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Great eateries in Pompano Beach?

Am a travelling Brit heading over to FL and specifically lodging for a week in Pompano Beach.

Taking the folks with me because they absolutely love America, specifically the microbreweries and theme parks (what a dream combination!)

Anyway I'm tasked with the enjoyable duty of hunting down some great places to eat. We're generally the downhome type, not bothered about anywhere too fancy - good wholesome food (by that I mean anything tasty, not grains and pulses!) is the way forward.

Anyone got any great recommendations for this area? Had a good scout round the board but didn't find anything specific to PB.

Thanks a million - great site!

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  1. For a real red sauce Italian, try Gianni's --I think it's on Atlantic Blvd
    There's also a Cafe Romantico for excellent Italian food in a very cosy atmosphere.
    If you want great breakfast or luch, try the Galley Grill--it's right next to the Lighthouse Point Marina (you can google it or try information)--hard to find but really nice atmosphere right on water. You can even feed the tarpon at the end of the marina.
    Great Cuban food (I think the best around) at Little Havana Too on Federal Highway.

    1. Well stormy there's a good deal to choose from in the area so here are some of my favorites (in no particular order)

      For seafood (and a non-touristy local joint) try Calypso in Pompano Beach (460 South Cypress Road 954-942-1633.) It's in an old strip mall near the laundromat but this is really good Caribbean seafood at moderate (for So Fla) prices. Great pepperpot soup and conch chowder as well (http://www.calypsorestaurant.com/

      )

      Another favorite in the non-touristy local joint category is Catfish Dewey's in Oakland Park (4003 N. Andrews Ave, 954-566-5333. Southern-style cooking (a rarity in So Fla) and of course great fried catfish (http://www.catfishdeweys.com)

      For breakfast, try Duffy's Diner (3305 N Federal Hwy at Cypress Creek Rd 954-782-1121) or the Red Fox Diner (3640 N Federal Hwy, Lighthouse Point 954-783-7714

      )

      Go west to Rt 441 and a little south to find some of the best Thai food in the area at Bangkok Palace (4345 N. State Road 7, Lauderdale Lakes, 954-733-0069)

      If you want authentic Mexican, try Taqueria Dona Raquel (793 S. Dixie Highway West Pompano Beach 954-946-4490.) Search the board there's a lot written about this place.

      High-end for dinner - Sunfish Grill (2761 East Oakland Park Blvd 954-564-6464) Great seafood.

      Try searching the Florida board (above: Florida Search this board | Show topic options) using Pompano. There are a lot recommendations.

      1. Sticking to the Pompano Beach area, try Cap's Place Island Restaurant -- a taste of old Florida (supposedly Winston Churchill dined on Cap's food when he was staying in the area during WWII) -- a bit difficult to find, but its website has specific directions.

        I have to agree with the recommendation for Calypso -- very good seafood and Caribbean dishes; good selection of beers, too.

        Speaking of beers, try a little comparision dining with one of the better "pub grub" spots -- the Frog & Toad, on Powerline Road, south of Cypress Creek Rd. Food is much better ever since the old owners (Scots) sold out to the Brits. All the old favorites.

        A bit west of Pompano is a very good small Italian restaurant -- "Pasta And." Very imaginative pasta dishes by the owner-chef. On West Atlantic Blvd., just east of Banks Road.

        If you've a mind for Greek, try Christiana's on Atlantic Blvd, just east of Federal Hwy. Unpretentious but tasty dishes without the showbiz of some other Greek restaruants. Another owner-chef place.

        1. Have to disagree with "floridian" re: Cap's place...the best thing about it is it's historic building and the boat ride over there. The food is less than stellar.
          Agree wholeheartedly regarding Calypso for seafood (island style, friendly and casual atmosphere) and Gianni's for Italian (can be pricey depending on what you order, but food delicious and includes their house salad with balsamic vinegar and crumbled gorgonzola; just yummy).
          Would also add a few long time local, casual, inexpensive places: For decent chinese food try Peking Duck on Atlantic in Pompano; or for wings try Chez Porky's (bwteen dixie and cypress road), and down the street is Jack's Hamburgers and Celito Lindo's (for mexican). And for Indian try Cafe Madras on Powerline.
          More upscale (and much more expensive) is the Bragozzo at the track casino.

          You didn't say exactly what kind of food or ambiance you're looking for...that would help narrow down the choices.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JulieF

            If you ever try the Crab Cakes, you will not say no to Cap's Place.. They are Amazing.. I agree the chowder is not so great, but I enjoy the hearts of palm salad, and last time I was there I had a Wahoo special with a lemon caper sauce that was fantastic.

            Chez Porky's is IMO over-rated, but across the street is Wings and Things, and they have some pretty authentic old school wings.

            Catfish Dewey's is nice as well.

            Take Sushi On Atlantic Blvd is good if you like sushi. Very friendly with good, fresh fish.

            Bonefish Macs has pretty good food, and a lively atmosphere on Sample just east of Federal,

            If you are in the mood for Cheesteak. Spanky's Cheesteak Factory on State Road 7, just south of Atlantic is very good. If you want a little something different, the Rueben Philly is good.

            I've heard really good things about Guacho Rodizio Just north of Sample on Federal Highway, I've never been there, but everyone I've talked to about it has raved.

          2. Sorry ...just posted and thought of a couple more places in Pompano --
            for pizza (and good steamers -- that's steamed clams) go to Umberto's on Atlantic Blvd. south side just before the intracoastal; And also for grilled wings and salad (some like their charred pizza too) try Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza on Federal Hwy (Route 1).

            1. Thanks everyone for all the top recommendations. We're staying at the Wyndham Palm-Aire which is kinda outta town so we'll be doing PLENTY of driving (which is a shame, since both myself and pops enjoy a beer, so we'll just have to toss a coin since mama ain't playing ball when it comes to driving in FL!)

              I guess we all love trying new stuff - we're all into Mexican, Greek, burger/rib joints, international fare, that kinda thing. All these recommendations are fly!

              14 Replies
              1. re: stormywhether

                You're not that far out of town as you think...it's north of Cypress Creek (equal to 62nd Street) in Fort Lauderdale and just south of Atlantic Blvd in Pompano Beach.The hotel is off Powerline Road (this is the equivalent of West 9th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale). You're an easy on/off for I-95 and for the turnpike and a quick 15/20 minutes from the airport and all of downtown Lauderdale.There are a number of restaurants within 10 minutes or less! Just down the street is Madras Cafe (Indian; east side of Powerline) and a decent cuban restaurant (same side as hotel; west side of Powerline); For breakfast you can try Bagel Snack (same side as hotel; south on west side of Powerline)Across the street and north to Atlantic are a number of fast food joints (McDonalds,KFC, Golden Corral, etc.) if you must... And very short drives to other good food places mentioned on Atlantic or near it.

                1. re: stormywhether

                  If you're near Powerline and Atlantic, try Madras Cafe. i had an excellent Indian dinner there last week on a trip in the area for 2 nights. Was the only one in th eplace at 6:30 (been on the road all day and starving. Tamarind Shrimp as a dinner was outstanding. As were the samosas and bahias(ms).

                  Also had a great BBQ at Tom Jenkins but it's a bit our of your way. Wish I had known about the Calypso. Next time through.

                  1. re: crewsweeper

                    Just as an FYI, Calypso is now only open during the week for lunch and dinner. That means no Saturday or Sundays, but they've added in Monday's (when they used to be closed) as well.

                    1. re: JulieF

                      Is this just during off season? I can't believe they won't be open on the weekends! :O

                      1. re: OysterHo

                        This is supposedly permanent. Chuck and Laura have bought out former co-owners Jackie and Mike. Chuck's always wanted to have two days off in a row. They do a huge lunch crowd and Friday nights.So, if it's lucrative enough and pays the bills...

                        1. re: JulieF

                          Has anyone else been to Calypso since the change in owners?

                          My wife and I have been semi-regular customers for over 10 years but haven't been back since they closed on the weekends. Tonight was our first visit since the new owners took over and I'm sorry to say I can't recommend Calypso anymore. It's not that dinner was bad, it just wasn't as good as in the past.

                          For appetizers Karen had the conch fritters (which she has frequently ordered in the past) and while they were tasty and well spiced, she noted that there was less conch and more filling than usual. I had the pepper pot soup which is my favorite and while it still tasted good, the soup was thinner with less meat.

                          Calypso used to make a killer ginger salad dressing loaded with ginger but now, the dressing is more like a Russian dressing with lots of garlic and no noticeable ginger.

                          For dinner, Karen had the stuffed shrimp which were very good with real crab meat and bacon. Although it hasn't been available for three years (since Wilma) I always ask if they have flying fish. Our waitress (who was excellent by the way) said no, but they now do dolphin in the same style (marinated, lightly breaded and fried.) The dolphin was four smallish pieces, enough for dinner but pricey at $21.95 for fried dolphin. The fish had a nice flavor from the marinade but the breading on two of the pieces was very salty. This and two 10 oz. beers was $65 plus tip.

                          I guess if we were first-time customers this would have been a good meal (with the exception of the salty breading.) But (and I hate to use this phrase) it just isn't as good as it was.

                          1. re: RickL

                            Sorry....but what new owners? Chuck and Laura -- who were the co-owners from the beginning are now the sole owners -- and they are they SAME people as before running Calypso. They just bought out the other couple (Mike was looking to retire and spending more time in Barbados...).

                            I did hear there was a temporary change in the salad dressing recipe -- but they've since gone back to the old formula. And most of the other recipes are the same as before. It's mainly the specials board where they experiment...

                            And yes, it's a bit more expensive than it used to be...but this has nothing to do with the ownership. Almost all restaurants are more expensive -- higher food costs, especially in seafood, are affecting everyone.

                            1. re: JulieF

                              JulieF - Well, to me if one set of co-owners buys out the other then it's a change of ownership although I don't know what roles Jackie and Mike had compared to Chuck and Laura and that really wasn't my point. When I used the term "new owners" I guess I should have said said it was our first visit since the change in ownership. When we decided to go to Calypso two weeks ago I wasn't concerned about the ownership. We were both looking forward to going back to one of our favorite restaurants in SoFla.

                              I wrote the above reply because my wife and I had a disappointing experience for the first time in over ten years of going to Calypso and it wasn't based solely on the price. Calypso has never been the least expensive place for fish but it has always been consistently very good. This meal was not and I was looking for others on the board to share their recent experiences.

                              1. re: RickL

                                My understanding was that obvioulsy, the ladies (Jackie and Lora) ran the FOH and Chuck and Mike the back of the house. AFAIK both Chuck and Mike did recipe creation, cooking, and purchasing (especially the fresh seafood). In the old days I'd see Chuck sometimes make several trips a day to a local seafood wholesaler. I will have to go soon and check this out myself, but I'll be shocked if this was anything more than a one-time fluke bad experience.

                                Side Note: I kept an old menu from the weekCalypso opened back in March/April 1990 and yes, the prices have gone up. It's funny to see so many things for $2.95 (conch chowder, fritters, 10 wings, Bahamaian Rum Rhunners) etc. Plus "live music Saturday night". At the same time I also found one from Creolina circa 1992 with 2 weeks of lunch specials - price? $4.95 and this included shrimp, roast beef, you name it!

                                1. re: CFByrne

                                  CFB - I really hope this was a fluke. Make sure you post your impressions to this thread. We will go back again at some point (so many restaurants, so little time and money) just to be sure.

                                  Does your menu from Creolina's include the Sunday Brunch. I really miss that.

                                2. re: RickL

                                  Thanks to all you regulars in Pompano area, my husband and I ate our first, but not our last, meal at Calypso's last night. For a Monday evening, the place was jumping and when it came to wait staff, I mean that literally. Christie took very good care of us at the bar and manage to tend several booths as well as those eating at the bar.

                                  Calypso's reminded us of Florida 15 years ago when these small, family run seafood places were easier to find than chain restaurants.

                                  Fresh fish on the boards were dolphin, tuna, wahoo and snapper. Oysters and clams were listed raw or steamed. Neighbors at the bar declared the wahoo they ate as outstanding.

                                  As we are getting older our appetites are smaller so I ordered the shrimp and roasted corn fritters which came crispy on the outside and a soft inside and a sauce served on the side was as good as it gets. In memory of many happy trips to Barbados, my husband chose Roti with the tasty beef and potatoes in a curry sauce in an empanada-type crust. He also had the homemade flan which was delicious and satisfied his sweet tooth.

                                  It is obvious that Calypso is a locals place since Lora and Chuck greeted almost everyone by name and everyone seemed to know everyone else. Toward the end of our meal, Chuck introduced himself and we made sure we chatted a few minutes with Lora before we left.

                                  For business reasons, we regularly travel the Eastern Time Zone of Florida and the last thing I do before we leave home in N. Fla. is to search this bord for recommendations. I am an infrequent poster but long-time member.

                                  Thanks again to all you regulars who keep us and others updated with the restaurant scene.

                              2. re: RickL

                                We were curious about reports that at Calypso “things were different” since the change in ownership (from 4 long-time owners to 2 long-time owners), so my wife and I dropped in the other night.

                                Well, I am obligated to report back honestly - things have indeed changed.

                                When we sat down at the counter, I was immediately told one of the draft beer kegs had run out and the backup was still warm - so I had to resort to a plan B beer from my “usual”.

                                Other than that very minor flaw on the night, Calypso, if anything, is BETTER than ever. That’s the only change we noticed.

                                I don’t know if it’s because I was away for about a year (after moving from nearby Pompano up to Delray), and so I “missed it”, or if the flavors truly are more explosive than ever before… but in either case, we were blown away.

                                In business, there’s a principal called incremental degradation. Left unchecked, things have a tendency to slowly fall apart (like entropy). But these changes for the worse are typically small and gradual, so those closest to the operation don’t even notice them.

                                But if you are an “outsider”, and you haven’t looked at this system for a while, it’s clear as day when you come back after being away.

                                This principal often applies to processesed food – for example let’s say (just for a made-up example) that you don’t try Lea and Perrins worstershire sauce for three years and then open a bottle and you instantly realize it’s watery because they stopped using real tamarind and several other ingredients one at a time. No one noticed when they removed one each time. But you feel the effects of removing 3 or 4 all at once and it’s shockingly obvious.

                                Incremental degradation also applies to restaurants. A store opens, it’s all exciting, everyone is on the ball. You come back a few years later and the magic is clearly gone.

                                So I’m always a bit frightened to go back to a place that “used to be great”. But our experience at Calypso this week was just the opposite. Instead of any degradation we were pleasantly surprised at every turn at how good everything was. (“Why did we stop coming here again?” was sort-of the question of the night).

                                We ordered several of our favorite old standbys on purpose. Conch Fritters, Pork Havana Nuevo, and my downscale-but-beloved Jerk Wings.

                                The conch fritters were great. I have my own recipe that I’ve been making for years and it’s pretty darn good. But when I bit into Calyspo’s, I realized something. It was the flavor I’ve been attempting to re-create all this time at home since I first tried theirs way back in 1990. I can come close but definitely no cigar. Calypso’s are the best. We received a nice sized portion and they seemed to have plenty of conch – no small accomplishment given how the price of conch has gone trough the roof.

                                My wife’s side salad that came with dinner had the ginger dressing and she said it was excellent (I was busy washing down the fritters and hot Matouk’s sauce with a cold beverage).

                                The jerk wings were as good as ever, hot and juicy and perfectly matched with the cooling green peppers and honey mustard sauce. These wings were my introduction to jerk way back in the early 90’s and it’s still as good as ever. I’m sure they are still using Walkerswood and that’s always been the best in my book.

                                Wife had the Pork Havana Nuevo. I think we first had this at Norman Van Aken’s years ago. Now, it was wonderful again. The tasty black sauce served over black beans and rice – wow. And then I grabbed one of the fried plantains. OMG. These were ridiculous. So sweet and flavorful – these alone are remarkable and would probably make a nice dessert in fact.

                                The atmosphere was as fun and welcoming as always, the service flawless. Sure, the prices have gone up - but where haven’t they?

                                And yes, we have known the owners for a long time. But Chuck and Lora have always treated everyone equally. This might annoy some regulars who expect special favors but when you think about it, treating some people “special” means others get “less special” treatment. And here, I think the policy has always been that “EVERYONE gets the best treatment”.

                                Considering all that you get, Calypso remains one of the real shining gems on the South Florida dining scene.

                                1. re: CFByrne

                                  Oh yes, I forgot about dessert. Keeping up with the "old standby's" theme, we ordered the Key Lime Pie. Now I have three sisters who have lived in the Islamorada area for nearly 20 years, so I've had a little key lime pie in my time.

                                  I don't know (or care) if they make it or import it, but the key lime pie at Calypso is my favorite anywhere.

                      2. re: stormywhether

                        Since you like beer, I'd also you go a little south to Commercial then head east till you get to Aligator Alley, they have a lot of beers you don't see every day. Don't be fooled if there for dinner, their food is good, but the crowd doesn't start there till late, as they have live (and extremely varied) music almost every night.

                        http://www.southflorida.com/dining/23...

                        See the music schedule and more at

                        http://www.alligatoralleyflorida.com/

                      3. A little late reading the post, but if you (and your friends) like beer and good food look no further than Brother Tuckers--check out the Ratebeer.com reviews here:

                        http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPl...

                        Belgian-inspired food and a very solid selection of brews, many from Belgium but also some quality American micros. Really one of the gems of South Florida on both accounts--the seafood specials are cooked to perfection, well-executed, and exceptionally creative with the ingredients. This is not an average beer bar.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: flnative

                          Brother Tuckers is little-known, even among locals, but the food is very good. I'm not sure I would characterize the food as "Belgian-inspired," but that's no knock.

                          It's one of theose places you want to tell people about, but hope it doesn't catch on to the extent you then have trouble finding a table (not a problem now).

                          1. re: floridan

                            Thanks for the tip.. I'm taking my wife to Brother Tuckers tonight for dinner. I'll try to post how it was.

                            1. re: kluemaster

                              kluemaster: How was Brother Tuckers? We will be in Pompano at the end of this week. Thanks - and thanks for your area reports.

                              1. re: yayajac

                                We went, but were running close to time on our Movie, and they (THANK GOODNESS) told us it would be about 45 minutes for food, as there were no tables available. Ended up at Christina's down the street (Good local Mederterranian/Greek) We will be back to try BT's

                                1. re: yayajac

                                  Sorry for the delayed report but we finally went. It took 2 tries to find the place -- seems they're only open Thursdays through the weekend. There's only parking around back; you'll see the sign for the subshop next door -- but no sign for Brother Tuckers on back door. Anyhow, we were surprised that food was as good as it was!
                                  My husband had one of the board specials -- turned out to be medjoul dates stuffed with cheese, along with 4 nice size grilled scallops. The sauce on it was a mango based one. He said it was very tasty! I just tried their barbecued pork sandwich. The slices of pork are generous and bathed in a kicky sauce served on sour dough bread. You have your choice of sides. I had their house salad -- a mix of greens with blue cheese and a balsamic vineagrette -- wonderful! Not many people there when we went -- a few at the back counter; and about 5 people at the front bar; along with a guy at one of the other tables. Place is very small...but worth stopping by for a beer and a snack..

                              2. re: floridan

                                what exactly do they serve at BT's? can you give us some sample menu items? i tried to go on line and check them out but couldn't find food menu...clueless in pompano, i guess....

                                1. re: JulieF

                                  I just stumbled (no pun intended) into this gem a few days ago, and have already gone back. It is easy to miss if you blink. It is on the last block of Atlantic, just before you hit A1A, and as indicated, there is free parking at the rear of the building, and you can walk through the kitchen (which is the door next to the sub place.) All of the food is creative, freshly prepared, and so far delicious. I had a grilled chicken sandwich, with salsa, pepper jack cheese, and jalapenos, on great bread. I went with the side pasta salad, which was also very good.

                                  Their beer selection is top knotch. Around four good unusual (meaning no Bud, Miller, Corona) beers on tap, and maybe fifty to sixty or so more in bottles. The selection leans toward Belgian, which is fine with me, but they also have a wide variety of US microbrews, and other European beers, with a few others from more diverse locales. The staff knows the food, and the beer, and could not have been friendlier and nicer to someone that they had never seen before. The chef/owner, Steve, really seems to know what he is doing. Beside the standard menu, which is not huge, maybe a dozen items, there are blackboard specials every day. This will be a new regular hangout, for both the food and beer, for me.

                                  ETA: They are only open Thursday thru Sunday at this time.