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Dirt cheap (yet quality) lunch/dinner in Fort Lauderdale?

Eight days and nights. For my first week-long vacation in over a decade, I'm in Fort Lauderdale for that long, and being a Michigander who can currently look outside and see nothing but nasty, cold, snowy, sleety weather, I'm-a lookin' forward to invading your Ambulance Destination. ;)

Yes, I'm one of *those* people, but honest: I'm harmless. I'll be gone before you know it.

What I really would like to find are some nice, cheap places to enjoy a good quality lunch or dinner like I have here in the Detroit area. I'm honestly not that picky an eater, as just about any cuisine would be fine, so long as the quality is there. I understand that I'm not going to be getting Lobster Thermidore with full accompaniments for $7.95, but there've got to be some local places that can really do it up right on a budget. Even a hole in the wall that does one thing but *does it right*...I'm totally on board with that.

I'm open to just about any and all suggestions. Thanks, 'hounds!

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  1. Where in Fort Lauderdale are you staying and will you have a car?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jenaclaree

      I'll be on Orton Avenue, two blocks from the water. And yes: I will have a full-size rental with me for the duration of the stay. It'd be ideal, of course, if a place or two was within walking distance, but considering that I'm planning on having some Chick-Fil-A at *least* every third day (we don't have them in Michigan), I've got zero issues driving to get what I want.

      One place that's intriguing me that I might make a drive for, for example, would be Yardbird in Miami. It sure looks good, as does Sea in Fort Lauderdale, but that looks to be pretty much in my back yard. Neither is dirt cheap, but look to be worth spending a bit of time, money, and driving on.

      So you can see that I'm willing to go out of my way, yes, but it's only eight days, and the "dirt cheap" factor kind of goes out the door when I have to drive 30 minutes one way to get it, you know?

      Thanks in advance for any suggestions, even if I can't use all of them!

      1. re: boagman

        Bottom line, you're not likely to find anything "dirt cheap" and
        "quality". Unless, that is, it's a new place where the unsuspecting owners are about to go broke!

        Yardbird and SEA may be quality but I doubt they could be called "dirt cheap".

        But yes, we know what you mean. Local dives, hideaways, etc on a budget.

        I'd check out this recent thread on FLL Dives:


        None of these are "dives" but...

        In your area, you could consider visiting Calypso Restaurant in Pompano for lunch (search this board).

        Dona Raquel Mexican is just blocks from there as well.

        You could also go to Hong Kong City BBQ or other nearby recos (again, search that name and you'll find plenty of hits).

        A lot of folks like the Southport Raw Bar near S 17th St in FLL. Not to mention Tom Jenkins BBQ nearby.

      1. Random inexpensive eats:

        My Market, for excellent and inventive subs and sandwichs . . . 11th Street Annex for extremely pleasant sit-down lunch good food, reasonable prices . . . Le Tub for incomparable setting and ambiance and burgers . . . Calypso Restaurant for seafood done really right . . . McSorley's/Primanti Brothers combo for ocean front casualness with great food and drink . . . Kelly's Landing for an lobster roll probably not available to you in Michigan . . . Shuck 'n' Dive for a taste of Nawlins in SoFla . . . and the beat goes on . . .

        1 Reply
        1. re: southocean

          Shuck n Dive, while very good, is not inexpensive. My husband and I had lunch there yesterday and two cups of gumbo, to entrees, and four beers with tip was $75. While we ate a lot, it isn't cheep. Still it is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere.

        2. One of my favorite places for good inexpensive southern cooking in the FTL area is Catfish Deweys (4003 N. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309, 954-566-5333). Check the menu on their website and look for their daily stone crab update (http://catfishdeweys.com/). Open for lunch and dinner every day.

          1. 24 hours a day primanti brothers on the beach a1a a block south of sunrise, sky high sandwiches incl fries and slaw for 6 dollars and slices are big and great, eat in, or outside on sidewalk tables www.primantibros.com

            1. I second Dona Raquel for authentic Mexican. Probably a half hour drive from you though. I enjoy Basilic Vietnamese in Lauderdale by the Sea. There are a ton of restaurants in that area. LaSpadas is also there and they make a really great sub if you're into those.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jenaclaree

                Tarks in Dania Beach might fit you're requirement. It's a little south of the airport on Federal Highway. They would definitely fall into the dive category. They have really cheap but good wings and seafood.

              2. Love Tarks, But going for the cheapest of the cheap and also one of the best places around Noor's Bakery. Everything $1.50 to $4.00 made fresh to order. While picking up an assortment of Zataar breads with different topping to go, while on Angler's Lane you might want to try some of the Lunch special's at the Rustic Inn!

                1. Just wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions and update you folks with where I ended up going.

                  One place I visited, my big splurge of the trip, was SEA. What a terrific meal. I went with the prix fixe meal starring the grouper, and yet of the three courses, the appetizer and the dessert were the best of the three. Not that the grouper was bad, mind you! No, sir, it was still good...but that appetizer of shrimp, Swiss-type deviled egg, and mini-salad really hit on all cylinders. I was told that I really missed out because by the time I arrived, the bouillabaisse was gone for the night, but I don't believe that *at all*. This appetizer was just a straight shot into the seats, and I loved every bit of it, which really surprised me, since I'm not all that big a fan of deviled eggs.

                  The main was the grouper, which was fine, and perfectly cooked. It just didn't have the *wow* factor that the other two courses did. Nothing wrong with it...it just wasn't as good in comparison. This would be a solid double, if the bookends are homers.

                  The dessert was, again, fantastic. Tony's Whiskey Cake was nothing shy of wonderful, and I was very, very, *very* tempted to buy an entire whiskey cake to take home with me at $20. The reasons I didn't: I only had 1.5 more days to be there, and I obviously wouldn't have had the housemade whipped cream and sauce which accompanied it, all of which came together to be terrific. If I'd had this at the start of my trip, though, it'd have been bought without hesitation...a no-brainer.

                  Out the door with tax and tip for $53 (water only). Worth every red cent, as the service was also very good, and the focaccia bread they brought (and refilled several times) was also very good. Really liked this place, and I'll surely be going back when I'm in the area.

                  The other remarkable place I tried was Sybarite Pig in Boca, which I can recommend as well. Not the same type of place as SEA, obviously, but definitely a place for those who are into quality food and beverages, especially beer. I had the short rib, which was very good, as well as a chocolate/bacon cookie which was very good as well. Reasonably priced, great vibe. They're new (1.5 months old), but they're welcome in my book. I'll be back for the pork belly!

                  Pics are of the SEA dishes.

                  1. primanti brothers, on a1a a block south of sunrise blvd, excellent cult following huge sandwiches and pizza slices

                    1. Sorry we missed posting before your visit. Next trip make sure to eat at La Bamba Mexican and Spanish Restaurant. They have several locations around town and their lunch specials are a great deal for eating on a budget. Plus, the free soup, chips and salsa is a plus. www.FTLtoday.com