Ramada Oceanfront Resort, Ft Lauderdale

This beachfront resort has all the fun beach things to do

We have Wave Runners for rent, right from our back yard, the ocean

You can relax in our Jacuzzie or have a drink at our poolside Tiki Bar

So sit back, relax and soak up all the sun, while your friends up North, freeze thier buns off

The Hotel Stay
The Bahamas Cruise
1 day Bahamas Cruise
Deck Plan
Freeport Grand Bahama

Once billed as the possessor of more restaurants per capita than any city in the nation, Fort Lauderdale loves?and virtually lives in?its restaurants.

Hardly a party goes by in the city that the discussion doesn't turn to the latest great restaurant find, the favorite seafood haven, the best spot for steak, a great waterside spot or a new romantic-dining discovery.

You will soon discover that folks here do business, entertain, meet, greet, and, oh yes, eat, at dining spots chic or simple, tucked in from sea to suburb, from urban core to the back of beyond, from shopping center to chic street.

Before the citys famed sunshine spreads its warmth over the sand, coffee cups are being filled in popular breakfast spots populated by beach joggers. That focus on food continues through brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and late-night ice cream runs.

On weekends, you will find a crowd waiting for a table at such casual, easygoing seaside spots as The Deck, an outdoor cafe perched high over the street with a view of swaying palms and waves lapping over the sands. Platters of eggs Benedict garnished with orange slices, heaping fruit platters and the scent of toast and bacon draw crowds that fill umbrella-topped tables, and not even the occasional spattering of raindrops stops the joggers and walkers, the cross-town crowd or the throngs of visitors from pulling up a plastic chair and living the good life in the sunshine. While the Deck is a favorite, it is just one of many seaside bistros out to lure tan fans.

Not far away on chic Las Olas Boulevard, lines form on weekends at The Floridian, where judges and lawyers, politicians and regular folks gather to gossip as they down a creative collection of egg selections?one even including a bottle of champagne?in the ultimate in casual surroundings, inside and out. Boulevardiers who aren't at the Floridian can likely be found at Vie de France Cafe & Bakery just down the way, or up on Federal Highway at Croissan'Time Cafe, where French-speaking bakers ceate what the name suggests, along with baguettes, epis and a host of downright irresistible pastries, sandwiches and sweets.

For some its not long before lunch rolls around, and its time to find someone of similar intent to stroll with to one of the dozens of seaside cafes that stretch along the citys seven miles of open oceanfront, where bikinis play and beach blanket bingo was once a major sport...and perhaps still is for some.

Work does get done in Fort Lauderdale but much of it gets done over lunch at such popular downtown spots as Mangos, where streetside tables are packed by 11am. At Marks Las Olas, where an award-winning chef and a sleekly sophisticated atmosphere cater to the wants of the well-heeled, the tables are full from midday to nearly midnight.

Those who want the sand almost between their toes as they dine head for the north end of the beach where Aruba, an on-the-beach?quite literally?casual dining spot offers views of swimmers and suntan fans frolicking alongside a fishing pier, where determined anglers dangle a hook in hopes of snagging supper.

As you while away a long, lazy day in a cafe, lo and behold, its time for dinner and the choices become nearly as numerous as the stars overhead. Those who delight in the combination of casual and gourmet may head for By Word of Mouth, where the menu is as intriguing as the green-striped exterior, or to Burt & Jacks, where massive cruise ships set out to sea, sailing by just a few feet away from this Mediterranean-style hideaway tucked into a corner of bustling Port Everglades.

Folks here have strong opinions on many things, but no opinion is more staunchly defended than a decision on whats the best restaurant for....fill in the blank.

If the focus of discussion is seafood, you are likely to hear enraptured tales of dinner at 15th Street Fisheries, tucked away in a marina where impressive yachts provide entertainment, or Old Florida Seafood House, where much of the staff has been around long enough to recognize regular customers.

If steak is spoken, the conversation turns to such renowned spots as Gibbys, Shulas On the Beach, casual Chucks Steak House or the woodsy Raindancer, the latter two as popular for their brimming salad bars and French onion soup as for their beef and seafood selections.

Trendy crowds head for the seaside H2O, where an intriguing menu is abetted by an equally diverting seaside location, to Sage, where French touches are applied to contemporary cuisine, or to such dining-drinking beach spots as Lulus Bait Shack, Howl at the Moon Saloon, or Quarterdeck, where the food is simple, the people-watching complex.

When the flavors of France tempt, thundering herds head for Le Cafe de Paris, La Ferme or the Left Bank, where chefs of considerable local renown have been presiding over their respective, and respected, kitchens for decades.

If an evening that includes both fine food and enchanting entertainment is in order, no Fort Lauderdale devotee would fail to name the Mai-Kai, one of the citys oldest restaurants and perhaps its most revered. Here since the city was a baby, this thatched-roof dining spot is a wonderland of waterfalls and tropical greenery, massive paddle fans and Polynesian artifacts. From its kitchens pour award-winning cuisine that ranges from Chinese-oven grilled treats to tempting flavors of the islands. On stage, lovely lasses and muscular drummers perform authentic dances choreographed by the Tahitian owner of this entertaining spot that shows you why Bora-Bora is never boring-boring.

It goes on like that from Southwestern fare at Canyon to comfort foods at Irelands Ocean Inn, from elegant Oriental options at Rainbow Palace to pizazz and pizza at Bistro Mezzaluna, from cool-chic at Bimini Boatyard to waterside chic at Casablanca, from hammers and tongs for an attack on blue crabs at Rustic Inn to chopsticks at Lotus, a tiny neighborhood Chinese-kitchen favorite, from lemon grass at Sukho Thai to steak and kitsch in a den at The Caves, from a yodel at Alpine Village to picadillo and plantains at Las Vegas, from bouillabaisse at the beach in Sea Watch to fish and chips on the river at Shirttail Charlies, from'the list goes on and on...and on.

Marylyn Springer