• Lisa Marie

Pelican Landing: Ft. Lauderdale's Hidden Restaurant on the Water

The Pelican Landing is a casual waterfront restaurant on Ft. Lauderdale's intracoastal waterway. There is a beautiful view from each table. Some tables face the buildings along the waterway and others face the ships and yachts. However, everyone on the outside terrace has a view of the water! The Pelican Landing is known for its seafood dishes, Caribbean inspired meals, and fresh foods.

My husband and I met a few friends there for a birthday celebration. We arrived at the Hyatt Regency and parked in the parking lot by the dock. I love coming to this restaurant because it's so hidden. I always feel like a secret food CSI agent when I invite friends to meet me at The Pelican Landing. "Park near my car, and follow the back strip along the yachts until you reach the end of the pier and head upstairs," is what I usually say with a smirk on my face. If that doesn't sound like I know where the cool spots are, then I don't know what does. The only cooler thing that I could possibly say would be, "hop on the second yacht and take it around the corner to the moat and I will release the drawbridge." Too much? I thought it was pretty similar.

When we made our way up the stairs to The Pelican Landing, we were greeted by live music. The view of the ocean and music in the background definitely relaxed the mood. We were so excited to get the evening started that we ordered our drinks before our guests arrived. I know it may sound rude, but we remembered how great the drinks were the last time we went to the Pelican Landing, so we were eager. I ordered the "Spanked Mint Mojito." It is made with Malibu coconut rum, mint, lime juice, and Myer's dark rum. My husband ordered the "Sangria Rita." They were both really good drinks. However, my mint mojito was definitely a front runner! Our guest arrived, and I immediately went into persuasion mode for them to order a mojito.

For our appetizers, we ordered the infamous Pelican Landing conch fritters. As usual, the conch fritters were perfectly done; brown and crisp on the outside and so soft and moist within. Surprisingly, I'm not a fan of conch because it is done incorrectly by so many people. However, The Pelican Landing does a great job of executing it correctly.

By now, our friends were very pleased with our restaurant choice. We were in the hidden ocean location, great drinks were flowing, and everyone had a plastered smile across their face. We started to check out the menu again. We ordered the ceviche. My husband initially opted out of this appetizer because he's not a huge fan of ceviche, until he saw our response when it reached the table. I think that the first "oooh" came from my friend, and my "ahhh" came shortly after. We both looked at each other and knew that we made the perfect appetizer choice without saying a word. The "ooohs" and "ahhhs" of the table forced my husband to pick up a banana chip and dip it into the bowl of ceviche that was almost all gone at this point. He didn't want to miss out on the eye closing experience that we were having. The ceviche was succulent and tender, and the acidic flavors popped in our mouths. My husband quickly agreed with our responses and went for seconds with an expression of surprise on his face.

Dinner was served! I ordered the catch of the day and my husband ordered the skirt steak. We both had our meals with my favorite, the "Pelican Market Salad." It has mixed baby greens, lychee, mango, spiced cashews, and toasted coconut passion fruit dressing. Lychees, mangoes, and coconuts all on one salad! I was in heaven!

We even had a chance to meet the chef! Chef Mario Serrano is the culinary magician behind the great meal that came out. He infuses so many different cultures into one fresh and tasty plate. We praised him for the great meal. He was extremely modest and humble. He graciously smiled and said, "thank you."

Needless to say, we enjoyed ourselves! If you're looking for a casual lunch or dinner out with friends; this is your place!

Address: 2301 S.E. 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, 33316

Extra tip: You have to sit outside to get the full experience of the restaurant.

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