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Ask any Fort Lauderdale foodie for restaurant recommendations, and one name is sure to come up without question. Canyon has been a local gourmand haven for decades. In a town that has new restaurants opening and closing on a daily basis, that really is saying something. Inside this cavernous little restaurant, cuddly couples and lively singles sip prickly pear margaritas at the bar. The lighting is dim. The tables are secluded. The ambiance is ideal for an intimate dinner date. And it shows. The place always busy. So much that they refuse to take reservations; weekend customers will oftentimes wait hours for a table. Canyon's southwestern fusion menu features creative dishes with Asian, Southern, and Central American influences. Examples: blue corn fried oysters served with pico de gallo, chilli vinaigrette, and cilantro; a Maine lobster avocado salad with warm smoked bacon vinaigrette; and the highly esteemed filet mignon with poblano pesto goat cheese, zinfandel natural sauce, and cilantro potato mash.
Let's face it: with South Florida's heavy colorful Latin population, finding good latin cuisine isn't exactly challenging. But finding a good Mexican restaurant? Now, that's another story. While lo... More »
We're counting down our top 100 favorite dishes. Click here for a full archive. If you have any nominations of your own, email them here.Ask any Fort Lauderdale foodie for restaurant recommendations, ... More »
A good cocktail, like any important creation, reflects the culture in which it was created. A carefully prepared libation should dutifully represent its region of origin, but here in South Florida, pubs and plush lounges are sprinkled across our... More »
As a countdown to the Best of Broward Palm Beach 2011, coming in June, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up a hundred of our favorite dishes in South Florida. Send your own nominations to Deirdra.Funcheo... More »
During a recent visit to Canyon, someone at the table asked the server to name a few of his favorite dishes. "Oh, I like them all," he said. That's usually a server cop-out, a refusal to exclude a dish from the list. But at Canyon Southwestern Café, it's understandable. You can't go wrong with the red-chili-braised risotto, black Florida grouper, or ancho chili-rubbed pork. But sometimes you just want a steak. And you want it with more than just a steak-house sprig of parsley on the... More »
The prickly pear margarita at Canyon is pink enough to give you advance visual warning that this is not your average tequila cocktail. But worry not: The bright color does not mean it's going to be sickeningly sugary like most festively hued drinks. It's perfect: sweet in a way that's complementary to the sour of lime and sour in a way that delivers a gentle pucker without curling your tongue into submission. The fruit of the prickly pear cactus is subtly pleasing like fresh watermelon and... More »
"Life is uncertain. Order dessert first," goes the old saw. Restaurants are uncertain, too, so you'd best order your dessert from Canyon. Anything as delicious as Canyon's bread pudding, for instance, should be in a morality-free zone: It's OK to eat all of it. Without sharing. At some indecent hour. Thankfully the pudding is large and varied enough to constitute a well-balanced meal on its own. Served in a bowl the size of a kiddie pool, it cavorts up and down every tier of the food... More »
For almost 20 years now, the margarita has been the afterwork drink of choice. Snowy cold, almost flavorless, giant-sized, and packed with enough clear tequila to power an outboard motor, it's a cocktail to blow away that acrid 9-to-5 pall. When the eagle flies on Friday, it's solace in a glass. But, hell, for all the gustatory pleasure it provides, you might as well inject it into your arm. Canyon gives you some of the kick of the pedestrian version with a dash of flavor and a trace of the... More »
We wish we looked as good in black leather pants as Canyon's cool wait staff or got seated as quickly as its high-profile regulars. But most of all, we'd like to be the prickly pear. The key ingredient in Canyon's famed margarita, it spends its whole life swimming in top-shelf tequila. Sip this pale pink drink, and everything seems Southwestern, including the tasty tuna tartare with wasabi cream. So what they ain't got tuna in Albuquerque? Canyon's inventive menu is inspired by the... More »
The key to a good margarita is real tequila, about which plenty of amateurs don't know the first thing. Hint: If you think tequila looks like warm piss after a tennis match, just give up now. You're probably one of those folks who believe the best pizza is made by Domino's, in which case you shouldn't be drinking anyway. But if you understand that real tequila has to be made from only 100 percent blue agave cactus, then you know what it's supposed to taste like. Not only does Canyon use blue... More »
No doubt we could use some more Southwestern cuisine in this part of the country -- or county, for that matter. But Canyon doesn't take its solitary status for granted. Instead executive chef Chris Wilber continues to reinvent his regional cuisine, providing diners with the likes of smoked-duck nachos, chicken quesadillas with mango-black bean salsa, and filet mignon with poblano-pesto goat cheese. Even more of a draw, Canyon offers a menu of rare, smoky tequilas, either to wash down the... More »
"Life is uncertain. Order dessert first," goes the old saw. Restaurants are uncertain, too, so you'd best order your dessert from Canyon. Anything as delicious as Canyon's bread pudding, for instance, should be in a morality-free zone: It's OK to eat all of it. Without sharing. At some indecent hour. Thankfully the pudding is large and varied enough to constitute a well-balanced meal on its own. Served in a bowl the size of a kiddie pool, it cavorts up and down every tier of the food pyramid: dairy in the cream, protein in the eggs, bread in the bread, vegetable in the chocolate, fruit in the berries, and booze in the booze. Canyon chef Chris Wilber and his staff have been turning out happy variations on this bread pudding for years. Along with toasted pecan pie, homemade ice cream, and vanilla bean cheesecake, it's just one of the reasons customers sometimes wait an hour or two at Canyon for a table. Go after the rush is over, around 9:30 p.m., and you can get right to it.
Besides having the best margarhita in town....don't just take my word for it as they have been reader voted best every year....there Tex-Mex, if they want to call it that, style of cooking renders some of the finest dishes to be found. The veal I had was done to perfection with a sauce of unique, delightful flavor. The interior is small and intimate giving an overall cozy, warm feeling. The service staff are polite, have a thorough knowledge of the chefs offers, and professional in every way. It is on the upper end of the price scale but so is the quality of the food and the service, which makes it a reasonable value.
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