Bravo Peruvian Cuisine
C. Stiles

Your head is throbbing, you wish you could rewind the last 15 hours of your life, and you need comfort. Not doting service or a huge bill — just a  tummyful of grease, spice, juice... and coffee. Decent, unfussy coffee. When you walk in the door of Bravo, the posted menu of Peruvian sandwiches may not read like much of a brunch (don't get nervous), but if you ask the friendly clerk for a suggestion, you will end up with a hangover-quashing weekend special like grilled pork with circles of simply and perfectly prepared sweet potatoes, and a chicken-filled tamale in all of its Peruvian-spice glory. The specials will not disappoint, but it's nice to mix and match — bring someone along, and split a hearty entrée and a sandwich. If you're craving salt, go with the Lomo Saltado: beef sirloin on a crusty bun that soaks up the juice of the tender meat and is finished with red onions and tomatoes. And if your postbooze pain is so bad that you need another comforting option, there's always the burger topped with ham, cheese, egg, and mayo. Cured yet? Wash it down with some fresh juice and you'll feel like last night never even happened.

Texas Hold 'Em BBQ

Some spots are good for solo dining simply because it isn't actively discouraged. Keeping humiliation to a minimum, these restaurants cater to lively groups and single noshers alike. But at this lunch-and-dinner shack near the courthouse, commingling is all but impossible. Three walls of narrow lunch counter and high stools provide space for your styrofoam-swaddled rib dinner and a sauce-splattered New Times; even if you go with friends, you'll find yourself talking more to the succulent, char-edged piles of meat than to whatever living human being may be gabbing on next to you, hogging your paper towels.

The Floridian

You and Gramps both know you get grumpy with low blood sugar by around 10:30 a.m., and the Floridian Diner, a classic local spot that caters to late-night boozers as well as early risers, is one of the only establishments open for breakfast in the Las Olas area. The food, like the service, is consistently mediocre, but there's no place more pleasant to kill a morning eating an enormous omelet with everything you crave inside and a huge helping of hash browns. Gramps is probably treating, so go nuts and order banana pancakes for the table. You'll be so pleased with the gritty old-Florida atmosphere, you won't mind if your eggs are overcooked or your waitress is a little snippy. Trade sections of the newspaper with your pops all morning sitting at a sidewalk table alongside the side of the building and all will be right with the world as you relax with swelled bellies full of oversized breakfasts made delicious by your newly refreshed mood.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro

What do you get when you combine 24 gluten-free menu items with one of the most popular Chinese chain restaurants in the U.S.? Very happy celiacs. P.F. Chang's recognized the demand for gluten-free menu items long before other big restaurants hopped onboard. A spokeswoman for the chain says the gluten-free items were developed after so many customers had requested them. P.F. Chang's gluten-free menu offers 18 entrées, one dessert, and several starters. The meals are even served on special plates as proof that they were prepared away from ingredients containing the offending gluten. There are four locations in Broward and Palm Beach counties; go to pfchangs.com to find the location nearest to you.

Brick House Tavern and Tap

A meal at Brick House Tavern and Tap will likely include food, but good luck remembering what you ordered. Only one section of the restaurant is called the "Man Cave," but every inch of the place is literally crawling with slinky, long-legged young women eager to sit down right next to you on a couch-style booth and clear away your troubles. These genetically gifted females add to their considerable allure with work attire (yes, they're paid to be there) that consists of a tiny scrap of denim for a skirt and a curve-hugging black T. Expect a crowd of them to surround your table when the food's ready — all the more reason to stick around for dessert, whatever it might be.

Christopher's Kitchen

Forget any fears about dry, tasteless, health muck. The grassy, fresh smell of fruits and veggies hits you when you walk in the door. Inside, the dining room is light and airy, with an open, spacious kitchen where you can see everything, including the machines used to dehydrate the bread. The dinner menu is lengthy and varied — zucchini lasagna, a mezze platter, a taco salad. A surprisingly filling baja veggie burger is served on a nutty, nourishing onion bread with a slathering of crushed avocado, a kick of jalapeño, and a chipotle mayo that slides through your fingers as you gobble it up. The Thai wraps come with hummus, cabbage, a hint of sweet mango, and an addictive almond-ginger dipping sauce. Dessert is the biggest shock: How can an ice cream sundae made of cashews and coconuts taste better than the real, guilt-inducing treat? This version is cool and minty, with chunks of sprouted buckwheat covered in cacao, reminiscent of Snickers bars. The whole thing is so healthy, there must be some magic involved.

Boo Rileys

This here is what happens when a bartender buys her place of employment, gives it a makeover, and throws parties as often as possible. Boo, the aforementioned bartender, is a five-foot-two-inch blond bombshell who dispenses hugs like candy and doesn't have "patrons" — she just has a shitload lot of drinkin' buddies. Whether you come in for the rowdy company, sexy bartenders, or the Tuesday-night prime rib special, Boo will make sure you have a permanent spot at her party bar in no time.

PRL Euro Cafe
Carina Mask

PRL Euro was one of South Florida's first serious beer bars, crammed as it is into a narrow little space on Hollywood Boulevard. The place is friendly, and the bottle list is staggering — on some nights, there could be 140 brews between the taps and bottles, including a few fancy ciders. There's a heavy emphasis on Belgian, German, and Polish beers, with quite a few domestics as well. PRL doesn't serve food, but there's plenty of oddball European techno, which, unlike the beer, you really can't find anywhere else around here.

East Coast BBQ
Candace West

Slaving over an oven that spews thick, resinous clouds of wood smoke is an arduous task, one reserved only for the most passionate. That's why good barbecue is all about passion — the love of the craft, the desire to rise above mediocrity and produce a truly exceptional product. That's the driving force at Pompano's East Coast BBQ. This hidden gem is located far in the back corner of a Publix parking lot, out of roadside view and with little signage to speak of. But owner Dave Audet and his staff pump out barbecue as if they were competing for the grand prize at a state fair. The pork is pulled into meaty, thick strands, full of texture. The moist smoked turkey isn't anything like those sad Thanksgiving birds — it's a whole other beast, full of brined, marinated goodness. And the ribs... oh God, the ribs. These dry-rubbed racks are competition-quality, plucked straight from Audet's high-tech pellet smoker and given a quick turn on the grill to char them up before they land on your plate. What you get is rib perfection: tender bark collapsing over waves of rendered fat, which, upon biting, coats the succulent meat inside with its own gravylicious juice. Goddamn. Complete the package with some no-fuss sides like stellar baked beans and German-style potato salad and you might very well think you're at a competition cook-off.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of