The Best Restaurants In Hollywood
photo credit: Tasty Planet
Hollywood is a city that not only seems to fly under the radar but also employs some sort of cloaking device. Sandwiched between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, most people pass it in the blink of an eye—and locals kind of like it that way. You’re almost guaranteed a lack of pretentiousness or needless hype when eating in Hollywood. You’re also guaranteed some excellent food—from a weekend market that will give any fancy food hall a run for its money to the best sate we’ve ever tried.
photo credit: Tasty Planet
This gloriously old school spot was literally built from various debris and flotsam its owner found on the beach, just a couple of blocks away. And if you love a waterfront dive bar, you'll love it here. The seafood is great—especially the steamed shrimp—but you come to Le Tub for another reason: their massive Sirloinburger. It’s the size of a softball and truly deserves its own historical designation, as well as a statue inside the state capitol, because it’s a legendary South Florida burger. Just expect a wait for a table if you’re coming during the weekend.
This fast-casual spot right on Young Circle makes the best Peruvian sandwiches in South Florida. Their pan con chicharrón, a traditional breakfast sandwich available all day, is a must-order. It features crispy slices of deep-fried pork, fried sweet potatoes, and a tangy sarsa criolla. If you’re about that spicy life, definitely order it slathered with their fiery homemade rocoto sauce. The lomo saltado sandwich is also delicious, and they even pack everything separately if you’re doing takeout so nothing gets soggy, not even the fries. If J28 were in Miami, they’d definitely make it on our guide to the best Peruvian restaurants.
Ceviche Dozo is a great choice for an affordable Japanese/Nikkei meal that doesn’t skimp on quality. The whole operation is pretty much a one-woman show, which kind of reminds us of being in a real-life Midnight Diner—except in a strip mall on Hollywood Boulevard. Dozo offers dishes like ceviche, lomo saltado donburi, and great maki with excellent sushi rice. But we keep going back for the hot entrees, like a from-scratch Japanese curry that feels like a velvet blanket in our mouths and comes with super crunchy chicken katsu. The okonomiyaki here is so good too, and packed with tender seafood.
Hollywood is one of the best destinations in South Florida for old-school red sauce Italian-American food, and the epicenter of all that garlicky goodness is at Mimi’s Ravioli on Johnson Street. This is a small Italian-American grocery with its own pasta factory next door. The walls are lined with freezers filled to the brim with Mimi’s own homemade pastas, sauces, and prepared meals. They also have a bakery and pizza oven where you can get fresh ciabatta, calzones, cannoli, and more. The real draw here, though, is Mimi’s homemade mozzarella, which is made fresh every day.
In a region as infernally hot as South Florida, it’s sad there isn’t a bingsu spot on every block. Summer Love Ice House is the only one that we know of, and it’s what you need if the “feels like” temperature is just a middle finger emoji. The Korean shaved ice dessert is the only thing this place serves. It’s delicious, and comes in flavors like taro, mango, Oreo tiramisu, and more. Each bingsu is served on a wooden tray with little portions of tapioca, red bean pudding, condensed milk, brown sugar syrup, and mochi rice cakes for you to customize your mountain of finely-shaved ice.
Like many favorites in Hollywood, this cozy Indonesian restaurant got its start at Yellow Green Farmers Market just a few minutes away. The restaurant makes its own tempeh and Indonesian sauces, which you can (and should) take home with you. The menu features an excellent Indonesian fried rice called nasi goreng, which is tinted yellow with turmeric. Our favorite thing to order here, though, is the sate. Krakatoa makes our favorite version in South Florida. The meat (get the lamb) is super tender, assertively spiced, and lightly charred from grilling.
Don Rodone specializes in the best affordable ceviche in Hollywood. The menu is tight, and includes a mean lomo saltado and a couple other dishes. But the ceviche is the star. The regular fish ceviche features certain details you’d find in much pricier versions, like a little tangle of yuyo (seaweed) and choclo kernels scented with anise. The leche de tigre is perfectly balanced, too. You’ll seriously think you’re getting away with paying far too little for such a great ceviche.
Every morning you’ll find a variety of Hollywood residents here—from professionals and snowbird retirees to veteran hippies and construction workers. The interior feels like an old-school diner with counter seating and a handful of tables, while the light blue and white mosaic tiles give the space a cool, refreshing feel that fits South Florida. You can get solid American breakfasts, but we stick with the bagels and bialys, which strike the perfect balance between soft and chewy.
Located in Downtown Hollywood, Villa Romana’s space is what you’d expect at a special occasion Italian restaurant: white tablecloths, waiters in button-downs, and elegant wood accents. And while the Italian food is very good, the menu’s Romanian options are where it’s at—a delicious mashup of Mediterranean and Eastern European flavors. For starters, try the zacusca, a zesty eggplant spread with peppers, garlic, and other seasonings. Our favorite entree is the tochitura dobrogeana, a party of pork in garlicky tomato-based sauce containing everything from braised pork chunks to several kinds of sausage. It’s served with mamaliga, a thick polenta topped with shredded feta cheese and a fried egg.
Chocolada is an Eastern European bakery and cafe that leans heavily towards Romanian pastries and baked goods. It’s located right on the main drag of Downtown and is open until 11pm on weekends, making it a great place to grab a post-dinner dessert. On those weekend nights, you can expect to be serenaded on Chocolada’s patio by a middle-aged crooner dressed in bedazzled shirts and bootcut jeans who loves to ham it up like a Vegas Elvis impersonator. He's great, but we also recommend the penguin cake. It's as adorable as it is delicious: a penguin-shaped chocolate complete with a little tuxedo concealing rich chocolate mousse.
This is perhaps Hollywood’s greatest food destination. Located in an old lumber yard, this weekend farmers market has grown exponentially since it first opened. Now, it's an incubator for all sorts of small businesses—from coffee shops and taquerias to wellness products and jewelry. Not all of them are good, and crowds gathering in front of a stall aren’t always an indication of quality. The vendors change almost constantly, but there are some great standards, like Teff Fields, which sells vegetarian Ethiopian food, or Exotic Juices, where you can get layered tropical fruit slushies. The parking situation here can be a hellacious traffic jam, so try to carpool or find alternative transportation.
This Hungarian bakery serves a variety of Central European pastries, breads, and desserts, including some lightly sweetened poppy seed rolls and rum balls the size of your fist. However, we like stopping by on Saturdays for langos, a favorite Hungarian street food. Imagine a savory elephant ear topped with garlic oil, cheese, and an avalanche of sour cream. It can take a while to get your langos, since Hungarian expats congregate here on Saturdays looking for a taste of home. The wait is a silver lining, though, because it allows you to pop into one of two Russian grocery stores that sandwich this small bakery.
This frozen custard and ice cream shop is an iconic Hollywood spot, and there can be a line out the door on weekends, especially in the summer. There’s nothing fancy or experimental about this place, which is why we love it so much. The scoopable ice cream is all made in-house, and they even offer some refreshing dairy-free options, including a lightly tart passion fruit sorbet. The sundaes are gargantuan, and a small serving is enough for two. Siciliano’s is mostly a take-out situation, and it's totally appropriate to consume your ice cream or custard in your car. However, there are some picnic tables just to the right of the adjacent sub shop, which Siciliano’s also operates.
Sub Center is located right next to Siciliano’s and is also operated by the same people. These are pretty straightforward subs. You can customize them with nearly a dozen veggies and just as many sauces. We like their zesty Italian sub, featuring ham, capicola, salami, and spicy pepperoni. They also make a classic meatball sub with a slightly sweet sauce, and we really love how you can make a personalized riff on a Reuben by customizing the hot pastrami sandwich. You really can’t go wrong with any version here. Wait times can get long during peak hours (lunch and after work, mostly), so definitely order ahead online if you’re pressed for time.
Miami has its cafeterias, and Broward has its diners. The original part of Jack’s faces Federal Highway and looks just like those silver streetcar diners you see in old movies. Jack’s can fill up on weekend mornings when locals pack the joint for solid renditions of classic American breakfasts, including stacks of fluffy pancakes and Greek omelets packed with spinach and feta. Nights are a little calmer and can remind you of being in Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks painting. Almost everything on the menu is great, but we love their patty melts and the Reuben. They also make the best meatloaf in Hollywood.
Carmela’s is one of our favorite Italian restaurants in Hollywood, and a great place for people who think a bowl of pasta over $20 should make your eyes roll back (and not leave you starving afterward). The food here is great, and served in generous portions. The fresh, light-as-a-feather pastas include tagliatelle with a creamy truffle sauce, and pappardelle in a hearty duck ragù. The interior has polished concrete floors, a chandelier, and a huge melted candle display that makes the dining room feel like The Phantom of the Opera’s lair without the cheesy soundtrack. It’s still Hollywood, after all, so expect a refreshingly unpretentious atmosphere. Nobody’s going to stop you at the door because you’re not wearing the right outfit.