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Help with 2 Ft Lauderdale dinners for out-of-towners

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I am visiting Ft Lauderdale next month and would greatly appreciate your opinions on where to go for 2 dinners:

1) Dinner for two, special occasion, price is not a concern (not necessarily looking for the fanciest place, we are up for anything, it's just that price doesn't matter). Staying at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, would like to stay within a 20-minute drive from hotel. Would greatly prefer food that has flavors local to southern Florida--something we wouldn't get back in L.A.

2) Dinner for 6-8, moderate prices, fun atmosphere (this is a fun-loving group in their early 30s), again not too far from the Hyatt. A couple of people are picky, so probably nothing too exotic.

Thanks so much!

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  1. 1) For local flare and interesting dining I'd recommend the following:
    Market 17, amazing local food (right across the bridge from where you're staying) www.market17.net
    Johnny V great food, considered "floribean" cuisine. (on Las Olas, 10 min cab ride) www.johnnyvlasolas.com
    3030 Ocean (5 min ride) not sure on web address it's in the marriot harbor beach. may have to google.

    2) Yolo, hot spot for groups and a fun atmosphere, Houston's type menu, something for everyone, mostly moderate pricing, they get ya on the drinks. www.yolorestaurant.com
    (also on las olas, so 10 min cab ride
    )Solita, on Las Olas as well, mostly italian food, fun atmosphere, food kinda hit or miss. But it can get really loud. I'd do YOLO over Solita...www.solitalasolas.com
    Himarshee Bar and Grill, Fun place, great food, great prices. Downtown location about 10 min cab ride. www.himmarshee.com

    4 Replies
    1. re: timxph

      For #2, Yolo is definitely going to be your best bet.

      #1, don't know anything about Market 17, but it is new.

      3030 Ocean has great food, but to me the room does not match the food. It has the non-descript feel of a hotel restaurant, and even though the hotel is by the beach, at night you won't see anything from the restaurant.

      Johnny V, local celebrity chef, but restaurant not quite what it used to be. Nice atmosphere right on Las Olas Blvd.

      Grille 66 at your hotel is not full of local flavor, although it will have local fresh fish. It is a fairly typical high end steak house, but has a fantastic setting right on the intra-coastal.

      You could take the water taxi to both Yolo and Johnny V's.

      Another option to consider is Cafe Maxx. It is the furthest away, about 20 mins, and is in a strip mall, but the food is some of the best around.

      -----
      Johnny V
      625 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

      Las Olas Cafe
      922 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

      3030 Ocean
      Harbor Beach Resort Marriott, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

      1. re: mrmagee

        If you decide upon Johnny V, I strongly suggest that you eat outside. The room is noisy and unattractive...just a long room with tables across from the bar.

        -----
        Johnny V
        625 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

        1. re: gblcsw

          I agree the main dining room is a bit uncomfortable and tables that are too close and small. The bar takes up the whole space. However, maybe you've never made the journey to the bathroom. Around the corner, Johnny V also has an additional dining room with many tables and it is a bit more formal with upholstered chairs and tables well spread out and gorgeous white curtains hanging from the 20 foot ceiling. But usually only busy on the weekends.

          -----
          Johnny V
          625 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

          1. re: timxph

            Actually, I have been seated around the corner, but just don't like the feel...It feels completely away from any life/action.

    2. Thanks for the advice, everyone! I made reservations at Johnny V and Yolo. I'll report back after my trip.

      -----
      Johnny V
      625 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301