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Feb 14, 2000 06:14 PM

Ft. Lauderdale

  • t

I'll be in Ft. Lauderdale next Saturday night. I've been through the Chowhound Florida Board, and tried to scout out some additional information from other sources, though it's been tough sledding. William Fox's recommendation of the Samba Room sounds pretty intriguing, although a Haitian restaurant called La Coupole in Kendall (is that close to Ft. Lauderdale?) also sounded interesting.

Since this is my first trip to Ft. Lauderdale, are there any local food items that aren't available elsewhere and that I put on a "don't miss" list? For example, when is the Stone Crab season? If they are in season during my visit, should I plan to eat them instead of going to someplace like the Samba Room? Where is the best place for Stone Crabs? Rachel Perlow, in a previous post, suggested Rustic Inn.

Cafe Maxx keeps popping up on lots of lists. What's the "tropical cuisine" at this place all about, and how good is it?

Finally, any suggestions for Sunday breakfast and lunch/brunch?

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  1. Kasbah serves Moroccan food, and you'll sit on floor cushions to eat.
    Kendall is west of Miami.
    Joe's Stone Crabs has the best reputation, but it's at the lower end of Miami Beach, the prices are prohibitive and you'll have an excruciatingly long wait.
    Cafe Maxx is also good, but pricey. Try their sister restaurant, East City Grill, on the ocean. Tropical cuisine is nothing more than fish, meat and poultry prepared with a local flavor.
    You'll find excellent fish at Sunfish Grill in Pompano.
    For a simple, but good breakfast, try Grandma McGillicuddy's. Blue Moon Fish Co. has a more elaborate brunch.
    Good luck.

    2 Replies
    1. re: William Fox

      I second William's recommendation of the Sunfish Grill in Pompano. I ate there with my father, his lady friend, and two other AKs last fall. They can be very tough to please. Everyone loved it. The braised clams appetizer was fabulous.

      Tom Jenkins BBQ on North Federal Hwy. seems to be getting all kinds of raves these days. I plan on checking it out when I go down in May.

      For a very reasonable lunch or supper check out the Calypso in Pompano. Great conch fritters! It's just a few exits up I-95 from Lauderdale.

      You can read excellent reviews by William and others on the Sun-Sentinel web site.

      1. re: Bob W.

        My time in Ft. Lauderdale was limited (the evening before and the day after a cruise). My wife's cousin insisted on going to Gibby's for the Saturday evening before the cruise, despite my suggestions for alternate destinations. I was bracing myself for a mediocre surf-and-turf experience but, to my surprise, found the food much better than I expected. I had lobster bisque, stone crab claws, and Key Lime pie. All were very good, especially the pie. I also had tastes from other plates, including escargot, French onion soup, and steak, which were also very tasty.

        The day after the cruise, we went to Calypso, and had a terrific lunch. The conch fritters were swell, but I liked the scorched conch even better. The jerk chicken wings were very different from the jerk chicken I've had in Los Angeles (e.g., at Cha Cha Cha). At Calypso, the chicken wings came without a jerk "sauce," with the jerk seasonings mixed in with the batter. The raw oysters (from Galveston, Texas) were just fine. We also had a very tasty lamb roti. The Key Lime pie was not as tangy or flavorful as at Gibby's. The bread pudding with cinnamon-rum sauce was good, although it was a little on the dry side and could have been more "puddingy."

        Thanks to everyone for the many good suggestions. I'll keep them tucked away for next time. I was especially disappointed that I didn't have time for the Sunfish Grill.

    2. r
      Rachel Perlow

      No. I said we had stone crabs as an appetizer at Rustic Inn, but for really eating them, go to Billy's, just south of Ft. L on Rt. A1A. Not as famous nor are you likely to celeb spot as Joe's in Miami, but then again it's slightly less expensive, and you don't have to go all the way to Miami for them.

      I think Stone Crab season ends in May.


      4 Replies
      1. re: Rachel Perlow

        Stone crab season is October 15 - May 15...every year, no exceptions!

        1. re: Rachel Perlow

          Rustic Inn??? Ychhh! The place is a sewer. Don't go there for stone crabs! Go to Joe's. Or Billy's if you can't afford Joe's.

          As far as the Samba Room is concerned, the food is just OK. The place is a trip, however. Worth going to just to people watch.

          For a great meal and some good people waching, try Hot Chocolate's, an upscale restaurant that becomes a hot nite spot for dancing. It's at Rte 1 and Oakland in Fort Lauderdale.


          1. re: Ed Nelson
            Jason Perlow

            Talk about responding to old posts...

            Yeah, we didn't know better until we went to Joe's and Billy's. I still like Rustic Inn for their Garlic Golden crabs though. It may be a dump but its still good eatins.

            When we cant get to florida we now order crabs via the internet at Catered our New Years party with this guy, excellent stuff from Florida and Texas.

            1. re: Ed Nelson

              Another place for stone crabs at a reasonable price is Captian Mike's on 441 and Griffin. All the fish is always fresh and the mustard sauce for the stone crabs is out of this world.