15th Street Fisheries & Dockside Café. This little gem is hidden in Ft. Lauderdale, just north of the 17th Street Causeway. Yeah, the locals sometimes shy away from this part of town because of the tourist traffic, but we’ve found some really great restaurants here. It’s also sometimes fun to live like a tourist. Driving over the Intercoastal Waterway bridge, you can spot some of the largest cruise ships in the world docked right here in our port.
15th Street Fisheries is actually two restaurants in one. The inside and upstairs is the more ‘formal’ spot for dinner. We were there for lunch and chose the Dockside Café for the cool marina view and casual vibe (and less expensive menu). We had my parents here visiting and knew they would love this spot with all of the boat activity.
The parking here is a bit cramped so if you don’t get here right when they open, you might have to valet (FREE). We were lucky and found a spot right away. You can enter through the front door and through the bar to the outside patio or walk around the side of the building and enter through the dock area.
We got a seat right at the edge overlooking the marina. Oh, one really cool thing here are the giant Tarpon. These fish are HUGE and quite the draw. You can get some shrimp and feed them at the dock and it’s amazing on how these fish jump out of the water to get that food. You can see all of the action while you are enjoying your lunch. They even have cool ‘windows’ on the floor of the patio that you can see down into the water…really cool.
Our server took our drink orders right away and we enjoyed a few beers to start. While this is the ‘casual, less expensive’ side to the restaurant, it still can cost more than you were expecting. You’re paying for the location and view along with the food but as I said, it’s fun to live as a tourist once in a while. We decided to get soups and split a few appetizers.
We chose the Conch Chowder and the New England Chowder to start. I will start with the Clam Chowder first. The consistency was too thick and it almost looked like oatmeal. My Mom took a spoonful and made the comment “Oh…it tastes much better than it looks” and I totally agree. They should work on the consistency because you also eat with your eyes. The taste was fresh and it was full of clams and other good stuff. The Conch Chowder was actually really good. Perfect consistency and just enough spice to tie it all together. We suggest you get the Conch Chowder over the Clam Chowder.
Next came the two appetizers. The Conch Fritters were screaming hot and of course (as always) I burned my mouth on the first bite. But that didn’t stop me from tasting them and they were probably one of the better conch fritters we’ve had outside of the Caribbean. They were loaded with Conch and had bits of peppers and onion and a nice spice to them. The other appetizer we picked was the Gator Bites. These were VERY good. Fresh and not overdone we all dove into these and they didn’t stand a chance with four hungry people. The meat was tender and flavorful. If you haven’t had gator before…it’s like chicken, but not exactly. If you didn’t know you were eating it, you might be fooled.
After we finished our lunch we took a walk on the docks and this is the other great draw to dine here. There were water taxi’s pulling up, the Duck Tour Boat driving by and so many mega yachts pulling up and driving by it made for great people watching (and boat watching). If you are lucky, you might even see a Miami Dolphin or Heat player docking their boat here. We were lucky enough to see Jason Taylor and his family on a previous visit.
15th Street Fisheries & Dockside Café is located at 1900 SE 15th St. Fort Lauderdale, FL