Clean Plate Charlie is pitting our eight best dining areas against one another in a March Madness-style bracket. Later this month, we'll crown a winner -- an undisputed champion city that can boast to have the best food scene in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Below, read up on No. 4 seeded Western Broward versus No. 8 Hollywood and then vote below on which city should go on to our semi-final round.
West Broward County: Where Cheap Rents Bring Restaurants Run by Chefs
The superiority of west Broward is the result of simple economics. To the east, where buildings are pretty and people are fashionable, real estate prices are high, and only business people can afford to open restaurants. Out west, chefs open restaurants. Often these chefs are foreign, which is why Broward's best Korean restaurant is in Weston (Myung Ga) and its second-best is in Coral Springs (Gabose), its best Japanese and Israeli restaurants are in Sunrise (Marumi Sushi and Sunrise Pita), and its best vegetarian Indian restaurant is in Lauderdale Lakes (Woodlands). The mere mention of these
names ought to make residents of other, trendier places cry. Or at least move.
eateries are unpretentious, reasonably inexpensive, and grateful for
your business. During your first visit to Myung Ga or Marumi, you will
be guided through the menus by attentive waitresses who know their food.
This is usually necessary, because these menus are not American. Keep
going back, become a regular, and you'll have remarkable experiences. At
Marumi, chefs will occasionally go nuts on a fresh-caught hog snapper
or scorpion fish or rock lobster, cooking it up over the course of five
or seven jazzed up, improvised courses which may involve, among other
things, the most delicate and meticulously salted usuzukuri,
mind-bendingly inventive sushi rolls, stir fry, wine sautees, and big,
hearty soups. And that's just one restaurant. You can get lost at all
Americans too help make West Broward the best place to eat in South Florida. Big Bear Brewing Co. got wild thin-crust pizzas and the killer bistro burger. World of Beer has craft beers that bartenders at lesser craft beer bars have never heard of. And even the Coral Springs location of Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza is better than its easterly cousin. Out west, where trendied seldom trek, you can actually get table. - Brandon K. Thorp
Hollywood: From One Super Hot Dog to a World-Renowned Burger
If you're looking for ethnic eats, nostalgic nooks, or down and divey haunts, Hollywood is your place. Go toLa Placitas
ajiaco, the classic Colombian green-flecked soup, with a touch of cream
that features chicken breast and stock, two types of Colombian
potatoes, half an ear of corn, capers for acid, and the distinctive
guascas herb. Borojo offers
Hollywood's answer to the super perro, a hot dog blanketed with bacon,
mozzarella cheese, crushed potato chips, pureed pineapple, onion,
ketchup, and sour cream. How do you eat this thing without wearing it?
For splashier fare there's Billy's Stone Crab, the icon on Hollywood Beach that's been touted by The New York Times as some of the freshest claws in the area. Decidedly cheaper and right across the street resides Taco Beach Shack,
a shabby chic, prime-real estate place with view of the boardwalk and
cross breeze from the Intracoastal. Belly up the bar for a Tecate in a
can, or take your sandy self to one of the couches to watch the band or a
game on the projector screen. The short rib tacos are among the best
bets, stacked with kimchi and cilantro cream.
Grampa's, the 24-hour joint that's been around since 1957 is worth the trip for the baked goods alone - just ask Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Don't forget about Quickie's, recently voted best specialty burger from BurgerBeast. For more astonishing gutbusters, there's Dairy Belle, the Canadian-owned fast-joint for poutine or soft ice cream. For the sweet tooth, there's the "kitchen sink" at Jaxson's, the sundae rated in the New Times Best of Broward-Palm Beach as Best Dessert for 2011.
For a space that's truly represents Hollywood weird, there's the wacky PRL Euro Cafe, a hole in the wall with unique beer choices,untz music,and hip meets haggard clientele. Then there's the iconic Le Tub, with a char-grilled burger so popular people hover to snag a seat at tables that look built from driftwood. GQ and
Oprah have gushed over these giant burgers, so good that everyone
ignores the service, the plastic silverware, and the get-it-yourself
Still not convinced? The Hollywood Circle is the
mecca for food trucks on Tuesdays, for street food and greasy grub from
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Velveeta to Venezuela. - Melissa McCart
Click here for a full list of cities in our Food Town Throwdown.