Don Arturo, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I’ve been to South Florida many times and had a lot of Cuban food there. I’ve tried Cuban food in California (Southern and Northern) and it just doesn’t come close. So if you’re going to Florida, trying Cuban food should be on the top of your list. Miami has some famous Cuban restaurants that serve good food, but my favorite Cuban restaurant in Florida is in Fort Lauderdale.

 

photo by insidefortlauderdale.com

photo by insidefortlauderdale.com

 

Don Arturo Restaurant opened in 1970 and the decor is 1960s American-Spanish (or Conquistador), with artworks of Spanish explorers and bullfighters, shields, wine barrels, trellises of ivy, hanging plants, and original colonial style furniture.

 

photo by insidefortlauderdale.com

photo by insidefortlauderdale.com

 

photo by Dean Curtis, 2011

photo by Dean Curtis, 2011

 

The restaurant’s menu has both Spanish and Cuban dishes, but I’ve always ordered from the Cuban section. They make a juicy and tender ropa vieja – stewed, shredded beef, which I’ve ordered on more than one visit. Pork dishes are also good choices, such as lechon asado – roast shredded pork (see photo), masas de puerco – pork chunks that reminded me of carnitas (tender chunks of pork refried to form a crust on the outside), pork filet, and pork chops. They also offer four different steaks, some chicken dishes, and several shrimp and fish dishes. Prices are reasonable, especially the lunch combination plates that range from $6.95 to $13.95 (the dinner menu is à la carte).

 

ropa vieja with maduros (sweet plantains) and black beans - photo by Dean Curtis, 2011

roast pork with maduros (sweet plantains) and black beans – photo by Dean Curtis, 2011

 

Here’s an example of how some people just don’t get the appeal of classic eateries with vintage decor that Le Continental appreciates (a review of Don Arturo from New Times of Broward/Palm Beach):

Nestled in a cinder-block building, Don Arturo is dark. Gothic chandeliers emit flat light, while red velvet curtains blanket windows. Plaques pepper wood paneling with medieval fighters in full regalia. The cobwebs-meet-garage-sale-décor is depressing. Too much space in between empty tables exacerbates our isolation. We drink with gusto to shift the imposing mood.

“Flat light”? What is that? “Depressing”? I don’t feel that way at all at Don Arturo! That review was depressing! And I like dark restaurants (though it’s not really very dark there): they are a soothing escape from the outside hustle and bustle. Bright restaurants often feel harsh to me.

 

photo by Dean Curtis, 2011

photo by Dean Curtis, 2011

 

Don Arturo
1198 SW 27th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
(954) 584-7966
Open Mon-Sat 11:00am – 9:00pm, Sun 5:00pm – 9:30pm

 

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