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Dining scene: From shrimp tacos to chicken-turkey meatloaf

Havana 1957

14571 SW Fifth St., Pembroke Pines, 754-210-3499,

This Cuban mini chain, founded in 2010, has expanded into Broward County at The Shops at Pembroke Gardens from its three Miami locations.

The former Stir Crazy could pass for a Hollywood movie set with walls that alternate between stone and a rustic green finish with red accents including tufted banquettes. Sit at one of the red-and-silver diner stools at the bar where 120 different kinds of rum, mojitos ($10.95-$11.95) and Cuban libres ($9.95-$13) are served, as well as snacks ($4.95), such as mini pan con bistec.

"Havana's biggest legends and famous prints decorate the restaurant from ceiling to floor," says the restaurant's Maribel Garcia. "It sets itself apart by creating a unique dining experience that allows you to relive the glory and glamour of old Cuba during the 1950s. Each of our four restaurants combines the flavors of authentic Cuban cuisine, classic Cuban music and vintage memorabilia, bringing Cuban nostalgia to each neighborhood."

The house specialty is Pollo Havana 1957, traditional roasted chicken with gravy, rice, black beans, salad and sweet plantains ($13.50). Other highlights are tostones rellenos — green plantains stuffed with beef or shrimp ($8-$9.95), vaca frita — grilled shredded beef with onions in Cuban mojo ($12.50) and guava cheesecake made with guava shells ($6.95). "The Skinny Cuban" menu section promises dishes with less than 500 calories.

Lunch and dinner are served daily, plus weekend breakfast. The Rum & Coffee Band performs classic Cuban music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Bogart's Bar & Grille

Cinemark Palace 20 Theatre, 3200 Airport Road, Boca Raton, 561-395-4695,

New executive chef Aaron Goldberg has added some of his dishes to the traditional American lineup at this restaurant on the second floor of the theater, just in time for summer blockbuster season.

"My plan for the menu is to bring a little new life into it, keep it simple but make sure that everything has bold and distinctive flavors," says Goldberg, who was promoted from sous chef of sibling Deck 84 in Delray Beach.

His additions include orange miso-glazed salmon with carrot-ginger sauce ($25) and chicken-turkey meatloaf smoked with mesquite chips and bathed with sage gravy ($18). Other highlights are turkey cheeseburger spring rolls ($11), meatball or roasted vegetable pizza ($14-$15) and cheese steak sandwich ($16). Shrimp tacos come fried, grilled or blackened ($16), and the new Tuesday taco night offers all-you-can-eat pork, chicken or steak for $14, plus half-price premier tickets for $10.

Scrumptious blueberry pie has been reimagined into an individual pie shape with sugar-cookie crust ($9), and layered chocolate cake with malt icing and ganache ($9) is debuting, along with concession desserts including peanut-butter jelly cookies and Heath bar brownies ($5).

"We wanted to offer a quick pick to guests who didn't have time to get dessert at the table," says general manager David Soto.

The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.

22191 Powerline Road, west of Boca Raton, 561-672-1308,

This Delray Beach-based national chain, which boasts of using a 14-filter "Brooklynized" system to replicate the water in the Catskill Mountains to make its New York-style bagels crunchy, yet chewy, has opened in a former Hurricane Grill & Wings.

"Understanding that West Boca is an active, family friendly community with a large population of Northerners, we knew it would be the perfect destination for our newest location," says Mike D'Angelo, chief operating officer.

The fare features bagel sandwiches with egg renditions ($3.99-$4.99) and Bagelwiches ranging from chicken, egg or tuna salad ($6.29-$6.99) to signatures, such as The Manhattan with nova, cream cheese, tomato and onion ($8.49). Odds and ends include moist muffins, such as apple cinnamon with a crunchy cinnamon-chip top ($2.49-$2.99), and Iced Coffee Cubsta with labor-intensive coffee ice cubes ($2.99-$3.99). The "Brooklynized" water is even for sale ($1.49-$11.99).

Breakfast and lunch are served daily in a dining room with a view of a glassed-in room that holds the filtration system. Front patio seating is covered.

Up next: locations in east Boca Raton and downtown Fort Lauderdale by the end of this year.


Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, 505 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-523-7873,

Marking its first anniversary, this stylish oceanfront oasis with open-air dining and fire-pit terrace has introduced its summer specialties.

"The small plate concept has been very well embraced. People like to share," says executive chef Chris Miracolo. "We've kept going with small plates with very big flavors."

For lunch and dinner, almonds lend a crunch to piquillo peppers stuffed with mozzarella curd ($8), and blue cheese, pecans and orange sherry vinaigrette jazz up cross-stacked, wood-grilled asparagus ($9).

"We lightened it up," Miracolo says. "There's a lot of things with vinaigrettes instead of heavier sauces, deemphasizing dairy."

For example, at dinner, short ribs, presented as steak medallions that fall apart on the fork after 18 hours of cooking, are served with a smoked calabaza puree ($16), which pair with wood-roasted mushrooms with garlic and herbs ($9). Also exclusive to dinner are seared scallops with mushroom-artichoke risotto ($17) and an earthy Scottish salmon with edamame, shitakes, watermelon radish and truffle yuzu vinaigrette ($26).

Weekday happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. at the bars and lounges, which knocks $2 off all drinks, has been extended to half off snacks, such as goat-cheese croquettes ($7 regularly) and spicy tuna sushi roll ($11 regularly).

Up next: new desserts.

Email news to or send to John Tanasychuk, Sun Sentinel, 500 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 900, 9th floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394.

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