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Oct 5, 2009 07:50 PM

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...