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“No wonder it was empty. One word to describe dinner - "Ugh".”

The Historic Downtowner
Ranked #256 of 1,330 Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale
Price range: $7 - $15
Cuisines: American, Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Outdoor Seating
Neighborhood: Downtown Fort Lauderdale
Description: The Downtowner is a Fort Lauderdale Institution for over 20 years. Situated on the banks of The New River in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. It's a fabulous location to have a business lunch, dinner or take in the view of the mega yachts as the go by from the bar.
florida
Level 6 Contributor
136 reviews
116 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“No wonder it was empty. One word to describe dinner - "Ugh".”
Reviewed November 17, 2011

We used to go to the Downtowner all the time a couple of years ago, but slowly it started going downhill and our visits became more and more infrequent. So tonight, when heading out on the boat for dinner, we thought "Hey! we haven't been there for ages - it might have picked up and may be good! Let's give it a try!" Seeing that it was almost empty on a Thursday night was not a good sign, but we forged ahead and got a table outside - which was easy as there was only one other table in use (the rest were empty). Now we understand why it was nearly empty - what an awful dining experience.

Firstly, the heavy metal music playing loudly was a HUGE turnoff and made us want to leave immediately (WHY on earth heavy metal/hard rock??????) - but like real troupers, we hung in there. The service wasn't bad, but considering that we were pretty much the only people having dinner there, it darned well should have been good. Really, the only other people there were happy hour partakers at the bar - such a shame, this place should have been HOPPING - a prime waterfront location with loads of space and great potential - not to mention great docking facilities for those of us with boats and also great free parking just around the corner.

My husband ordered fish and chips (haddock was the fish in case you wondered) - and I ordered the DT burger, well done. The plates were nicely presented - masses (and I mean MASSES) of piping hot chips (fries) on both plates, but the fish portion was small - two tiny pieces - and was completely tasteless, and the burger was a 3/4 inch-thick burned patty of something akin to shoe leather. Well done burgers don't have to be that way! When I think of the burgers at Rendezvous Waterfront Bar & Grill at Marina Bay in Fort Lauderdale (off State Road 84/Marina Mile) for example, I just shake my head in disbelief - I can order a very well done burger there and get a thick, juicy, tasty, DELICIOUS burger, loaded with all sorts of wonderful goodies - AND be very well done - so how can the Downtowner get it so wrong? It came in a cheap white bun with a layer of American cheese, two slices of bacon, and on the side a slice of onion, a slice of tomato resting on an unhappy, wilted piece of lettuce that looked ashamed of itself. It was awful. The fries looked wonderful and they were piping hot (which we liked) but were greasy - but the head-banging music so got on our nerves that we couldn't wait to leave.

Downtowner, I don't know how you stay in business - particularly with a great pub like Briny's opposite you that's drawing in the crowds - but in my opinion, something must be done or else I can't imagine how much longer you can keep going like this. I am hopeful that we just caught you on a really off night and that on other nights, you are a lot better than this. The atmosphere was so poor - and the ambience was just missing something so vital - can't quite figure out what but we know why it was nearly empty.

Service I must say was good, although the waiter did disappear towards the end of the meal and I, desperate to get out of there, I had to go on a search to find him just to get the bill. We mentioned a few of our thoughts and I asked him for a comment card - figuring the management should know why they are losing customers - but he said to just go to their website and write a comment there (which I have done). Don't think he really cared an iota to be honest. Oh well.
Overall it was sad, disappointing and completely lackluster. We won't be back.

  • Visited November 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank chewedpup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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165 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
United States
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Great place to bring the pooch!”
Reviewed September 12, 2011

We love Sunday afternoons at the Downtowner saloon. They have a few things on their menu that I just LOVE. The spicy tuna wontons and the seared sliced ahi. Yum. Their wine and beer selection is limited, but there are a few solid contenders. Never used the bar but it seems to be popular.

One thing I noticed, they seem to have a lot of server turnover. We had a great server when we first started going - he remembered what we liked to eat and drink whenever we showed up (that's pretty rare). He left after a while and we haven't seen the same servers 2 x in a row since.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank MsMMiler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marathon, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
267 reviews
180 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 200 helpful votes
“Not As Good As It Use To Be.. From Great To Lauderdale Average.”
Reviewed July 9, 2011

The Downtowner changed owners a few years ago, and since then it's really changed. Food prices increased, alot of the staff that had been there for years left.

Food prices increased again about a year ago. When you're $15 for a lunch salad plus drink and tip, it gets expensive for the locals to really enjoy on a regular basis.

Sunday brunch is great, but again prices have gone up. The new owners need to realize that tourist season is just that, a season. Locals are here year round.

Prime Rib, All you can eat crabs, and meatloaf.. All good.

Service is hit and miss. Never the same person twice like in the old days.

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Helpful?
2 Thank CaptainMHB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ennis, Ireland
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Not as good as it used to be.”
Reviewed June 10, 2011

Hadn't been here in a few years so decided to go back on our last trip to fort lauderdale. Definitely not as good as it used to be, dry over cooked prime rib although the wings were very tasty. Don't think we'll be going back on our next trip.

  • Visited May 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Butters56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
“A must if you love crab legs and clam chowder”
Reviewed April 6, 2010

The best clam chowder and great crab legs. They do all you can eat crab legs on Sunday nights and they are always perfectly cooked. Waitstaff is friendly and very efficient. Great atmosphere and it is always fun to overlook the new river. The Downtowner is our first stop when we come to Ft. Lauderdale!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank chaynes26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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