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For our weekend warriors, we’ve done some digging to find places on the water offering more than just unlimited mimosas and a water view.
What we unexpectedly discovered: a swath of South Florida restaurants that no longer offer brunch (first world COVID-problems).
“It’s a staffing and product issue. A lot of products are so exorbitant,” said Ryan Cordero, whose family has owned the historic restaurant since 1889.
“Adding another menu on top of our menu is the issue,” he said. “Crab was $130 a case before COVID, now it’s up to $560 a case.”
The family is working to bring back their signature crab cakes as well as their well-known brunch in the next few weeks, he said.
In the meantime, here are some waterfront locations still brunch-hustling and throwing in a little extra.
GG’s Waterfront, Hollywood
606 N. Ocean Drive; 954-929-7030, ggswaterfront.com
Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
With a Millionaire Eggs Benedict (scratch-made toasted biscuits, poached eggs, house-cured bacon, sauce béarnaise and jumbo lump crab) featured in Forbes magazine, an extensive raw bar with stone crabs and a wine selection that’s achieved a 2020 Wine Spectator Award of excellence — let’s drop our first pin here.
This Hollywood hideaway on the Intracoastal Waterway might make you feel brunch-rich (choosing your fancier Tory Birch sandals over the Havainas flip-flops) but since taking over Giorgio’s Grill in 2010, the Serafini family’s vision has been affordably priced, locally sourced seafood and steaks served dockside with sunsets that have no price.
“We’ve crafted a gathering place and elevated atmosphere where locals and visitors feel comfortable and right at home,” said co-owner Dan Serafina.
Their newest brunch cocktails include the Watermelon Sidecar, Cabana Cold Brew or Bloody Maria, which complement the restaurant’s new patio waterfront lounge.
And if you want to impress your friends, here’s a little history: During the 1960s, Sinatra and the Rat Pack hung out here when the restaurant was called Joe Sonkin’s Gold Coast Restaurant, according to the restaurant.
Boaters, captains and charters pay no charge to self dock and dine. Drivers pay $5 on the restaurant’s lot. And be aware: The website says no tank tops.
Riviera by Fabio Viviani, Fort Lauderdale
525 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.; 754-241-2020, rivierabyfabioviviani.com
Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Inspired coastal dishes by the unmistakably Italian “Top Chef” star Fabio Viviani bring a taste of Florence to Fort Lauderdale beach. Not to overlook the stretch of Atlantic Ocean you can see from the restaurant inside Hotel Maren, part of the Hilton’s Curio Collection. Pick your classiest sunglasses and come on in.
Their clams and orecchiette pasta play well in a broth-y bowl spiced with Calabrian chilies, white wine, butter, garlic, olive oil and parsley. But a standout on the brunch menu is the Breakfast Spaghetti, familiar to some Italians. It’s a playful option that comes with fried eggs, bacon and sausage on top of spaghetti and northern Italy’s Grana Padano cheese. Potentially great for a hangover, but we wouldn’t know that for sure.
Also, on the chef-driven menu, meatballs for a good cause. The restaurant is competing against Cafe Vico in Fort Lauderdale for the best meatball as a charity fundraiser for Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County. Just go to both restaurants from now until to December, order a meatball appetizer and post which one you liked better on #MeatballchallengeFTL on Instagram.
Casa Sensei, Fort Lauderdale
1200 E. Las Olas Blvd. Suite 101; 954-530-4176, casasensei.com
Brunch hours: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
This pan-Asian and Latin eatery delivers a Rock and Roll brunch on the Las Olas waterfront.
Listen to live music while munching on some Japanese-inspired togarashi spiced chicken and waffles. Or try a Casa Wagyu burger topped with peppercorn bacon, guacamole and gouda cheese. Pair the experience with a Rock and Roll Spicy Mango Margarita with fresh mango puree, orange juice, the Mexican Tajin spice (chili and lime), sour mix, jalapeños and triple sec.
And don’t forget your fur-bestie. The waterfront patio is dog friendly. Spike collars are welcome. But so are the rhinestone ones.
Rivertail, Fort Lauderdale
4 W. Las Olas Blvd., Suite 120; rivertailftl.com, 954-306-2665
Brunch hours: noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays
Take a dive into a lobster benedict with a yuzu hollandaise sauce, a pork belly Cuban sandwich or kimchi crab chilaquiles at his global-cuisine inspired restaurant.
“From the riverfront views to the expansive menus with a variety of fresh seafood, meat and vegetarian options, it’s perfect for a date, families or a get-together with friends,” said chef Mendin.
The restaurant on the New River has a chic yet casual vibe while the food is bold and chef-driven. And for an added adventure, you can head to the Wharf Fort Lauderdale next door for Rose all Day Saturdays and $50 champagne bottles on Sunday.
Benny’s on the Beach, Lake Worth
10 S. Ocean Blvd.; 561-582-9001, bennysonthebeach.com
Brunch hours: until 2 p.m. daily
Every day is a vacation at the oceanside restaurant that sits on a pier where you can also fish if you please. Escaping the real world is the goal as guests take their pick of bold cocktails including Wrecked, Shipfaced or the Sea Monster Bloody Mary topped with crab legs and chilled shrimp. For lighter weights, mimosas and hard seltzers are also on the bev menu.
Food though is the real focus here. Chef Jeremy Hanlon, who has appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Beat Bobby Flay,” is credited for reviving the longtime Lake Worth staple.
Brunch-bites include a unique French toast style option of their fresh baked bread. The raspberry option includes thick cut challah bread crusted with almond granola, sweet cream cheese spread, raspberry and blackberry with raspberry sauce.
Their BLTOMGLOL is a BLT with piles of bacon, lettuce, tomato, horseradish cream and an over-easy egg stacked high atop thick cut challah bread.
Ocean-to-table concepts you can have anytime include a mix-and-match section where you can choose from a variety of fish cooked in a style of your choosing. Whole snapper, lobster, salmon or scallops (to name a few) can be grilled, cooked in lemon and butter or mixed with vegetables in a smoky house ranch.
And a tip. If you stick around, a special paella bake happens every Saturday and Sunday night at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are encouraged.
Nauti Dawg, Lighthouse Point
2841 Marina Circle; 954-941-0246, nautidawg.com
Brunch hours: 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where else can you get a $35 New York Strip for your dog? They’ll also cut it up and slice it and put it in a bowl. That’s love.
Their paw print burger buns and wine glasses are also a hit.
For us humans, menu items include four different styles of benedicts from a traditional version to a crab cake option.
Because the restaurant is located just off channel marker 69 and the Intracoastal Waterway inside the Lighthouse Point Marina, it might look like you are walking into a marine center. Boaters can choose a “you hook, we cook option.” Items can’t be frozen. Just fresh, cleaned, cut and ready to cook either blackened, grilled or Asian style to name a few options.
There is also a Jazz brunch the first Sunday of every month. The restaurant isn’t an easy find, but word of mouth has made it a Broward mainstay.
SeaSpray Inlet Grill, Boca Raton
999 E. Camino Real; 561-226-3022, seasprayboca.com
Brunch hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday
This new waterfront restaurant is Boca’s only public dock-and-dine restaurant, the result of a half-million dollar renovation.
If you just want to kick back, eat and drink to the views of the Boca Inlet and Lake Boca, you can. Or be adventurous with the option of renting a paddleboat, a jet ski or even a boat before or after grabbing some bites. The restaurant is part of the Waterstone Resort and Marina, a Curio collection by Hilton, which provides the watersports services.
Their all-day, brunch-friendly menu goes late. So here is a perk: You don’t have to wake up before noon for a glass of rosé, a signature pomegranate martini (Tito’s, alma liqueur, grand marnier), a mahi reuben or an arugula and watermelon salad. And, kids score a free ice cream sandwich with adult entrée purchase.
840 E. Atlantic Ave.; 561-665-8484, deck84.com
Brunch hours: noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
A 2020 Travelers Choice recipient, you can dock, walk, bike or drive to this picturesque restaurant on the Intracoastal Waterway with a drawbridge in view. Flip-flops work here.
The brunch menu has no shortage of options from a doughnut burger to a smoked salmon bagel. Drink choices include several variations of bloody Mary, a michelada, a strawberry bellini and a Manmosa — to name a few.
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When brunch ends at 2 p.m., the restaurant’s live music begins. Also, there is an air conditioned deck so basically the best case South Florida scenario.
YOT Bar and Kitchen, Fort Lauderdale
2015 SW 20th St., 954-953-9000, yotlmc.com
Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Owner Mark Linder, known for Jet Runway Café at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, landed at the New River with YOT. If you’re sitting dockside you’ll be dining just steps away from the shiny yachts at Lauderdale Marine Center.
Stand out items on the menu include cream cheese-iced cinnamon buns and the fig and truffle flatbread to share.
The craft cocktail menu offers favorites with a twist including a Galley Watermelon Mojito and the Lauderdale Mule.