MIAGuide

The Meet In The Middle Guide: Where To Eat With Your Broward Friends

Because if there’s one thing Broward and Miami can agree on, it’s that driving sucks.
A bar with a cooler full of beer.

photo credit: CLEVELAND JENNINGS / @EATTHECANVASLLC

There’s a classic sibling dynamic when it comes to Broward and Miami-Dade: Two counties so close to each other, bound by the very same geographic DNA. And yet, in classic familial fashion, they often want nothing to do with each other. This becomes abundantly clear the second you ask someone from Dade to drive to Broward, and vice versa. They’ll give you a look like you just asked them to take a pogo stick to Jupiter. But agreeing on a restaurant to meet at shouldn’t require the diplomatic skill of a G7 Summit. Just use this guide. It has some great spots in North Miami, Hollywood, and Fort Lauderdale that will make all parties happy they hopped on I-95.

THE SPOTS

Ethiopian

Miami Gardens

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerUnique Dining ExperienceVegetarians
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Tragically, South Florida is not an oasis of Ethiopian food. That'll make it easier to convince your Broward friends to come to Miami Gardens and meet you at Awash. Come here to tear chunks of spongy injera bread and scoop up piles of beautifully seasoned and spiced vegetables and meat. The best thing to get here is the Taste of Awash platter—or the vegetarian combo if you don’t eat meat. An Ethiopian coffee to finish things off is a good call too, especially if it looks like you’ll be sitting in traffic on the drive home.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

If you want to meet for drinks, consider Sidewalk Bottle Shop. This wonderful little Lauderdale wine bar is just delightful. It’s cute, service is friendly, and the atmosphere is generally calm enough for a full debrief of the last seven months of your life. The wine selection—served by the glass or bottle—is excellent and there’s a food truck parked out back that pumps out a small but delicious rotating food menu. Sidewalk is also located in the same complex as Laser Wolf, a tremendous beer bar, in case you want to bounce around. 

Although it’s a simple strip mall restaurant, Hollywood’s U Know Korean Bistro is a tremendous place to meet up with friends who appreciate Korean food. This is one of our favorite Korean restaurants in all of South Florida. Portions are big enough to share with friends and the menu covers a lot of ground: from one of the best seafood pancakes we’ve ever had to noodle dishes, soups, bibimbap, grilled meat, and more. But the jokbal is worth prioritizing. They offer a spicy version that’s fried and looks like it was dipped in a volcano. It comes with plastic gloves so you can really rip that meat off the bone with no fear of getting spicy sauce under your fingernails. 

On the southern border of Fort Lauderdale, along a little canal just a baseball toss away from the airport, you’ll find one of the greatest seafood establishments in the whole state: Rustic Inn Crabhouse. This place has been serving crabs and lots of other great seafood since 1955, and it’s like a museum you get to eat. Food aside, this place is just fun. You get to wear plastic bibs and smash big piles of dungeness, garlic blue crabs, and Alaskan snow crab with little wooden mallets. Plus, if it’s your birthday, the whole restaurant just starts banging their crab mallets on the table like a bunch of butter-splattered judges. They also have a double-decker boat docked outside that you can eat on, weather permitting.

Hollywood is a great meet-in-the-middle city, since it’s, well, right on the border of Broward and Dade. And any time we’re talking about where to eat in Hollywood, Le Tub comes to mind. The gloriously old school spot was literally built from various debris and flotsam its owner found on the beach. The seafood is good—specially 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 don't be in a rush, because you will have to wait for a table (and the burger).

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

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If you’re looking for a nicer dinner spot with very impressive food, try Edan Bistro in North Miami. You can get a day of reservation pretty easily, so it’s great for a last-minute situation. But the food at this deceptively casual spot is as good as any Spanish food we’ve had in Miami. Their $100 tasting menu is incredible, and they make what just might be the best steak we’ve ever had. If this information isn’t enough to persuade your beloved Broward friend to come to our county, send them a picture of Edan’s runny Basque cheesecake. 

If you and your friends are the kinds of people who love big marketplaces—especially ones filled with delicious things—then arrange a mini day trip to Yellow Green. The nearly 200,000 square-foot space in Hollywood is like a farmers market that ate some magical beans. The covered outdoor space is mostly comprised of food vendors who range from arepas to Ethiopian and tons more. There are also a few bars located throughout, and usually a dude or two strumming an acoustic guitar and singing. It’s a great place to kill an afternoon and eat something good. Just be aware that it’s only open Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6:30pm, and there is a $10 parking fee.

If it’s your turn to drive to Broward, you might as well engage in one of Fort Lauderdale’s great pleasures: eating fried shrimp very close to a canal. There’s no better place to do that than at Southport, a salty old seafood spot with waterfront seating and excellent seafood. The dining room has a charming nautical aesthetic, but you really want to sit outside on the dock. When it’s time to order, get anything that used to swim and is now fried. A frozen rum rummer isn’t a bad idea either.

For a slightly more formal meal—perhaps a place to bring the parents—try Perl. The Aventura restaurant is upscale, but not so much that you need to stress about what to wear. They have the kind of salmon and chicken entrees that’ll make a less adventurous eater happy, but also serve more interesting dishes like a chicken katsu sandwich, kampachi crudo, and grilled hearts of palm.

Riverside Market is a great Fort Lauderdale beer bar where you can hang out on a couch and eat barbecue chicken pizza. There are a few locations to choose from, but go for the original location in Sailboat Bend, which feels like hanging out in someone's living room. This place used to be an old gas station but now has a charming Fort Lauderdale mancave aesthetic. All the fridges are stocked with a huge beer selection—you just grab what you want, hold onto your cans, and pay at the end.

You might still be arguing with your Broward friend on whether or not sandals are acceptable formalwear, but chances are you can both agree that Thai food is delicious. If that’s the case, then meet at North Miami's Panya Thai, the best Thai spot in Miami-Dade County. It’s a quiet space but the food is the exciting part—from the tangy, spicy jumping squid to the sweet and sour boat noodles soup. Plus, it’s casual enough that your friend from Broward can wear their beloved sandals.

Neither Miami nor Broward has many great Indonesian restaurants. But Hollywood does. And Krakatoa is good enough to not cancel those plans you just remembered you made. This casual spot makes some excellent nasi goreng, sate, and even sells its own Indonesian sauces. Bring some home and you'll have a delicious reminder of the fact that you have friends and made an effort to spend time with them. 

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