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Jun 4, 2008 08:35 AM

Best Food to be Found in Ft. Lauderdale

If you are like most people, you have not even heard of Valentino's or Kitchenetta in Fort Lauderdale.. they do not advertise, and quite frankly, they don't have to! The food is so good that you will wish someone had told you sooner!! Relax Sugar! Here's the Qween's suggestions:


I imagine that you have driven past this place before and never given it a second thought.. from the outside, few would. Nestled next to a T-Mobile store and a convenience store that sells porn and sodas, Valentino's quietly sits on US 1 in Fort Lauderdale roughly 1/2 block North from US1 and Davie intersection. (located in a shopping mall next to Blockbuster's). However, upon entering inside you will be transported to another world thanks in large part to the wonderful Italian cooking coming from the large open aired kitchen to your immediate left.

Ohh! I could go on for a while about the atmosphere, the wonderful, attentive staff, or the amazing wine list. But the true feature is the FOOD!! The specials are always wonderful and creative- the hogfish, if available, is a must. On the menu, the Sunday gravy is consistently amazing with rich, delicious flavors and a huge portion to eat the following day(s). As an appetizer, the butternut quash tortellini with crushed ammaretto cookies as garnish is breathtaking.

This is not a place for children or people who want a quick, cheap meal. This is real Italian cooking, made from scratch, and yes, that means it costs a little more. But, for a treat, it is beyond the right choice. Reservations are recommended and dress is business casual.


I truly thought that this place sold imported kitchen wares, and passed it routinely on my way North on US 1 towards Oakland Park. (Located across from the Harley Davidson dealership) 1/2 mile from Oakland intersection. However, once i went, i have gone over and over and over again!! (Atmosphere wonderful, free valet parking, outside seating, witty and attentive wait staff)

Again, this is amazing Italian food cooked in the traditional style... one side of the menu is Italian- the other English. The food choices are amazing, and the portions are HUGE and come in individual size (what i thought was family size!!) and family size (enough to feed a table of Alabama football players!!)

The specials are phenom, and change depending on what is in season. Always fresh, always delicious! However, the selection is routinely expansive and you will find that you have to narrow your choice down. As an appetizer, I would mandate that you try the Rissotto balls.. They will melt in your mouth and make you squeal with delight!! The salads are always fresh and the bread is baked to order on their open hearth!!

The prices at Kitchenetta are more afforable than those at Valentino's, and a table of 4 can usually expect to pay around 35 each, including wine.

Very casual environment, limited children running amuck.. A must do for a night out!!

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  1. Thank you! We are headed to Fort Lauderdale for vacation and I previously posted a request for recs. I am putting these on my "A" list.

    4 Replies
    1. re: crazyspice

      Ohh honey! You will not be disappointed!!! We take all of our out of town guests to both of these, and have yet to get a complaint! If you want something fun before you head to Kitchenetta, travel 1 mile more up the road to the Mai Kai. (Polynesian dinner theater opened 51 years ago). The food is ABSOLUTELY terrible, and should be avoided at all costs. However, the bar is made to look like the inside of a pirate ship and the drinks strong enough to make you giggle after a couple of sips! (Plus they come in ceramic mugs shaped like pirates, skulls, and tiki's- how can you say no?). Happy hour is 2 for 1, and should cover you all night!!

      1. re: magnoliaqween

        That sounds like a real trip! Thanks. I have a whole list of recs from other posters, so if you had to pick your top 5 great eats in Ft L, what would they be? You have to exclude these two. ;-)

        1. re: magnoliaqween

          I was sooooooooooo dissapointed in Mai Kai when I went. The food was worse than a 99 cent buffet at four star prices! ... but you are right, the drinks are great.

          1. re: gryphonskeeper

            this made me laugh, and feel sorry that no one told you sooner!! How DARE they charge such prices for microwaved dinners with a side of pineapple?

      2. I totally agree with Valentino's and have posted about it in the past. As far as Kitchenetta, I don't feel as strongly. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, there aren't many Italian places that have as good a value for the quality of food. And their Sunday sauce is also very tasty!

        6 Replies
        1. re: pilches

          I think Pilches hit it on the head- Kitchenetta is a good value for the quality (and quantity) of food. Did you try Kitchenetta's baby octopus? (i will not attempt to butcher the italian spelling)

          Of the top five places in FTL other than these two, I would think it depends on what type of food you are looking for.

          Some places i have found that i like and frequent often depending on mood:

          The Black and Blue Buffalo Burger is good at Shuck and Dive, although I loathe all of their other attempts at Southern and/or cajun food. Plus, the Abita is always good and cold...

          Doughboys- good, reliable standby for quick pizza or calzone dinner... not atmosphere and best as delivery or take-out. (I also like New River pizza, although their quality has gone down the last couple of times i ordered it).

          The Field's Irish pub consistently has good mussels in cream sauce and delicious fish and chips.. again, good cold beer doesn't hurt!

          Sukko Thai is fairly decent Thai food, although I have heard better comments on a Thai restaurant in Wilton Manners that i have yet to try...

          Royal India on Griffin- fairly good selection and prices accordingly.. some of the best Indian I have had in SoFla.

          Samba Room for appetizers and Mojitos..

          Nicer restaurants..

          This is harder, because I tend to go to Valentino's a lot.. and haven't been to many other finer establishments without some level of disapointment... i am always open to suggestions....

          1. re: magnoliaqween

            I agree with the Samba Room. Besides Valentino's we also like San Angel. If you like meat, Chima is very good. There have been many posts about it. We used to frequent Royal India until we made the "drive" and tried Heelsha in NMB. There's no comparison! Also good in FL are Canyon and Sunfish Grill.

            1. re: pilches

              The Field has gone down, so so badly! It used to be a once a week spot for me, but no more, I just get depressed. The last few times I ate there, the service was almost non-existant, and the food was too salty, or overcooked, or cold. Fish and chips are not good cold.

              1. re: pilches

                What type of food is San Angel- I like Chima as well, but its just too much meat sometimes.... and i LOVE meat!!

                I have tried Canyon- maybe i was there on an off night and need to re-visit?!?!

                I will re-visit Sunfish Grill- i think i had too many cocktails prior to dinner and it ruined my experience... dog-gone Maker's Mark...

                1. re: magnoliaqween

                  San Angel is very upscale Mexican. The chef is very creative and the service is generally excellent. Canyon is usually very good, but on weekends it gets really crowded and maybe that was your problem?

                  I would add to my list (not in a fine dining way) the Greek Island Taverna. We ate there again just recently and everything was wonderful. I'd love to find out the "secret" ingredient in the sauce for the shrimp.

              2. re: magnoliaqween

                If you like cajun - have you tried my favorite place in the area "Rosey Baby's" in Lauderhill on University Drive? Great New Orleans food, buckets of crawfish, gumbo, po-boys, bbq shrimp and lots more.

                Awesome music and drinks too. When I'm in that area, I at least have to go twice.


            2. I keep meaning to get to valentinos but they arent open on Mondays (date night) Do you know if they are related to the valentinos in the bronx? Same sign... Thanks for the recomendation! Cant wait to try it!

              2 Replies
              1. re: hungrygirlmiami

                I'm pretty sure this place is a tourist trap, but, check out Opa! I went there once and the food (Greek, obviously) wasn't bad. The best part is the atmosphere, where you can dance on the tables and throw napkins all over the place. Fun night out for the adults. By the way, Lexpatti - I recall you asking about the Symposium at Giorgio's in Milford. It's OUTSTANDING. If you tell the server that you're really into food, they make it extra special. Enjoy!

                1. re: manchesterfoodie

                  Very kool, I need to get there sometime soon. Thank you.

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