Three Mondays ago on a sunny day in Florida, my husband and I went to lunch at Boatyard at 1:30pm.
I was instantly impressed by the courteous staff, who were well uniformed from head to toe. They looked comfortable but professional in their loafers and quite preppy in khaki pants and shorts, topped off by baby blue Polos to complete the look.
The restaurant had a spacious layout with tasteful décor. My husband, Randy was in disbelief that I chose to dine outside since it was a sunny day out, but I could not pass up dining dockside with a scenic view. He was pleasantly surprised by how cool it was out there and umbrellas provided shade by the table as well.
What is Boatyard Known for?
Boatyard is known to serve fresh catches from local fishermen and premium cuts of meat. They also boast about having the highest quality raw bar, which usually includes oysters, shrimp and ceviche.
Boatyard offers Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Cocktails and Wine. They are also called Bimini. Their Brunch, familiarly known as ‘Brunch at Bimini’ is quite popular.
You can enjoy unlimited Bloody Mary, Bellini and Mimosas for $25. In addition to that, you can hit the Omelet Station for $14USD or the Benedict Bar for $16USD. If you would like other options, you can order from the main menu that offers Bimini favourites such as Steamed Eggs, Buttermilk Waffles, Shrimp and Grits, Smoked Salmon, Bagel platters and more. So even though I love Tap 42, Suga will switch things up for Brunch at Bimini next time.
What Suga Wanted but Could not Have
I missed out on the Florida Paella that I was looking forward to. The original plan was to have dinner at Boatyard, but we had dinner at our family’s house instead. Realising that the Paella was not on the lunch menu, I expressed my disappointment to our lovely server, G.G. She did her best to check if they could still serve it, but it wasn’t possible because they didn’t prep for it yet. You can imagine the prep that goes into it too, because Paellas are usually stacked with Seafood. Their Paella has Shrimp, Clams, Mussels, Calamari, local Fish, Saffron rice and housemade Chorizo. I definitely will return for it!
G.G. came back to us with other options and really sold us on their Healthy Bowl for the day, which was a Salmon dish. Boatyard is another restaurant in Florida that keeps it fresh. They change items on their menu often, but usually keep the favourites.
We started off with the shareable Charred Octopus ($17USD). I loved that they managed to keep the meat tender and saturated with flavour. It was also value for money with the serving size given.
I decided to have the Grilled Swordfish ($26USD) complemented by a tasty lemon flavoured sauce, along with fresh market greens. It was delish! It had a moist and very meaty texture as it should.
Randy’s Healthy Bowl ($22USD) was quite delightful. Thanks for the recommendation G.G.! It consisted of Grilled Salmon topped off with a Cilantro lime sour cream drizzle, accompanied by Avocado, Mango and Black Bean Salsa, Sweet Corn Salsa and a Petit salad.
Courteous staff, spacious Layout and tasteful Décor, impressive Menu Options, Quick Service and most importantly, Delicious, Flavourful Food a.k.a Value for Money. Boatyard is Suga Endorsed and I will return.
Location: 1555 SE 17th Street. Fort Lauderdale. FL 33316. USA
Market 17 is known for local farm fare and their adventurous option of Dining in the Dark.
Their menu has a list of products supplied from farms that meet their standards and are available.
The Dining in the Dark Experience takes place in a special dark room. A Blindtasting menu is served after all food allergies, dietary restrictions and extreme dislikes are declared. The goal is to heighten the senses without the help of sight. The Blindtasting menu starts at $75USD per person, excluding Beverages and taxes).
All of my friends were not in agreement to do the Dining in the Dark Experience, so we decided to go with the main menu.
Two Saturday nights ago, my friends and I were out and ready to dine at 8:30pm. We were pleasantly greeted and seated at our reserved table for seven. Our waiter, Daniel was unforgettable. He reeled off the menu from his head, explaining our options and giving suggestions eloquently. He had a personality that definitely kept the mood light.
He took our orders when we were ready and the Appetizers and Drinks came out quickly. They have a wide selection of Wines, Craft Beers and a few listed Cocktails.
It was said that the Appetizers were shareable, however hints were given as to what we may not want to share.
We had the Grassfed Beef Tartare, which was tasty, but a bit on the salty side.
The Crispy Miso Pork Belly was succulent, but the portion was small.
Rock Shrimp, Chicken, Ceviche, Meatballs and Salads were also available as Appetizers. However, their menu changes quite often and the Restaurant’s website is updated accordingly.
The Housemade Charcuterie served with Chutneys and Picklings usually stays on the menu. We made our own platter with our choices of Meats and Cheeses that was delightful.
Just when I started to wonder when our greatly anticipated Entrees were coming out, Daniel informed our table that our Entrees were coming forthwith! They surely did.
Tasting options were available for the Entrees at a reduced cost. When Daniel mentioned the pairing of Antelope Filet with Whole Key West Pink Shrimp at the start of Dinner, it created a ripple effect amongst the Suga Daddies*.
I definitely had to try it. The Grilled Antelope Filet, that was cooked medium rare, did not disappoint. It was tender and juicy with fresh farm to table greens, of which the Okra was a hit. The Whole Keywest Pink Shrimp that I tasted was delish! Sadly, the salt seemed to have gotten away from the Chef again on one of the Shrimp Tastings. This information was relayed to Daniel, who remedied the situation by removing it from the bill, since another serving was not desired at that time.
The Tasting portions definitely made up for the small portions of Appetizers. Imagine what the actual Entree portion may look like. Persons were satisfied by the end of the night, therefore since the small portions of Appetizers sufficed, perhaps the pricing could be reconsidered.
I paired my Tasting of Grilled Antelope Filet with Togorashi Seared Rare Yellowfin Tuna that was cooked medium rare. It was divine. Have you had Black Rice?! Phenomenal. It was refreshing to get such exquisite healthy options while dining out. Black rice has more micronutrients than Brown and White rice. Ancient Chinese mythology claims that Black rice was reserved solely for the Emperor and the Royal Family, due to its nutritional content and healing abilities. In those days, your life would be in danger if you were caught eating it without permission.
The Grilled Grassfed Beef Filet Mignon and Pan Roasted Chicken Breast did not spend much time on the table. They were thoroughly enjoyed.
The Pan Roasted Chicken Breast ($18/$33USD) was accompanied by Spiced Bulgur Wheat, Roasted Cauliflower, Squash, Pickled onion, Kale, Charred Eggplant Pudding and Marinated Tomatoes.
Dessert topped off the night for a few. Thankfully I did not indulge. Market 17’s strong points seem to be their Entrees and Beverage selections. The Vanilla Cake with Pastry cream was just up to typical standard.
Dessert Options range from $8 to $18 USD and included Cookies, Brownies, Parfaits, Ice Creams, Sorbets and a Cheese court.
Market 17 is a fine dining Restaurant to dress up and go to with excellent service, delish and unique Entree options, along with fine Beverages. Head to Market 17 and Eat like Royalty!
*Suga Daddies – Men who think they are too manly to be called a Suga Bear (Foodie in association with Suga Lifestyle)
Location: 1850 Southeast 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, FL. USA
Two Tuesdays ago I visited OPA’s new location at Devon House, which is on the right side after you enter through the front gate. Persons are familiar with that area formerly known as the Devonshire.
The Restaurant was quiet and cosy. I loved the ambience outdoors, similar to a deck in the backyard by the garden. Despite that, we sat indoors. Diners were present but it was not a full house.
The staff were quiet but professional and welcoming. I suppose they were a balance in personality to the owner, Alexx Antaeus who is quite eloquent but warm and friendly.
The menu still consists of Greek favourites from the old location such as Grilled Fish and other Entrées, Pizzas, Pastas and Salads. Not much has changed in that regard. However, the menu has expanded to include additional Mediterranean cuisine options such as Paellas and more.
We ordered a Starter that consisted of 4 Greek Dips served with homemade Pita Bread ($10.35US/$1324JMD) that they make fresh daily with extra virgin olive oil. The Dips were Tzatziki (yoghurt, cucumber, garlic), Tyrokafteri (spicy feta cheese), Revithia (Chick peas, scallions, lemon juice) and Skordalia (garlic, potato). They were all quite tasty and appetizing but I enjoyed the Feta dip the most.
Alexx took our orders by memory and not by hand, which was quite impressive. He offered assistance to anyone who had difficulty deciding what they needed to order and also wanted to put our orders in quickly to the kitchen. He gave us a heads up that they may take a little while.
Well a little while was an hour. Usually we would have gotten ourselves worked up and probably left already, but some of my friends were visiting and we had a lot to catch up on before they left the next day. The Appetizer dips could only go so far and we were sipping on some vino from their list, which seems to have a decent range and selection as usual. We tried the Lamb Gyros Stix ($7.75US/$992JMD) too. That was a small but succulent serving of well seasoned Lamb.
Not only do I respect that we were given the heads up on the wait, but we were checked on periodically and given a joke or two to keep the atmosphere light, like our stomachs at the time.
Finally, attempting to have a healthy night, I had the Psari Sharas (Fresh Grilled Snook basted with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. I’ve had that dish before at Opa, so it wasn’t anything new, but the good quality in taste remained the same and it was just the right portion served with Skordalia (a purée with potatoes etc.) and Greek salad ($20.30US/$2598JMD).
My friends explored other dishes that they enjoyed such as the Gyros entrée of Lean ground Pork served with Tzatziki, Greek salad, Potatoes and Pita ($19.50US/$2495JMD), Shrimp Penne Pasta with minty cream sauce ($23.40US/$2995JMD) and the Kotosouvlaki entrée consisting of Grilled Chicken Breast on a skewer served with Pita, Greek salad and Tzatziki (19.45US/2489JMD).
There was only one unhappy camper who ordered the Kotsi, a slow-baked Lamb Shank infused with lemon, olive oil and garlic served with sautéed vegetables and potatoes ($27.30US/$3494JMD).
Some persons may say they get small servings at OPA, but it really depends on what you order. My friend did not expect such a huge Lamb Shank. While that would make the usual person happy to dig in, being quite petite in size, it was daunting for her.
When Alexx checked on the table a little after we started eating, he asked her what was wrong and she explained. Without hesitation he wanted to know how he could make her happier and she agreed with his suggestions of converting the dish into a Lamb Pasta with her preferred tomato sauce and Penne Pasta. He returned quickly to the table with the transformed dish that he whipped up in the kitchen himself and even gave her some to go in a box so it wouldn’t be too much for her at once. She now joined us as an impressed and satisfied diner.
In discussion with Alexx, we were made aware that they source their meat locally from The Meat Experts Ltd. That is a good look. Meat Experts operates out of St. Ann and they have been making quite a name for themselves with their local, high quality, hormone-free meats.
Then just when we thought Alexx couldn’t be a more hospitable host, he asked if we were dining to celebrate an occasion. He was told my Birthday was coming up and he shared that his was coming up the day before. Fancy that.
He returned with a few members of staff and demanded that everyone get their cameras out and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, while he presented me with complimentary Baklava dessert (Filo layered with chopped walnuts and sweetened with honey). That was a kind gesture. I enjoyed all the love and the Dessert.
I get the feeling something may have been awry with the kitchen or staff that night so I would not let the long wait smear my first experience at the new location. The food was authentic and delicious and I appreciated the great service otherwise. So I will return.
I especially have to have some Drinks by the adjoined Reggae Mill Bar, also owned by Alex, since we missed out on it the last time as we wrapped it up early on the week night.
Suga and a friend visited Cellar 8 in Manor Park two Saturdays ago for GNO talk over dinner.
I arrived a few minutes before her at 6:15pm and their Mixologist, one of my faves, Milton greeted and seated me. He was his usual courteous self and started me off with my cue of Johnny Walker. He then took the time out to make me aware of various changes to their menu. He made me want to try everything! He also told me that he will have a Johnny Walker Mojito in the mix for me soon.
There are now Pork Belly Tacos ($1400JMD) and Shrimp Tacos ($1400JMD). A nice addition to their Signature Oxtail Tacos that we love.
They have added a Charcuterie Plate ($2200JMD) for sharing that is great for a group with a few glasses of vino.
In addition to their tasty Crab dip, they now have Bacon & Cheddar, Spinach & Cheese and Artichoke Dips for $1500JMD.
My friend had their new delightful and flavourful, Seafood Bisque.
I had the spiced and breaded fresh Calamari with Chilli sauce ($1400JMD). For those who love pepper, it was tasty and quite spicy!
New Salads, Pizza, Sides
They now have a Lobster Salad. You would have to ask your server for availability and price.
There is a Going Green Pizza ($1400JMD) with spinach, red onion, cranberry, tomatoes, bell pepper and roasted garlic that sounds both healthy and savoury.
Spiced fresh Quinoa and more have been added to their Side Order offers ($500JMD).
I am happy that they have replaced the Basa with the Catch of the Day Grilled or Blackened with the Chef’s special spices ($1850JMD).
There is a Surf and Turf ($3500JMD) Filet Mignon and Grilled Shrimp, Pork Tenderloin ($2400JMD), Fire Grilled Flank Steak ($2200JMD) and more!
I had an old favourite, the Herb Crusted Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chops ($2400JMD). I was asked how I liked it and got how I liked it. It was tender, juicy and medium rare. Delish.
My friend is expecting and was settled with the Soup, but of course disappointed that she could not have alcoholic drinks. Milton took care of her and whipped up a refreshing Peach Cocktail that she enjoyed.
All prices quoted have an additional G.C.T and 5% service charge, that is increased for groups of 10 or more. So Cellar 8 is indeed pricey but delivers with great food and consistently, excellent service.
When it gets late and more people arrive, the tables are a bit too close for comfort though. Conversations of course get louder with drinks and depending on where you are sitting, getting out of your seat may be a bit of a challenge. They have started to seat persons outside but I believe they should cut off once inside is full. Persons have expressed not feeling comfortable or safe dining or having drinks beside the ATM machine with their belongings exposed.
Suga encourages you to still visit Cellar 8, a spectacular weekend spot but ensure that you call and book your table prior to going.
Enjoy the Weekend!
Cellar 8 Wine Bar
Location: Shop 10, Upper Manor Park Plaza
Opening Hours: Tuesdays-Sundays, 4pm-11pm
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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