Our annual "Best of" guide is out. In it, you'll find over 200 of the best places to go and things to do in South Florida.
"Best of" comes in handy, especially during the weekend, when you've got two days to yourself and not a clue how to fill the time. We've curated a few of our favorite places to take the family or friends. So, whether you want to wind down with brunch or grab an after-beach milk shake, here are our choice picks for a fantastic weekend.
See also: Best of Broward/Palm Beach 2014
Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant - Tarpon Bend
"Does Fido want a bowl of water?"
"That would be great, thanks."
"How about a treat?"
"He'd love that."
Your server walks away and comes back with a massive plate of fries. No, it's not good for the dog's digestive system, but how could you deny that happy slobbering face? Don't be surprised if this scene plays out at Tarpon Bend. The restaurant is one of the most animal-friendly you can find -- as long as your dog is well-behaved -- and many of the servers are just as excited to see your furry friend as they are to receive your tip when you leave. When you're headed out to dinner, no need to leave Fido by his lonesome after you've already left him to his own devices for the workday. Get your four-legged guest a big bowl of water while you sip a beer, nosh on a burger, and watch the happy-hour crowd get its drink on. Who knows? Your little icebreaker might even help you pick up a dinner date.
Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant - Deli Inn
Say what you want about the little buggers, but kids know how to have a good time. As you get older, you may develop stronger social skills -- you at least learn how to ensure snot isn't hanging from your nose upon leaving the house -- but you rarely have an exhilarating time anymore. If you're looking to entertain some little folks or you just want to partake in a little fun yourself, you need to come to this place. Deli Inn offers a classic selection of diner fare, like buttermilk pancakes ($1.99 apiece), ham and cheese omelets ($7.49), country fried steak ($7.79), and a self-proclaimed famous Reuben ($8.39). Kid-friendly enough. But what sets this place apart is the service. Newbies get a free giant muffin their first time in the door, as well as songs, pranks, and a squirt to the face with a pretend camera that's really a water gun. Beat that, Chuck E. Cheese.
Best Brunch - Hot and Soul
Sundays are supposed to be the most relaxing day of the week -- the Lord's day. And brunch is one of the most chilled-out meals. So Sunday brunch should be a soulful experience (whether you go to church first or not). That's what you'll get at Hot and Soul. The small Fort Lauderdale eatery prides itself on serving an array of international cuisine cooked with passion. Mom-and-pop team Christy Samoy and Mike Hampton have a mixed bag of experiences and background. Samoy's family comes from the Philippines. Hampton hails from Pennsylvania. The two graduated from culinary school in New Orleans and have cooked everything from Italian and Mediterranean to modern American. It's all evident in their menu. Pillows ($6) are NOLA-style fluffy beignets served with condensed milk. What the French Toast?! ($12) combines toast made of rice pudding with coconut almond sauce, mango strawberry glaze, and candied ginger. Steak Your Claim ($18) mixes culotte steak with gnocchi hash and fried egg for a twist on an American classic. And the Philippine breakfast ($16) features tocino (Spanish-style bacon) with fried rice and a fried egg. Yes, it's all over the place, and the names might be strange. But it's all good, and you can actually taste the soul. Consider this your foodie place of worship.
Best Place to Feed a Little League Team - Jack's Old Fashion Hamburger House
Let's face it. Your son's little league team sucks. The outfield won't stop picking their butts long enough to catch a pop fly, and your pitcher throws like a tired vegetarian. It's OK. Not everyone is meant to be an athlete. But just because they can't win like champions doesn't mean they can't eat like them. Every kid deserves a hamburger after a baseball game, even if that kid spent the entire game befriending ants at shortstop. And there's no better place to eat away the sorrows of loss than Jack's Old Fashion Hamburger House. Since 1972, Jack's has been providing milk shakes to the athletically challenged and turning their heads when frustrated coaches slip a little vodka into their own shakes. And at $5.65 for a half-pound burger, you'll still have money left over for the end-of-season pity trophies. You know, those really generic ones that say things like "Best Use of Lungs" and "Most Enthusiastic"? And, like all good "sad food," it's delicious and greasy. Just about good enough to make you forget that your son is never going to be Derek Jeter.
Best Milk Shake - Doc's All American
Today's happening downtown in Delray would be as unrecognizable to time travelers from 50 years ago as it will probably be to us 50 years from now. But a few things remain delightfully constant, and Doc's All American is one of them. Doc's has been serving classic Archie Comic Book-esque foods like burgers, hot dogs, and fries since Frankie and Annette were still making those endless beach movies -- that's 1951, if all of those references are too old for you. The staff has had decades to perfect the milk shake, and boy, has it ever! You can have your shake made from the soft serve or the hand-dipped ice cream, with flavors like pistachio, cookie dough, toasted coconut, Snickers, and double-fudge brownie. Mix-ins abound, and -- most important, if you give a damn about classic authenticity -- the place actually has malteds.
Best Fish Tacos - Jojo's Tacos
No one wants to eat subpar food. Some items, however, are bearable. Crappy pizza is doable. An uninspiring burger is perfectly consumable. A bland chicken sandwich: You probably had one this week. But mediocre fish is the absolute pits. No matter the preparation, there's no overcoming shoddy seafood. And when it comes to a fish taco, it's serious business. It combines the best of the food world in one easy-to-eat package. When it's good, it's an enlightening experience -- if it's bad, you're probably getting sick. Jojo's Tacos' Cathy's Catch ($5.50) hits every taste receptor with a bang. Fresh fish is flash-fried to create the perfect crisp exterior without the grease. It's topped with a heaping portion of sweet and zesty cilantro honey lime slaw and crunchy pepitas (pumpkin seeds). The heat is added with a bright and creamy serrano tartar. It all sits atop a perfectly toasted soft-shell corn tortilla; this thing is so chock-full of flavor and toppings, one could constitute an entire meal by itself. Just try finding such a well-thought-out taco on the side of the road.
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