turtleneckjock saidA trip to Ft. Lauderdale isn't complete without a visit to the Mai-Kai. All ages should enjoy this.
Sure, everyone should go to an overpriced obvious tourist trap with mediocre food and a staff that laughs at its customers after they've gone.
Now who is whining?
Back in the day (and I think 1966 or 1967 was the first time I was there), Polynesian food was very exotic and unique. Now it's just "meh," but this place is legendary regardless.
I take it you had a less than perfect experience? Can you recommend something different then?
1. Heart Rock Cafe in the Gateway Plaza, really good sushi. Next to the Gateway movie theater which always has the quirky independent movies.
2. Primanti Bros. on Oakland Park. A Pittsburgh outfit with truly great pizza.
3. Athena - Greek cafe with outdoor seating at A1A and Commercial. Not expensive. Entertainment on weekends.
4. This one's very expensive, but exquisite: Blue Moon Cafe on Commercial and the Intercoastal. Amazing food. Open seating right on the Intercoastal. Watch the boats.
That's all just off the top of my head.
Primanti's pizza is gross though edible if yer drunk. The only good pizza down there is Four Brothers on Florida Mango off 10th in LW but it's a hell of a drive just for a slice. The best pizza was on Linton, forgot name of shop, doesn't matter since they've closed. It was rumored they flew in the water from NY to make the dough (urban legend?). Anthony's Coal Fired down on Federal would be edible if it wasn't so damned salty.
Blue Moon Fish was one of my regulars. Truly excellent. There was also a very good restaurant in the Dan Duckham redesigned Kenner Building, shit, I forget the name, Coffee something? Chocolate something? On the second floor. I used to eat there a lot. But then I also used to drink there a lot before I was of legal age, upstairs in the Chateau Madrid, later known as the Rooftop.
I am in complete agreement with your take on the Mai Kai. I can't even believe anyone has ever been in there. They really need to relocate to International Dr in Orlando.
To the OP: I just thought of another place for the kid. Don't know how I forgot. Closer than Metro Zoo is an excellent small zoo called Dyer Park. I think it might be called Palm Beach Zoo now. It is real easy to get to from Lauderdale and is very easy to walk through. Most all their animals are endangered or threatened species and they recently rehabbed, doing a real nice job of it.
Also if the kid likes horses there are probably a number of places where you can lease some for the day. My brother's family are horse people so I know there are lots of facilities I'm just not familiar with any particular one that rents but I"m sure you an find one.
And there's a Wannado City at the Sawgrass in Sunrise, about a half hour west of Lauderdale.