It’s time for South Florida Gay News’ annual poll to find out our reader’s favorites in the community in a variety of categories.
I just happened to stop by our handsome, charming, and witty editor (shamelessly brown-nosing) Jason Parsley’s desk and spied a list of the finalists. Of course, my eyes zeroed in on the categories related to dining out.
As usual, the “Best of” category is studded with the most popular places in our community. One thing is certain, there’s no way you could identify a “typical” restaurant from this group, the styles and cuisines are as varied as can be. So are the price-points, from casual to fine-dining. Here are the finalists for “Best Restaurant.” I’m listing them in alphabetical order so you can’t claim I’m showing my bias.
Although I do have a favorite out of these, I’m not saying a word.
Bona Italian Restaurant & Pizza — Since it opened as a single-stall pizza joint in 1979, this place has turned into a landmark in our community. With new ownership taking over a few years ago, there has been an increased commitment to being part of the community. This is shown by the restaurant’s Give Back Monday, with 10% of its sales going to local nonprofits, and in the reduction of the restaurant’s carbon footprint by eliminating most Styrofoam and plastic. They even use pasta for straws!
Rosie’s Bar & Grill — A tropical oasis in the middle of an Island City, since 2006 Rosie’s has been offering food and drinks with a side of sass. Open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday Funday Brunch, or just drinks. With its casual fare and plentiful tropical outdoor seating, it is popular with the LGBTQ+++++ community. All those pluses include a lot of allies and long-term Wilton Manors residents.
Ethos Greek Bistro — It seems like the tables are never empty at Ethos. The authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine makes this a bargain. It’s cheaper than a trip to Greece and sitting in the dining area, where indoor and outdoor seating all are open to the environment, you’d be surprised to discover that you weren’t dining in a restaurant along the coast of Greece. Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character,” but it is really about the distinct spirit of a culture, which the titular restaurant has encapsulated perfectly. And it helps that the servers are all very good-looking.
Tulio’s Tacos and Tequila Bar — The newcomer to the group, debuting about a year ago, is a vibrant Mexican-style bar and restaurant located in the heart of Wilton Manors. Developed by Brian Parenteau, Doug Herbst, and Tulio Alas, it focuses on food, hand-crafted cocktails, craft beers, ambiance, and service. With ample outdoor seating and a comfortable dining room with lush banquettes, it is a place at which diners feel comfortable hanging out. Daily specials include Margarita Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, and the best secret of all, “Loco for Locals,” which offers $2 off tacos & $1 off drinks, Sunday to Thursday from 10 p.m. to closing.
Spencer's Corner Bar — The location has become a landmark in a relatively short time. Its expansive outdoor patio is a popular lunch and dinner destination, while the inside bar is equally filled with regulars who enjoy the “Happy Hour-All Day-Every Day!” motto. All rail drinks are $4, house wines $5 and beers go for $3-$3.50, depending on whether you want a draft or get all fancy with a bottle. The menu is equally budget-friendly, with most apps $10 or under, and sandwiches just a few bucks more. Entrees are the only thing that will set you back $20 or more.
Those are the nominees for South Florida Gay News’ “Best Restaurant.” Because the category is so dominated by Wilton Manors restaurants we created a category for those places outside the city limits which includes some of the usual suspects (J Mark’s, Tropical Acres, J Alexander’s, IL Mulino and Kaluz). In the category of “Best New Restaurant,” you’ll find places open almost a year, to those who’ve just opened their doors (Chef Nate’s, Union Kitchen & Bar, Hamburger Mary’s, Kraft, and making its second appearance, Tulio’s Tacos & Tequila Bar). Isn’t that like being nominated for two Academy Awards?
Vote for the Best Of 2021 by clicking here.