In the land of the early-bird special, you’d think that there’d be no problem at all finding pre-theater dining options. But no, most early bird dining options require you to be seated before five. Even at a leisurely pace that leaves you with at least with an hour to kill after your dinner before an 8 p.m. curtain. I suppose you could take a walk to burn off those calories, but in South Florida that means you’ll end up a sweaty mess when you get to the theater. However, a few places offer pre-theater prix fixe meals which allow you time for a meal with plenty of time to get to the theater.
500 E. Broward
A three-course, pre-theater menu is available for $52.95 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., with free valet parking until 7:30 on nights of performances at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and Parker Playhouse.
Marti’s New River Bistro
Broward Center for Performing Arts
201 SW 5th Ave.
Marti’s offers a prix fixe dinner menu starting two hours before curtain for evening performances for $39.50 per person. The menu includes a choice of one of four appetizers, numerous entrée selections and a choice of dessert. For Sunday matinees, the brunch menu is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are suggested.
1650 SE 17th St.
The dining room of the culinary school of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale offers a prix fixe menu Thursday and Friday from 6 - 8 p.m. for $19.99. A typical dinner may include tomato zucchini soup with a mini grilled cheese, short ribs tapas with fennel salad, crab cakes or spinach salad for an appetizer. Entrée options might feature a choice from grilled flat iron steak, Asian chicken breast, pesto crusted mahi mahi or vegetable lasagna. Desserts usually include chocolate lava cake, bread pudding or cheesecake. Beverages are available at an additional cost.
4140 N Federal
Mojo’s prix fixe is available any time of night on Tuesday, and on Monday through Wednesday, June through October. The $21.95 meal includes appetizer, a choice of entrée and dessert. Appetizers possibilities are the soup of the day or one of three salads. Entrée options are roast chicken, mojo burger, meatloaf, linguini and meatballs, a mahi mahi taco platter, flat iron steak, Scottish salmon, chicken Parmesan and chicken or beef stir fry, all served with sides.
Chimney House Grille
701 W. Las Olas Blvd.
This popular downtown spot specializing in South American fare offers a three-course pre-theater menu for $25. Among the options are tapas, mussels in white wine with chorizo, churrasco steak with chimichurri, arroz marinero (similar to paella), or more casual fare such as fish tacos and a gaucho steak sandwich.
350 E Las Olas
Royal Pig offers a pre-theater dinner for two for $55 which includes a shared appetizer, (buffalo chicken finger sliders or shrimp) two entrees from a selection that includes baby back ribs, braised pork shoulder, fried chicken and waffles, BBQ shrimp and grits or a daily fish special. A shared dessert completes the meal.
Coco Asian Bistro
1841 Cordova Rd.,
The three-course prix fixe menu includes a choice of appetizer, entree and dessert for $35 per person. The restaurant also offers happy hour daily from 4-7 p.m. with a specially priced appetizer bar menu and $2 house wine with the purchase of an appetizer.
404 Plaza Real Mizner Park, Boca Raton
Max’s “Three-course Experience” not only nets you a free bottle of house wine or house cocktail, but also includes a choice of five apps, any entrée and a choice of five mini-desserts for the price of the entrée alone. You need to be seated by 6 p.m.
The Intermezzo Lounge at The Broward Center
201 SW 5th Ave.
Many folks don’t know about this option. Arrive an hour before the show and enjoy a selection of delicious hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and complimentary soft drinks, seasonal craft and premium beer, wine, champagne, and coffee and tea. Mixed drinks and spirits are available at an additional cost. During intermission, desserts and drinks are served in the private lounge with ample seating and a wall of sliding glass doors that open to a private veranda. At $30, it’s a lot cheaper than many prix fixe dinner specials. Broward also offers private parties use of its Club Level private lounge, which includes many of the same benefits of the Intermezzo Lounge, as well as premium beverages at the open bar, extra roomy theater seats and free valet parking.
Of course, during Dine Out Lauderdale, Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, restaurants all over town offer specially-created, three-course prix fixe $35 menus. For a list of participating restaurants, go to www.sunny.org/dineout. Pre-theater applies to movies, too. If you want to grab a bite before a movie at the Gateway, Canyon offers it small plates for half price in its bar all night on Monday-Friday, and Sukho Thai features two for one drinks and $2 off all food items 5 to 7p.m.