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“Sometimes it rocks, sometimes it flops. Tonight was a big flop.”
Review of El Tamarindo Cafe

El Tamarindo Cafe
Ranked #199 of 1,330 Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: South American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Romantic, Groups, Child-friendly, Business meetings
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Lunch, Dinner, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
florida
Level 6 Contributor
136 reviews
116 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Sometimes it rocks, sometimes it flops. Tonight was a big flop.”
Reviewed 14 March 2014

Sometimes it rocks, sometimes it flops. Tonight was a big flop - the food AND the service AND the attitude! Hubbie ordered a burger - it looked great, but when he picked it up, the bun was so soggy from the grease (ugh) - he cut it in half and managed to eat half, but the oil that was on his plate from it, and the bun was like it had been dipped in water - he just couldn't eat any more. I ordered the veggie burrito which was HUGE and very good (would recommend for vegetarians and vegans). Guacamole was way too spicy though, couldn't eat it - sour cream was liquid and runny, not like sour cream at all. Anyway, nobody came to ask us how our meal was (or else hubby would have mentioned something about his burger) - and at the end, when the waitress came to ask if we were done, I asked her for a box for half of my burrito, and when she pointed at his burger on his place, I told her my husband couldn't eat it as it was too greasy, the bun was dripping with grease, and no thanks, we didn't want a box for it. She went straight off and asked the manager to come over - he came over and asked what the problem was, I said "she asked us if we wanted a box for it, but my husband can't eat it, it's just full of grease, it's not really edible, so we don't want a box." He just walked away - didn't say a thing! He could see that it was left on the plate and should have asked if we wanted anything instead, but no, he just walked away. There were no smiles from the waitress, she acted like she was doing us a favor by waiting on us - tonight it was a total bust. If it had been my first visit, I would say "no, we won't be back."

However, two weeks ago we went, and my husband had chicken (I forget which one), I had the most AMAZING tuna salad, a fabulous glass of pinot noir - service was good - food was out of the ball park - it was wonderful - so that's why we went back. The menu has a great selection too - good variety - including some great Italian dishes - but just know that you could have a GREAT experience, or a DISMAL experience too. It's hit or miss. If you find something you like, stick with it - next time we go (and we WILL be going back), it will be back to chicken and tuna salad.

Tonight, the manager's attitude surprised me - when someone has a complaint about your food, you don't just walk away without saying a word. And the waitress never checking on us too or asking us how it was - we were ignored unless we actively flagged her down. Yes she was busy (it was almost packed) but she was absolutely charmless, not a smile, not an ounce of friendliness - like I said, not a good night. My burrito had been good yes, but overall, we didn't leave with a good feeling (unlike two weeks ago).

So I'm giving it a middle of the road rating, because two weeks ago I would have given it four stars, tonight I would have given it two. So three stars it is. And we will be back! Easy parking too. Try it - there's someone for everyone, and it's like that poem about the little girl with the little curl - when it's good, it's VERY good. When it's not, well, it's really very much not.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank chewedpup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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216 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Lake Villa, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Just okay”
Reviewed 8 March 2014

This was our second visit to this restaurant. Visited last year for lunch per recommendation from our hotel, and were very pleased. This time not so pleased -- partly because they sat us next to the bathroom when there was clearly other seating available; also the waitress appeared impatient and not friendly -- big turn-offs!
We asked to be moved and they did accommodate. Shortly after it became very crowded and they seemed to have a hard time keeping up. Food was just okay --not as good as I remembered from last year. With all of the great restaurants to choose from during our short visits to the FLL area, this one gets crossed off our list..

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Millers413
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
80 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 263 helpful votes
“OMG, food was awesome!”
Reviewed 6 March 2014

We were a family of seven. Ordered 4 different entrees. Everyone was very pleased from the seafood soup to the chicken Thai salad. Place looks like hole in the wall from outside. Inside it's got a mid-scale appeal. Very pleased. Will be back.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Dana N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great Experience”
Reviewed 3 March 2014 via mobile

Went by myself on business. Sat At the bar. The margaritas were perfect. Ordered the fajitas with chicken, steak, and shrimp. One word: awesome! Service was great, atmosphere was very good, price was excellent. I will be back.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Recon_Engineer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
S. Florida
Level 5 Contributor
91 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Yum”
Reviewed 23 February 2014

Restaurant went from being a hole-in-the-wall, hidden gem to a upscale, mid-priced SanSalvadoran restaurant. Same great food costs a bit more now, but definitely worth a visit if you're near the FLL airport! Tourists, don't forget to hit Jackson's for icecream afterwards

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank kidzkafe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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