Taza Mediterranean Kitchen(CLOSED): Delicious Hummus & Calamari
Taza is a Mediterranean restaurant my wife and I visited during our last trip to Fort Lauderdale. We were enticed by their sign in the window for Happy Hour from 4pm-7pm (even on weekends) with half price drinks and appetizers.
We came here on a Saturday after our conference was done for the day around 4pm-ish. The restaurant is located in a strip mall right on 17th street. The place is very big with a large dining room and a huge bar area. We decided to have a seat at the bar with a few other patrons.
The bartender Joe handed us menus and informed us of the Happy Hour pricing and specials. I ordered a Coors Light draft and my wife had a Stella. We perused the menu and found several tasty items: hummus, calamari, lamb kebobs, gyros, tabouli and other Mediterranean specialties. We decided to order the hummus and an order of the fried calamari to share.
Our food arrived quickly and the portions were a nice size for sharing. The hummus was my favorite. It was so fresh, tasty and creamy. The hummus was served with fried and regular pita triangles along with some herbed olive oil for dipping. The calamari was also quite nice with a flavorful and crispy batter. The marinara sauce was good with a sweet flavor.
We spent a good deal of time here talking to Joe and some other patrons before moving on to our next destination. I really enjoyed the food here as well as the vibe. Next time I will try dinner here…I hear they have nightly belly dancing and music. As long as I am just a spectator and not dancing ( I have been known to get up and dance); I will enjoy it.
Favorite Dish: The hummus was hands down my favorite. It was creamy, smooth, fresh and flavorful. The pita chips were very good and fresh...loved them.
Casablanca Cafe: A Nice spot right on the strip
We had lunch here on our first day in FL and a drink there on our last. It's right on the strip and you can probably see the ocean from just about any of the tables.
Favorite Dish: I had a Lobster salad sandwich which was very good. However, I think the Bartender either could not keep up with the pace of the crowd or was a joker. Ordered a Mango Margarita which was Green. Okay, I've never seen one that color, but I drank it. It was fine. Ordered another one and was told they had no more - do I want Raspberry instead? Sure. What came to the table was a Brown Mystery Margarita. Good sport that I am, I drank it. We think it was a 7-11 Cola Slurpee Flavor. Whatever!Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Johnny V's: Sublime food and drink
As I had only two nights in Fort Lauderdale I was determined to make the most of it and so, well in advance of our trip, I got online to search for a nice restaurant for one of the nights. In the usual way I trawled websites and read menus until I eventually settled on Johnny V's. I dropped them an email and got such a lovely response that I immediately felt I had booked the right place.
We took a cab from our hotel and asked to be dropped further down Las Olas Boulevard as we were early and fancied a stroll before dinner. It was a great night for a walk as it was the evening of the Annual Christmas Boat parade and the place was humming.
When we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted warmly and then met by Alexis, the very lady who had answered my email reservation. She allowed us to choose a table that we liked and that was such a welcome change from stuffy restaurants where they seat non-regulars beside the toilets or the kitchen.
We ordered pre dinner drinks and perused the very varied menu. I decided I just wanted starters and that was no problem - in fact I quickly realised that nothing appeared to pose a problem here.
I loved the setup and the decor - airy, high ceilings, modern, discrete lighting. Service was impeccable and always with a smile.
Favorite Dish: I ordered the crab claw, the blue corn crusted calimare, and a dish called lobster, lobster, lobster.
My companion ordered a dish called bacon egg & toast and another called duck, duck, duck.
There was so much food that we couldn't finish a third of it! The rest was packaged in takeaway containers for us to bring back to our hotel. We didn't have to ask - they offered, and apparently portions here are so generous that it's the norm to take away the leftovers.
The food was exceptional. That bacon egg and toast consisted of melt in the mouth pieces of pork belly topped with quails egg. The duck and lobster dishes each comprised the main ingredient coooked in three different ways. Presentation was artistic and appetising.
We could not manage dessert. I cannot imagine who could! Would we return? I can't wait!!Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Food and Dining
Thai On the Beach: Good Thai and Good View
Some of my friends have come here regularly when they are in town. When we can't think of anything else, we often opt for Thai. The service in the restaurant can vary from spot on to really slow. The food however ranges from good to great, at least from my experiences there.
The restaurant is on the 2nd floor (above Primanti Brothers), immediately facing the beach. Unfortunately it is not handicap accessible. This did not really stop us on our last visit however since they do offer take-away which we ate in our hotel where our wheelchair bound friend could navigate.
Favorite Dish: The Pad Thai is always a good option. However I'm also partial of the green curry here. The vegetable rolls were quite fresh too.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill: Great Happy Hour Appetizers & Drinks
Bimini is a popular Seafood restaurant on 17th street. We were told this is a great place for food and happy hour in particular. We were in town for a conference and decided to hit this place for Happy Hour.
The place itself is huge with two large inside bar areas, large indoor dining room, outdoor dining room on the water and an outdoor tiki style bar. Since it was hot outside Liz and I decided to have a seat at one of the bars inside. Both bars inside were hopping and the outside was jamming with people.
Happy Hour consisted of specially priced beer and well drinks along with a half priced appetizer menu for the bar area only. The menu had a nice selection of pub grub items along with seafood specialties. After looking over the menu we decided to order some Peel n Eat shrimp along with some sliders. To drink we chose some Corona with lime.
The peel n eat shrimp were very good but spicy. They had a hot sauce with Old Bay seasoning that really packed a punch; thankfully the Corona cooled that down. The sliders were okay nothing to rave about but hey it's a seafood joint after all....
We spent about 2 hours here enjoying our appetizers and beer before moving on to another place. The service here was very attentive and I liked the scene. Too bad we had plans that Sunday because I here they do a kick *ss brunch.
**Happy Hour is from 4pm-7pm***
15th Street Fisheries: Great View and Atmosphere
This place is hands down my favorite spot in Fort Lauderdale. I loved everything about it; the view, the vibe, the food, the service...all spot on.
My wife found this place thanks to a friend. The restaurant is a popular place and known for the seafood. We decided to come here for Happy Hour after a conference day. We arrived a little after 4pm; which was the start of Happy Hour. Due to the heat and our over exposure to the sun on our cruise we decided to have a seat at the bar inside. The place has a casual dining area downstairs complete with outdoor patio and a more formal upstairs dining room (both have different menus).
The bar was not too crowded and we found some seats by the window so we could enjoy the water view. Happy Hour was in effect and there were half price appetizers along with specialty priced drinks. The bartender took our drink order; a Miller Lite for me and a Stella for my wife. The menu had a nice selection of seafood items, pub grub and more substantial entrees. We settled on an order of Peel n Eat shrimp and some Gator Bites (yes, made with real Gator).
Our appetizers arrived about ten minutes later and were nice sized portions. The Gator Bites were good; tasted like chicken but not something I'd order again. The peel n eat shrimp were incredible. The shrimp were served in their shell over ice and sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning. Lemon and cocktail sauce was on the side. The shrimp were so fresh and delicious we wound up ordering a second serving along with some of their cheesey bread.
I loved this place and was so glad we came here. We even met some fellow colleagues from the conference at the bar. It was a fun time and I can't wait to come back again.
Favorite Dish: The peel and eat shrimp were my favorite. They were incredibly fresh and delicious.
Chart House: Sittin' by the dock of the bay
Our last night in town, we wanted to find a place with good seafood, and the concierge recommended Chart House. We got over there, and found that the hotel had called ahead a reservation for us, and right at the top of the menu, it said "Welcome to the ___ Party". The manager also stopped by our table and let us know that since we were sent from the Marriott, we would get a free dessert. So lots of nice touches like that. The menu itself was quite extensive, and I had trouble narrowing it down to a final selection. I went with a Parmesan-encrusted Snapper (with a crab topping), and a Caesar Salad. The salad was huge and delicious. The fish was also excellent. The side order of fried rice that came along was a bit disappointing, but I really didn't have a ton of room for it anyway.
Normally, we were in a section that was open air along the canals, but due to a storm, all the temporary walls were closed down to keep us from being blown around. I think if that were open, it would have been really nice to sit along the water while we ate.
Our waiter for the night was quite attentive. He engaged us is conversation several times, and just really made sure everything was going well. This was a quality meal, all around.
Riva: Breakfast at the Harbor Beach Resort
While Rivas may offer more than breakfast, that's where I ended up both days I was at the meeting. The first day, I ordered off the menu and had a breakfast sandwich, which came on a huge bagel...a ham patty covered in egg and cheese. While it was huge, I found the bagel to be dry and overall, the food was a bit disappointing. However, I tried again the next morning and went with the breakfast buffet. Among the options were a huge selection of really fresh fruit (including berries, melon, and pineapple), sausage, ham, and bacon, and a make-to-order omelet station. The omelet was spectacular - tons of different fixings, and they track you down in the restaurant when it is done if it isn't too busy. I wish I had done the buffet both days. Breakfast is on the pricy side ($25 roughly), but the food and service are both good.
Sea Level Restaurant: Great casual dining
Having a few business meetings in the same restaurant, I got to try both what sounded good, then go back for what looked good. The restaurant itself is just outside the hotel, past the swimming pool, and has a very laid back atmosphere...you get the sense of being in a pool cabana. The wait staff is quite friendly and efficient. The menu is mostly burgers and sandwiches. The first trip, I had a Southwestern burger, which was done perfectly, and was a decent portion size. What caught my eye was the crab cake sandwich - a monster crab cake on a toasted bun. I had that the next day, and it was spectacular...full of lump crab meat. Both days, I left feeling full. Prices are higher for a sandwich place, but probably in line with what you will find in the area. This is a real solid choice.
Sportszone 84 Bar and Grill: bartender was drunk
We received two complimentary drink tickets from the hotel. We sat for twenty minutes at the bar as the bartender stumbled around and dropped things. She told us she would be right with us and never came back. We then realized she was leaning over the bar chatting and laughing loudly while wobbling with a few customers while exposing half of her backside. She never did come back over to us and didn't even seem to notice when we got up and left.I have no doubt in my mind that she was drunk.
Favorite Dish: Never got the chance to eat anything since the server completely ignored us until we got up and walked out
China Grill: Nothing Special
The China Grill is a restaurant located at the Hilton Marina in Fort Lauderdale. Since we were staying at the hotel we decided this would be a good breakfast option; plus we had breakfast vouchers for being Diamonds with HH.
The actual restaurant itself is quite nice with Asian accents and views of the Marina. The breakfast menu didn't wow us so we decided to upgrade to the buffet. Our vouchers included the continental breakfast and if you want the buffet it is an additional $6 plus tax and 18% included gratuity per person. Basically breakfast still cost me $15 a day.
The buffet was pretty meager considering buffets I have had at other hotels. The bagels were tiny and they kept running out. The fruit tasted awful, the bacon was good on one day bad on the next. The eggs varied from both days and were alright. French Toast was cold and tasteless. Wait staff seemed less than thrilled serving us at all and to get a refill on juice was next to impossible.
Other than the view this was a below average breakfast so we decided to venture out elsewhwere on our third day.
Grand Epernay (Celebrity Solstice): Delicious Food in a Beautiful Setting
The Grand Epernay is one of the dining rooms aboard the Cellebrity Solstice. I must admit this is the most impressive cruise ship dining room I have seen to date and I've seen alot. The decor is sleek and modern with plenty of natural light from the large windows. The showpiece though is the floor to ceiling glass wine/champage room filled with assorted vintages.
The food here is also impressive with extensive choices. Our lunch here in the dining room was lobster bisque, beer tartare, mozzarella dn heirloom tomato salad, beef with a balsamic reduction and tiramisu for dessert. We also enjoyed som excellent wine to accompany our meal. From start to finish the food was incredibly good and the service was phenomenal. Did I mention a string quartet played during the entire lunch...it set the mood for a wonderful meal.
Waxy O'Connors: Great Pub Grub
Waxy’s is an Irish Pub/Restaurant. We were staying right across from the place at the Embassy Suites and decided to give it a try. The place is a nice size with a large patio for outdoor dining and plenty of seating inside at the bar or in the dining room. There was a large crowd of people enjoying their lunch on the patio but it was just too hot for us.
Since we were here for lunch we decided to have a seat at a booth instead of the main dining room. Our waitress handed us menus and took our drink orders. I ordered a Magner’s while Liz chose a Stella. The menu has a nice selection of Irish specialties: bangers n Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Fish & Chips, Guiness Stew etc., as well a typical pub fare. After perusing the menu I decided to have the Shepherd’s Pie and Liz chose the Waxy Burger with cheese.
Our beer arrived first and was a nice refreshing treat from the outside heat. About ten minutes later our food arrived piping hot.; mine was a bit too hot and I waited for it to cool down. The pie was different from what I expected; I thought it would be an actual pie. Instead it was the mix of chicken and vegetables in a white wine garlic cream sauce,
topped with puff pastry. It was delicious and I loved it. My wife loved her Waxy burger so much she offered me a bite. It was quite nice and juicy. The fries were the best though; thick cut and with the skins on.
This was a tasty lunch and we loved the atmosphere. The service was spot on and we enjoyed the friendliness of our waitress. I will definitely return here again when in Fort Lauderdale.
**Bonus: This place is an AA I-Dine**
Vines: A Wine and Tapas Bar
Vines is the wine bar on the Navigator of the Seas. It a cozy place with tables, booths and bar seating available. The menu has a nice selection of red, white, blush and sparkling wines as well as other alcoholic beverages.
What I really like about this place is the tapas items they serve along with your wine. My wife and I were enjoying some Sauvignon Blanc when the waiter asked us if we wanted some snacks. We siad yes but couldn't have predicted the vast amounts he was about to bring out. There was a plate of bread, a cheese plate, a plate of olives and meats along with some clams and mussels. Whoa...it was just too much but it was delicious.
Windjammer(Navigator of the Seas): Buffet Lunch
The Windjammer is the cruise ship's buffet meal station. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food here is good for breakfast or for a snack. I've never been impressed with their lunch or their dinner options and prefer the main dining room.
The Windjammer has no table service. Seat yourself and then search the buffet for some grub. They have every food item imaginable for lunch and dinner to cater to the very young to the older set. Some of the stations include: pizza, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, Asian items, Indian items, pasta, chicken, turkey, hot side dishes, cold salads, fruit, desserts, bread and cheeses. Desserts range from fruit to elaborate mini cakes and ice cream.
Breakfast items include: hot and cold cereals, oatmeal, yogurt, bagels, toast, muffins, pastry, pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, cheese and even dessert.
The Windjammer is open from 6am-9pm and has some beautiful views from its windows.
Favorite Dish: We normally come here for breakfast or a snack but on boarding day there is no other luch option but the Windjammer. We weren't particularly hungry so we had some pizza and side dishes which was enough to satisfy our hunger until dinner.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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