It's no longer a struggle to find good restaurants in Broward County. Cities such as Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and Pompano Beach are dotted with topnotch concepts, but foodies would be missing out by not exploring spots beyond the well-known map of South Florida's dining destinations.
From beloved classic deli fare to authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, the food scene encompassing Weston, Sunrise, Davie, and Southwest Ranches is reliable and thriving. The atmosphere is generally more family-oriented and the pace less frenetic, and the unique cultural diversity of suburban Broward is well represented in its bevy of must-try eateries.
Here is our list of the places western Broward dwellers rely on to satisfy their gastronomic cravings.
Angelo Elia Pizza, Bar, Tapas1370 Weston Rd., Weston
With a contemporary atmosphere, this cozy Italian pizza and tapas spot is best enjoyed with a group of friends so you can order as many plates as will fit your table and share them over one of the many good bottles of wine available. Here, Angelo Elia (Casa D'Angelo and Angelo Elia Bakery Bar) offers classic Italian-style dishes in a simple presentation and on the smaller side. Enjoy the burrata plate with parma prosciutto, red bell peppers, and basil ($16); veal meatballs ($12); and mozzarella-stuffed crispy zucchini flowers ($14) before you move on to entrées of lasagna rustica with bolognese sauce ($18) and spaghetti frutti di mare with shrimp, calamari, mussels, and clams in tomato sauce ($24). Pizza here shares center stage, with standouts such as the fragrant porcina, topped with tomato sauce, porcini mushrooms, and mozzarella and anointed with truffle oil ($18) and the cremona pie, with mozzarella over sliced pear, pancetta, Gorgonzola, and figs ($16). Sunday brunch offers live music and bottomless mimosas and bloody marys for $15.
Baires Grill2210 Weston Rd., Weston
An ideal restaurant meal is as much about the ambiance as it is food, and Baires Grill has offered South Floridians good Argentine cuisine, friendly service, and reasonable prices for more than 20 years. The eatery opened last year in Weston — Baires also has locations in Brickell, Sunny Isles Beach, and Miami Beach — with a menu of signature Argentine dishes such as grilled provolone cheese with Homestead heirloom tomatoes and oregano-infused oil ($15), and grilled meat options of prime flap steak ($28), a 16-ounce picanha ($26), and short ribs ($28). The parrillada, with its variety of meat cuts and sausages ($68), is for sharing, and lighter fare includes a red quinoa salad with roasted zucchini and eggplant, bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, and cherry tomatoes ($15), and a glazed salmon and quinoa bowl with broccoli, spinach, and roasted sweet potatoes with miso and sesame dressing ($16). Enjoy your meal with a glass of one of the many hearty Malbecs.
Bellini Italian Bistro2780 Weston Rd., Weston
Opening its doors in 2013, Bellini in Weston, like its Miami Beach flagship, hoped to develop a crowd of regulars looking for a second home. Chef Matteo Migliorini, from northern Italy's Piedmont region, has successfully helmed the kitchen since the beginning. His take on Italian goodness — including homemade pasta, pizza, and meat dishes — is a hit. The intimate 65-seater offers a rotating menu, including appetizers of antipasto di pesce with sautéed shrimp, scallops, calamari, and mussels in tomato broth ($17); bresaola with artichokes, shaved Parmesan, and extra-virgin olive oil ($13); and salmon and snapper carpaccio topped with zucchini julienne, red onion, cherry tomato, lemon citronette ($13). The menu's seafood options include linguine with shrimp in a pesto sauce ($18); blackened tuna with cannellini beans, avocado, cherry tomatoes, onion, and spicy mayo ($32); and snapper in a light fish broth with carrots, broccoli, tomato, and Italian parsley ($22). Baked throughout the day in the wood-fired brick oven, the Romana-style pizzas are served either white, with toppings such as mozzarella, Gorgonzola, and spicy salami arugula ($14), or with tomato sauce, including a Honolulu pie with ham and pineapple ($13). Save room for homemade desserts such as panna cotta with fresh strawberries ($8) and warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream ($9).
Kababi Cafe3828 N. University Dr., Sunrise
Stepping into Kababi Cafe in Sunrise feels like entering a faraway land. Dim lighting, arched doorways, and Middle Eastern artifacts summon Persia. Complementing the intriguing ambiance are the deeply flavorful dishes the Shirdels have been serving in the area for more than a decade. The food draws upon the homestyle cuisine the Iranian family grew up on — bright, fragrant Persian staples such as stew of chicken breast with walnut pomegranate sauce ($16.95). Also try the lamb shank dill rice ($17.95) and beef kebabs ($13.95) with sides of yogurt and cucumber ($5.95), Persian cherry ($4), and Kababi's signature dolmeh — stuffed grape leaves in sweet mint sauce ($7.95). For dessert, order the vanilla rollet cake in rosewater cream or chocolate ($5.95) or Persian ice cream with saffron and pistachio ($5.95). The restaurant offers a buffet for lunch and dinner, so stroll in at midday or early evening if you're in a hurry but want a real meal.
Lucille's American Cafe2250 Weston Rd., Weston
Twenty years after its debut, the timelessness and luncheonette-like charm of Lucille's, with its massive menu of comfort food — including a gluten-free section — are surpassed only by the warmth and attentiveness of its staff. They will likely recommend you start with old-fashioned onion rings ($8.99), sweet potato sticks ($7.99), or homemade potato skins with applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and scallions with sour cream ($8.99). Then it's on to lightly blackened shrimp pan-roasted in herb butter and served with blue cheese dipping sauce ($10.99); the Havana black bean burger topped with sour cream, cucumbers, salsa, and chipotle aioli ($10.99); or barbecued baby-back ribs ($22.99). Save room for the Reese's peanut butter cup sundae ($5.99), a slice of fresh-baked blueberry pie ($6.99), or an old-fashioned banana milkshake ($4.99), root beer float ($3.49), or New York chocolate egg cream ($2.99). Show up early Saturday and Sunday for brunch and grab a seat on the waterfront patio.
Romeu's6800 Dykes Rd., Southwest Ranches
Twenty years ago, Latin American dining was hard to find on Broward's west side, which made Romeu's intriguing, and this family-run spot set the standard for honest Cuban cooking. Come for the popular appetizer plates of mariquitas, plantain chips served curly or flat ($5.95); fried cassava Romeu-style ($5.95); and green plantain stuffed with shrimp ($11.95). Latin music of all genres accompanies dinnertime's hearty entrées of oxtail in tomato sauce ($18.05), pepper steak ($11.05), lobster tail with house-made creole sauce ($16.05), and pork chunks ($12.50). End the meal with arroz con leche ($4), coconut flakes and cheese ($4.45), guava cheesecake ($4), or shakes with wheat, strawberry, or papaya ($4.40).
Tijuana Taxi Co.4400 S. University Dr., Davie
This is the place to go in Davie for tamales, tacos, fajitas, and burritos in a no-frills environment with the vibe of a Mexican fiesta. Grab a couple of margaritas, some chips and salsa, and head to the patio for a relaxed dinner. You can't go wrong with Lalo's fajita bowl, containing strips of chargrilled chicken tossed with onions and peppers in a teriyaki sauce and served on a bed of black beans and white rice with avocado, tomatoes, and sour cream ($12.99); enchiladas pueblo, corn tortillas stuffed with chicken and topped with southwest sauce, tomatoes, avocado, queso fresco, and cabbage ($10.99); and avocado tacos with pico de gallo, salsa verde, radishes, queso fresco, and lime ($10.99). Be sure to make use of the mango salsa and pico de gallo. Must-try sweet endings are fried ice cream and the banana cheesecake burrito.
Vienna Wine Bar9100 W. State Rd. 84, Davie
Like a cozy European cottage set in the middle of Davie, Vienna Wine Bar transports diners to Austria via a selection of the country's classic dishes. Indulge in beef stroganoff ($30); Frikadeller — Danish meatballs with red cabbage, demi-glace, and pickled cucumbers ($24); and schnitzels such as jaeger — sautéed pork medallions in mushroom Madeira sauce, fingerling potatoes, and red cabbage ($26). The blackened filet medallions with leek and blue cheese cream ($41) burst with flavor, but the pork loin chop with brandied apples and demi-glace ($30) and the seared diver scallops with truffle cream and mushrooms ($38) are also tempting. House-made double-bomb brownies and soufflé are the perfect ending to a rich feast.
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