The name pretty much states outright what a diner can expect -- that is, if you have any idea what to expect from a Tahitian barbecue. Here's what not to expect: grass skirts and flaming batons. The only flames here are the ones chef-owner Darroll Tekurio applies to his exuberant barbecue, with its tangy, bright sauces and authentic island side dishes such as fafa (a spinach-chicken dish) and ipo (coconut dumplings). He does ribs especially well: They're lean but not mean, succulent but not sloppy. If you're ready to expand your barbecue horizons beyond Texas and the Carolinas, then Taro's is ready to take you on a saucy tour of the South Pacific.
Take a lot of fresh air, add some tables, and top it all off with some of the most buttery fried clams in the business, and voilà! You have an equation for perfection, otherwise known as Fins. The seafood is served with a sense of humor here -- try the "shrimp and crabsicles," deep-fried pops of juicy seafood. The fishies of the day -- and there are always many -- change often, and preparations are both extensive and inventive. And OK, we know full well that homemade carrot cake isn't seafood, but who can resist it? Not us, certainly; we won't even try. In fact the only thing we'll be attempting in the future is to make good on our promise to dine here more often.
Lord, what foods these morsels be! At Joe Bel-Air's, conventioneers, Port Everglades dock workers, art students, and Fort Lauderdale's common folk (what's left of 'em, anyway) converge at this retrofitted '50s-era diner for no-nonsense grub. The plates of breakfast fare, lunch items, meat loaf, and baked desserts originate, ostensibly, from the kitchen. However, it's worth noting that Joe Bel-Air's kitchen backs up directly against the Culinary Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Judging by the quality of some of Joe Bel-Air's late-night pies (such as the yummy Boston cream), one of those broom closets must have a false panel through which baked goods of extraordinary power and energy are surreptitiously passed into the realm of mortals. Asking the pink-clad waitresses at Joe's to confirm or deny these rumors will win you a quizzical stare -- further proof that we're right.

If you want your plate to be served from the left and picked up from the right, don't go here. If you want your water glass to be aligned with the tip of your knife and all other beverages to be placed to the right cater-corner of your agua, see ya later. If you want tuxedo jackets with seams as straight and narrow as W.'s unreadable lips, then bye-bye now. But if you like it when the waiters and waitresses, garbed in traditional Thai uniforms, not only know your name and face but remember what you ordered last time, then this is the place. At Moon you can actually utter those famous, longed-for words: "I'll have the usual."
Few places offer a taste of black Southern cuisine as complete and inexpensive as this place tucked between Sistrunk Boulevard and 22nd Road. Lunchtime brings local businesspeople together while Matlock reruns mime on two muted televisions and gospel classics rotate on the jukebox. The dining area is kept cool, and regardless of where you sit, you can't miss a big illuminated sign announcing Betty's as an NAACP sign-up spot. Menus aren't reliable as far as specials go, so ask your server what the chef has going. The menu boasts pig tails, catfish, fried chicken, and of course chitterlings. Try the oxtail with collard greens, pillow-soft cornbread, and candied yams (the last of which should be offered as a dessert), all for $7.99. Betty's also caters any size gathering and will customize the order according to your specifications.

You can't miss the place: An oversize red-and-white Peruvian flag, nearly always stretched taut in the breezes that whip across the North Perry Airport, perches atop the smallish storefront eatery, serving as a beacon for all lovers of the Andean nation's sophisticated cuisine. Inside the tiny, wood-paneled dining room, which is lined with medieval-style paintings of saints, this third outpost of the Las Totoritas chain (the other two are located in Miami-Dade County) serves up a dizzying variety of Peruvian specialties. The embossed-leather menus boast such stick-to-your-ribs fare as lomo saltado (sautéed beef with onions and tomatoes) and chicharrón de pollo (deep-fried yet delicately flavored chicken chunks), as well as numerous soups and appetizers. But of course any Peruvian restaurant is only as good as its seafood; by that measure Las Totoritas is fantastic. The jalea is a mouthwatering mound of gently fried squid, octopus, shrimp, and corvina (sea bass) tossed with red onions, tomatoes, and a handful of fresh cilantro. The same fruits of the sea show up in the cebiche mixto but are instead marinated in lemon juice for at least a day, giving them a tart tenderness perfectly complemented by the brightness of the onions and cilantro that accompany this dish, truly a (South) American beauty.

We wish we looked as good in black leather pants as Canyon's cool wait staff or got seated as quickly as its high-profile regulars. But most of all, we'd like to be the prickly pear. The key ingredient in Canyon's famed margarita, it spends its whole life swimming in top-shelf tequila. Sip this pale pink drink, and everything seems Southwestern, including the tasty tuna tartare with wasabi cream. So what they ain't got tuna in Albuquerque? Canyon's inventive menu is inspired by the Southwest, and after eating here, you will be too. Consider growing cacti or naming your new puppy "Adobe." Hang a dream catcher -- just don't start a conversation with, "Chipotle lately?"

Granted, the name of the venue is a little confusing. Formerly one of two West Broward places known as Parrilla's Latin Grill, the restaurant's neon sign still reads Parrilla's. But the billboard advertising the eatery now calls it Rumba's, since the Parrilla's partners split, each keeping one restaurant. And you might be a touch baffled by the menu, which lists a zillion dishes with a dozen different Latin-American influences ranging from Mexican to Argentine to Cuban. But you won't be a bit bewildered when the fare is served: Beef is the name of the game here, and the quality of the meat is uniformly excellent. Skirt steaks are marinated and grilled to juicy perfection, while vaca frita is shredded and pan-fried, then tarted up with a bit of lime and dressed with white onions. Looking for a little gringo action? Check out the ropa vieja potato skins followed by an inches-thick sirloin. Unlike most steak houses, Rumba's does not offer side dishes à la carte, which means that every enormous serving of meat is accompanied by red or black beans, a scoop of buttered white rice, and sweet, caramelized plantains. In the end there's really no question of befuddlement at all: Walk into Rumba's -- or Parrilla's, whatever you want to call it -- and you'll roll out in a carnivorous daze.
Subs, hoagies, grinders -- call them what you will, the essence remains meat, cheese, veggies, and bread, over and over again, no matter where you go or whom you patronize. How then does one differentiate the good from the bad? It's the little things, really: the crisp sweet peppers and nutty provolone playing tag on your tongue, the lettuce shredded instead of chopped, the turkey breast sliced thick enough to be tasty but thin enough to provide that quintessential sub "mouth feel." By these measures Monster Subs are the best around. Hey, it says so right on the door, and who are we to argue? The stores may be Spartan, but subs have never been about fine dining. Monster sweats the details to bring you sandwiches that stand out from the rest of the submarine fleet.
Cookie-cutter sushi bars abound in South Florida. But if you took a picture of Kyoto's product -- some of the freshest fish around -- and compared it to the outputs of three other random sushi bars, you'd quickly notice that one of these things is not like the others. The reason is simple: Chef Lee, proprietor and master sushi chef extraordinaire, keeps his fish and shellfish iced down and refrigerated at all times. So even items on display at the bar itself are a comfortable number of degrees away from spoiling. Then, too, there's Chef Lee's fascination with eel. He offers more than ten rolls made with the slippery sea dweller, of which the roasted-almond-studded Nuts About Eel roll is particularly delicious. Kyoto also displays some more-innovative concepts when it comes to cooked fare, providing diners with items like the bonzai chicken, which is a rolled-up, deep-fried chicken breast oozing spinach and Gruyère cheese. And lest we forget the "sake" part of the name here, allow us to recommend that you imbibe as greedily as you eat. It's the Kyoto way.

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