Because we are thrifty (okay, cheap), we only ate at Fresh while staying at the Diplomat Resort & Spa during our 4th of July beach trip. Fresh serves bagels, muffins, bacon/egg/cheese croissants and a variety of sweet pastries, coffees, juices and cold drinks. It was very good and was included with our room rate which made it even better.
So, for lunch & dinner each day we ventured out to find where the locals ate. First stop was the Taco Beach Shack in Hollywood Beach. They have excellent Korean BBQ, steak, and shrimp tacos. The portions were huge – the burrito bowl would feed three people -and funky music made for a fun afternoon.
One note about Hollywood Beach – parking is very limited! Each parking lot has an attendant and prices can range from $20 to $40 for all day parking. We managed to sweet talk our attendant down to $10 since we were only staying for lunch, but be ready to drive around looking for a spot and then pay a high price for your trouble. There is limited metered parking on the street, but unless you want to spend half the day circling, find another option. We avoided Hollywood the rest of the trip because of the parking. Which is a shame really since we heard a lot of great things about their Boardwalk. Given we only had 3 days we didn’t want to mess with parking.
On a side note, we did find out about the Hollywood Trolly which is $1 per person each way. Just know that exact change is required. The trolleys run about every 30-40 minutes. They even have an app that allows you to see where the trolly is, where you are, and how long it will be until the next trolley comes to the stop nearest you. The trolly runs three lines, from Hallendale Beach to the end of the Hollywood Boardwalk. This can act as a great substitute for driving and parking or walking in the heat, if you’re willing to plan your trip a little.
RokBrgr was our next stop. There are three locations in South Florida but we went to the one in Gulfstream Park. The atmosphere was very relaxed, but the chairs at the hightop tables are NOT short people approved. Excellent burgers, a large selection of libations, and our server was great!! Can’t say enough good things about this place. If you’re around Gulfstream Park in Hallendale Beach, down in South Beach or up in Ft. Lauderdale -give this place a try. You won’t go away hungry.
Sunday was spent in Miami & South Beach. We ate at News Cafe on Ocean Drive in South Beach and were very disappointed. It’s a 24 hr diner-style restaurant but had very mediocre food for the price we paid. South Beach is great for people watching, but I wouldn’t recommend taking children. Especially in the summer when the heat index reaches 103 – people tend to wear items that leaves very little to the imagination. Some things you just can’t unsee!
For dinner we wanted something really local and found Flanigans Bar & Grill in Hallendale Beach. This place was hoppin’ and for good reason, very good food and reasonably priced. We had their award winning ribs, tilapia, prime rib and steak…combos! Each dinner came with a Caesar salad, garlic rolls (YUMMO!!) and a drink (soft drink, tea, etc.), for only $15.99 each! You even get to keep your cup! Score! Free(ish) souvenirs!
Monday was our snorkeling day so we took a short drive to Fort Lauderdale. We ventured out with Sea Experience and had a blast! Zach Fowler was our dive master on Sea Experience I, and he made the first-timers feel comfortable and relaxed, while joking around with the more experienced snorkelers. My only complaint? It wasn’t long enough! Would love to have had the option for a 4 hour trip so we could have been in the water for more than an hour. I would highly recommend them though and will use them again when we get to go back.
Lunch was in Ft. Lauderdale on the pier at Bahia Cabana. It was a bit “divey” but the price was right and we were on the water so no complaints.
In my opinion, we saved the best for last. Monday night we went for Cuban food at Padrino’s We ordered the Combinación Cubano as an appitizer! It had a little bit of everything for us to try. The only picture we managed to take was of my husband’s dish, the Ropa Vieja. Our friends shared the Paella and I had the Bistec Palomilla, a minute steak covered in onions with yuca, rice and black beans and vegetables. It was all excellent and I wish they had a location in Atlanta.
An important note here, we thought eating out was more expensive in this part of Florida than even in Hawaii. That said, we had a great trip and some amazing food.
We love trying new places and are expanding our taste buds every day. Let us know your favorite spots so if we’re ever in your neck of the woods, we can try them out!