Miami New Times' 2018 Best of Miami issue is out this week, and there's plenty of love for Broward eateries, bars, music venues, gentlemen's clubs, and more. From Lona Cocina Tequileria, this year's Best Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, to Kuro, the Best Restaurant in Hollywood, the winners list is a handy guide for those looking to get their grub on in Broward. And with Slow Burn Theater and Revolution Live taking top honors for entertainment, and the Swap Shop, Empire Ink, and the Gym at Fort Lauderdale Beach earning recognition for the day-to-day essentials, will you ever actually need to drive further down South?
Here are Broward's Best of Miami winners for 2018.
Food & Drink
Best Bar in Broward: Tap 42. You can rely on 42-plus beers on draft, craft cocktails, delicious upscale food, and weekly specials. The Fort Lauderdale location is one of the most chill settings in all of Broward. From the bottomless brunch every weekend ($20 per person) to the daily happy hour ($2 off drinks from 4 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close) to the weekly burger specials, there are plenty of opportunities to get topnotch craft suds for less money than you'd expect to pay for a domestic bottle.
Best New Bar in Broward: The Wilder. This Fort Lauderdale bar hits all the marks with topnotch cocktails explained with whimsical illustrations, drinks such as the We Want Prenup ($14), made with gin, sage-infused vermouth, lemon honey, and Greek yogurt, and the Don't Sleep on Me ($14), a combo of Afrohead rum, Giffard Vanille de Madagascar, and taro milk tea, are très chic. Happy your runs weekdays from 4 to 7 and offers $3 off all cocktails.
Best New Restaurant in Broward: Dar Tajine. The menu includes the region's best comfort foods, from tagine and kebabs to massive communal platters of steaming couscous ($9.99 to $18.99). Don't miss house specialties such as chicken bastilla — a savory pie with so many flavors and textures you could spend a lifetime identifying each one. In this fragrant dish, spices such as saffron, ginger, and cinnamon meld perfectly with an herb-laden omelet layered within crisp warqa pastry and topped with crunchy fried almonds sweetened with orange-flower water ($6.99).
Best Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale: Lona Cocina Tequileria. Pablo Salas is already well known to specialists, but Lona Cocina Tequileria is his first eatery in the United States. Try guacamole with crab ($15) or huitlacoche quesadillas ($10), made with a prized fungus that grows on corn (it's way better than it sounds). Or check out the mole ($24), the traditional chocolate-based sauce often associated with chicken that here is served with salmon instead.
Best Restaurant in Hollywood: Kuro. It's tough to choose just one dish to highlight here. Main courses are broken up into land and sea. There are variations of both (sushi, nigiri), but the undeniable headliner of the show is the Wagyu beef ($24 per ounce), which diners can either cook themselves on a hot stone tableside or have charcoal-grilled in the kitchen. Kuro's rib-eye miso ($43) could also be considered a costar. The dish comes covered in succulent pine-nut miso and shiso dressing with a side of perfectly grilled asparagus.
Best Breakfast Sandwich: Bake Shack. Customers are greeted by an eye-catching display of doughnuts in flavors such as blackberry blintz, tres leches, and Nutella mousse ($1.45 to $2.25 each, $10.25 per half-dozen, and $19.25 per dozen). But regulars come for the Dough Boy ($5), a delectable combo of salty and sweet made with a mini cheese egg omelet and bacon, sausage, or ham nestled inside one of Freiman's signature airy, slightly sweet doughnut breads.
Best Café Con Leche: Kay Rico. Kay Rico is a hip take on the Spanish phrase ¡Qué rico!, which translates to "How delicious!" And when you take one sip of the café con leche ($3.50) at Kay Rico, located at the Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood, you're left proclaiming that phrase.
Best Cortado: Switchbox Roasters. Try the cortado ($3.50) to experience java in its purest expression: sweet, chocolatey, and buttery, with Instagram-worthy designs made in the foam. They roast their own beans here, so if you have trouble finding the place, follow the intoxicatingly rich aroma.
Best Pho: Atlantic Pho. Atlantic Pho is one of the few places in South Florida that produces steaming bowls of Vietnamese excellence. Priced between $6.95 and $9.95, the stuff comes in standard varieties: chicken, beef, combination, seafood, veggie, or any mix of those. In each one, the family recipe, derived from Da Nang, Vietnam, and still in use there, separates the dish from the pack.
Best Falafel: Sunrise Pita & Grill. Celebrating 20 years in the same bustling location, Sunrise Pita & Grill was the go-to place for fans of the Israeli fried chickpea pita sandwich long before it became a South Florida trend. The vegan treat is made to order and then placed inside either fluffy pita bread ($6.75); an extra-large lafa, the Middle Eastern equivalent to a wrap ($8.99); or a baguette ($8.49).
Best Colombian Restaurant: Las Orquideas. Not starving? Grab a perfectly fried empanada ($1 for small, $1.60 for large) and drown it in some ridiculously spicy homemade ají sauce. Need to detox? Go for the natural juices — lulo, mora, maracuya, and others — blended with milk ($4) or water ($3.50). Ready for an amazingly delicious dish? Try the bandeja montañera ($13) — with red beans, rice, grilled steak, pork skin, egg, sweet plantains, and an arepa — or the sweet and succulent pollo en salsa de Maracuya ($13).
Best Haitian Restaurant: La Belle Jacmelienne Cafe. Haiti is about 700 miles away, but you don't have to go that far for some seriously authentic Haitian food. The best of the island's cuisine — a colorful blend of African- and Caribbean-influenced fare with a hint of creole — can be found at La Belle Jacmelienne. Step inside the tiny eatery and you'll feel as though you've made the trek. There's a tiki-inspired order counter and colorful wall murals, all meant to spirit you off to an island retreat — even if it's just for lunch.
Best Vietnamese: Huong's Bistro. Vietnamese cuisine continues to grow across the region as more South Floridians discover pho, bánh mì, and bún thit nuong. But if you want to go beyond the popular classics, head to Huong's Bistro, where you'll find grab-and-go dishes like the ones on the streets of Vietnam.
Best Restaurant in Hallandale Beach: Sage Bagel & Deli. Breakfast highlights include the $8.49 challah French toast and the $9.89 matzo brie (matzo fried with eggs). For lunch, sandwiches range in price from $6.49 for a grilled cheese to $16.50 for a massive Reuben. Though Sage is open only till 5 p.m., the generous portions will sate you until bedtime.
Best Kosher Restaurant: Sara's Kosher Restaurant. The 17-page menu can be intimidating to newcomers. There are even vegetarian takes on Italian, Cuban, and Mexican food. One highlight is the $14.95 stuffed cabbage — a Hungarian dish of cabbage filled with rice and a vegan faux-beef simmered in a sweet-and-sour sauce — served with a freshly baked challah roll or pita bread for vegans.
Best Doughnuts: Mojo Donuts & Fried Chicken. The shop appeared on celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri's Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. More than three dozen varieties of doughnuts are lightly fried and then garnished with sprinkles, creams, or chocolate. Flavors include Nutella bacon, banana cream pie, and salted caramel cheesecake ($1.49 to $3.95). Don't leave without a bite of the chicken brûlée sandwich — a hand-rolled, caramelized bun stuffed with a tender piece of fried chicken and cheddar cheese.
Best Butcher Shop: Smitty's Old Fashioned Butcher Shop. Smitty's has it all, from wet-aged American Kobe tomahawk steaks for $38 per pound to Wagyu beef cheeks for $14.99 per pound to veal brains for $10.99 per pound. They have a freezer full of beef bones for making stock, frozen demi-glace, whole pheasants, guinea hens, and filleted alligator tails. There's a reason Smitty's has been open since 1962 and has always had a loyal fan base of happy carnivores.
Arts & Entertainment
Best Theater Company: Slow Burn Theater. This season, Slow Burn's selection of popular picks will make any contemporary musical theater lover squeal with excitement, from the new adaptation of family film favorite Freaky Friday (October 18 through November 4) to queer classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch (November 8 through 25) to the musical version of Elle Woods' law school revenge saga, Legally Blonde: The Musical (December 13 through 30). Omigod, omigod, you guys!
Best Strip Club: Scarlett's Cabaret. This is a true gentlemen's club and an entertainment destination. In 2017, the Hallandale Beach institution was acquired by strip club conglomerate Rick's Cabaret International, resulting in all-new furniture, fixtures, carpeting, and more. The place is swanky, the light shows are mesmerizing, and the sound system gets people moving. Oh yeah, the girls are hot, too.
Best Rock Club: Revolution Live. Miami can't keep a midsize venue open to save its life. But just 20 miles north, Fort Lauderdale's Revolution Live has been making it look easy for 14 years. With Live Nation in charge of bookings, there's no shortage of stellar touring acts to check out every week. Never mind the thousands of shows over the years — last year alone, Revolution welcomed bands like Social Distortion, Lany, Clutch, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Spoon to its stage.
Shopping & Services
Best Gym: The Gym at Fort Lauderdale Beach. The Gym at Fort Lauderdale Beach offers a one-of-a-kind workout experience that both locals and tourists enjoy. The oceanfront business is open seven days a week to keep you feeling and looking good. In addition to boasting a picturesque rooftop, the Gym offers an expansive indoor setup, with machines, weights, mats, a smoothie bar, and a class space for yoga, zumba, Pilates, and other activities.
Best New Chain Store: Wawa. Where else can you pick up a made-to-order hot sub, a fresh salad, a caramel macchiato, and a breakfast burrito while gassing up your car? It's basically a restaurant that happens to have fuel pumps in the parking lot.
Best Body-Piercing Shop: Empire Ink. Attention to detail, competence, and patience: Those are the attributes you should look for in a body-piercing artist. Empire Ink checks every box. The well-known and reliable artists, clean environment, and stellar reputation make this shop tops. In fact, we're confident in saying you'd be hard-pressed to do better. In terms of sheer variety, Empire Ink has you covered.
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Best Flea Market: Swap Shop. This place is nothing short of a spectacle, with nearly 2,000 vendors selling anything and everything on God's green earth. The Swap Shop is open seven days a week, but the heart of the action happens on weekends. Things to check out: the expansive produce area, the indoor food court, and even a drive-in movie when the entire space is transformed into a 14-screen outdoor theater at night.
Best Pet Supply Store: Natural K9 Supplies. Pet food can be filled with all sorts of dangerous garbage. Not so at Natural K9: If your dog has stomach problems, you bet the staff will be able to help find a food that agrees with your furry pal's stomach. You can guarantee that bones and chew toys don't come from some radioactive factory in a former Soviet republic. And if your dog has the sort of halitosis that can melt tempered steel, the store offers non-anesthetic dental cleaning, which means you can protect your pup's teeth without putting him or her under. Said cleaning trip doubles as an adorable photo shoot of your dog at the dentist.
Sports & Recreation
Best Rainy-Day Activity: Glitch Bar. Located in Flagler Village, AKA Fort Lauderdale's mini version of Wynwood, the bar has all the classic arcade games you remember from childhood: Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat II, Ms. Pac-Man, and others. It's stocked with more than 100 bottled and canned beers, plus a cocktail list that includes game-themed drinks such as the Yoshi mojito.