Jeff Levine’s Restaurants for Snowbirds
By Jeff Levine
If you are like most snowbirds returning to Pompano Beach, the first thing you do is check out what is new in town — especially which restaurants have opened and closed. The big news this year is that Long John Silver’s is now a KFC. Biggest might be a bit of an exaggeration unless you had a special attachment to Long John’s hush puppies.
The true big story in Pompano Beach is the opening last April of the Beach House. The new restaurant is the first piece of the new Fishing Village under construction just northwest of the Fishing Pier (which is also still under reconstruction). As its name indicates, the Beach House is located right on the beach. The views are spectacular and it continues to be the buzziest hot spot in the county. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the food from locals (I’ve had several seafood items, all were fresh and tasty) and the prices are not cheap, but it would be a mistake if you didn’t visit this place before you return up north. Right next door, the next trendsetter, Oceanic, is under construction, but you’ll have to wait until next season to check them out.
Another new place you’ll want to head to is Mora Grill. Their specialty is Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, but they have a broad menu. Everything we have sampled has been enjoyable, as is the frequent belly dancing showcase. Mora Grill is situated on the last block of Atlantic Blvd. before you hit the Ocean. The street is finally turning into a dining destination with Carlucci’s, 9 Face Sushi, The Beach Cafe, the Briny Pub and Razzleberry’s Ice Cream all within steps of each other, and all offering enjoyable food and indoor and outdoor dining experiences.
Sometimes, the best restaurant finds are the little holes-in-the-wall that you aren’t expecting much from. Even though it is just half a block west of Pompano’s growing beach “dining district,” the restaurants on the other side of A1A have seen lots of turnover during the past few years. There are now a couple of restaurants there that are worth your time and money. Las Orquidas opened a year or so ago and has a terrific Latin American menu at very reasonable prices. Just next door is one of my new favorites — Gorilla Joe’s Public House. Located where Jersey Dogs used to be, the small shop has a relatively small menu, but what they lack in depth, they make up for in creativity. Their sandwiches are exceptional. They serve several delicious soups (the lobster bisque was yummy), really unique salads including the burrata and watermelon, and their fresh ceviche is a must try. Like I said, sometimes those little hole-in-the-walls are the best places of all.
And, sometimes they aren’t. We went to Eric’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant (625 E. Atlantic Blvd.) not knowing what to expect. The words Eric and Authentic Mexican don’t necessarily go together in my mind. The menu was limited and the food was rather bland, another word you don’t usually associate with Mexican food. Probably should have gone with my gut.
Speaking of guts, I love to eat, so if you have a favorite Pompano Beach restaurant that you think I should try out, please e-mail me at email@example.com. My stomach thanks you.