Traveling to Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach once seemed so far away you'd know who your real friends were if you needed a ride. Now, thanks to the sleek and speedy Brightline, which debuted just over a year ago, connecting Miami to these major South Florida cities is a breeze. The majority of weekday riders are those commuting to and from work, trading rush-hour traffic for spacious, quiet cabins with Wi-Fi and refreshments. This ease of transportation also means accessibility to many restaurants.
Fares range from $10 to $35, so the next time you find yourself on the train, begin with breakfast in Miami, continue with lunch or brunch in Fort Lauderdale, and end with dinner in West Palm Beach for the ultimate Brightline dine-around.
Central Fare600 NW First Ave., Mezzanine Level, Miami
Central Fare is the Brightline Miami station's food hall, offering a multitude of options. As you reach the top of the escalator, you're greeted by a grand entrance to the marketplace, where Parliament Coffee stands front and center. The shop offers sustainably sourced beans for a morning coffee fix. Enjoy gluten-free buckwheat crepes, including vegan and vegetarian varieties, from Bucks Crepes; a selection of pastries at Rosetta Bakery; and a wide selection of empanadas at Patagonia Flavors by Delicatessen Patagonia. There's also a World Famous House of Mac outpost and La Estación American Brasserie by Juvia Group, both ideal for lunch.
B Bistro + Bakery600 Brickell Ave., Miami
For a weekend breakfast, B Bistro + Bakery in Brickell is only a ten-minute ride to the Brightline Miami station. A favorite morning spot for a sit-down meal, it offers a large croissant selection that includes an everything "bagel" version, pistachio, charcoal, Nutella, and ham and cheese. There's also a variety of pancakes, sandwiches, and salads. Pro tip: Order online for delivery through Postmates.
Etaru Las Olas500 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
After a quick 30-minute ride to Fort Lauderdale, head to Etaru Las Olas. Weather permitting, the walk is about 17 minutes. Otherwise, Brightline offers a $5 Lyft credit on rides to or from any of its stations with the purchase of a train ticket. An eight-minute ride will take you to Etaru for a savory Sunday brunch at a fraction of the price. The $55-per-person meal includes a welcome drink, followed by bottomless red, white, or rosé wine and a vast buffet of robata-grilled meats and vegetables, gyoza, sushi rolls, and sashimi, plus one main dish and an impressive dessert platter.
The Dalmar299 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale
Stroll around the Las Olas Riverwalk or Flagler Village; then head to Fort Lauderdale's newest boutique hotel, the Dalmar. Just five minutes from the Brightline, this newcomer is brimming with places to eat and drink. Sit poolside at Sip N' Dip, where you can enjoy light grilled fare and refreshing cocktails for lunch. The Lobby Bar and Rose's Coffee Bar offer indoor bites and snacks all day, while the Terrace Grill is a beautifully designed dinner destination. The rooftop bar, Sparrow, boasts panoramic views of the ocean and skyline with a '60s-Palm Springs vibe. The move here is sunset drinks beginning at 5 p.m.
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The Regional Kitchen & Public House651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
The ride to West Palm Beach takes about 43 minutes from the Fort Lauderdale station, so feel free to sip one of the train's featured libations from the drink cart as you journey north in the afternoon. Just a ten-minute walk or a four-minute Lyft ride from Brightline's West Palm Beach station, the Regional is where you'll want to stop for dinner. But be sure to make a reservation: This award-winning restaurant is helmed by Top Chef alum and James Beard nominee Lindsay Autry. Her menu is a celebration of Southern cuisine with some Mediterranean influence. Popular items are the tableside-prepared pimento cheese, roasted tomato pie, and sweet tea-brined fried chicken thighs.
Pistache French Bistro101 N. Clematis St., West Palm Beach
Also an easy walk from the West Palm Beach station is Pistache French Bistro. Celebrating ten years in downtown West Palm Beach, this spot instantly transports you to a sidewalk café in Paris. The lengthy menu will satisfy any craving for traditional French cuisine with a twist. From moules frites (steamed mussels with fries) and charcuterie boards to escargots and plenty of seafood, poultry, meat, and salad options, Pistache is sure to please. After a busy day of eating and drinking through the tri-county area, the ride back to Miami runs about an hour and 15 minutes; the last trains on weekends usually depart at 10 p.m. The Breakers is nearby if you opt for a spontaneous sleepover in West Palm Beach.
Brightline tickets cost $10 to $35 each, depending upon the time of day, cabin, and destination. Purchase tickets via gobrightline.com.