano Beach‘s landscape in the past few years with the invigoration of the city’s economy and public spaces. New developments, such as the Pompano Beach Fishing Village, add to the entertainment options and the city’s dining scene has also changed — and for the better.
Like other South Florida destinations, Pompano Beach‘s greatest asset is its diversity – and its food scene is unapologetic about it, bursting with multicultural talent to be found in equal measures at long-running mainstays like Cafe Maxx with its unique fusion of global fare, or buzz-worthy newcomers such as the Le Vie Lebanese, an eatery that leads you to believe that you are breaking bread in the middle of an Arabian desert.
Beach House Pompano is type of eatery you should go to with family and friends, order as many dishes from the menu as you can, try different creative cocktails, and stay longer than you’d planned, enjoying its live music and rooftop seating with panoramic oceanfront views. Located at the Pompano Beach Fishing Pier, this new eatery’s decor is inspired by surf culture around the world, a mix of Polynesian paddles, teak tables, chairs, and bar stools, around which guests congregate to enjoy the bounty South Florida has to offer. The kitchen dishes out a daily selection of burgers like the vegetarian OhMyGoodness with mushrooms, red pepper jalapeño jam, and arugula ($20), taco options such as the Costa Rican shrimp tacos topped with slaw and fresh grilled mango ($15), and a list of sandwiches that includes the crispy fresh catch, sold at market price. An assortment of beach bites are also featured in the form of short rib sliders with brisket and ground chuck ($15), smoked trout dip ($14), and BBQ wings ($12), or you can opt for a main course of shrimp and grits with ham, corn mayo, and asparagus in light Creole sauce ($27), and lobster and shrimp pappardelle pasta ($34).
Nineteen-eighty-four. That’s the year Oliver Saucy and partner Darrel Broek came together to helm this fine dining establishment on Atlantic Boulevard, which has been going strong ever since. What elevates it to another level entirely is its chef’s background. Saucy spent his childhood in Germany before moving to the New York and he’s taken influences of his time training there, combined it with the elements of South Florida gastronomy, and added his own heritage to it. His freedom to do whatever he wants under an “inventive American concept” results in a unique fusion of global cuisines, reconvened on elegant dishes like caviar pie ($11) and banana-lime grilled shrimp with sweet mash, tropical fruit salsa, and plantains ($20). His signature composition also shines in main courses of sundried tomato and basil brown butter poured over duck and smoked mozzarella ravioli ($26), molten brie-crusted petite filet mignon served with spaghetti squash ($51), and crusted lamb chops spiked with candied pumpkin seed and goat cheese ($60). The wine list of more than 300 options and signature desserts are also part of what keeps South Floridians coming back. Chocolate oreo pretzel bar with dulce de leche and pumpkin cheesecake ($10 each) are must-tries. In addition to its dinner service, the restaurant also offers Sunday brunch, wine tastings, and a roster of cooking classes.
Calypso’s bar and tables start filling as early as 11 a.m., when it opens, and the eatery’s daily specials of fresh offerings are listed on a chalkboard. Squid steak, sheepshead, hog fish — each fresh-catch special gets erased as it sells out. But locals who have been coming in for more than two decades know Calypso’s pan-Caribbean menu as a whole is well worth the visit. Run by couple Chuck and Lora Ternosky, this strip mall restaurant is only open on weekdays, when the fresh catch is abundant and paired with island spices and music to create a vibrant island vibe. You will want to linger over orders of Jamaican jerk, habanero, or basil mustard chicken wings ($9.95 for 10 pieces), or one of the West Indies-style curry dishes with lamb, dolphin, or vegetables (starting at $16.95). The islands sandwiches (cutters) are served on fresh baked bread stuffed with grilled conch, lobster tails, shrimp, and dolphin ($9.95) and the signature entree list includes smoked pork butt with jerk or BBQ sauce ($16.95) or braised lamb shank simmered in tomato sofrito sauce ($19.95). If you have room for dessert, try Lora’s homemade blueberry mango cheesecake or key lime pie.
Traditional Bavarian fare found its place at this Pompano Beach eatery, where hearty portions of the rich cuisine are complemented with an Oktoberfest vibe of endless beer toasts. You can’t go wrong with crowd pleasers like potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream ($8.99), onion and apple soup topped with provolone cheese ($5.99), or one of the seven schnitzel variations of lightly breaded cutlets of veal, chicken or pork sautéed in lemon butter then draped in brown gravy ($16.99-$20.99). The list of rustic dishes also includes goulash, a satisfying beef stew with paprika and onions ($14.99) and rich pork stroganoff with mushrooms in a white wine and sour cream sauce, served with green beans and spaetzle, the beloved German macaroni and cheese ($17.99). Order a sweet ending of the opulent Black Forest cake, or the classic apple strudel ($8 each) while you get another stamp on your beer tour passport. After tasting 30 different varieties you are awarded with your own name plaque on one of the eatery’s walls.
The Foundry delivers a menu in a space that is not only handsome but decked with historical resonance. If there’s one eatery in Florida that will help you understand America as it was a century ago, before the Industrial Revolution, as well as what it is today, this is it. Enter its dining room to find a ceiling made of wood from a Kentucky tobacco barn dating back to 1902, a metal sliding door from Philadelphia circa 1880, and the iconic photograph of New York City iron workers, entitled “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper,” taken more than 80 years ago. Under old-fashioned shag lamps giving off an orange glow, choose items from the raw bar or the food menu cooked on an open flame using white oak: sushi stack of tuna, salmon, and avocado ($16); flatbread options with lobster ($10) or short rib ($12); Mexican street corn pizza ($15); and meatballs served with polenta ($12). Other standouts are bacon-wrapped veal meatloaf; beef with exotic mushroom ragu, black truffle, and mac and cheese ($27); and a Bourbon BBQ burger stacked with Vermont cheddar, bacon, and crispy fried onions ($16). The Foundry serves a bottomless brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Since 1989, Gianni’s has been paying homage to its owners’ Italian roots through the traditional edible bounty of their boot-shaped home country. The family at the heart of this operation are the Gentiles and it’s likely one of its members will act as your host once you’re seated, guiding you through a menu of generous portions of Italian mainstays. Homemade soups like pasta fagioli and minestrone ($7.95) have stood the test of time and remained Gianni’s standouts, along with spaghetti with meatball, homemade lasagna, and linguine with clam sauce ($20.95), and signature chicken parmigiana ($26.95), eggplant rollatini ($26.95), and veal francese ($29.95). Gianni’s special chicken, wrapped around a ball of spinach, garlic, cheese, mushroom, and zucchini, and topped with Marsala sauce ($29.95) is also not to be missed. There’s no better way to finish your meal here than with a dessert of signature tiramisu or ricotta cheesecake. The restaurant has recently acquired its liquor license and its wooden bar now serves everything from champagne to bourbon to an extensive selection of Italian wines.
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Dining at this destination restaurant is like taking part in a vibrant family meal — there’s good food and drink and good music in a buoyant atmosphere. Located in a strip mall along South Pompano Parkway, this family-owned eatery features the gastronomic legacies of Lebanon and Morocco as the inspiration behind its menu and ethos. It is built to resemble a lavish oasis — sparsely decorated with colorful drapes, water fountains, and rich furnishings, allowing the Florida breeze in through its open sides to create the dining room’s exuberant mood. Visit on Fridays or Saturdays, when the restaurant hosts a special belly-dancing show during the dinner hour. Start your meal with La Vie Salad, made with mixed greens, apples, red onions, arugula, grapes, walnuts, and dried figs mixed with blue cheese ($14) and follow with Moroccan-style seafood pie with vermicelli and mushrooms ($12). Or share an order of mezza royale, a generous platter of hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, and fattoush that is whipped up fresh daily and served with fresh, supple pita bread, along with hot portions falafel, fried kibbeh, cheese burak, spinach pies, and mini sfiha pies ($30) you can cover with a blanket of the housemade labneh. Then turn to the selection of kebabs and specialty dishes like lamb tagine ($25) and Mediterranean snapper filet with baked lemon potatoes ($27). Since you’re in warm Florida, wash it all down with the thirst-quenching and bright mango juice ($6) or pomegranate lemonade ($7).
Led by Ned Jaouhar and Kareem Lakchira from Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Cielo, this upscale-casual concept right off the Intracoastal Waterway brings a touch of the eclectic to Pompano Beach with a menu that fuses the duo’s African culinary roots with myriad global influences. Chef Jaouhar brings to the table his talent to revitalize the foodways from the world’s oldest continent, crafting dishes in a modern but thoughtful context. Whether seated indoors or while imbibing craft cocktails on the Rusty Hook’s patio deck that overlooks the quiet Intracoastal, begin your journey with crispy Brussels sprouts served with bacon, balsamic, cashew-tahini crema, and raisin ($9) or pork belly accented with peanuts, spiced lentils, kimchi, and apple bacon chutney ($13). For main courses, try the signature lobster mac and cheese with shrimp ($34), crab crusted baked mahi-mahi with coconut ginger broth ($32), or scrumptious Moroccan half chicken with preserved lemons, artichoke, and olive tapenade ($24).