Who can pass up a restaurant with waterfront dining in Fort Lauderdale on a beautiful sunny afternoon? We headed over to The Nauti Dawg Marina Café in Lighthouse Point to enjoy the afternoon and found a charming, relaxing spot far off the beaten path with a great waterfront view.
The Nauti Dawg Marina Café just doesn’t have a cute play on words for the name (get it – Nauti?). They seem to have utilized a nice quiet area for a solid restaurant offering breakfast, lunch at dinner.
While it’s located in the heart of the marina, it’s much quieter than those marina restaurants found off of the 17th Street Causeway, which is very refreshing. The inside of the place isn’t that large and was quite busy today. It’s nicely decorated and very clean and fresh looking.
We chose to sit outside as you just can’t beat the view and it was a little breezy. There are quite a few tables outside and every table has a great view of the marina and Hillsboro Beach. We were seated right away and our server greeted us and took our drink orders. Honestly, this is one of the best waterfront dining spots in Fort Lauderdale.
The weather was perfect and they had a few large fans moving the air and it was quite comfortable and we were liking how laid back this place was. Looking up, we noticed the “pennies in a ziplock bag” trick to keep away flying bugs. It was actually the topic of many conversations around us and it was fun listening to everyone’s opinion. Did it work? Well we only saw one fly the whole meal, so you be the judge.
The menu covered many of the bases for causal restaurant with an emphasis on seafood. Sandwiches, salads, wraps and main entrees offer plenty of selections, with many items looking to be on the ‘lighter side’ (not a lot of fried seafood items). The breakfast/brunch menu looked really good and we will probably be back to give it a try sometime soon. Our server came back and informed us of the specials of the day and we placed our order rather quickly and just sat back and relaxed.
We ordered the Conch Chowder ($7) which was the special soup of the day and forgot to ask if it also comes in a ‘cup’ size so we got a bowl. Of course, Jeff did not complain about getting a larger portion. The chowder was packed full of fresh items and it really looked like they made it all in house. There was also lots of conch so you always get a spoonful. The base was a bit thinner in consistency than we expected, but the flavor was still spot on. It didn’t really have that ‘canned tomato’ taste like many places had, which we really liked.
Mahi Mahi Reuben ($14.50) served with fries. This was a really good sandwich. The mahi mahi is served grilled or blackened and Jeff went for the blackened which had a nice spice to it. The fish was really fresh and a nice sized portion and the dressing tied it all together. The fries were hot and crisp and a good sized amount.
Mahi Mahi Tacos ($13.00). The lettuce and corn salsa was really fresh and loaded in the tacos. Each of the two tacos had one piece of fish which I ordered grilled. My fish was also quite fresh and tasty, but the portion of the fish could have been a bit larger. Either more fish in each taco, or maybe one more taco so that you get three. I liked the tacos a lot though I did find them to be a bit heavy handed on aioli.
Next time I’d get that on the side to control the amount. I ordered beans and rice for my side item and the portion size was bigger than expected. The rice was cooked perfectly and the black beans were tender, but it could have used a bit more seasoning. A few grinds of salt and pepper did the trick.
We really enjoyed our lunch at The Nauti Dawg Marina Café and found the service to be spot on. The staff is very friendly and makes you feel comfortable and relaxed so all you need to do is kick back and enjoy the scenery and the food. The prices on some of the items seem on par with most water-front restaurants and there are some lower cost menu items to be found if you want to get your bill lower than ours. And for waterfront dining in Fort Lauderdale, this is really as good as it gets.
The Nauti Dawg Marina Café is located at 2841 Marina Circle Lighthouse Point, FL. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, be sure to set your GPS and watch for the ‘Marina’ signs.