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Alright Ft. Lauderdale, lets hear about some cheap(er) eats!

So we just moved to Ft. Lauderdale and have eaten at a few "nice" restaurants that have been more of the same old crap. I have given up on fine dining and "high end". I think that the seasonality of this part of the country lends itself to be invaded by money hungry restauranteurs that know that mediocre food will turn a profit because the snowbirds will eat just about anything, especially if there is a gimmick i.e. buy one, get one free. O.K. off my soap box.

We are looking for the best FOOD. Not necessarily the best service or atmosphere but the best grub. Cuban, BBQ, Jamaican, Thai, Vietnamese, southern, etc. Local gems that define the region and people. You get my drift?

Sorry if i come off a little harsh but we moved from Houston which for the most part is chain infested and thrives on the "more food is better food" mentality. Houston has good food but the majority of the restaurants are a monopoly of corporate mediocracy.

I'd love to hear what you think...... what you really think.

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  1. Being from NYC, I grew up on greek diners. The best one down in S. Florida is Lester's Diner, the 24x7 one on SR-84 near US 1. Many of the dishes are excellent and they do all their own bread and dessert baking on-site. Still a good buy. Also, another greek diner is Peter Pan on Oakland Park Blvd also 24x7. Generally, S. Florida is not known for cleanest restaurants, if you watch Ch. 10 news exposes with the health violations. I prefer chains, like Cheesecake Factory or Outback, that you know has national standards.

    Lester's Diner
    250 W State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

    1 Reply
    1. re: jusrelax

      Don't forget, channel 10 sells airtime. Those health violations are bogus(mostly). The local health department officials know as much about food production as I know about rocket science. Can you tell I have had issues with them in the past?!

      Thank you for the info on the diners. I went to school in NY and also love the diners. Best late night food around! Those greeks know how to run diners thats for sure.

      I worked at an Outback Steakhouse in my adolescence and believe me, they are under much less scrutiny than the mom and pop places. Support the little man.

    2. There are dozens of "best ____ food" threads here if you search, but I'll toss in a few of my current faves that don't get much attention. Most of these are probably outside the comfort zone for those who prefer big chains:

      Vietnamese - Phuong Nam 6672 NW 57th St. Tamarac (just off Commercial Blvd.)

      Mediterranean - Dimasi Sweets 7794 NW 44th St. Sunrise - Mostly carry-out, though there are a few tables and the owner is super-friendly & accommodating...

      Chinese - Golden Rice Bowl 3276 N State Rd 7 Lauderdale Lakes - total hole in the wall, but a dining counter flanks the kitchen and it's fun to sit there during lunch and watch the chef crank out orders. There are two much better options for Chinese just north of here, but interesting nonetheless.

      Peruvian - La Granja - various locations - a local franchise, but cheap and very consistently good food.

      Middle Eastern - Al-Salam 1816 N University Drive Plantation

      3 Replies
      1. re: Semprini

        Some suggestions that come to mind:
        Candela: Search this site for other reviews of Candela
        Tom Jenkins BBQ
        Zona Fresca: Burrito/taco place
        Hot Dog Heaven:
        Jerk Machine:

        I have a bunch of other cheaper lunch places on my blog below:

        1. re: danb73

          Dirty is allways around,, just remember,,hot grease will kill anything!

          Here are some decent places for a decent price.
          Cuban= las Colinas on alexander with great breakfeasts.
          Jamaican = The place behind the metro terminal on federal and 115th Some one tell me the name!
          American southern= catfish deweys
          Thai on the beach = good view, good price
          La brasa = peruvian in plantation

          1. re: mountdorahound

            im replying to an old post, i know, but the name of the jamaican place behind the central bus terminal is Jerk Machine, part of a small chain.

      2. South Port Raw Bar is great for happy hour- half price raw oysters, right on a busy canal. That, and Tark's in Dania are your basic cheap Florida seafood places.

        Heading up to Pompano for Mexican food at Dona Raquel is worth the drive!

        3 Replies
        1. re: dbarnard

          Agree on Catfish Deweys.
          I've heard Don Raquels is great but I've never made it inside. I've heard they only hablo espanol. Is that true?


          1. re: danb73

            Dona Raquel is DA BOMB, and one doesn't need to speak much Spanish to order the best stuff there, tacos al pastor, sopes, and to drink, get the horchata.

            1. re: elgringoviejo

              Went to Don Raquel today. Awesome, Loved the tacos al pastor and the fruit waters. The menu is now in Spanish and English.


        2. Rosey Baby is Lauderhill (i think) is a popular place for Cajun. It's on University north of Oakland Park Blvd. Good restaurant with good service, very reasonable prices.

          1. give us an idea what part of town you're in and that might help narrow down the suggestions...

            1. Try Creolinas Dixie Take out, West broward, off 595 and flamingo


              If you are more north, some great vietnamese off 441 just north of coconut creek prkwy Siagon Cuisine,


              Diggity Dogs off of Sterling West of i-95 Great burgers and Cheesesteaks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SaminSFL

                Just ate at Creolina's last night- the jamblaya was quite tasty. Adding shrimp, a big plate was $10. You can get beer/wine from the liquor store next door, and "sneak" it in. The jambo did require liberal application of pepper sauce, however.

              2. I have a great place and have not seen it mentioned on the board. It is called Bravo Gourmet Sandwich, a Peruvian sandwich shop located just North of Wilton Manors on 6th St (Just South of Oakland Park Blvd).

                They do these great, huge sandwiches - Pork, Fish, Steak and a ton more. Prices are really good - like $6.50 for a sandwich. They have ceviche and some other daily specials too. Great cheap eats in FTL. Here is their website:


                Also try Sasaya Japanese Market in Gateway Shopping center for good takeout sushi


                Joy's Roti Shop in Lauderhill is great as well. Happy eatting!


                2 Replies
                1. re: croissantkelly

                  I tried Bravo for lunch yesterday. What a find........ Pork sandwich and Ceviche were both excellent and a great deal.


                  1. re: danb73

                    I'm glad that people are finally giving Bravo a shot. Simply amazing sandwiches.


                2. primanti brothers on ne 6 ave and oakland pk blvd for 6 buck sky high 3 hands needed sandwiches, pizza, beer etc

                  1. I love Mario the Baker in Sunrise. I've been going there since I was a kid. Good Italian, very reasonable prices. Cheaper at lunch and most entree's come with a nice salad and garlic knots. I also like Mama Mia in Hollywood( young circle) and Las Vegas Cuban cuisine. I dont live in Ft. Lauderdale anymore, but we always go to those 3 places when we come down for vacation.

                    1. Best Tacos: Tortilleria Mexicana on Dixie Highway between Oakland and Commerical. It's a little hard to find, but its the best. Fresh Tortilla's from the machine, great Tacos.

                      Jamaican. Jerk Machine on Broward (just off it)

                      Thai Spice on Commerical, but everybody knows it.

                      Pomperdale Deli

                      Hot Dog Heaven on Sunrise. Real Chicago dogs. With the Works.


                      Hot Dog Heaven
                      101 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dharma

                        Karen and I went to Thai Spice last week based on a recommendation from some friends. The food was good and they offer items like steak and lamb which you don't often see on most Thai menus. That said, I wouldn't call Thai Spice "cheap(er) eats".

                        For really good Thai at very reasonable prices, try going west to Bangkok Palace in Lauderhill (http://bangkokpalacethai.com/ ). We've been going there for years and always enjoy it. The owners (Noi and Richie) are very nice as well.

                      2. We really like The Rustic Inn for their garlic crabs. They have a pretty big menu, but you'll find most of the people there are eating crabs on tables covered with newspapers and washing them down with a cold beer. Great place, great prices. It's about 5 minutes from the airport on Ravenswood, just off Griffin. My wife discovered it on a business trip and it's become a "must" on every trip we have to Ft. Lauderdale. In fact, we'll be there next Feb/Mar!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: RAGHOUND

                          My parents took us here when we were kids. Some of the best times my family had. I still remember the spagetti with the crab sauce. Good restaurant, but not cheap.

                        2. Las Vegas for Cuban.
                          LaSpadas in Lauderdale by the sea for the BEST subs
                          Cielito Lindo for good Mexican

                          Cielito Lindo
                          91 NE 44th St, Oakland Park, FL 33334

                          Las Vegas Restaurant
                          1715 S Federal Hwy Ste C3, Delray Beach, FL 33483

                          1. Try Le Tub in Hollywood. They have amazing burgers and fries. It's a simple place run by two funny, brash, older men. It's right on the water and the view is fantastic.

                            Le Tub
                            1100 N Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019

                            1. Don Aturos on off of Davie Blvd west of I-95 is good cuban - been there along time

                              1. I have to re start this thread and ask about the tasty cheap eats out there, especially in broward. In moving back to Florida Im on the lookout for especially tasty and cheap ethnic eats.
                                Ran across maxim oriental bakery on SR 7 in Lauderdale lakes… $1.10 for pork buns, curry beef puffs, coconut cream desserts, AMAZING find!!!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Asumnuthin

                                  Is this the place that is in the Silver Pond shpping center? If it is, I heartily agree. The barbeque place a few doors south is also exceptional.. I also posted about the Asian Buffet and Grill in Deerfield Beach and got zero replies. So I went there last night . It was formerly The Super Buffet. It was great. Bright and beautiful. TREMENDOUS selection. Sushi and Seafood. Whole Pan Fried Tilpia Etc. The best Asian Buffet I have ever been to. And hear this . Friday night Dinner $ 8.99 Hard to believe, but true

                                  ago asking about t

                                  Silver Pond Restaurant
                                  4285 N State Road 7, Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33319

                                  1. re: albee

                                    John Linn put together a seriously good list of 100 Favorite Dishes in this area. I think it would be a great addition to this post.




                                  2. re: Asumnuthin

                                    i second your vote for maxim bakery. i cannot leave the area without a pork, curry & bacon bun.

                                  3. Based on this, you need to go to Calypso Restaurant in Pompano (just N of Lauderdale).

                                    "We are looking for the best FOOD. Local gems that define the region and people. You get my drift?"

                                    Spealize in great casual Caribbean/Florida seafood. Open M-F lunch and dinner. Family run for 20 years now and consistently excellent. Not cheap but "cheap-ER" than "fine dining".

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: CFByrne

                                      CRByrne: Whats especially good at Calypso. We will try it.

                                      Other recs:
                                      Tamarindo on State Rd 84. Inexpensive and excellent
                                      Hong Kong Barbecue on 441 north of commercial. Excellent Dim Sum and soups
                                      My Market on SE 17th St. Very good sandwiches
                                      Riverside Market, Sailboat Bend. Sandwiches
                                      Zona Fresca, Best fresh Mexican. Two locations
                                      Lemongrass Asian, lunch sushi.
                                      Sushi-Ko Express in Parking Garage near Main Library
                                      etc, etc, etc

                                      Zona Fresca
                                      1095 S University Dr, Plantation, FL 33324

                                      Sushi-Ko Express
                                      100 SE 1st Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

                                      1. re: dharma

                                        dharma, if I may, Calypso makes some killer fresh fish sandwiches (cutters). If you can handle the spices do check out their jerk fish or the grilled calamari with spicy cucumbers. Calypso is a great place with super friendly owners!

                                        1. re: dharma

                                          My favorite dishes at Calypso tend to be conch and jerk-oriented... perhaps because back when they opened in April 1990 and I walked in there, these were totally new flavors I'd never had - and they blew me away. And they are still great!

                                          That said, specific favorites of me (and many others) include:

                                          Conch Chowder and the dark Pepper Pot soup.
                                          Conch Fritters - some of the best ANYwhere
                                          Jerk Wings. I hate going there and eating "just" wings but they are so darn good.
                                          The infamous "Scorched Conch". Might be called their signature dish. Wow.
                                          Calypso Cutter (sandwhich) - shrimp cheese mushrooms garlic parsley butter - Wow!
                                          If the have Pork Havana Nueva on special, try that too.
                                          For sides, the Cucumbers are awesome and the plaintains ridiculous.

                                          And save room for Key Lime Pie. Enjoy...

                                          So everything is good but those are a few of my old standbys.

                                          Pepper Pot
                                          10817 NW 27th Ave, Miami, FL 33167