Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Had a very enjoayble meal last night at Seasons 52 on Sunrise Blvd in Ft. Lauderdale (at the Galleria Mall). There are a cluster of restaurants that were slammed at 8:45 -- Blue Martini, Capitol Grille, and PF Changs in addition to Seasons 52. Walking past the line of Bentley's waiting for the valet, I began to feel more then a little grubby having spent the better part of the day on a boat looking at potential new bridge sites tog gauge environmental impact.

The restaurant has an upscale woodsy lodge feel to it which seemed out of place in South Florida when I first walked in, but I really warmed up to it over the course of the meal. My brother and I were seated in a large booth next to the open kitchen. The waiter walked us through the concept -- regular size portions, no butter, and seasonal food in an effort to cook healthy and still provide tasty meals. The portions were much larger then I expected, but still smaller then many places that seem to serve double portions, and I think they have ditched the original concept of calorie caps for the dishes.

We started with a tomato basil flatbread that had paper-thin crispy crust, a line of equally thin tomato slices that allowed them to dry out a little while cooking to have a not-quite sun-dried tomato feel to it, generous amount of basil, and an almost negligible amount of parmesan. Very tasty and much lighter then I expected it to be.

I had the pork tenderloin over polenta with spinach and mushrooms. The end pieces of pork were beyond dry but the middle pieces were juicy, well seasoned, and just wonderful. The pan sauce over the polenta was a great savory-creamy blend.

My brother had the ruby red trout with potatos and the night's veggie special -- pan roasted brussel spouts.

Dessert service is geared to letting you indulge without overindulging. Individual portions are served in basically tall shot glasses. The waiter brought over what to me resembled a test-tube rack with an assortment of 8 dessert options including boston cream pie, tiramisu, apple pie, chocolate mousse, cobbler, others I can't remember, and key lime pie -- my brother's choice. I had a taste and it was more lime pudding then key lime pie.

The wine list included an extensive by-the-glass list with a broad range of prices. I had a lovely rioja that I enjoyed so much I wrote down the name and then promptly lost the slip of paper. I'm going to call them tomorrow.

My only real gripe with this place is how hard the push the seasonality angle when they are in a place with almost no seasonal differences and the 80 degree weather just wasn't right for rich autumn foods.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am headed to Fort Lauderdale on a rather long business trip, and hoping to find some good, cheap eats. My expense report after nine (nine!) days will be big enough without eating room service once a day. Oh, and my waistline too.

If you have suggestions, I'm all ears. Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

You might want to try Ernie's on U.S. 1 (1843 S. Federal Hwy - 904 523-8636). It's a dive, but great conch chowder & bimini bread & conch fritters. Their bbq pork sandwich is also supposed to be good. And, you can knock down a drink or two.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am headed to Fort Lauderdale on a rather long business trip, and hoping to find some good, cheap eats. My expense report after nine (nine!) days will be big enough without eating room service once a day. Oh, and my waistline too.

If you have suggestions, I'm all ears. Thanks!

This is exactly what you don't want, but I had a good dinner at Johnny V when I last went. However, it's an expensive restaurant, and I vaguely recall that the wines were quite overpriced. I'd happily go again, but only if someone else was picking up the tab. :angry:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had reasonably good meals last month at Tarpon Bend and Mangos. Local friends speak well of Himmarshee Bar & Grille. (My dinner at Mangos featured a surprisingly good bar band that played nothing but prog-rock hits of the 70's, including a Moody Blues set. :angry: )

Tarpon Bend

SW 2nd Street

Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33301

Ph: 954-523-3233

Hours of Operation:

Mon - Thur11:30am - 2am

Fri & Sat 11:30am - 3am

Mango's

904 East Las Olas Boulevard

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

954.523.5001

Himmarshee Bar & Grille

210 SW 2nd St

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

(954) 524-1818

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, all!

Don, I'll probably need one of those once the client gets sick of the closest steakhouse. :angry:

Daniel, I don't know the geography well at all. I just know that I'm right on the beach smack dab in the middle of Fort Lauderdale.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That describes several miles of waterfront, FWIW.

On the cheaper side, I had a good meal at Basilic Vietnamese Grill in Lauderdale Lakes my last trip home. They deliver, if you're close enough.

Primanti Bros., the ubiquitous Pittsburgh sandwich joint, just opened up a branch in Sunrise.

Just north of the airport on Rte. 1, there's Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, which is pretty good.

It's stone crab season, so lots of places will have them, but they're not cheap. If you don't mind eating in your hotel room, or grabbing a table at your pool outside, go to the Fish Peddler East and get them there. Don't forget to get some mustard sauce!

Pomperdale's, on Commercial, is a pretty decent deli. I've heard ok things about La Spada's (a chain) but haven't been there.

There's a huge ex-NY-Italian community in South Florida. Ask around, and you're bound to find a family-run place nearby serving pretty decent pizza and red-sauce Italian.

There's plenty of crappy touristy places on and near the beach. Save the chains, however, most of them can still do a decent job at simply grilling a piece of locally caught fish, like Pompano, Grouper, Red Snapper, Cobia, Wahoo, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi).

The local rotisserie chicken chain, Pollo Tropical, is pretty good. Go for the chicken, beans & rice, plantains and fried yuca - the rest of the menu is barely passable.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, and though I don't go back as often as I would like, some are my favorites are below:

Cafe Martarano: My family discovered this tiny hole-in-the-wall 15+ years ago and it has since expanded and turned into quite a scene, complete w/the chef spinning music, its own bottled sauces, and celebrity hangout. The scene-y-ness is really not my thing but if the down-home Italian food is half as good as I remember, it is so worth it.

Anthony's Runway 84: old-school Italian; I have no idea if this is still any good but I remember it was a dining fixture some years ago.

Chicken Kitchen: much smaller chicken chain that pollo tropical that I was addicted to when I lived down south

LaSpada's subs: a few minutes outside downtown Ft. Lauderdale in Davie, this place makes the best subs I have ever had- blows Italian Store out of the water IMHO.

Flakowitz Deli: This is just a little north of Ft . Lauderdale in Delray but ooooo so worth it- one of my all-time favorite delis of all time.

Sundy House: amazing, romantic brunch spot also in Delray.

La Bonne Crepe: on Las Olas, this is another favorite breakfast/brunch spot.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Flakowitz Deli: This is just a little north of Ft . Lauderdale in Delray but ooooo so worth it- one of my all-time favorite delis of all time.

Delray is at least 30 minutes drive from Ft. Lauderdale, so not exactly "a little north", but they've also slipped a lot in recent years.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Delray is at least 30 minutes drive from Ft. Lauderdale, so not exactly "a little north", but they've also slipped a lot in recent years.

I fell in love with Doc's hamburger stand in Delray last summer. Not gourmet by any means, but solid patty melt and milkshake.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lester's Diner, Ft. Lauderdale. Since 1967. Standard diner fare like meatloaf & chicken fried steak, a few Greek specialities, hot fresh coffee, and housemade cakes.

The food is good, but the highlights of our visit were overhearing a tall blonde with huge breast implants thanking her companion for dinner because "that's not usually part of the arrangement," and witnessing the very young hostess talking up their vegetarian offerings, like the turkey burger, to a disgruntled vegan patron. :lol: I can't wait to go back.

Lester's Diner

250 State Highway 84

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

Link to post
Share on other sites

When your weather-delayed flight lands at F. Lauderdale at 11PM the dining options are pretty limited. Fortunately there's Lester's right around the corner. I had one the best diner turkey club sandwich of my life at Lester's last night (fresh roasted turkey, plenty of bacon, and a very ripe tomato) and washed it down with a fine, ice cold glass of milk.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Asking for someone who is looking for a good lunch spot for a group* in Fort Lauderdale next week, preferably with outdoor seating. Does anybody have any suggestions?

*I'm assuming it's not a large group. Doesn't sound like it, anyway.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Going to Hollywood, FL for the firm's partners retreat. The budget is $150 per person, including taxi fare from the hotel, which is the Westin Diplomat. Johnny V looks good but it's too far away (and will eat too much into the food/drink budget). Any recommendations for seafood-centric high end restaurants in Hollywood?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Going to Hollywood, FL for the firm's partners retreat. The budget is $150 per person, including taxi fare from the hotel, which is the Westin Diplomat. Johnny V looks good but it's too far away (and will eat too much into the food/drink budget). Any recommendations for seafood-centric high end restaurants in Hollywood?

I haven't been to Hollywood in a few years, but I think you're going to have trouble - I'll ask a friend of mine who lives in Fort Lauderdale.

---

Okay, here's her response (she's *not* a foodie!)

Sushi Blues in HWD FL is pretty good. But if staying at Westin in FT Laud why go to HWD if cab fare eats into budget?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Going to Hollywood, FL for the firm's partners retreat. The budget is $150 per person, including taxi fare from the hotel, which is the Westin Diplomat. Johnny V looks good but it's too far away (and will eat too much into the food/drink budget). Any recommendations for seafood-centric high end restaurants in Hollywood?

Downtown Hollywood is very cute but the restaurants tend to be fun more than serious. Sushi Blues is OK. The live blues music is a big draw and the sushinis just OK. The restaurants IN the diplomat are supposed to be good. I've only eaten at the bar. You can take a water tqxi from right outside the Diplomat to FT. Lauderdale. It's a fun boat ride and it opens you to lots of FLL options.

Eric, if you get a break, walk north from the Diplomat along S. Ocean Drive about 3/4 mile. There is a little beachy-looking taco place right on the street that is quite good.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I checked with my best friend, who lives in Hollywood very near the Diplomat. One suggstion was Market 17. I've eaten there twice. It's pretty nice inside, and I recall not much except feeling fine with the experience. Another suggestion...there is a place just up S. Ocean Drive from the Diplomat (it would be a very short cab ride, and so close that perhaps the Diplomat would shuttle you). It's called GG's, but it used to be Georgio's. There is a very casual side (with a bakery) and a more formal, white-tablecloth side. There are great water views, and it is (or at least was, last year) fancy enough to be considered special occasion.

There is also a lot of new development near the Gulf Stream rack track, and this is not too far from the Diplomat. I don't know what is there now, but I ate at two places (a "Mexican" place and the Yard House) and both seem to aim squarely at the main-stream, middle-budget diner who seeks quantity over quality.

I vist that area a lot to see my friends, and my conclusion is that unless you are in a real seafood dive on the water, or an ethic small restaurant, the quality of the food in the area is surprisingly mediocre.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Had lunch at Le Tub yesterday. It's been years since GQ annointed this place the best burger in the country (it was 2006). Since then many burger joints have popped up and Le Tub has been overwhelmed with tourists and copped a bad attitude. We received mediocre service. The table that arrived after us ordered first and received their food first. When we tried to order drinks and food at the same time, we were told she can't take our food order because she doesn't have her pad and can't remember the food and beers. The burger did take a long time, as promised. We ordered a medium burger which came out with barely a hint of pink, which is well done in my book. We dare not send it back. Nevertheless, it was pretty tasty, well seasoned ground sirloin packed quite tightly. The steamed clams were also good. The best may be their smoked fish dip, served with saltines. Can say what kind of fish it was, but it was suitably fishy and smoky. Would rather eat it on some toast rather than crackers though. It was a perfect afternoon to sit by the intra-coastal waterway, watch needle nosed fish swim by, and drink ice cold Red Stripes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On day 2 of our annual gathering to schmooze each other, I declined to eat the hotel provided lunch and took a water-taxi to the Hollywood boardwalk. As I strolled from the intra-coastal strip to the beach, I passed by a restaurant called Pachamamma. Having been to Peru, I immediately recognized it as a Peruvian restaurant. All of a sudden, I wanted a cold Cusqueña so I ascended a half flight of stairs into the restaurant. I ordered a tiradito (when asked if I wanted it spicy, I said yes) and aji de gallina. The tiradito was really good. Again, not sure what kind of fish it was (I flipped one over so everyone can see it's a white fish) but the seasoning was fantastic. Unfortunately I can't even tell what seasoning was used other than citrus juice and a hint of spiciness. The chicken was just so-so. They used dried shredded breast meat which did little to soak up the flavor of the sauce. The lunch menu that I received at the restaurant wasn't quite as comprehensive as the one shown on the website.

For dinner I was attracted to Sardelli's because they offered a number of half portion pastas. My first course was a special of clams and fregola. The main ingredients were fresh littleneck clams, fregola, garlic, and some kind of cured pork product (pancetta perhaps). I loved this dish, the texture of the fregola was firm but it definitely absorbed the juice of the clams, white wine, garlic, and pork. My other two pastas were less stellar and they were black tagliatelle/ mussels/ jalapeno/ mint/ garlic & oil and green pappardelle bolognese/ veal/ pork/ beef/ parmigiano. I thought the mussels in the pasta were overcooked and the pappardelle was overcooked. They were good dishes, just not something to rave about.

That evening, in my drunken stupor I dropped my iPad and the screen cracked. So on the 3rd day I went to a local repair shop to have the screen replaced. Nearby was the Gulfstream Village, a combination of race track, casino, and outdoor shopping mall. I had lunch at an upscale Mexican chain called Cantina Laredo. The chips were served with two salsas, both being red but one was smoky and bitter while the other was pretty darn good. I had some spicy chicken tacos (pollo cascabel) and an avocado and artichokes enchilada. Both were good, better than La Sandia. I was disappointed at not seeing lengua and other more interesting tacos.

Dinner was had at GG's Waterfront on the intra-coastal. I had read the stone crab claw catch was poor this year and the prices were up. $45 for 4 "large" claws, is that ridiculous? I don't know, having never had stone crab claws before but they were delicious. Not so delicious that I'd spend that kind of money on them again. For $45, I'd go get a fresh dungeness at one of the local Chinese joints. The pasta with white clam sauce had probably a whole can of baby clams in them - unfortunately I don't care for canned clams.

If I ever go back to Hollywood, I'd wonder around and eat at a bunch of different restaurants. Fish dip at Le Tub, tiradito at Pachamamma, stone crab claws at one of several joints (hopefully the price will be lower), and some pasta at Sardelli's. But I see no real reason to go back to Hollywood. It's boardwalk is filled with typical pizza/cheesesteak/gyro joints. Most of the nicer restaurants were on the intra-coastal, where you can sit and watch boats, fish (saw tarpon, needlenose fish, stingrays), and manatee go by.

post-4391-0-73268200-1366679939_thumb.jp

post-4391-0-96860100-1366679947_thumb.jp

post-4391-0-05298500-1366679962_thumb.jp

post-4391-0-25577900-1366679975_thumb.jp

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had read the stone crab claw catch was poor this year and the prices were up. $45 for 4 "large" claws, is that ridiculous? I don't know, having never had stone crab claws before but they were delicious.

Holy shit, yes. They were expensive last fall, though I can't compare straight up because we did takeout from a counter, not seated at a restaurant. But we paid about $20/lb for large claws, and there are 4-5 claws in a pound.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick trip to FLL this weekend yielded a good restaurant find in downtown Hollywood: Lola's on Harrison. It's a small place, sparely decorated, and quiet enough for reasonable conversation. I had grilled swordfish with a lovely red curry sauce. I often avoid swordfish because it gets overcooked so often. Not the case here. The bartender recommended it, and I am glad I listened. The goat cheese/beet salad to start was generously sized, very nice. My friend's steak looked lovely...she said it was great but that the fries with it were even better. Apps/salads average $9/$10 and mains generally in the mid-$20s. There is a large, cheap parking garage a block away on Harrison, making this a convenient destination, at least on the early (7:00) side of the evening.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Long weekend in Ft. Lauderdale. Two good finds so far. Las Vegas Cuban restaurant is a small Florida chain. We at at the Oakland Park location. Lunch specials are cheap, $8-9 range. Roast pork was fabulous, served with delicious plantains and black beans and rice. Bicilic Vietnamese is located a block off of A1A on Commercial St. In Lauderdale by the Sea (5 minutes from Oakland Park drive, easy for anyone in North Lauderdale area). Large portions of excellent food. The curry, with chicken, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, etc. was luscious. Roast pork fried rice was so much better than fried rice usually is, studded with lots of delicious roast pork.

We had a glass of wine at Da Campo Osteria, A Todd English restaurant in the posh il Lugano hotel near Galt Mile. One of the specialties is fresh mozzarella pulled tableside served in about 7 different ways (e.g. with pesto, or with pruscuitto and fig balsamic). Want to go back and try that on our next visit. A customer at the bar said the pizzas (lunch only) were very good, and there's a large pizze oven visible to the dining room. It's a very pleasant room right on the waterway, and the water taxi stops there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Last dispatch from FLL:

Ceviche by the Sea, on Oakland, did have wonderful ceviche and tuna skewers. The service was scattered. Our server was so busy trying to be cute ("I can recommend the best things on the menu, but I'm really the best thing!") that he had to make us repeat our order several times and we still received the wrong first course. This place would be fine for a couple of plates at the inviting bar, but was not compelling enough for a full recommendation.

Rok BRGR in the west Las Olas area was enthusiastically recommended by the bubbly server at Da Campo (see above). It's on a strip that is populated with eating and drinking choices and was doing a good business on a rainy Monday (happy hour and $10 gourmet burgers). We were waiting for a friend who was arriving from work, so we ordered onion rings to tide us over till dinner. Holy profit margin, Batman. FIVE large, thickly battered and crisp rings for $8. 1.60 per ring. They were served with a tiny cup of cheese sauce, which was pretty tasty, and ketchup. Comare that to the $10 special. I had a lovely lamb burger, on a sturdy bun with feta and tomato, plus a generous portion of very good fries, for $10. I know the onion rings help to pump up the margins that are sacrificed to offer a burger at a 33% discount (menu price of lamb burger is $15). But five pieces of a very cheap ingredient for $8? Anyway, the burgers are very good, the servers are hip and pierced and tattooed and generally quite helpful. It's buzzy and sceney right now, so if you are in the area and want to experience what's hot right now, the burgers are good. Decent breer selection (rather rare here...the craft scene is JUST starting to emerge) and outdoor seating.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Vinos on Las Olas, down an alley off of Las Olas, is a quiet, charming place for a decent glass of wine and small plates. The service was s.l.o.w. but we attributed that to the relatively early hour (just after noon) and the jam-packed art fair going on uo and down Las Olas. Limited menu, but a nice place to escape any of the crowded events in that area.

I kept mostly to the north east part of town, where my friend lives. Kaluz is a goregous place on the intercoastal canal just off of Commercial Blvd. Unremarkable food, but a great place to sit outside and watch the expensive yachts glide by on an expansive patio with a nice outdoor bar. Thai shrimp salad was decent, and a large portion. Friends had the crab salad which they liked. Consensus from others is that most entrees and sandwiches here are below par.

Zuckarello's is an old school red sauce Italian place in a strip mall on Commercial. Fine but not remarkable. Large portions (seems to be a theme here) served by a gregarious staff. Lots of locals eating here and the place was packed on a Sunday night. Good for groups, as we saw lots of large tables.

BurgerFi is a chain, but It gets lots of good press. I went to the location on A1A at Commercial. Claims of high quality ingredients, lower fat options, blah, blah, blah. Order at the counter, get a buzzer, wait for food. Serves beer and wine, but the counter ordering system makes it unwieldy to enjoy a few drinks, as you have to return to the counter and pay for each round. The burger was above average for a $6 burger. Beefy, well seasoned and juicy, The cheddar cheese had a nice sharp bite and was clearly discernable as a flavor element. I wish the bun was sturdier, and the juices soaked the bun, and it was squishy fairly quickly. The fries were hot and salty, possibly frozen. I'd go here again for a quick burger.

Athena in the heart of the tourist area of Lauderdale by the Sea was recommended by a local who said it wasn't bad, which is high praise for most of those places in vacation spots frequented by tourists. Lauderdale by the Sea is cute, with lots of renovated (and not) mid-century low rise motels and also some high rises. Listening to people talking indicates many European and Canadian tourists. T-shirt shops, candy stores and dive shops complete the sea side holiday vibe. I explain because the food, indeed, wasn't bad. I had grilled calamari (mostly rings, probably straight from the giant bag of frozen product) served with fluffy rice and lovely smothered green beans. My friend scarfed her beef liver, proclaiming it excellent, while acknowledging that the relative rarity of beef liver on menus heightened her rating. The roasted pepper appetizer was served with a nice quantity of spicy feta, and would be nice taken at the large bar here, open to the breeze.

Perhaps the best find was Fish Peddler East, not far from Zuckarello's, a retail fish market with a good selection of all kinds of shellfish, mollusks, fish and prepared food. I bought some shrimp for making jambalaya and they were lovely.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Fish Peddler gets the best stone crabs around when in season.

Agree on Zuckarello's. Umberto's next door makes a very good NY-style pizza.

Athena is fine, as is Aruba Beach Cafe, especially if you're on the patio overlooking the ocean.

That stretch of beach, a few blocks north and south of Commercial, is one of the few areas on the east side of South Florida where the zoning specifically prohibits high rises (meaning you still have sun through the afternoon, rather than giant shadows). Mostly family-owned motels and timeshares. I stay here whenever visiting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fish Peddler gets the best stone crabs around when in season

That stretch of beach, a few blocks north and south of Commercial, is one of the few areas on the east side of South Florida where the zoning specifically prohibits high rises (meaning you still have sun through the afternoon, rather than giant shadows). Mostly family-owned motels and timeshares. I stay here whenever visiting.

Stone crabs at Fish peddler were (IIRC) $25/lb for large. At Kaluz, the special was FOUR large claws for $54. YES. $54. Quite a mark-up, given that a restaurant probably pays a lot less than $25/lb.

I wondered why there were no high rises in that stretch! I stay on Galt Mile, and also have friends who live just south of commercial near the intercoastal canal. I am going to retire there. Insert cliche and eye roll...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Two more Ft. Lauderdale experiences of note:

La Dolce Vita is a local Italian restaurant near Galt Mile on a pleasant strip of little businesses just off of A1A. The servers and staff were speaking to each other in Italian, and some of the customers were speaking Italian. I don't want to claim that it makes this restaurant "authentically" Italian, but it was pretty darn delicious. MUCH better than Zuckarellos's (upthread), though more expensive. Not terribly expensive. We started with the "artichoke tower" which is a mound of very lemony, garlicky chopped artichoke hearts served warm on an argula salad. We bickered over who got the last bits, as we all loved it. I had a goregous lamb ragu on a fettucini-style pasta. I would return here gladly.

Cap's Place, at Lighthouse Point in the Pompano area. You take the restaurant's boat from a dock to the restaurant, which is nestled among trees and between two canals. It's the oldest restaurant in Broward County, and was a hotbed of rum running and mafia hiding and other lawless activity that gives it historical interest. It's two, low-slung buildings that look their age. The bar is in one and the restaurant in the other. It's a great setting made all the more interesting by very good food. Frankly, I was surprised. With the history and the gimmicky boat ride I had low expectations, but I enjoyed a creamy yet light corn and crab soup and cobia in a lemon caper sauce. I had a bit of my friend's crab cake, and it was divine. Portions are generous for $30+ entrees, which include a starch and vegetqbles. The on-line menu isn't representative because the good stuff are in the daily specials. Go an hour before your reservation. Get drinks, sit on the patio and watch the boats go by. Or, eat early and sip a drink outside afterwards. This is old Florida, and I am grateful it still exists and that my friends wanted to experience it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, a final report from the spring break + some (I snuck in a few extra days) in Ft. Lauderdale.

Basilic Vietnamese continues to delight. We had shaking beef this time (among other things) and the beef was high quality, tender and cooked perfectly.

The New York Deli, on A1A near 38th/39th off of Galt Mile, is an old-style diner with breakfast, deli sandwiches, burgers, etc. Notable for friendly and warm service from every person I encountered. Nice patty melt, too. Easy parking if you're stopping for take-out for the beach.

Rendezvous Café, on Oakland not far West of Federal Highway, is a perfectly pleasant spot for casual French (kind of an independent version of La Madeline, but better). Delicious soups, and baguette sandwiches. Beer and wine available. Quiet, good place for conversation of the "catching up" variety.

Ocean 101, in Lauderdale by the Sea, has unlimited mimosas at brunch. The food was not objectionable even though it serves lots of tourists. Definitely not a destination restaurant.

The little bar on Anglin Pier, where Commercial Blvd. meets the ocean, is a quintessential beach bar, with fruity drinks, a view of the ocean and live music (Laid-back stuff). If you need to get quickly into a vacation state of mind, this place will do it for you.

The wine bar on 33rd, in the little shopping area near Galt Mile, is very pleasant with a proprietor who seems to care a lot about her business and her customers. Live music on most nights.

Vinos Wine Bar and Shop on Las Olas is a nice quiet place serving simple food (cheeses, flatbreads) with a good wine selection. It's the perfect break from shopping.

And if you're stuck like I was, on a LONG delay in FLL terminal B, beware that the food at Landshark, the only place that serves alcohol In that terminal, is DREADFUL.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another dispatch from Ft. Lauderdale! Greek Isle sits at the southern entrance to Galt Mile in The north part of FLL. It's always busy. My friend and I arrived shortly after opening and got two seats at the end of the bar. We ordered the house Greek white wine ($7) which was light and pleasant. We ordered 5 plates off of the mezze section of the menu...keftedes, roasted potatoes, eggplant spread, stewed gigante beans and fried smelt. The keftedes were the star...great grilled char and clean, lamb flavor. Excellent dish. The beans were a tad undercooked and a bit sweet, but everything else was tasty. The food was good enough that I would return soon. The large plates being delivered to tables near us looked good. This is a family-friendly place with valet parking. You could do a LOT worse in this area! It's a short drive or long walk from the mediocrity of the Lauderdale-by-the-sea beach restaurants.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To continue...my best friend has been raving about Sea Watch, which is just north of Lauderdale-by-the-sea, on the ocean. So she treated me for my birthday Monday night. The restaurant is very large, and has a treehouse feel due to the use of wood, large windows, different levels and the surrounding tall palm trees. it is a lovely setting. We started upstairs with wine in the bar, enjoying the sun shining on the water. Happy hour runs till 7:00 and a mass market Pinot Grigio was $4.

When it was time to be seated, the host asked if we wanted to be "indoors" or on the patio. The sun was just starting to lose intensity and it was breezy, so I lobbied for the patio. Good call. It's an enclosed room with large windows on three sides open to the beach, angled so that the breeze keeps everything pleasantly cool. You are surrounded by swaying palms, mangrove, birds and the sounds of the waves. It is an amazing view, truly one of the best views in this area. The full moon rose up through the palm trees, making a magical backdrop for dinner.

We both ordered the blackened grouper. I had a beet and pear salad, and she had a green salad. we split a loaded baked potato because we were feeling indulgent. My salad was generously-sized, heavy on the pear and arugula and light on beets. It was fresh and nicely composed, and for $5, a bargain. The grouper was firm, moist and blackened in a salt-dominant blend. I prefer less salt, but this was a great piece of fish. I wish a wedge of lemon had been included. The fish was accompanied by a few sautéed peppers and a mound of very tasty cous cous salad. I could eat fresh, simple fish like this every day, only with a lighter hand on the salt shaker.

We split an unremarkable key lime pie.

I would gladly return here, not just for the ambiance, but to give more of the menu a try. My friend says they handle meat well, but I would be eager to try more of the fish options. This is a tropical, romantic place. Reservations necessary during busy times.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You are a short bus or cab ride from Las Olas Blvd., where a lot of the dining action happens. There might be a local circulator bus/trolley that services your hotel. Google Sun Trolley to find the routes.I haven't tried enough places to give a recommendation (see my notes on ROK burger upthread). Everyone recommends Johnny V's, but I have not tried it. However, Kilwin's ice cream, on Las Olas (and other locations) is a delicious indulgence.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You are a short bus or cab ride from Las Olas Blvd., where a lot of the dining action happens. There might be a local circulator bus/trolley that services your hotel. Google Sun Trolley to find the routes.I haven't tried enough places to give a recommendation (see my notes on ROK burger upthread). Everyone recommends Johnny V's, but I have not tried it. However, Kilwin's ice cream, on Las Olas (and other locations) is a delicious indulgence.

It's probably been nearly 5 years since I was at Johnny V's, but I had a great meal there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Continuing report from my two week visit (I leave tomorrow, sadly). Everyone raves about Coconuts off of A1A near the swimming hall of fame. So I was glad that our friends suggested it for 1:15 on Suunday. It has a great waterfront locaction where you can look jealously at expensive yachts while you eat. Since it was brunch time, there was a do it frying station near the entrance. We did not try them, but the order appeared to be 4 mini donuts drizzled with chocolate. There was a 45 minute wait when we arrived, passed pleasantly enough with a glass of cheap Chardonnay on a large deck that eases the crush at the front door.

We has smoked fish dip (it's a thing here) and fish tacos, and our friends ordered 4 different kinds of oysters. The fish dip wasn't especially smoky, but it had a nice fish flavor and was a good size for sharing. The fish tacos featured grilled fish (Mahi Mahi, I believe), which I prefer over fried. The huge mound of slaw was excellent...tangy, crunchy and obviously made on site. I think the dressing might have had a hit of mustard. I loved it. Friends said the oysters were great, and they are very demanding diners.

This place is very casual and kind of hectic. It's close to lots of the Las Olas action and to the beach. The line for valet parking, the only parking option, was causing backups on A1A. People also arrive by boat...so if you come at a popular time, just be prepared to wait. You can sit, sip and snack at the oyster bar next door while waiting. They share bathrooms so I assume it's the same kitchen. Didn't look at the oyster bar menu, though. I would return if someone else suggested it, but I generally avoid places that require so much patience!

Last night we ate at the bar at Canyon Cafe, on Sunrise near the Galleria. No reservations accepted. Happy hour runs all night, every night except Saturday, at the bar only. "Small" plates are half off and women can have $6 prickly pear margaritas. The food is inspired by the American southwest with "Floribbean" touches. A meal at the bar is a good deal as the food is high quality and delicious. And the small plates are simply not small. In most places the small plates would constitute an entree. So consider the $12-22 price for small plates as entree pricing, and get them half-priced at the bar, and enjoy. I had a huge poblano pepper stuffed with goat cheese, fried, served on a lovely red sauce that was smoky and funky and slightly spicy. I then had two huge short rib tacos. It was overkill for me, but the short rib was slow cooked meat heaven. My friend ordered more sensibly, with tuna tartare and a beet salad. In my opinion, paying full price here would be foolish if there was an available bar seat. It's crazy popular, with long waits during high season, so people are clearly not as price sensitive as I am. I would eat at the bar here frequently, especially since the Uber ride was under $7 for me!

Link to post
Share on other sites

We will be at the Harbor Beach Marriott over the July 4th holiday and looking for a few nice family dinner spots (kids are 14 and 11).  We won't have a rental car so anything walkable, water taxi or short cab ride.

Most of the restaurants on the 17th Street Causeway are a (slightly ambitious) walk, trolley, cab or Uber away from there.

When in the area, I'm partial to the rather dive-y Southport Raw Bar. It's on a canal so outdoor seating is by the water where I've seen several manatees. Inside is less nice. Service is spotty. The peel and eat shrimp swimming in Old Bay butter are my favorite, but the blackened fish sandwich is also good.

Siam House is not great by my standards (Sawatdee and Thai Square are my Thai standards to beat) but will do in a pinch when I'm craving Thai. I like the Panang (beef) and that it has green beans in it. The pad see eew uses thin rice noodles (like pad thai) not wide, which is a big flaw in my book.

For fast casual, I like Gyroville which is basically a Chipotle for Greek/Mediterranean. The falafel are usually very good.

There are a ton of other restaurants in that area as it is near the cruise port.

On Las Olas. I like Luigi's, Sushi Rock (it's small and loud, taking great influence from the musical meaning of the word "rock") and the Royal Pig (it's definitely a drinking destination, but has good food and should be fine for kids earlier in the evening.) Gran Forno is a bakery that has two locations on Las Olas and good sandwiches. (I usually get the grilled vegetable.) I've been told I've been to Mango's, but I don't remember.

A little further afield is Himmarshee with the aforementioned Tarpon Bend and ROK: Burger. Both solid.

Not really Las Olas or Himmarshee is The Foxy Brown which has good brunch.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I knew there had to be gems in the FLL area...and I found one. El Guanaco, at 331 NE 44th St, which is just West of Dixie Highway and South of Commercial. This area is populated by kitchen fixture distributors and locksmiths and engine repair shops...and the restaurant shares a parking lot with a pawn shop...so it's off any beaten path for almost any tourist. However, if you are in the North Lauderdale area, near Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, for example, it's not far to drive. And if the day is rainy or cloudy and you have a sense of adventure, it's not a difficult place to find. It's a small place, with a few booths along the wall, a row of tables, and a few stools at a counter overlooking a busy kitchen. The restaurant is woefully under-airconditioned, and your clothes will reek of cooking smells when you leave. It's humble, but clean.

The menu is Salvadorean and Mexican. It's a fairly extensive menu with three soups on offer each day, a list of Salvadorean, Mexican and Spanish dishes...and the obligatory fajitas. I went by myself (scoping it out for my more timid friends, who might not seek out a place like this), so I was limited in what I could sample, but I saw lots of food coming out. Everything smelled and looked wonderful. A table next to me had eggs on chilaquiles (7.95). Geez, that looked fabulous! I had two pupusas...a bean and cheese and a pork and cheese. They were served with a small cup of a red sauce (to which I added hot sauce) and a fresh, tangy pickled cabbage. These were phenomenal pupusas. Not too heavy, but with ample fillings. They didn't seem greasy or overly salty, something I have encountered with pupusas. The complimentary chips were perhaps not house made (I couldn't see) but were very fresh-tasting, and the salsa was spicy and seemed slow-cooked, probably made there. I had a glass of pretty weak Chilean white wine ($7). The pupusas were $2.45 each. I can't wait to return on a cooler day, with a group, so we can try more of the menu.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Those pupusas sure do look good:

http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/restaurants/100-favorite-dishes-pupusas-revueltas-from-el-guanaco-6403008

It'd be fun to do a taste-and-compare with Dona Raquel, only three miles away.  Alas, I'm not down near FLL much anymore . . . .

I knew there had to be gems in the FLL area...and I found one. El Guanaco, at 331 NE 44th St, which is just West of Dixie Highway and South of Commercial. This area is populated by kitchen fixture distributors and locksmiths and engine repair shops...and the restaurant shares a parking lot with a pawn shop...so it's off any beaten path for almost any tourist. However, if you are in the North Lauderdale area, near Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, for example, it's not far to drive. And if the day is rainy or cloudy and you have a sense of adventure, it's not a difficult place to find. It's a small place, with a few booths along the wall, a row of tables, and a few stools at a counter overlooking a busy kitchen. The restaurant is woefully under-airconditioned, and your clothes will reek of cooking smells when you leave. It's humble, but clean.

The menu is Salvadorean and Mexican. It's a fairly extensive menu with three soups on offer each day, a list of Salvadorean, Mexican and Spanish dishes...and the obligatory fajitas. I went by myself (scoping it out for my more timid friends, who might not seek out a place like this), so I was limited in what I could sample, but I saw lots of food coming out. Everything smelled and looked wonderful. A table next to me had eggs on chilaquiles (7.95). Geez, that looked fabulous! I had two pupusas...a bean and cheese and a pork and cheese. They were served with a small cup of a red sauce (to which I added hot sauce) and a fresh, tangy pickled cabbage. These were phenomenal pupusas. Not too heavy, but with ample fillings. They didn't seem greasy or overly salty, something I have encountered with pupusas. The complimentary chips were perhaps not house made (I couldn't see) but were very fresh-tasting, and the salsa was spicy and seemed slow-cooked, probably made there. I had a glass of pretty weak Chilean white wine ($7). The pupusas were $2.45 each. I can't wait to return on a cooler day, with a group, so we can try more of the menu.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found three more decent FLL options on my last trip.

The unfortunately-named 33rd and Dine in the cluster of retail on the beach side of A1A and Oakland is a surprisingly solid French place. Prices are not bad for Lauderdale, and the place is quiet, which made for easy conversation. Lots of classic French dishes including crepes of many varieties. I had a salmon seared crisp with a fabulous ratatouille, rice and bernaise. My friend had a steak which seemed to be smothered in mushrooms (we were so busy talking that I didn't taste), and she loved it. I think it attracts an older crowd. Better than some of the other places (e.g. fish tales) in that cluster.

Lemongrass Asian Bistro (Thai) is part of a small, local chain. We went to the location on Federal Highway between Oakland and Commercial for lunch. Very gentle lunch prices...dinner seemed almost double the price, but perhaps portions are larger. The lunch includes a choice of stater. I chose the salad with ginger dressing. While the dressing was loaded with grated ginger, there was waaaaay too much dressing. My friend had a small spring roll (fried) which she said was fine. My entree was amazing...crispy curry duck...a half duck, mostly deboned, perfectly fried, posed in a pool of excellent red curry containing some bell pepper and zucchini. Both the duck and the curry were delicious, at at $12, a steal. My friend wanted to eat light, so she got teriyaki fish. It was a large portion with very fresh vegetables. She was envious of my duck. The sushi and sashimi we saw coming out looked gorgeous. All the meals were large. This is an excellent value for lunch, so tasty!

La Bamba, just up the road from Lemongrass, on A1A between Oakland and Commercial. This is a typical, faux-adobo, murals-on-the-walls, cheesy enchilada Mexican place. It's a lot of fun, and for the style of food, quite good. The retried beans are rich tasting, the chips were fresh, the salsa was spicy. I had enchiladas verde with chicken. Nice white-meat and a very good verde sauce. Cheap margaritas, quick and friendly service draws huge crowds. If you are in the mood for a searing hot platter of decent "Mexican" food, this place is a lot of fun. Family friendly, loud, casual.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently relocated to South Florida (Boca Raton to be more specific).  Haven't had too much time to check out the restaurant scene but early assessment is that the pizza, Italian, and seafood are above par, and for anything else don't even bother (you'd think with this many Jews we could find some decent Chinese food!).

I read about this new Kosher spot called Rami's Pita & Grill in Hollywood, FL (1/2 a mile west of 95 on Stirling).  On Monday's and Wednesday's they do Lamb Shawarma as a special.  First place I can seriously recommend.  Right off the spit, fresh hummus, tahini, and Israeli salad.

Rami's Pita & Grill

3000 Stirling Road

Hollywood, FL

http://www.ramispita.com/menu.html

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Café Seville is located in a rather down-trodden strip mall on a busy section of Oakland Park Boulevard near A1A. It's been there for a while, and it consistently gets good reviews. So, my friend and I made a reservation for Friday night, and ventured in with high expectations.

I would describe this as an old school, Spanish style restaurant, with a heavy emphasis on fish dishes. The interior is much nicer than the exterior, with Dark wood, and terra-cotta, and white tablecloths. We were greeted with enthusiasm, and that enthusiasm continued throughout the meal with every employee who interacted with our table. This is polished service with servers dressed in black, gliding efficiently between tables, and stopping at most to ask how things are going.

The server brings a large white board to your table that lists the many daily specials. Approximately two thirds of the specials were fish dishes... Local fish prepared with various Spanish leaning ingredients such as olives, and tomatoes, and olive oil, and capers... I had a wonderful rich and creamy crab bisque ($9) and a grouper topped with a spicy tomato blend ($29). My friend had a large, simple salad, and a dish of salmon in puff pastry with some sort of cream sauce. While she loved the salmon, she said it was a rich dish, and too much for one sitting. My fish, on the other hand, seemed healthy and bright. All of the food coming out around us looked and smelled really great. The restaurant offered an excellent bread service of a crusty sourdough loaf served piping hot. Wine by the glass was poured very generously.

Instrumental music played in the background at a low volume, and conversation was quite easy. It's definitely a place that attracts baby boomers"¦ As no one in the place seemed much below 50. However, in South Florida, that does not bode as poorly for a restaurant as it might in other parts of the country!

If you are looking for a civilized and quiet space for a delicious though not inexpensive dinner, this is a wonderful choice. There is lots of parking, which is becoming a rarity in Fort Lauderdale. I can't wait to go back for lunch, when there is an extensive Tapas menu, and prices are greatly reduced.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Aruba Beach Cafe is a sprawling place right on the sands where Commercial Drive ends at the ocean.

It's everything you expect in a beach restaurant...great views, tropical drinks, live steel drum music, lots of tourists. It's a great beach bar with a fairly mature and well-behaved crowd. I've never actually dined in the dining room before yesterday. However, I happened to chat with the chef at a wine bar one night, and he said he's been the chef there for over 20 years, and that the family who owns the place tries hard to use fresh and local ingredients. The food is much better than expected at a place that draws crowds simply by virtue of its location. Conch chowder was thick, and helped by the requested hot sauce. A large bowl for $6. I also had a very generous serving of sesame crusted, seared ahi tuna. Not a real test of the kitchen, probably...but the fish was delicate and fresh, the sear was good and it was very satisfying. Salads and burgers ordered by others pronounced "delicious."  

Admittedly, the bar is not very high here in Ft. Lauderdale, and expectations need to be modest, but I would return to this place for a meal without hesitation. Sure beats the scores of bland and over-priced Italian places here that seem to multiply and then die like seasonal insects. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Stone crab season is over tomorrow. Tonight is the last night one can dine on "all you can eat" stoners at Trulucks. A side and soup or salad is included though why fill up on these items if you're there for stone crabs??

Link to post
Share on other sites

The great thing about the post 4th of July season here is the restaurants are empty. Drive up, walk in, sit immediately, and enjoy attentive service. Even so, we were skeptical when we drove up to Bombay Cafe at 3060 N. Andrews Avenue, just south of Oakland (Wilton Manors area). http://bombay-cafe.com

The parking lot was empty at 6:30. So was the restaurant. But it was cool, and quiet, and the server immediately brought papadum. The menu is full of familiar dishes, and we weren't feeling adventurous. My friend had the vegetable Thali, and I had chicken saag, requested "hot." The food Exceeded expectations. The tomato soup served as the starter for my friend's Thali was superb...creamy and spicy without being overly buttery or rich. It wasn't tomato soup weather, but this would be lovely on a blustery, rainy day. The chicken saag had large pieces of boneless white and dark meat. It was just hot enough to cause a little tingle. Like the soup, it wasn't overly buttery (sometimes this dish has so much butter that it solidifies when it cools). Good strong flavor from the greens. I enjoyed it, and took home half for another meal. Huge portion. I sampled my friend's dal (yummy), eggplant (excellent) and Chana masala (fine, average). The naan was served as two pieces to a serving, each piece a frisbee!, I took a whole piece home. A take-out order for friend's wife was delivered quickly, boxed up securely for travel.  

The restaurant is not near typical tourist areas, but not difficult to find. It has lots of free parking (an increasing rarity here). It is dated inside, but clean. It's been around a while, also an increasing rarity here. If you are craving Indian food in this area, I recommend it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Vincent's by the Sea on Commercial in Lauderdale by the Sea.  The website is below, but it is useless.

Vincentsbythesea.com

There are so many mediocre Itslian restaurants in Fort Lauderdale that it is a pleasure to find a place that elevates itself above the pack.  Vincent's serves fresh shellfish, and Italian favorites done simply, and very well.  Among the three of us we tried three different pasta dishes: the house marinara with pancetta and sausage, the house marinara with hot peppers and meatballs, and clam linguine.  All were excellent.  We shared the house bread with garlic, oil, and fresh oregano… It is basically their pizza crust, and it was wonderful.  The house chicken wings, serve spicy, with diced cherry peppers are not to be missed. 

 It's only been open a few months, and has yet to experience a busy winter season here, so I hope the influx of tourists doesn't correspond with a degradation in quality.  The owner is an experienced restaurant operator, with a popular place not too far from here called kitchenetta,  so I am cautiously optimistic for the future. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Boys farmers market in Delray Beach, Florida, just north of Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton:  Old Timey grocery store with an incredible selection of products crammed into a very tight, difficult to navigate space in a strip mall.  Parking lot is bumper car hell!  Places like this exist all over the country, but is a welcome find within a short drive a Fort Lauderdale.  Much of the selection, and the prepared items seem to focus on Italian cuisine, but there is a good selection of packaged international goods, and produce, that would satisfy the ethnic shopper.  Great assortment of cheeses, smoked meats and fish, breads, baked goods, sausages, produce, meat and fish.  Excellent prices.  Pack your patience, and be cautious of getting run over by somebody else's cart.  A fabulous find if you are going to do any cooking while you are staying in or near Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, or Boca Raton. 

 It is on South military Trail, just north of Atlantic Avenue, west of I-95. 

http://boysfarmersmarket.com/

Link to post
Share on other sites

dcandohio, I'm sure you can appreciate this. Back in college we were in FL for spring break with a friend who lived down there. On our way out, after having made a detour to see his GF one last time, we were driving down a pretty major street, probably 50mph when I spotted a Skyline chili in a strip mall. Went from 50 to a right turn into the mall parking faster than a Subaru station wagon should be able to. Anyway, that was a great chance to have Skyline before going back home in the summer at the end of the school year. Was never happier to have had to make a detour before making a long drive home.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...