Hyde Kitchen + Cocktails

Broward County's shorelines are no Miami Beach. But the opening of Hyde Beach Kitchen + Cocktails in Hallandale suggests that the all-night, over-the-top soirees typically found 20 miles south might just be coming our way. The two-story chic building oozes a 305 vibe. Neon lights, swank design, eclectic food, and occasional DJs fill the SBE Hospitality Group's newest eatery. But the real draw is the location: situated on the sand overlooking the ocean without an obstruction in sight, making guests feel like they're dining (and partying) on a private island. The contemporary-American restaurant draws influence from Asia, India, Italy, Greece, and Latin America, resulting in a 30-dish menu. Nosh on freshly baked pumpkin butter rolls ($7), Niman Ranch short rib with Yukon mashed potatoes ($26), and mushroom gnocchi ($15) as you gaze into the sea. Hyde guests can legally drink on the sand, so once you finish dinner, grab that cocktail and dip your feet into the water.

It's not exactly the easiest thing to find a family-friendly restaurant these days. Either an eatery is packed full of people slamming down happy hour drinks or so quiet that any sound your kids might make will cause the other, uptight guests to scoff. Bru's Room is a good compromise: Kids won't stare at their iPhones or want to leave the entire time. Games and TVs provide some entertainment, and for Mom and Dad, if it's been a long day, hey, the bar is right around the corner. Ex-Miami Dolphin Bob "Bru" Brudzinski has grown the Bru's Room brand in South Florida to the point where we've dropped the "Room" from the title and just ask the family if they want to go to Bru's—that's how you know this place has arrived.

Courtesy of Paul Flanigan

What's better than a restaurant on the water? A restaurant situated on a pier overlooking the water. It's like the culinary equivalent of an infinity pool. A really, really big infinity pool. A pool so big, entire ecosystems can live in it. And in those ecosystems, there are fish. Fish made entirely of sushi. Sushi so big, it takes a sushi boat to serve it. Fortunately, that sushi boat docks nicely atop Quarterdeck's outdoor bar (and pairs well with one of the many craft beers on tap). Unfortunately, on the menu that boat is named the Titanic ($130 and feeds four). But this story has a good ending: happy hour, all day, every day.

At this adorable brunch spot, man and man's best friend alike can come enjoy pancakes or paninis under the colorful umbrellas on the outdoor patio. The omelets are fluffy and mimosas fresh at the Boca Breakfast & Lunch Club, where your pup can enjoy the sunshine and a treat right by your side. The staff will kindly bring out a water bowl for your furry friend. Breakfast is served until close at 3 p.m., and everything on the menu is under $15. The French toast is particularly delectable, but fresh salads and crisp sandwiches are available too, if lunch is more your style.

As the host, you'd like to find a respectable place that won't break the bank, but you're not sure grandma will appreciate Hooters. The kids can't be trusted in a chi-chi setting, so options are limited... until you remember Deck 84. The food is well-presented and skews slightly fancy (pear-and-brie flatbread wows 'em every time). Most importantly, there's something for everyone, including options that will please the young'uns, like sweet potato fries ($6) and popcorn shrimp ($12). Spacious outdoor seating means you won't bother anyone when you're gossiping on about Cousin Jack, while views of the water distract your spawn and keep them from punching one another.

Every adult person should enjoy the supremely liberating experience of dining alone. You can choose to eat lazily—and messily—while reading your new book or playing on your phone and no one will judge you or be offended. Alternatively, you can experience your food. That means you taste and savor every bite, without distraction. It's the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to something new and adventurous that none of your boring friends are up to try. Lemongrass Hot Pot is the perfect spot for dining alone. Hot pot could be compared to fondue, but that would be selling it short. Each guest is given a pot of broth—hence the name—ranging from mild to hot and spicy which sits in a slot on the table that will quickly bring it to a boil. Noodles and veggies move past you on a conveyor belt, a remnant of the floating sushi bar that used to call this location home. Proteins are presented buffet style and vary from the familiar chicken and beef (cut lean for quick cooking in your broth) to the more exotic pork brain, blood clot, and tripe, as well as tofu. Have no fear: The staff is knowledgable and happy to help you make your dining decisions. Once you've got all your mix-ins, set your soup to cooking. Now's a good time to hit the sauce bar for some garlic chili oil. Then, tuck in—but make sure to let your creation cool or make sure you've got a cold glass of water nearby.

Best Place to Eat When Someone Else Is Paying

Six Tables

Part of the glory of letting someone treat you to a fancy dinner is just sitting back and letting them do all the work. This includes making the reservations, and when it comes to Six Tables in Boca, you'll be glad you let the other guy figure that one out. It's not that the staff isn't accommodating and helpful, it's just that with only six tables (yes, the name is literal) and one dinner seating only three nights a week, making reservations at this highly acclaimed and beloved-by-locals spot is a challenge. The American-French restaurant serves a five-course prix fixe meal for $89 with its lone seating at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The menu changes seasonally but will likely include traditional French fare like roast duck and at least one dish served with Bordelaise sauce, followed by decadent chocolate desserts. The restaurant doesn't post available slots on Facebook (with so many private events, you just have to call and roll the reservation dice), and the wine list is also purposefully vague, since the chef personally selects wines to go with the menu and buys only a few bottles of each; thus, they run out quickly. Prices are $50 to $95 on average, or you can BYOW for a $30 cork fee. With all this mystery and intrigue, you might be wondering whether it's all worth it. It is.

Christina Mendenhall

When Monroe Udell opened his ice cream shop in 1956, it was a modest storefront. But in the 1960s, Udell expanded by opening up the back dining room and began collecting American antiques and memorabilia. More than 800 license plates currently line the walls of this beloved restaurant (the earliest a 1911 plate from Pennsylvania), and guests are always bringing in more to add to the collection. Though Udell died in 2014 at age 86, his venture remains ever popular with families lined out the door late on summer nights. Among the antiques are old telephones, a photo of Ronald Reagan in the 1950s from an issue of LIFE magazine, and Udell's favorite: a gramophone built in the 1920s from an English dance hall. All of this is fun to peruse as you sit in the same metal cafe chairs Udell bought more than 50 years ago and savor the best banana split you've ever had.

This South Indian restaurant in a strip mall off Oakland Park is 100 percent vegetarian—and also 100 percent delicious. The $9.99 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet is packed with value. Fill up with vegetable medleys, soups, salads, and chutneys. To really explore the variety of the kitchen, it's best to order off the a la carte menu. Dosas (crepes made of rice and lentil batter) are exceptional, with fillings like fresh vegetables, flavorful chutneys, and cottage cheese. Indo-Chinese dishes meld Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques with Indian tastes, as with the baby corn chili and Tofu Manchurian—both standouts. Save room for dessert: homemade mango or pistachio ice cream, or a banana split.

Ravioli? Check. Lasagna? Check. Caprese salad? Check. You can find all the typical Italian-American dishes at Sosta Caffe, but what sets this place apart are the more authentic eats. The family-owned and operated restaurant prepares all of its breads and pastas fresh daily. In the mornings, this rustic and homey café serves homemade pastries and Italian bagels known as taralli—savory bread seasoned with black pepper, hot red pepper, fennel, or anise seeds. Come lunch, try a panini or piadini (Italian flatbread) sandwich like the Toscano, a blend of herb-flecked chicken oreganato with fontina cheese, arugula, tomato, and a freshly whipped olive mayonnaise. For dinner, try the Ravioli Duo ($16.99): a few homemade three-cheese ravioli in a rich Alfredo sauce served beneath a braised beef bolognese sauce. And then there's always chef Maria's Italian meatloaf, her mother's recipe. Known in Italian as polpettone ($15.99)—a mixture of meats stuffed with a blend of herbs, spinach, cheese, and mortadella—it's delectable hot or cold. The recipe also makes for a stellar ciabatta de polpettone which, with a layer of melted provolone between two freshly baked ciabatta rolls, is perhaps the most flavorful meatball sub you'll ever get your hands on. For dessert, the homemade tiramisu arrives fluffy and decadent, but the Nutella cheesecake steals the show.

Readers' choice: Casa D'Angelo

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