It’s no secret that the Hollywood dining scene is diverse. While you’ll find your fair share of chain restaurants and bigger brands, there’s a wealth of mom-and-pop and small businesses that deserve more of your attention. Here are five cool places that make Hollywood unique:
“Personality” is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of this new kava bar in Hollywood. When you walk into the exotic locale, you get the feeling you’re not in South Florida anymore. The hip joint embraces tiki through-and-through: There are a flowing lava bar and jungle aesthetics that make you want to stick around for a while. Drinks-wise, you’ll be impressed by a wide range of kava cocktails that come in Instagram-ready glasses, as well as a variety of teas and coffees. There is no beer, wine or liquor here, so pre-game somewhere else if that’s your style. On certain nights, there is live entertainment so follow along on their social media so you don’t miss out on the fun. Depending on when you visit, you might catch a magic show or a live band. This is a spot you’ll be visiting over and over again.
At first glance, Bonny and Read’s Toucan Hideout might seem super gimmicky. It stands out on Hollywood Beach due to its pirate decor. But don’t let its appearance fool you: This dive bar is legitimately cool. Drinks are cheap and flow generously, and the locals who frequent the spot are friendly; there’s always good conversation to be found here. Happy hour tends to be pretty busy, so if you hate crowds, come at an off-hour. In terms of food, expect your average bar fares like onion rings, fries, mozzarella sticks and loaded nachos that are perfect for sharing. If you prefer your dish, opt for one of the Bonny and Read’s many burgers like the Pirate, which comes topped with a sunny side up egg, or the Tex-Mex with Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce. Since you’re on Hollywood Beach, seafood options are plentiful, too; don’t miss the drunken clams.
What’s in a name? In the case of Hollywood Hoagies, a lot. As you’d expect, sandwiches and subs are the stars of the show at this local shop. You can keep things healthy like choosing a roasted turkey sandwich or you can go all out with pastrami and other piled-high selections; either way, it’s a tremendous value — portion sizes ensure you have at least two meals’ worth of food. Most options clock in around the $8 to $12 mark, so you’re not breaking the bank at all. Aside from the standard sandwiches, you’ll find more exotic selections like po’ boys and fried crab. Fun fact: They also serve Cuban coffee, which is hard to find outside of Miami. Initial reviews about the business weren’t all that positive, but it looks like they’ve made some big changes in staffing to ensure a better experience. If you haven’t tried them, do so. And if you have but left disappointed, it doesn’t hurt to visit again.
For delicious tacos, head over to the Boardwalk and take a seat at The Taco Spot. Basic tacos – like the usual chicken and beef variety – run around $3, while less common proteins like Korean short rib and soft shell tempura crab run a little higher at around $5 and $6. Before you dive into the tacos, though, get an order of the corn on the cob. It’s rolled in Parmesan cheese and other goodies that add new layers of flavour to the tried-and-true vegetable. In a big party? Nachos with steak or carnitas are a must for the table. Food comes out quick, which is a double-edged sword. While it’s the perfect spot for a quick bite, it comes with a view that you want to enjoy as much as possible. There’s also a full bar available, but let’s be honest: There’s no better drink to have here than a margarita. Cheers!
Hotsy Totsy’s fun name hides some very serious food. It’s not the best place to get a full meal –it’s more drinks and light bites — but what they do offer is worth your attention. Menu offerings include roasted beet poke, seared diver scallops, fried green tomatoes and burrata. Everything is served tapas-style, so make sure to come with friends or family to make the most of the experience. With a name like Hotsy Totsy — an old 1920s slang word — it’s no surprise that classic cocktails play a big part in the drink menu, particularly at the venue’s Side Car speakeasy. Penicillin and sazeracs are just a few of the libations available, but there are more modern drinks as well. Our favourite: the rum old fashioned and “plucky Palomo.”
Geoffrey Anderson Jr.