Nestled between Miami and Fort Lauderdale is Florida's Hollywood, a beachfront community where the entertainment is based on a hometown atmosphere and Old Florida appeal. Founded by developer Joseph Young in 1925, Hollywood is known for its laid-back vibe, unique beach boardwalk, artsy downtown, and thriving culinary scene.
There is a wide array of great restaurants in Hollywood where the locals love to eat. Waterfront veteran GG's offers a menu of fresh seafood specialties that lures discerning diners year-round. Oprah-approved Le Tub serves the best burger in town, and inside the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, Kuro focuses on Japanese kaiseki at its best. In addition, restaurants such as A La Turca, Runas, and Viva Brazil celebrate the diversity of their culinary roots.
New Times has narrowed down the best destinations for eating out in Hollywood. Read on for the top eight.
A La Turca1848 Harrison St.
The scent of lamb, charred eggplant, and exotic spices have been luring locals to this casual Hollywood spot for over a decade. Chef/owner Gerardo Avila serves a menu of comforting Turkish fare with a touch of American and European flavors. The result: appetizers like falafel with chickpea, cilantro, and parsley ($7); and beef liver with pomegranate sauce ($10). For main courses, the eatery serves dishes like grilled branzino ($29), baby lamb chops ($29), and vegan stuffed eggplant ($18). Kebabs are also a hit. Try the doner, made with fresh ground lamb and beef shaved over rice and served with grilled tomato ($18) or the beyti, minced lamb breast and garlic wrapped in soft, flat lavash bread and topped with garlic yogurt, tomato sauce, and hot butter, served with cracked wheat ($20). For dessert, order kunef, a sweet cheese pastry ($8) or baklava, the traditional Turkish delight made of fine filo pastry drenched in milky honey and covered in pistachio nuts ($8). Happy hour at A La Turca is offered at the bar from Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.
GG's Waterfront606 N. Ocean Dr.
There's no better place in Hollywood for alfresco dining than this sprawling waterside eatery on North Ocean Drive. Known as the former celebrity hangout of Sinatra, the Rat Pack, and New York mobsters, GG's is now where locals go when they want to dine on Florida fresh seafood and steak. For starters, find colossal crab cocktail ($20), watermelon salad with tahini dressing, feat, and shaved chile ($12); and harissa-spiced octopus with olives, marinated peppers, golden raisins, potato, and Moroccan chermoula ($15). Move on to an entrée of Guinness-braised short ribs with whipped potato purée ($29) or double-thick lamb chops served with creamy polenta, horseradish-maple Brussels sprouts, and gremolata ($36). The standout dessert is key lime pie, made here with white chocolate, macadamia-graham crust, strawberry coulis, and dehydrated lime ($10). On Sundays, GG's hosts a special brunch and live Caribbean music at the dockside lounge.
Kuro1 Seminole Way
There are several Japanese restaurants in town, but Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino stands out for its kaiseki, the traditional Japanese multicourse dinner. Hospitality reigns in the sophisticated 9,500-square-foot dining room, which overlooks the resort's lush pool area. Enthusiastic servers bring out elaborate dishes like hokkaido scallop sashimi with yuzu gel, young ginger, and sea salt ($16); salmon karé with seasonal vegetables, cauliflower, and Japanese curry ($24); and chicken amadare with broccolini and yuzu amadare sauce ($22). The eatery also features an extensive sashimi lineup, including ocean trout ($6), sea bream ($6), sea bass ($5), and sea urchin ($8), and a must-try assortment of sushi options like toro scallion ($16) and soft-shell crab ($15).
Le Tub Saloon100 N. Ocean Dr.
Hollywood locals are quick to nominate Le Tub's hamburger the best in town. There's nothing fancy about this outdoor-seating saloon — diners have been congregating here for food and drink and NFL Sundays for more than three decades. Its quirky interior and the painted toilets and bathtubs of the outdoor wood deck facing the Intracoastal Waterway complement the appeal. The signature sirloin burger, made famous by GQ Magazine and Oprah, is big enough to share ($11). Other favorites are chili made with ground sirloin with tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and seasonings ($5), barbecue pork served on a roll ($9), and beer-steamed shrimp served with butter or cocktail sauce ($20). Key lime pie for dessert is the perfect ending ($4).
Monkitail3555 S. Ocean Dr.
Michael Schulson's Japanese gastropub in the Diplomat Beach Resort is one of Hollywood's hippest food and drink venues with a large menu of sushi, sashimi, and robatayaki options. Amongst the eatery's many specialties are Japanese fried chicken with daikon and Kewpie mayo ($10), and duck shabu shabu with mushroom, cabbage, and tofu ($27). Never-fail sushi and sashimi options include golden eye snapper ($7) and uni with fresh wasabi ($10), along with Japanese mackerel with ginger, scallion and kombu ($5). After you enjoy a dessert of cotton cheesecake with cream cheese mousse, chantilly cream, mandarin gel, and orange segments ($8), head to Nokku, a cocktail lounge tucked away beyond the main dining room featuring karaoke, specialty crafted cocktails, and sake.
Point Royal3555 S. Ocean Dr.
Between celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian's signature hospitality and the comfort of Coastal American fare, there's something uniquely inviting about Point Royal. The tropical dining room of floor-to-ceiling windows, Cuban-style wood fans, and potted trees and plants is a three-meal-a-day spot, with a compelling mix of offerings including Grandma's classic chicken soup with dill and vegetables ($13), raw bar items like snapper crudo with jalapeño, micro cilantro, and lime zest ($14), and the standout GZ butter-poached lobster roll with Coleman’s mustard sauce ($24). The dishes pair well with handcrafted cocktails like the green grape caipirinha with Leblon cachaça ($15) and Royal Blood with Absolut Elyx vodka, fresh muddled raspberries, Ramazzotti Rosato, fresh pink grapefruit and lemon juice Angostura bitters ($18).
Runas Peruvian Cuisine219 N. 21st Ave.
The fusion of flavors that distinguishes Peruvian cuisine found a home in Hollywood via Tony Dominguez and Gerardo Landa, Lima natives who offer an exquisite blend of fine dining and street-food culture at affordable prices. Beloved Peruvian staples are the centerpiece of Runas' menu, and it's hard to pick a favorite. Among the specialties are anticuchos de corazón, which are veal heart skewers served with grinder rustic potatoes and corn ($12), chupe de camarones, the Peruvian-style shrimp stew ($19), and tiradito options like the grilled sesame seared mahi-mahi cut in sashimi-style slices in coal-smoked Peruvian yellow pepper sauce ($17). Other notable dishes are the aphrodisiac tiger's mil with fish ceviche juice and seafood ($12), fresh mahi-mahi dressed in anticuchera sauce served over caper risotto ($20), and the causa runas sampler with four potato mash terrines varieties stuffed with chicken, crab, shrimp, and pulpo ($17).
Viva Brazil1657 S. 21st Ave.
Luciano Silva and his son, Victor Faleiro, are behind this well-loved Hollywood spot, which has been thriving since 2014. Food is plentiful and the price is right. For $19.95 at lunch and $ 29.95 at dinner during the week, you get try classic Brazilian rodizio, more than a dozen assorted spit-roasted meats, brought to the table on long skewers and sliced onto your plate until you decide you've had enough. You also get limitless trips to the hot and cold buffets. Load up your plate with an array of salads, specialty dishes, desserts like flan and crepes, and wash it all down with one of the many caipirinhas. On weekends, pots of the exotic Brazilian feijoada, a stew of black beans boiled with smoked and fresh pig cuts and spices, is added to the feast, which costs $29.95 all day. The duo recently opened a sister restaurant in Sunny Isles, Viva Brazil Signature, with an à la carte menu, which was nominated best Brazilian restaurant by New Times.