817 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-900-3664, Voodka.us
The Las Olas scene has welcomed a striking newcomer with graceful romance in the former space of Seldom Seen Gallery.
Elegant chandeliers and candelabras, Roman columns, leather tufted sofas, Chicago brick and a fireplace exude a classy ambience with red accents that flows onto the sidewalk at this self-called transcontinental brasserie. Soak it all in with one of 10 cocktails ($13), such as the blood orange-berry menage or cucumber-ginger chill.
"We wanted the decor to be a special signature as much as the food," says Paris-born co-owner Dan Ellia, who hails from Paris.
Russian, French and American chefs have created an eclectic menu from global appetizers, such as escargot ($12) and foie gras with a Floridian twist of mango chutney ($19), to Italian pastas ($14 to $39), grilled meats including bison ($23 to $48), fish ($24 to $32), sandwiches ($14 to $26) and a caviar bar ($25 to $115). Spaghetti in a vodka sauce crowned with caviar ($29) is the star. As a grand finale, servers present a gargantuan tray of dessert choices ($9), such as raspberry coulis panna cotta. There's even more selections on a separate menu.
"You will never get the check after the main course. You will only get the check when you ask for it. The concept is to have fun and feel at home," says co-owner Michel Karsenti, who has owned restaurants in Moscow and southern France.
Voodka will serve continental breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and will remain open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights as a lounge. Sunday brunch will launch in January.
Corner Bakery Cafe
14810 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, 954-436-2346, CornerBakeryCafe.com
This casual national chain serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily has opened its first outpost in Broward County — the third in Florida.
"Pembroke Pines is a terrific location to continue our growth in South Florida," CEO Mike Hislop said in a press release. "The Cobblestone shopping center environment is a perfect complement to our neighborhood charm and delicious food."
The made-to-order food, ordered at the counter and delivered to the table, ranges from 99 cents to $8.29 for items such as paninis, salads, chicken dinners, pastas, sweets, espresso drinks and smoothies.
Bestsellers are the Anaheim scrambler ($6.89) for breakfast, chicken pomodori panini on sourdough ($7.89) for lunch, and pesto cavatappi ($6.99) for dinner. A cup of spicy Thai coconut soup ($3.99) is new for the chain.
Guests can tap into free Wi-Fi in the plentiful booths, on the couches in the nook, or on the patio shaded by umbrellas.
Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, 3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale, 954-765-3030, 3030Ocean.com
Chef Dean Max's restaurant overlooking the Atlantic is serving seasonal items for the winter.
Kick off with a cranberry-cherry margarita ($13) or perhaps appetizers of baby kale salad with fall vegetables and crispy mushroom ($15), braised short rib with roasted bone marrow and marmalade ($14) and house made gnocchi with braised local pork shank and baby mustard greens ($14).
Jumbo stone crabs (market price at about $16 per claw) and oysters (market price at about $14, half dozen; $27 dozen) highlight the raw bar.
"We will always try to feature a west coast and an east coast oyster on the menu, giving our guests a choice," sous chef Joe Mizzoni says.
Day-boat scallops, which are best this time of year, are seared in an entree with duck confit, heirloom carrot, crispy potato, black truffle, brown butter and preserved lemon ($35).
A pumpkin-pie martini ($14) and pumpkin cheesecake with ginger ice cream ($10) will linger until the New Year.
This Boston-based seafood chain with 32 locations has split its menu into lunch and dinner and introduced new lunch specialties.
"It was an all-day approach before," says culinary director Kevin Watson. "We're seeing different clientele at lunch and dinner now."
New lunch items are Portuguese fisherman's stew with fish, mussels, clams and chorizo ($16.50) and grilled swordfish salad ($16.95). Everything spiced tuna, reminiscent of an everything bagel, is topped with roasted red-pepper sauce along with tzatziki and sauteed spinach ($16.95).
Weekly specials and dishes exclusive to Boca Raton are still here for lunch and dinner: Key West conch chowder ($4.95, cup; $6.95, bowl) and yellow gazpacho topped with shrimp ($6.96). For dinner, wood-grilled mahi-mahi with yellow pepper pesto and pecan-crusted snapper with bourbon-butter sauce are both $23.95 with a side of black-bean rice.
"We try to have some regional dishes so it's not so cookie-cutter across the board. Different regions have different flavors they enjoy," says Watson.
Updated cocktails are a peachy Fire House Punch ($11), apple sangria ($10), ginger mac with Irish whiskey ($9) and Anjou pear ($12).
A to-go box of eight cookies ($6.95), such as coconut macaroon and rosemary-apricot square, has debuted along with a gluten-free version of six cookies at the same price.