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Jun 18, 2012 08:10 AM

Two dinners in Hollywood

Hi, everyone. I'm headed to Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale for two nights and am hoping I'll be free to pick my own meals both nights (social obligations might prevent this). I'm looking to keep costs down, and I'll be a middle-aged woman dining solo. I'll probably eat at the bar if it's busy so as not to take up a table, so a place where I'll feel comfortable would be great.

I should add that I'm coming from the Boston area and would ideally try to stick with what S. Florida uniquely has to offer.

I'll have a rental car but would rather stick to ten miles or so from the Crown Plaza in Hollywood.

Here are the mid-level places I've put out as possibilities:

Padrino's at Hallandale for either a Cubano or roast pork

Beachside Cafe in Hallandale for casual bar food

Il Mercato Cafe and Wine Shop in Hallandale

Pilar in Aventura for reasonably-priced seafood

Toucan's in Hollywood for casual bar food

Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale for casual seafood

Any thoughts on these choices or more suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

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  1. If you're willing to drive to Aventura, I would suggest driving just a little bit further to Hiro's Yakko-San: http://yakko-san.com/ They do lots of excellent Japanese small plates and comfort food that you probably won't find in most Japanese restaurants. I live in HW and I drive down there regularly. Beware that there's another Japanese restaurant named Hiro nearby, and I'm told it isn't nearly as good. Yakkko-San is what you want.

    There's also Le Tub in HW Beach--outdoors on the water, very rustic, and a pretty great burger. How great is up for debate (you can search this board for those conversations), but their gumbo, fries and key lime pie are pretty good as well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Nick

      Thanks, Nick. Yakko-San looks great, and the prices are really affordable. I'm leaning toward things that S. Florida offers that are regional, but Yakko-San is definitely moving up on my list, especially since I'm traveling solo and my husband is pretty neutral to Japanese food so I don't get much opportunity to indulge!

      1. re: bear

        Padrino's and Las Vegas Cafe (across the street from each other) are both average I'd suggest going to Little Havana for the real deal. A Touch of Cuba which is north on hallandale beach blvd has pretty solid cuban fare for a quarter of the price of the two chains.

        Pilar is superb. Has excellent seafood.

        Il Mercato is excellent but I wouldn't describe the food as south floridian.

        A new addition is the peruvian restaurant across the street from Padrinos. It is where John's Hero King was previously located. I picked up ceviche, a spicy seafood dish, potatoes huayncanya, and it was all excellent.

        In the same plaza is Piola, which has decent pizza but excellent gnocchi.

        Yakko-San's is one of my favorite restaurants in south florida, although it has lost some of its appeal in its new location. Food is still delicious though.

        I would also suggest driving to Rustic Inn for garlic crabs. It is not far from Hollywood.

        1. re: FoodDude2

          Padrino's, in Hallandale, is the flagship resto of the chain. The improvement in food, versus venturing into Dade County to Little Havana, probably ain't worth it for a couple day visit.

          Beachside Cafe has a good breakfast and lunch, made great by the behind-the-fire-station setting and beach-front ambiance.

          For fun seafood, in a predominately locals-only hangout, I like Tarks, in Dania Beach, on Federal just above Sheridan.

          I'd second Pilar and Il Mercato and Le Tub. Timo, about four miles south of the Crowne Plaza, in Sunny Isles Beach, has amazing food and would be a great way to close out your weekend dinner plans, while staying close to 'home.' I ate at their bar just last night -- try the black and white pizza.

      2. re: Nick

        Le Tub is different but not sure we would try it again. The food was unremarkable (my husband had the burger and I had a very large seafood salad) but the waterfront dining was nice. Reminded me a bit of the Keys. We also had trouble finding the turn for it when we went. I have since been that way for meetings for work and now know where it is.

      3. I would eliminate bimini Boatyard...VERY mediocre, at best. A better choice might be Coconuts on the intra-coastal in Fort Lauderdale. They have a new oyster bar, as well as casual and comfortable waterside dining.

        1. I like Il Mercato quite a bit, only drawback is that the food doesn't have much of South Florida to it. But it's well-prepared, reasonably priced and they've got an excellent wine selection and a nice friendly bar to sit at.

          Don't know the other places you mention.

          As others have suggested, I would add Hiro's Yakko-San to your list (it's Yakko-San you want, in a shopping mall next to the Old Navy, and not "Hiro's" further north). Be sure to check out the specials board, and keep in mind the sushi rolls are the least interesting part of the menu.

          Up that way I also like Timo in Sunny Isles (also has a good bar to eat at) and Bourbon Steak (perhaps pricier than you're looking for, but the bar menu has more reasonably priced options and the food is excellent).

          1. Wow, thanks so much everyone. It's looking more and more like I will be able to steal away for two dinners on my own, so I'll sort through and make sure I report back. There's so much to choose from! I guess I'll have a better sense when I'm in the area and check out the neighborhoods. gblcsw, I'll get rid of Bimini and check out Coconuts and the other rec's.

            Thanks again, all!

            1. Al of this is good info for me as well. I have a friend coming in to stay at Crown Plaza June 29 weekend and need a few places. Le Tub for lunch sounds good and I will need a place for dinner nearby the hotel after a Saturday Marlins day game. Report back what you tried so I have a barometer. Pilar and Timo sound good and I am looking for south Florida or seafood please. They don't have to be mid priced for me. I checked out Il Mercato and Bimini Boatyard online and will pass on those. Coconuts is really good for a casual seafood place on the Intracoastal.