Bloomberg recently published a list of the American cities with the most restaurants per capita. With 21 eateries for every 10,000 people, San Francisco easily topped the list. But the count only included cities with a population of 500,000 or more. If it had included smaller cities, Wilton Manors would have blown San Francisco — and most other large towns — off the charts. Its 11,632 residents have 35 restaurants within their city limits, and only two of those are chains. There are also eight bars with full-service kitchens, including old favorites like Rosie’s and Georgie’s Alibi/Monkey Bar and newcomers, such as Village Pub and Gym Bar.
While many of Wilton Manors’ restaurants get plenty of attention, there are a number of unique spots that you should explore.
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EAT, the newest addition to the Wilton Drive dining scene, serves up deli food with a fresh Italian twist. The coal-fired oven cranks out whole pies or slices in minutes, but the menu also includes sandwiches and classic Italian-American favorites such as lasagna, manicotti and, of course, spaghetti and meatballs. To round out the offerings, there are entree salads, steaks and chops. Weekday happy hour specials are a bargain, and the desserts, most of which are made in-house, are delightfully decadent and big enough for two (or a table) to share.
2150 Wilton Dr.
Ethos offers a modern spin on classic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Whether you choose to sample the food with an array of meze (small plates designed for sharing) or the various sampling platters (featuring a shared salad with pita, appetizers, a mixed grill, vegetables, potatoes and rice), you can indulge in the guilt-free pleasure of Mediterranean dishes. The modern dining room flows effortlessly onto the patio, which offers a more subdued atmosphere.
2055 Wilton Dr. 7
Off the Beaten Path
Voo La Voo Café is cheaper than a trip to France and definitely worth a visit if you seek authentic fare. Duck into the delightful space it shares with The Alchemist coffeehouse, and you are whisked away to the French countryside. It’s a casual spot; you order at a counter and the food is delivered to your table, either in the small dining room or out in the charming tented patio. But they are serious about the food. While the menu is comprised of decidedly French fare, all dishes are priced less than $15. These include savory and sweet crêpes (both of which are available gluten-free), omelets, salads and sandwiches. Vegan and vegetarian options are also readily available. A variety of imported and domestic beers, a few classic French cocktail favorites and a small but well-curated wine list round out the menu options.
2430 NE 13th Ave.
Classy Night Out
Late night cravings need not relegate you to a diner or drive-through. Enter: Naked Grape. The wine bar offers elegant small plates for guests to enjoy with the vast selection of wines it carries. Whether it’s the peppadew-glazed goat cheese gratin, sausage stuffed mushrooms, artisanal mac-n-cheese, shrimp with pesto, Argentine empanadas, potato latkes with smoked salmon or one of the numerous flatbread options, you’ll never want to leave. Which is fine, as the staff never rushes you to give up your cozy spot. Naked Grape is a place to chill. Tuesdays and Wednesdays all bottles are half priced all night, and Thursday features happy hour prices all night long.
2163 Wilton Dr.
Though not new, Wilton Creamery is far from being just an ice cream shop. It’s an ice cream boutique. The ice creams, sorbets and other offerings (including the gourmet toppings) are artisanally-produced in small batches, from recipes the owners develop themselves. The décor has an unexpected 50s-meets-industrial vibe, with comfy seating on the main floor, a clubby loft and a sprawling patio. Flavors vary by season and include favorites, such as pecan praline dulce, sea salt caramel, sweet cinnamon, strong coffee, triple rum raisin, as well as more unusual offerings like aloe, beer and honey. One flavor that will always be available is the best-selling, He’s Not Worth It, a delicious combination of vanilla ice cream studded with Heath bar, Oreo pieces, chopped soft caramels and a sea salt caramel swirl. If that’s not decadent enough, try adding one of the dozens of gourmet toppings ranging from fresh berries and candies to nut syrups and flavored whipped creams. Vegan, gluten-free and non-dairy options are available, and there is even dog-friendly ice cream.
2301 Wilton Dr.
Speaking of pet friendly, Shawn & Nick’s Courtyard Cafe may be an established after-hours destination, but you may not know that it welcomes you and your four-legged friend in the enclosed patio any time of day. Specializing in classic diner fare, many guests have become regulars thanks to a menu of hearty dishes made to order and served by sassy waiters in a laid-back atmosphere.
2211 Wilton Dr.