Restaurants   1 comment

It is no secret that I LOVE food plus eating out and if I could I would eat out 3 meals a day 365 (366 Leap Year) days a year.  I am not a snob when I eat out and can just as easily eat at a fast food place as I can eat at a 5 star restaurant. I have favorite restaurants in each category but COVID-16 knocked out quite a few though new ones are coming along every day.

An irony involved with me and restaurants is that I don’t have a good record of restaurants staying opened after I have celebrated my Leap Year there!!  In 2020 when I turned 21 I invited my guests for dinner at the Nabu American Fusion buffet and though no one got sick because of the virus it still was one of the first to close for good! Sweet Tomatoes, The ZanZbar on Los Olas, the Marrott Marina hotel restaurant and The Ark all shut their doors while only Cafe Vico has improved by opening another restaurant! I am now starting my hunt for my Leap Year party restaurant on February 29, 2024, so I am making sure not to mention any of those places when I inquire about booking my party at a new place.

I, accidentally, found a gem of a restaurant that for 2 decades I have passed by without taking notice of until they got an eye-catching marque and since then I have been eating at the Fredo’s Lebanese restaurant known for their kebobs, slowly working down the lunch menu with the 15 specials. Also, the Jalisco Mexican restaurant, right across from Winn-Dixie where I have been shopping the last 21 years caught my eye and I have found a few new dishes there so added it to the Tequila Sunrise and Tipico restaurants when I want south of the border food.

There are a few restaurants I go to for specific items such as the Quarterdeck is my go to for Jambalaya and the IHOP for a cheese omelet with a short stack, the Outback for cheeseburgers not to forget Subways for a turkey hero and, yes, The Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake.

I’m jumping ahead of myself as I am going to talk about restaurants for particular items in another post! Not to forget restaurants I make sure out of town guests go to for pizza or seafood or pasta—now if I only can find a restaurant that serves prime rib on the bone since the one I loved has gone out of business, the second one to do that, where I didn’t have to get a bank loan for dinner.

That is something else I have noticed as a result of the epidemic–restaurant prices have gone sky high! Whereas before a lunch in a full service with linen tablecloths cost about $10-12 now it is about $20 plus tax and tip!!

Ferdo’s Grill–Lebanese Restaurant–Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

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First and foremost I could kick myself for passing this gem of a restaurant for so many years! Being in a nondescript shopping strip I’ll use that as my excuse for not giving it a try!

From walking in the door with a little nook on the right side all I can think of is the word ‘charm’ and that includes the hostess and the server. They greeted us with smiles and upon entering the main dining room I broke out in a smile for no reason except—yep, there’s that word again–it radiates charm with booths on the left, round tables down the center and square tables on the left.

Our server Julio, with a weird sense of humor like mine, obviously a professional old fashioned waiter, couldn’t had made our first time more comfortable and welcoming.I could go on talking about the chandeliers and their delightful trimming, the green lit ceiling, etc., but let’s get to the food. As soon as we sat down Julio put a dish of warm pita triangles on the table and handed us the menus pointing out the separate lunch menu with 15 items.

The items ranged in price from $12.99 to $22.99 with selections of salads, sandwiches and platters with the latter including hummus, rice, tossed salad, a thimble size of garlic butter (which next time I will ask for to put on the pita triangles) and the main dish plus Iced Tea or American coffee is included. I ordered the shrimp platter which is served with 5 good sized shrimp in a light, tasty sauce. (A minor complaint–it wasn’t served on a skewer! You’ll understand when you see their marque!)

Excellent service, excellent food in a charming atmosphere–can’t wait to try the other 14 items on the menu and that is before tackling the dinner menu which I didn’t even look at!

Posted September 11, 2021 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS FORT LAUDERDALE

Kraft Deli & Bistro review   Leave a comment

First and foremost, most important to me, Woody, our server, was excellent.

The decor seems uncompleted but is bright and inviting.

Parking can be a problem as the meters in front are not working correctly and the parking on the south side, without meters, is usually full. There is a free parking lot in the back of the restaurant but when we arrived it was flooded.

We were there at lunchtime and I don’t know if they offer the dinner menu during the afternoon though the to-go menu does state ‘deli hours and bistro hours’. The menu we did see is varied from deli sandwiches to a Cuban sandwich to soups and assorted platters.

We both had the Kraft Bomber sandwich (Pastrami, Corned Beef, Swiss Cheese, Russian dressing, coleslaw, $15.75 each) with a choice of sides being coleslaw, potato salad or macaroni salad and a pickle and, which is rare, we both ordered the same side. Allen had a diet soda ($2.75) while I stuck to water.

The macaroni was dry but, even more important, served in a small cup, which resulted in it winding up all over the under-platter it was served on. It should either be served in a bigger monkey dish and/or, even better, with a spoon.The filling of the sandwich was excellent but disappointing was the very hard crust on the rye bread.

With tax and tip lunch ran a little more than $20 each.

Posted July 15, 2021 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS FORT LAUDERDALE

Empire Pizza Cafe plus comparisons   Leave a comment

Coming out of CVS and it being lunchtime plus I like trying new places we decided to give this place a try being it was right next door.

Entering the ‘restaurant’ the feel, look and layout were negative and the lack of response from 3 people behind the counter was nil!$32 for a pizza with 3 toppings (and 2 sodas) served in a box with paper plates, plastic forks and only interaction with ‘staff’ is giving order and picking it up. Only 3 size pizza choices: individual or large with the former too small and the latter too big for just 2 people for lunch or by the slice and the slices in the showcase were very unappetizing!

Comparison, for example, with Big Louie’s where we paid $21.55 for a medium-sized pizza, 4 slices each, including 5 toppings, plus 2 sodas and full service including dishes, real utensils and glasses plus a $5 tip!

Sorry but nothing positive to say about the Empire Pizza Cafe!

Another comparison–the next day we went to the Quarterdeck–Allen had the Jambalaya ($17) and I the All American Burger ($14) with complete service and with tip & tax check came to $40.Service, ambiance, food at both Big Louie’s & The Quarterdeck well worth the money PLUS I got a free dinner plate size freezbee at The Quarterdeck—hey it was the 4th of July weekend!!

Cafe Vico–June 18, 2020   1 comment

Anyone who knows me knows if I could afford it I would eat out 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (366 in a Leap Year!) in spite of being an excellent cook and it has really been hard since mid -March not to eat out. Considering this is one of the four most favorite things in my life it has been a hard time and then the city took the first step of reopening including restaurants at 50% capacity, all staff wearing masks and tables at least 6 feet apart.


Being a person at very high risk and knowing how many people are sneering at the mask rule I was really hesitant about going out to eat but it was Alan’s birthday and we both like Cafe Vico and I had faith in Marco to follow the rules. (Just look at how empty the two dining-room photos appear and the new, clear vision looking out.) I went in wearing a mask and gloves, leaving wearing a mask and gloves. (No, silly, I took the mask off while eating.)


Though it was an abbreviated lunch menu the food was as excellent as ever. Alan had the  Chicken Francaise and me the grilled steak. I wanted carrot cake for dessert as they usually have a good one but they didn’t have any today and Marco suggested a dessert (Argh!!! I am at THAT age I forgot the name!) that was excellent.


The only employees were the employers Marco and his wife and they don’t need any training in service. Each table had a small bottle of hand cleaner and when serving the garlic rolls instead of a monkey dish for dipping they served single-cup portions.


All in all a typical Cafe Vico experience–a winner! Plus I don’t feel a need to quarantine myself for 14 days!

Arby’s Restaurant–review   Leave a comment

Arbys Oct 25 2019
Being creatures of habit after going to a Friday movie matinee we alternate going to lunch between this Arby’s, IHOP and Subway and this week it was Arby’s!
We had the ‘2 can eat for $8.99’ coupon and the ‘2/$4 Roast Beef classics’ coupon for a total of $13.90.

(For those who may not know don’t through out your ‘junk mail’ without going through it because at least once a month you will find a page of Arby’s coupons for a variety of items).

The ‘2 can eat’ included 2 small drinks, 2 small curly fries, 2 Roast Beef classics and 6 Mozzarella sticks so with the extra 2 Roast Beefs we had our fill for lunch.

The fries and sticks were hot and crisp while the sandwiches were served dry you have several sauce options at the condiment bar.

The service was fast and pleasant, the food hot and tasty and coming to $7 each for lunch certainly reasonable prices! (Of course there goes all the diet rules but I’ll discuss that with my scale on Monday!)

VALE FOOD CO–restaurant review   1 comment

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The second time in a week that I was to a restaurant in a location that has failed before, the dish I had was excellent but everything else was either blah or downright not good.

We had other plans but with the water situation the few places we wanted to go to were closed and I had a coupon for this place  that had been another restaurant for a short time. Vale has kept the same set up which is fats casual, line up for your food, get it, pay and go look for a table, hopefully to find one that isn’t dirty, sticky and still have used plates on it.

I had the small Aci bowl which is normally $7.99 but with the coupon I got it free as long as I bought a drink, which I did and cost $3.52 with tax.

The Aci bowl was really good with bananas, strawberries, granola, something like a blueberry cream sauce but the drink, organic lemonade made with sugar cane and blue agave that tasted like gasoline

If nothing else that ‘drink’ would keep me from ever going to that place again but the dirty tables was/is even more of a reason not to go back.

The “New” Quarterdeck–restaurant review   1 comment

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2 blocks west of the old  location, with trepidation, we went to the ‘new’  Quarterdeck. Though it was missing the old Key West feel of the Cordova location it was bigger, brighter and very inviting. From the greeting at the door by the hostess to the bright “Thanks for coming” as we left by our server this Quarterdeck was as friendly as the one I had been going to for over 25 years.
I had one major concern, and a couple of minor ones, but the first was answered positively when I asked if the same cooks were in the kitchen and so I ordered the Jambalaya and am happy to report it is still the best in Fort Lauderdale!!
I didn’t see any of the old staff but all the new people were a positive happy group. I couldn’t have asked for better service than what I got from Luis.

Though the old place had a lot of TVs the new ones here are overwhelming and I missed the aquarium but the ‘school’ of dolphins over the bar are certainly impressive.
The outside area is a lot bigger with many more tables for service and my main concern is what is going to happen in the rainy season now as I didn’t see any possible overhead covering.
I’m glad to the prices prices haven’t gone up too much and that one of my 10 top restaurants in Fort Lauderdale is still in the top 10!

By the way I wasn’t expecting it but I received a 2-4-1 email so our meal only came to  $22.45 plus a 20% tip.

Big Louie’srestaurant—again—review–again!   1 comment

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Big Louie’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Fort Lauderdale and everyone I take there, whether local or visitor, agrees it is a good place to eat!
Allen and I went there this afternoon with his having Penne with Meatballs and I had Veal Parm with Baked Ziti along with 6 garlic rolls and we left completely satisfied.
Full disclosure for those who may not know: My last, and one of my best jobs, as a waiter was at Big Louie’s for 3-4 years before I retired and it is one of the very few restaurants that I returned to eat after I stopped working there.
There will always be arguments about where to get the best pizza plus arguments of New York versus Chicago versus Neopolitian versus whatever but I will take Big Louie’s New York style pizza with a good thick crust, a lot of sauce and cheese and varied toppings over the thin, ‘burnt’, tasteless ones made at nameless places.
Big Louie’s has been a neighborhood restaurant now for over 30 years and its longevity attests to good food at reasonable prices.

P.S. Sheila was the manager when I worked there and was very good at her job and now that I left she is the best server there! LOL

Miami Grill–Restaurant Review–Ft. Lauderdale   Leave a comment

The last time I went to a Miami Grill I believe it was called Miami Subs and was located on East Sunrise on a site that is now a bank so it has been quite a while and, sadly, this restaurant now on West Sunrise has probably the worse food either of us had.

For Allen to not finish his fries is unheard of but he remarked had bad they were not to mention that his ‘chicken wings’ were the size of a marble engulfed in a heavy breading.

I had the meatball sub–well there were 3 round tasteless things in an absolutely oblong of tastelessness what I think was supposed to be bread.

The only nice thing I can say about the place was the woman behind the counter was pleasant.

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