April 10, 2006 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Best cuban food in Ft Lauderdale? Things to do while in town?

Next week my wife are joining the rest of my family for a week in a Ft. Lauderdale. There's going to be 6 adults and 2 four-year-olds sharing a 3 bedroom house.

Needless to say, I'm looking for some activities that will get me away from the group. My wife and I both love cuban food, so I'd love to sneak out with her for dinner one night. The rest of my family thinks Taco Bell is too exotic, so it shouldn't be a problem getting away.

Any recomendations?
posted by Eddie Mars to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
If you don't mind driving to Calle Ocho, you could go to La Carreta or Versailles. Yummy. Also, Sergio's, Coral Way(24th St) 31-33 Ave.

Sorry I don't know Fort Lauderdale well, so I can't recommend anyplace there.
posted by Amizu at 8:51 AM on April 10, 2006

Don't know much about cuban food, but if you want the most amazing pastrami sandwich ever, I can give you the place to go. The best thing going on in Fort Lauderdale, in my opinion, is the King Tut Exhibit. The beach is always nice and if you and your family enjoy baseball, you can get pretty good deals on Marlins tickets. Have a great trip.
posted by jessica at 9:21 AM on April 10, 2006

I grew up near there, and I remember Padrino's being quite good (I loved Cuban food), but that was ~10 years ago. It looks like they are now 4 locations; I remember 2.

Of course, Amizu's recommendations for Calle Ocho may result in slightly better food, but it's quite a drive.

I also have to say- I'm very jealous. I miss Cuban food a lot, and there doesn't seem to be any GOOD Cuban food in California. I've tried several peoples' recommendations and always find myself very disappointed. (I don't want to derail this thread, but if anyone can prove me wrong when I say there's no good Cuban food in California, feel free.)
posted by JMOZ at 9:46 AM on April 10, 2006

Don't feel too bad JMOZ, there's no good Cuban good here in the DC area either. I tried to order a cafe con leche at the end of my meal when I ate at Ceiba last year and the waitron asked me "is that the thing with the caramel?"

I don't know of any cuban food in the Ft Laud area but if you're looking for a diversion on a sat or sun night you might try the Riverwalk area, assuming it hasn't changed in the last few years. There's a strip across the railroad tracks from the Riverwalk mall where the whole street gets closed off, you can wander from bar to bar with your drink and there's a selection of live music. Lord Nelson's Pub is on the periphery of it, use that to get an address and directions.

For finding restaurants in general you can try It's the worst interface in the universe but the forums have never failed to come up with some good suggestions for me.
posted by phearlez at 11:20 AM on April 10, 2006

To help derail my own thread, I know of one good cuban place in Cali.
It's in downtown Orange. Felix's Continental Cafe.
posted by Eddie Mars at 11:57 AM on April 10, 2006

Thank you! I will certainly try it next time I'm down that way.

If no one who lives there now suggests anything else, I'd definitely try Padrino's. I can't imagine it having gone downhill enough to not be good, and perhaps it's even improved with age. If/when I go back to Florida, that is high on my to-eat list (unless, of course, you get better suggestions in this thread).
posted by JMOZ at 12:13 PM on April 10, 2006

I don't know if La Carreta qualifies as good Cuban food. It's a chain, it's authentic, that's about as far as I'd go. Versailles is better (but we aren't talking gourmet vs. McDonalds). There are Carretas in Broward now. A good bet would be to ask around once you are down there. The best Cuban restaurants (like most restaurants, I think) are family owned places that the locals inevitably know about.

If you want some advice on good Cuban in Miami, send me an e-mail (via my profile), I'll hook you up.
posted by oddman at 2:33 PM on April 10, 2006

Sorry to derail, but what do you consider a tasty Cuban dish? As far as I've noticed, Cuban food sucks even in Cuba.
posted by springload at 3:47 PM on April 10, 2006

springload: Clearly this is a matter of personal taste, but I'm particularly partial to roast pork (shredded, served with onions), black beans and rice (different from, say, Mexican style BB&R), and plantains.

Also, for what it's worth- growing up in Florida, I always heard that the Cuban food in South Florida is substantially better than the Cuban food in Cuba.
posted by JMOZ at 8:29 AM on April 11, 2006

Roast pork (when the pork is roasted almost all day in a pit in the back yard and the person knows what they're doing and the pork was marinated properly) is just awesome.

For more conventional fair, picadillo is great, tasajo, ropa vieja (a favorite), carne asada, pan con bistec (another of my favorites), croquetas preparada (another sandwich). Don't forget flan! Plantain anything: mariquitas, platanos fritos, and maduros. Yuca, but that takes forever to get it right.

And my personal favorite (fried) boniatos. But, wow, is this dish a pain in behind. It's just a pain. But, hmmmm, so worth it; I'll eat a plateful just by myself.
posted by oddman at 2:33 PM on April 20, 2006

Just a quick follow-up. (Not that anyone is still reading)

Ended up going to Padrino's based on JMOZ's recommendation. Not too bad, but a little too refined for my taste. Don't get me wrong, it was a good meal, but it seemed too americanized.

That said, it was the second best meal on the trip. The best being a Brazilian BBQ place called Chima. Very pricey, but very good.

We also hit the King Tut exhibit, so thanks to jessica for that idea.
posted by Eddie Mars at 9:14 AM on April 23, 2006

Thanks a lot for the follow-up (some of us check back on threads fairly regularly)
posted by oddman at 12:22 AM on April 29, 2006

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