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Hurricane Wilma took a pretty good swipe at Fort Lauderdale's own Polynesian village - the Mai-Kai. So much so that more than three years later, the restaurant was still working on repairing its thatched roofs, tiki torches, and wooden plank bridge. The Mai-Kai has recently finished all of its repairs and added a few upgrades, which include weaving 6,500 palm leaves into its thatched canopy entrance, hand painting the north side of the building, and renovating the Molokai Bar.
The best night of the week to hit this Polynesian paradise is Wednesdays, when happy hour patrons can sample some exotic eats at a complimentary buffet. Skip right to the "strong tropical drinks" section of the drink menu to order the rum-filled "151 swizzle," which is advertised as being "only for the sturdy" or the "bora bora," a "potent, adventurous challenge."
After a few drinks, you can stick around for the nightly dance show
with routines, like the Samoan fire-knife dance, that represent various
rituals and rites of passage in Hawaiian culture. Happy hour runs from
5 to 7 p.m. every other night as well, with half price drinks and
appetizers. And there's live music starting at 6 p.m. every Friday.
-- Jill Barton