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Jan 17, 2009 02:15 PM

second guessing my choice Ft

i am a mature female traveling to Ft Lauderdale for one night. Staying on Ocean Ave and I do enjoy good food. Not a huge fish fan but like most ethnic , good American and seldom met an Italian meal or a ribeye I didn't like. Price for app entree ( w/o drink tax tip) about $50-60. I have cruised the Board and made online reservation at Casa D'Angelo requesting an outdoor table (a big plus as I am coming from single digit weather) Is their one food experience that
I am missing as a solo diner and I should choose instead? Mexican, Cuban ( I am from Boston) welcomed especially....Comfortable with bar seating as well. Thanks and I will report

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  1. well, casa d'angelo is great italian, but the outdoor seating faces the parking lot. not exactly the great florida outdoor seating you are looking for. you might want to do the outdoor seating at johnny v's on las olas - you can walk up and down las olas either before or after dinner. or you might want to do the outdoor seating at casablanca cafe which faces the ocean, although at night, the ocean is just black.

    16 Replies
    1. re: meb903

      Thanks meb ..on the food scale would you recommend JV over CBC ? And is there any very good Cuban in the area with outdoor seating..Have car will travel Priorities are 1) food 2) setting where I can enjoy the warmth ( in process of getting 8 inches of snow today) and 3) comfort solo dining Thanks again

      1. re: capeanne

        As a solo diner I would definitely go to Mortarano's on Oakland. This is the best Italian food and probably the best food I've ever had. The bar is fun and the restaurant entertaining. Trust me on this one you will not be disappointed and you will not feel out of place being alone as I think you would at Casa d'angelo. Check out their website at I'll be there myself on Thursday night with friends. I can taste the food now. Have fun!

        1. re: mavis

          Please post a follow up on Cafe Martorano! Heard he changed the dining concept and it is no longer as fun.

          The food is out of this world good but the atmosphere was also a big part.

          1. re: mavis

            Thanks for the rec Mavis but I think the prices knock it out of my expense account range ( 63 for veal chop and 42 for pork chop?) . The outdoor seating criterion is likely moot as the temps are gonna be sub 60 Wed . Does anyone have an opinion on Mario's Catalina for food and service or on Eduardo de San Angel for dining alone ?

            1. re: capeanne

              the food is better at johnny v's than at casablanca cafe & the people watching on las olas is better than looking at a black ocean, in my opinion. the food is excellent at eduardo san angel and it is a good atmosphere for a solo diner. it is a small place with excellent service. i have never eaten at mario's catalina so cannot speak to that one.

              1. re: meb903

                The food is better at Eduardo de San Angel than Mario's but I think Mario's would be more fun for a solo diner. The people there are very, very friendly, and the food is pretty good as well. Eduardo is lovely, but it's a very quiet restaurant.

                1. re: tlubow

                  By the way, I agree that the food is better at Johnny V and that the people watching will be much better on Las Olas than at either Mario's or Eduardo. There are at least 1/2 a dozen choices on Las Olas where you can eat in/out and have a pretty good meal.

                  1. re: tlubow

                    Thanks to evryone for your thoughts.I have focused on the chow "quest for excellent food" and cancelled Casa d' Angelo and booked Eduardo..the menu looks really unique and they were delightful when I called for a table for one..I will report

                    1. re: capeanne

                      You won't be disappointed at Johnny Vs or Eduardo de San Angel. Both have a very good focus on the ingredients and make great food. Johnny V is indeed a more "entertaining" dining spot, as there's lots to do on Las Olas and you will have a good time walking afterwards. Eduardo is more of a cozy atmosphere and a bit separated from everything else.

                      1. re: Icantread

                        I think I might be the only person on this site that was extremely underwhelmed by Eduardo de San Angel. I had fair expectations going in, but was very standard from appetizers to dessert. Not necessarily bad, but it definitely didn't warrant the praise it garners on here and other sites, IMO.

                        1. re: swoll50

                          I've nevefr heard of anyone who has dined at EdSA to be "underwhelmed."

                          Clue us in on how it failed to meet your standards.

                          1. re: floridan

                            Honestly, it just wasn't that great. It wasn't bad by any means, but everything from beginning to end didn't justify the praise that I'd read about since before I moved down here 3 years ago.

                            It wasn't memorable, I guess. There are certain places that you just don't forget. The grouper at Talula, for example. There was nothing at EdSA that stood out to me.

                            1. re: swoll50

                              There's not a whole lot of examples in there.

                              1. re: swoll50

                                Well, I cannot disagree with someone not liking a place. We are all entitled to our tastes. I can say some of the reasons it is so popular here and other boards:

                                The place is gourmet Mexican. I have not been to another restaurant in South Florida with a similar concept. Perhaps for someone from another area this is a stale concept, but I wish there were more of these.

                                Fresh ingredients and seasonal menu.
                                Quality portions and fair prices.
                                nice, elegant ambiance

                                I personally ate a stuffed pepper there once and its flavors exploded in my mouth. I also had a terrific cactus paddle another time.

                                1. re: Icantread

                                  yeah, that wasnt very descriptive. ill blow through a response at work and then forget to come back later and elaborate.

                                  The biggest part of my problem, I think, is that I'm originally from Dallas and much, much prefer Tex-Mex to gourmet mexican. FWIW, I also thought Canyon was overhyped and not as good as had been billed for "southwestern" cuisine. Even taking that into account, it still wasn't what I'd expect.

                                  Our reservation was lost. We arrived about 15 minutes before our scheduled time and none of the staff knew where we were supposed to be. Not a big deal, really, as it only took a couple extra minutes to get a table, but on a busier night it would've been a problem.

                                  We started with the crabcakes. This was probably the best part of our dinner. The crab, corn and chile sauce all worked together really well.

                                  The wife ordered the sauteed shrimp off the menu and I ordered the carne asada off the specials.

                                  Her shrimp weren't bad, but it wasn't anything to call home about or better than any of the 100 other, cheaper mexican restaurants we'v eaten at.

                                  My carne asada was overdone with a bland chimichurri sauce. The rice was fantastic, though. On second thought, the rice was probably the best part of the meal, not the crabcakes. :)

                                  Like I said above, it wasn't a terrible meal and if it were half the price I'd probably eat there a little more. I just can't justify $120+ for something that was no better than what I order down the sidewalk from my office in the back of a mexican grocery store for $8.

                                  1. re: swoll50

                                    <I'm originally from Dallas>
                                    That helps.
                                    Gourmet Mexican, gourmet or down-home, is not prolific in South Florida. Definitely not as prolific as in Texas, Arizona or California

        2. You will have a lovely evening at EdA. But as a solo diner, I'd go to Mario's Catalina. The food is not as exquisite, but it is very good. The pork asada is my favorite, or the fresh fish with white garlic sauce and baby shrimp, with flan for dessert. Be sure to order the housemade Sangria. You can get it by the half carafe, and you may find yourself oredering a second one. Mario will personally fuss over you, and you will feel like you are a guest in his private home.

          The inside is cozy and charming, with plenty of chandeliers and artwork. But you can also choose to sit on the tented terrace outside the entrance (back side, away from the street) if you wish to be outdoors. We've had some chilly nights recently, but they have lovely torchiere heaters there.

          Whichever you choose, you are certain to have a lovely evening. Next time, stay an extra night!

          1. With some fear of incurring the wrath of this Board here is my review. Arrived at 6:15pm and was second diner in what was an intimate and lovely room. Was greeted by name as I walked through the door and staff were extremely accomodating including a helpful tip regarding the strange meter arrangement for parking ( I avoided a ticket) .Was seated at a 4 top and immediately offered water of choice ( tap) and a beverage ( margarita which was delicious) specials recited and bread delivered. Yes those jalapeno cornbread muffins are wonderful. I chose 2 specials: pork carnita and carne asada . The carnita was a substantial portion with perfectly pulled pork , tortilla with refried beans and various toppings incl tomatillo sauce that had a nice kick. It was bright , flavorful and most enjoyable. The service remained prompt throughout the meal and I wanted for nothing. Perhaps I ordered badly but the carne asada to my taste was too reminiscent of the carnita. Yes marinated steak ( and a good portion) but accompaniements were very similar in taste and composition to the app. Can't blame the restaurant for my choices but wish I had known enough to order something more diverse as I hardly consumed 1/3rd of the dish . It wasnt at all memorable and the steak was somewhat tough but that could be the side effect of too much of a similar thing. Dessert tray was brought and I chose the flan thing that was served not in the martini glass as displayed on the tray but rather a substantial portion in a bowl. It was fine again but just fine. Biggest minuses for me: the service was excellent but a bit too casual as I was constantly called by my first name even from the waiter a few tables away..e.g." Jane is everything ok? " So the entire room heard the question , my name and the response. And at one point my waiter was explaining the carne asada special to the next table and proceeded to move the flowers , candle etc to the side on my table so they could oogle mine. And finally my bad in that while reciting the specials prices were not stated and I didnt ask ( my fault clearly) but they were also clearly the high end of the menu prices at 18 for carnita ( worth it) and 32 for carne ( not) I could also be guilty of unrealistic expectations from all I had read about mind blowing food . Would I return ? yeah but not go out of my way and would explore many of the other recs in this thread for which I thank you. Final tab for app, main, desert, margarita and glass of red $90. before tip. Thanks again for all your responses..Mario's next time me thinks

            1 Reply
            1. re: capeanne

              Can't argue with either of those descriptions you guys posted. I've never had the carne asada there, so maybe it's just a rather unimpressive dish. Thanks much for the great detail, though - I'll have to get down to Eduardo's soon and report back. :-D