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Ft. Lauderdale--Help me decide?!!!

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Hi All,

Haven't been to Fort Lauderdale in 14 years...so looking for new places to eat. Will be travelling with my husband and 3 kids (10, 6, 2) and will be staying at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach. We will be there one night prior to our cruise and one day post. We won't have a car pre-cruise, but will have one on the day we leave.

I've done a little research on the boards and have narrowed down my picks (I think?!), so I need some help from the foodies on here. Nothing fancy...just Good Food.

For breakfast I was thinking either cab it to Croissan'Time or walk to Coconuts?

Lunch I was thinking Rustic Inn, and Dinner I'm the most confused! lol Either...walk to Chima or Coconuts (on the night pre cruise) or Catfish Dewey's the night we leave. We have never been to a Brazilian Steakhouse, and I know my hubby would probably enjoy it, but I love seafood, so it's a tough choice.

Or is there something better that I've missed?? Any advice is greatly appreciated!! THANKS!

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  1. Coconuts is very good for brunch, lunch and dinner. I'm not sure they're open for breakfast except on the weekends. I'm not a fan of Rustic Inn, but know that others are. I think Chima is very good and if you don't have something like that at home, it is definitely worthwhile.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pilches

      We do have Brazilian Steakhouses here, but I think it's something about being on vacation that'll push us to try it!

      Would you pick Chima over Catfish Dewey's?

      Coconuts is probably our best bet for dinner then since it's walking distance. The night we'll have a car will be our last meal before heading to the airport. Was thinking of Catfish Dewey's then, but I wouldn't mind doing Chima either...just trying to decide which one will be a better meal?? Thanks!

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      Catfish Deweys
      4003 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

      1. re: umieesa

        I've been to Chima a number of times and think it's the easily the best Brazilian Steak House I've been to. Keep in mind that it's a long and not very pleasant walk from either Sheratons on the the beach. Short cab ride.

        Haven't been to Catfish Deweys but a glance at the website didn't make it seem to appealing to me. No doubt someone who's been can give you better info on it.

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        Catfish Deweys
        4003 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

        1. re: 9lives

          If anything we can go to Chima's the night we will have a car.

          As for breakfast at Coconuts I was thinking that we could have Sunday brunch there, but since we'll be getting on the ship before noon (hopefully) maybe we can have a lighter breakfast somewhere else.

          Any good breakfasts near the hotel or is it worth cabbing to Croissan' Time?

    2. BTW, does anyone know how much time it usually takes to dine at one of these Brazilian Steakhouses? If we go right before our flight I want to time dinner well, so we're not late to get to the airport!

      5 Replies
      1. re: umieesa

        Chima is very good (better than Catfish Dewey's in both food and ambience), but I would not go to Chima before getting on a plane. First of all, it won't be a short dinner, but mostly, you will be truly, and possibly uncomfortably, stuffed.

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        Catfish Deweys
        4003 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

        1. re: tlubow

          Hmmm...never thought about that! lol

          Okay, would it be better if I did Coconuts for lunch, Chima for dinner, and then save Rustic Inn for dinner before we go to the airport?

          1. re: umieesa

            yes

        2. re: umieesa

          By the way, my wife and I love Chima. The one thing I somewhat disagree with the thread is the walk. It is just a bit over a mile and actually not a bad walk. You will appreciate it after dinner ;). The experience can take a good 2 hours if you pace yourself. Pass on the cuts you don't like, try the new ones and enjoy the ones you like. Sometimes the salad buffet alone is worth the experience. And they charge less for the salad buffet (and variety and quality good enough for a nice meal). Hate to be stereotypical, but calling a mile walk long is very South Floridian.

          1. re: mrotmd

            Thanks mrotmd. It's been many years since I've been to Fort Lauderdale (and mind you I was much younger), but I remember walking much much further, so I think it should be no problem. I always tell the kids...if you can walk around Disneyworld for hours, you should be able to walk anywhere. Plus, I think I'll need to walk off my meal!

        3. Catfish Dewey's is great, but most all the seafood is fried. If you're looking for a simple fillet, sauteed in butter, a few herbs, and featuring just the amazing taste of fresh fish, Catfish Dewey's won't do it.

          Croissan'Time is always amazing. If you do breakfast there, you could also have sandwiches made (roast beef and brie, with cornichons!) for an alfresco lunch in Coolee Hammock park.

          -----
          Catfish Deweys
          4003 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

          1 Reply
          1. re: southocean

            We went to Catfish Dewey's in Feb. and it was horrible, both the food and the service. The young waiter was clueless and rude and the hostess seemed drunk. We werent served what we ordered even after a long wait and after seeing all the other tables around us get their food. The food was so far from great that I was very surprised that the restaurant even shows up on CHs boards. It was a very bad experience, and would never recommend it.

          2. Umieesa, You mention Rustic Inn and Catfish Dewey's both of which have their specialties outside of which are a few conciliatory seafood dishes that are not much better than "ho-hum". Rustic Inn specializes in great golden and/or garlic crabs and Catfish Dewey's on fried food and all you can eat specials (snow crab, stone crab, ribs, shrimp depending on the night). Is there a specific seafood (or preparation) that you really want to enjoy while you are in town?

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            Catfish Deweys
            4003 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

            8 Replies
            1. re: LiveRock

              LiveRock...Well, my kids and I love crabs and I haven't tried stone crabs, so that was something I wanted to try while still trying to find food for the hubby to eat (allergic to crab). Definitely don't want ho-hum...want a stand out meal without blowing the bank. We will also spend a day in Miami, so maybe there are better options for stone crabs there? I'm trying to create an itinerary where we can try the best of both cities in the short time we'll have.

              1. re: umieesa

                Stone crab season begins Oct. 15.

                1. re: Veggo

                  Oops...sorry, should've mentioned we will be travelling in January (I know it's early, but I'm a compulsive planner ;) )

                  1. re: umieesa

                    Excellent. You can enjoy them. They are among my favorite Florida specialties. Joes in Miami is of course legendary for stone crabs. Hubby who is allergic has great alternatives there, including, perhaps surprisingly, great fried chicken. Pricey, but a mini-memory maker.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      Thanks Veggo...I was on the fence about Joe's since I read a lot of mixed reviews. I read that Garcia's? (I think that's the name) was a better choice. If the decision was based purely on Stone Crab's where would be the spot to pick??

                      1. re: umieesa

                        A fresh stone crab claw is a child of the universe. "Better" choice would only be better price. Joe's is cool, but you pay for cool. Also, Joes doesn't take reservations, and your offspring may not enjoy the wait. I'm an old timer who remembers the "before SoBe, JoBe" days.

                    2. re: umieesa

                      Actually then, you are on the right track. The stone crab deals at Catfish Dewey's are "relatively" inexpensive compared to many. And, if your hubby likes fried shrimp or BBQ ribs he should be OK there. Being one of the rare people that doesn't get all the fuss about stone crabs, I have enjoyed the shrimp and the ribs (as well as the catfish).

                      Rustic Inn does carry golden crab which is also local and I happen to love it! For my taste it is sweeter and more comparable to some of the colder water crabs that I prefer. As I recall they do have some other uniquely Florida specialties like alligator and frog legs...perhaps the kids will like those! ;o)

                      Don't let my "ho-hum" comment discourage you...if you are looking for crab that won't break the bank you are on the right track and both places are kid friendly with enough non-crab selections available to keep your husband happy.

                      Enjoy your stay!

                      1. re: LiveRock

                        Thanks LiveRock! I was getting even more confused about which to drop and which to keep. I think I'll keep either Rustic Inn or Catfish Deweys then for our last meal since I don't think I can fit Joe's Stone Crab in because of all the other places I want to try in Miami!

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                        Joe's Stone Crab
                        11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                        Catfish Deweys
                        4003 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

              2. I would really skip catfish deweys. It's know for fried seafood and all you can eat deals. I've always found it dirty and not great. I would be disappointed if I was from out of town and planned a special trip there. Rustic inn could be fun. It is on a canal and the kids can feed the fish. There is also lots of mallet banging which makes it loud and lively. 15 street fisheries can be fun too. You can ride the water taxi from your hotel. The food is passable but you can buy bait for the kids to feed the tarpon right on the river. The exerperience and scenery make the food a little better :)

                Joes is great, just know you are going for the history and stone crabs and not a gourmet experience. We always go for lunch and never wait.

                3 Replies
                1. re: croissantkelly

                  Thanks! Ya, I pretty much decided on Catfish Dewey's as the one to leave out. I think it'll be Coconuts, Chima, and Rustic Inn for Fort Lauderdale.

                  Still trying to sort out my Miami restaurants...too many and too little time! =(

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                  Catfish Deweys
                  4003 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

                  1. re: umieesa

                    It's very casual but has a good breakfast, great Fort Lauderdale atmosphere and is within walking distance for you -- good ol' Bahia Cabana.

                    1. re: umieesa

                      AWWWW - I'm the odd one out huh? Live in Michigan & visit Lauderdale 1 time each year - family of 4 - we LOVE Catfish Dewey's. Actually, one of our favorite all-time, anywhere restaurants. First one we visit when we arrive, last one b4 we board the plane. (Yes, it's true - you can be miserably full, but.... oh well).

                      Let me make clear - I do NOT eat fried food on a regular basis. Did not even OWN my own deep fryer til 40 years old and use ONLY for fries and wings (teenage boys - what can I say?).

                      Catfish Dewey's does fried food VERY well. I prefer to order mine blackened (which I think they do a great job with), but I ALWAYS snitch some of the fried shrimps from my guys. lol My favorite is their blackened or broiled seafood platter.

                      Good hush puppies, good slaw, total dive restaurant but waaayyyy better than Rustic Inn in our opinion. Yea, the canal is fun - food is ok in our book. Not great - not what we CRAVE sitting up here in Michigan. We've dropped Rustic Inn from our go-to list and will be looking for a different spot.

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                      Catfish Deweys
                      4003 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309