Succulent jumbo chilled shrimp with a zesty cocktail sauce, a mouth-watering Philly cheese steak sandwich on a toasted hoagie roll, a side of fresh fruit, and house-made cannoli.
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Located just across Route A1A from Ft. Lauderdale beach is the iconic Atlantic Hotel and Spa. The restaurant space on the main floor has been through several concepts since I first moved to town 11 years ago: Trina, Beauty & the Feast, and The Atlantic Grille, to be exact. The latest — and I’d say the best yet — is Coastal.

The Atlantic is renowned for being an all-suite boutique hotel that strives to provide its guests with the best service and luxurious beachside accommodations, and that definitely includes the restaurant. Just steps off the sand, Coastal offers plush indoor seating in its beautifully appointed dining room and alfresco dining on the shady front terrace, with panoramic views of the water.

I arrived on a Monday afternoon with my lunch companion and couldn’t wait to get down to business! We were greeted at the hostess stand, just inside the front door, with a warm welcome and lots of smiles. We were given the choice of indoor or outdoor seating and decided to brave the South Florida summer heat. We were seated overlooking A1A and the spectacular surf. Even through it was a hot day, it was very pleasant in the shade.

Our server, Sarah, arrived at the table to welcome us with a variety of menus and a wonderful disposition. A gracious drink menu was verbally augmented by the Drink of the Week: Liquid Sunshine. I opted for the refreshing Watermelon Caipirhina, made with premium Leblon Cachaça, ripe watermelon, basil, and simple syrup. A girl needs a cool drink on a hot day, you know? Other enticing drinks on the extensive menu include six specialty martinis, a tropical Mule made with pineapple, and for the adventurous, a Strawberry Spice Margarita infused with jalapeño peppers!

There are a lot of options for lunch, and Sarah explained them all to us in detail. The full lunch menu offers soups, fire-roasted chicken wings, and an array of cold and hot seafood options for appetizers. Entree salads, like the Kale Caesar and the House Chopped with cilantro ranch dressing, all sounded great, but we had other plans. There is also an entire section of Piadina, or Italian flatbreads, stuffed with veggies and cheese, sausage and peppers, or clams. Beef, turkey, and vegetarian burgers as well as collection of “Hand-Helds” tempted us too: Grilled Yellowtail Snapper, Signature Turkey Club, Meatball Hoagie. How do you choose?

What I really came to devour was the unique Coastal All-In-One Lunch.

Let’s say you’re on the beach and you don’t want to spend all afternoon at lunch at a sit-down restaurant, but fast food just doesn’t suit your refined palate. You can get the best of both with Coastal’s Bento Box-style menu! Appetizer, main course, and dessert are all served together on one tray.

There are three different versions to choose from, and they range in price from $20 to $25. The portions are large and very filling. I ordered up No. 3, which includes succulent jumbo chilled shrimp with a zesty cocktail sauce, a mouth-watering Philly cheese steak sandwich on a toasted hoagie roll, a side of fresh fruit, and house-made cannoli — one plain and one rolled in pistachios. It was totally unexpected at a fine restaurant so far from Philadelphia, but the cheese steak was one of best I’ve ever shoved down this throat!

My lunch date ordered the signature Lobster Grilled Cheese: poached lobster meat, including huge chunks of claw meat, toasted to perfection with sautéed onions, cheddar and American cheeses and served with a side of tomato-basil bisque for dipping. So decadent — fit for a “Queen” like me! It was served with a mountain of mouthwatering fries, garnished with salt and herbs.

Coastal offers a daily Happy Hour from 4–7pm (Sundays start at 3pm): $4 select reds, whites, Champagne, or Prosecco and Tomato Basil Bruschetta; $5 domestic and imported beers, crafts on draft, and a dozen sautéed mussels; $6 house cocktails and Crispy Calamari with Marinara; $7 specialty and premium cocktails with Fire-Roasted Chicken Wings. Wow, what a deal!

A delicious Sunday brunch, served from 11am to 3pm, features live entertainment and many small-plate selections as well as stations for omelets, carved meats, pasta, and smoked salmon. Loosen your belt, and round out the meal with salads, meat and cheeses, ceviches, and assorted desserts. Bottomless sips are available for an extra $18.

Coastal (601 N Ft Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Ft Lauderdale) is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. For reservations: 954-567-8070 or EatCoastal.com.