Trata Greek Taverna
Candace West

Mussels saganaki (Greek for "a small frying pan") simmer in a fresh tomato sauce with enough feta to meld into every bite without making the dish overly heavy. Figuring in cost and deliciousness, this $11.95 dish is the loveliest and practically the cheapest meal on Las Olas — not a common pairing of qualities on the boulevard of kept men and women and wealthy tourists. There is a special section of three saganaki on Trata's menu — conceivably, you could choose scallops or shrimp, but if you crave a scrumptious bargain, you should opt for the mussels. The others are true appetizer portions (saganaki are traditionally small), but for some blessed but unknown reason, the kind people at Trata make the mussels a much larger portion. Soak up the delicious sauce with the fresh bread served with a side of hummus, and voilà, you've got an affordable and delicious meal, and you've saved enough money to overtip the incredibly nice servers and buy yourself a glass of wine.

Best Restaurant in Which to Close the Deal

Le Patio

Le Patio

Since the higher forms of life don't use phrases like "close the deal" to describe the commencement of sexual relations, let's assume you're a heterosexual male. If so, then bring your next prospective fling to Le Patio, because doing so will make her think you're: (1) "tolerant" and "open-minded" for bringing her to a restaurant owned and operated by a sweet lesbian couple; (2) "romantic" for bringing her to a tiny, intimate space decorated in lightly funky, slightly dusty pan-European knickknacks; (3) "cultured" for bringing her someplace French; and (4) "alluringly frugal" for bringing her someplace reasonably inexpensive yet awesome. Sit on the patio, order the trio pâté appetizer, and trust the house to pair a wine with the specials. The pairing's always perfect and seldom adds more than $20 to the bill.

Jack's Old Fashion Hamburger House
Chelsea Scholler

We'll always be grateful to Jack Berry for his old-fashioned hamburgers, which he served in two old-fashioned restaurants and kept in tip-top shape thanks to an old-fashioned work ethic, which Jack passed on to four decades of young employees. Jack died in February at age 82, and he's left behind one of the few bits of idiosyncratic Fort Lauderdale culture to survive the past two decades of boom and bust. His burgers are as good today as they were ten and 20 years ago — juicy griddle patties made from fresh-ground round, served with toppings on the bottom and garnishable at the station in the middle of the dining room. The wise pair their burgers with Jack's salty shoelace fries and thick, oversized chocolate shakes. A big thank you to Jack Berry for making Fort Lauderdale so much tastier and so much friendlier. You're the best.

Angelo Elia Pizza Bar Tapas
C. Stiles

In a society that is addicted to burgers, French fries, and high-fructose corn syrup, many Americans tend to view veggies as, well, boring. Luckily, even the most finicky eater can enjoy what D'Angelo has to offer. The tapas menu includes roasted sweet Italian sausage over escarole and beans and broccoli; seasonal vegetables in crispy tempura with a lemon yogurt sauce; beautifully presented zucchini flowers; and salads such as the arugula with roasted peppers and shaved reggiano. Other veggie items include delicious minestrone soup; pizze capricciosa with artichokes, olives, mozzarella, mushrooms, and tomatoes; wood-oven frittata with zucchini and creamy burrata; veggie paninis; and veggie-enhanced ceviche. These creative and delicious vegetable items could please carnivores and children alike.

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.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

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