Many of our readers have expressed that they would like to know a little more about the winners of our annual “Best Of” contest.
Fair enough, the write-ups in the “Best Of” issue are kind of like an appetizer. They give you an idea of what a restaurant can accomplish, but not the full picture. So, every couple of weeks, I’ll do a more complete write-up of one of the winners.
As a restaurant reviewer, people often ask me why I haven’t reviewed Rosie’s recently.
That’s like asking, “Why don’t you review the Statue of Liberty or Taj Mahal?” Rosie’s IS a landmark. People have gotten so used to going there that it’s just a given. It doesn’t even have to be good, it’s that popular. The fact that the food is usually top notch and the service friendly, sassy, and helpful and the atmosphere inviting is just the bacon on the cheeseburger. Rosie’s is where we take visitors for their first meal. It is the quintessential Wilton Manors experience. Sitting on the patio you are in a tropical paradise.
In the post-COVID years, Rosie’s has trimmed back its menu a bit. The seemingly endless list of burgers has been reduced to the top 10, but that doesn’t take into account the numerous side choices and the fact that you can order your combo with a chicken breast or an Impossible Burger. There are also wraps, bowls, entrees (aka Big Plates), and other handheld concoctions, in addition to starters and desserts. Paring back the menu in this case is a relative term. In my opinion, there were too many options on the previous menu.
Doesn’t matter to me because I always order one of three dishes: the Rhoda Cowboy, Southern Lovin’ salad, or, if I’m in the mood for something light, Pisa Envy; a tower of avocado, shrimp and black bean and corn salsa with chips. Drink specials or cocktail hour deals are usually such bargains that I’ll even drink midday.
In eight years of going to Rosie’s, I’ve only had one unpleasant experience with a server and a complaint to the manager took care of that (and I never saw her serve there again, so I suspect I wasn’t the only one to complain). The team is unfailingly gracious and accommodating.
Rosie’s doesn’t have to be anywhere near as good as it is. We’re grateful that they don’t rest on their laurels. They’ve been the top restaurant in our Best Of list 10 years in a row, the same goes for their burger. Their brunch is phenomenal. The description on their website says it all, “a tropical oasis in the middle of the Island City, Wilton Manors, since 2006, offering amazing food and refreshing drinks and sassy fun ... you will have a memorable experience with the most talented crew in South Florida … Rosie's is the place to see ...and be seen!”
The folks behind the remodel and up-dating at Mai Kai might want to step on the gas, as they’re going to have competition soon. Old School Hospitality, best known for the Quarterdeck pub chain, is opening a two-story tiki restaurant called Hula Kai on 17th St. It will be a modern 5,000-square-foot lounge with a ground floor and mezzanine under 24-foot-high ceilings in 2023.
Dining is an experience for all the senses, but never more so than at Atmos, now open in Sistrunk Marketplace. The event (for that is what it is) features luxury dining in a room using 360-degree projection mapping technology and audiovisual effects to make the room come alive with video clips, music, and sound, all tied to the theme of the cuisine. It’s pricey, $209 a person (excluding tax and gratuity), but the dinner is a two-hour experience. The first Atmos immersive dining experience was titled “Passport Europe,” and took guests through five countries on a two-hour audiovisual voyage with coinciding dishes. Each menu item was accompanied by a wine from the same region. Currently up is "Passport South America", a two-hour, six-course gastronomic journey to Peru, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela.
Sushi Mas, which began as a take-out-only spot in Wynwood is opening the first of many sit-down restaurants throughout Florida early next year at 701 N. Federal at The Quantum. The menu will feature sushi rolls, makis, and tiraditos in the $11 to $19 range, as well as crispy rice, gyoza, and bao dishes from $7.95 to $16.