We found out about this place by reading trip advisor. We were not disappointed. My friends and I were in Fort Lauderdale for a cruise and called to see if they had a dress code after seeing the pictures online. We came in early for dinner as were wearing jeans, shorts, shirt and flip flops, seem under dressed based on what people were wearing when they came in. But we never felt uneasy as Mario and the staff made us feel at home. Nice upscale decor but not stiff. Staff was incredible and Mario is the best.
We had mojito and sangria to drink. This was super sized complements of Mario. Didn't know what to order(we wanted to try it all). We knew we wanted paella so we ordered that ahead of time knowing it takes at least 20mins to prepare. Our waiter recommended the Catalina Platter for appetizer. It had fried plantains, roast pork, empanadas, croquets, marinated chicken and pork. While that was being prepared we had to decide on a protein entree to accompany our paella. We wanted to try the red snapper with lobster sauce but didn't know how much to order. At this point our appetizer arrived. It was a massive platter! And the food was good! Everything in that platter. Mario came by again to ask about our food. We still haven't decided what to order and seeing this massive platter we weren't sure if we were about to order too much food. Mario said no worry... he will take care of us. And he did. He gave us another platter with a little bit of everything... paella, red snapper with lobster sauce and roast pork. Just as we wanted... we were able to try almost everything we wanted on our first visit. The paella was on the salty side but otherwise good. The snapper and roast pork were really good. Really full now with all the food we've eaten so far but we have to try the dessert.
Our waiter came back with a tray full of cakes and sweets for a visual experience. We chose something they made in the restaurant - flan and cuatro leches with cuban coffee which we've never had before. The desserts we ordered had just the right amount of sweetness to it. Very good. Being from Seattle, we like our coffee strong. Yup... cuban coffee was indeed strong like espresso(came in demitasse cups) but the sugar that came with it was unexpected. Let's just say it was a sugar high experience. Good thing the dessert wasn't that sweet.
Over all it was a great experience and we would love to go back there next time we are in Fort Lauderdale. We had a rental car so it was easy to get to this place. I'm not sure if it is as easy without a rental. It's definitely not walking distance from the beach area. Mario and his staff were excellent. I think the food prices are just right for the food quality and service.
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