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Starving in Ft. Lauderdale

Just moved to the area and have tried several of the hugley touted "great' eating establishments and have been roayally disappointed. Wasn't impressed with Blue moon, Casablanca, etc. Are there any wonderful secret spots where food reigns supreme and someone in the kitchen really knows their stuff? Coming from Boston and Montreal I have been spoiled.

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  1. Try Valentino's on US 1, about 2 blocks north of the Mercedes dealer. Also for something quick and bar-food like, try South Port Raw Bar on Cordova off 17th, also across the street is Quarterdeck, which is decent sometimes. Five Guys burgers and Fries is in the Plaza on Cordova south of 17th. On State Road 84 about a mile west of US 1 is a diner called Lester's thats not bad. Other places to try are Tom Jenkins BBQ, Shuck and Dive, and El Jibarito. Further south in Hollywood (about 10 minutes from Ft. Lauderdale) Chinatopia is pretty good, as is Beefeater.

    I came down here from Boston too, and am mostly disappointed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: brandon_w

      Thanks for these recommendations - they are all new to me so will definitely try them. Have you any good suggestions for food shopping - the Whole Foods on N. Federal is not nearly as good as the ones I had access to in Boston. Also missing Formaggio Kitchen.

      1. re: brandon_w

        Agree with Valentino's. Have you guys tried Kelley's Landing? It's next to Southport and all Boston. I'm a Yankee fan but tolerate this place b.c they have great fried clam bellies and chowder.

        1. re: The Chowfather

          I second the clam bellies and the absolutely best chowda!

      2. Casa D'Angelo's on North Federal is good for Italian,
        Canyon is good for Southwest,
        Anythony's Pizza on South Federal is good for Pizza,
        3030 Ocean is good for Seafood,
        China Grill is good for upscale Chinese,

        6 Replies
        1. re: Sobe4u

          Love Tom Jenkins - miss great BBQ
          Johnny V' s on Las Olas - great cheese plates and truffle fries
          River House is pretty good too
          South Port Raw Bar has great raw clams and oysters ..Cheap and Cheerful and still get fresh seafood
          Lesters has been around forever....great pickels

          1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

            Sorry - I think I answered the wrong one. Miss good BBQ too so will get down to Tom Jenkins - that on ekeeps coming up on the radar screen and sound like it's th ebest around here. Lok slike I have to venture futher and fet donw to Cordova - seems as though there is a lot doing there. Thanks.

          2. re: Sobe4u

            Thanks! I've been to 3030 and China Grill and agree with your suggestion. I've been leary about trying Casa D'angelo - too much hype - but might venture there.

            1. re: DolceFarNiente

              Hi, If you are from Boston try Da Campo by Todd English - italian food, mozzarella pulled tableside. It just opened a couple of weeks ago.

              1. re: orchardal

                I forgot about Da Campo -- thats a really good place too

                1. re: orchardal

                  Yes thanks - I knew he was opening and will be going there very shortly!

            2. try Galanga in Wilton Manors (Zagat rated excellence) best sushi/thai in Broward
              try Kitchenetta on U.S. 1 South of Oakland Park Blvd. my favorite Italian
              many swear by Cafe Mortarano,food is outstanding,crowd a little too full of itself.

              12 Replies
              1. re: grayyak

                Thanks so much - have been curious about Kitchenetta but their web site it rather strange and doesn't post a mneu - just their philosophy. Will give it a try. I have hear that Galanga is terrific and will also get there.

                1. re: DolceFarNiente

                  Try 4 rivers in the same strip center as Casa D Angelo....very upscale Thai.

                  1. re: dlgc

                    Great - thanks so much. Never even noticed it and I am there al the time. Sounds great.

                    1. re: dlgc

                      Four Rivers is alright but the food is much too expensive for what it is... they take traditional Thai dishes like chicken skewers and pad thai and just charge 3x as much for them. They even charge for white rice and you only get a tiny little dish of it.

                        1. re: Sobe4u

                          Sobe4u....sorry to disagree with you, we had dinner there last weekend and they don't even have pad thai on the menu. Their food is far superior and upscale than any thai restaurant that we have been to in south Florida. It is much like the thai restaurants we have enjoyed in Bangkok. How long ago has it been since your last visit.

                          1. re: dlgc

                            Even though it looks a little pricey I will try as I got one of their menus and it looks a little more innovative than others that I have seen. I did notice that ther e was no Pad Thai on the menu - interesting.

                            1. re: dlgc

                              Glad you enjoyed it -- I haven't been there since the week they opened so its been a long time, maybe its gotten better.

                              1. re: Sobe4u

                                I don't think Four Rivers has ever served Pad Thai; their menu has always been more contemporary fusion. Perhaps you're mistaking it for another place?

                              2. re: dlgc

                                I ran into it opening week or month as well (I remember because they gave us complementary champagne) and while the flavors were maybe 'cleaner' than traditional thai places I've been to, and there were a few tweaks, I didn't quite come away satisfied for what I paid. Beautiful place, however.

                                1. re: Icantread

                                  thai spice on east commercial - great spot, consistent
                                  village pump and village grille - lauderdale by the sea - you'll feel like you're back in beantown
                                  3030 in the harbor beach marriott
                                  agree w/kelley's landing
                                  best ocean visual - upstairs, outside on the picnic tables at the Seawatch for cocktails and raw bar - a-1-a lauderdale by the sea
                                  shuck n dive for legit cajun - sunrise blvd just south of searstown
                                  have fun!

                                  1. re: lvnddream

                                    Thanks - great suggestions. We seem to have succumbed to the scene at Aruba cafe at Lauderdale By The sea. Lots of fun and pretty good consistently well prepared food. I will try some of the others. We had been told about the Village Grille being headquarters for Pats and Sox fans! 3030 was excellent but believe it or not I never went to Kelley's in Boston an dmight not make it there here either. Shuck n Dive sounds good so will also try that. We live right near Lemongrass on N. Fed and that has been a good Thai source but will also try Thai Spice.

                      1. I also forgot to mention Il Mulino on Sunrise for good low priced italian food (entrees run $12-$20)

                        1. I am also new to area (Actually Miami Beach) and lived in Asia for a while. Is Four Rivers really that good? Is it open? I have tried to call two different numbers and get no answer? Weird, right?

                          1. Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, it has multiple locations, but the original on Federal Highway is still the best. The pizza choices are not the usual and include a cheesesteak pizza, an eggplant pizza with no cheese. The crust is thin and crisp with the wonderful char from the coal oven. The wings are amazing, also cooked in the coal fired oven and covered in carmalized onions.

                            1. Dolce:

                              Do try Four Rivers. Lovely service -- the co-owner/hostess, Paula, is one of the best front-of-house managers I've ever found -- and the food is extremely inventive. There are some app-entree combinations you shouldn't try, or else you're in for an extremely tangy night with not a lot of variance, but you can't lose with the lychee/spiced pineapple foie gras and the Niman Ranch pork chop. And the desserts! Holy god. Try the kaffir and lime leaf flan with the homemade lemongrass sorbet if you can only have one, but if you're splurging, just get 'em all.

                              Other places worth trying:

                              I think Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza is good, but a little overrated. For a better pie, try Pomodoro on Commercial Boulevard. They've got a wood oven instead of a coal, but it doesn't matter a whit. Lovely pizza.

                              Marumi Sushi, near the intersection of Sunrise and Oakland Park Boulevard, serves the most authentic and the freshest Japanese you'll get in Broward County, and I daresay it's a little better than Yakko-San in North Miami. Similar concept, though -- Marumi was started by the dude who created Yakko-San's menu. If you go to Marumi, ask about their whole fish -- on request, they'll turn, say, a whole skipjack into a serving of tataki, a serving of ceviche, and a stir-fry. Or a hog snapper into usuzukuri, sushi, ceviche, and a slightly different stirfry. Or a lobster into sashimi, a serving of tail in a brown mushroom-reduction/butter mix, and soup (for the brains and claws).

                              For good American food, Alligator Alley on Commercial Boulevard does out-of-this-world fried oyster po' boys and some very fine alligator tenders. Good jazz on Wednesdays, too. (And don't forget to drink the Fin du Monde! Glorious Canadian beer.)

                              Gorgeous, inventive, organic, Kosher sushi will blow minds at Cafe Emunah . . .

                              Cafe Seville on Oakland Park does nice things with Spanish peasant food . . .

                              By Word of Mouth on Dixie Highway does very old-fashioned fine dining in an atmosphere so quaint it's almost a shame to go without bringing along a parent or three, 'cuz they'll enjoy it way more than you will (though you'll enjoy it quite a lot) . . .

                              On Las Olas, Bova Prime is the new culinary home of Chef Toby Joseph, late of Cero, and he's doing gorgeous, clean treatments of a surprisingly simple array of ingredients: langostines, calamari (three ways!), lobster . . . I think the lobster francaise with asparagus risotto is worth twice the price, and -- please take my word on this -- it's greatly enhanced by a pairing with Joseph's semi-charred, truffle-oil laced mac'n'cheese.

                              Also, they do a perfect martini. And they've got Hendricks gin! How nice to have somebody stock good gin. Most places -- say, the new Todd English joint on the beach -- totally neglect anything more obscure than Tanq 10.

                              - BKT

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bkthorp

                                Four Rivers is closed now -- there is a new Asian Fusion / Thai place going in there called Origins or something similar to that.