Sipping a daiquiri by the ocean with a view of gently lapping waves and swaying palm trees — it’s pretty nice to be a tourist in Fort Lauderdale. So we decided to join vacationers at Sea Level, nearly hidden behind the oceanfront Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Perched 15 feet above the sand, overlooking the elegant pool area and a secluded beach, the hotel’s newest dining venue has one of the best locations in the city. Yet we’re betting few locals know it exists.
Most patrons, we’re told, are hotel guests or members of The Club at Harbor Beach, with access to hotel amenities. Yet Sea Level is hardly exclusive. Servers are young and friendly, the atmosphere is casual, and you’ll see families as well as business types stopping in. You may not have to be a tourist to dine at Sea Level, but you can expect to pay tourist prices, like $6.50 for a Red Stripe and nearly $40 for a steak, though for fine dining, the prime choice at the hotel is still 3030 Ocean.
Ambience: The 140-seat restaurant features a sea of tables tucked under shady umbrellas plus an outdoor bar. The dining room, with two large TVs and a wall-size blackboard, is framed in glass so you can enjoy the view in air-conditioned comfort on a sultry day.
- A tasty strawberry Turtle Crawl daiquiri
- Non-alcholic Nonajito with muddled mint, lime and soda
- Irresistible homemade potato chips with a kicky Key lime-black pepper dip
- Tender rings of fried calamari with a side of marinara sauce
- A generous plate of perfectly cooked rock shrimp avocado cocktail
- Buttery Scottish Loch Duart salmon topped but with a molasses glaze
- A fine al dente barley risotto, chanterelle mushrooms, sautéed spinach and baby carrots
- Simplly Gigha Island halibut with olive oil and lemon, set upon a perky tomatillo sauce with four shrimp and a garnish of pineapple relish
- The 7-ounce, juicy Marriott burger, topped with Cheddar and bacon on a brioche roll
- Cinnamony sweet potato fries
- A decadent banana split with huge scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream
What Didn’t Work
- Well-marbled, but chewy 16-ounce rib-eye