In South Florida, it’s often tough to find a moderately priced meal at a locally owned restaurant. The prices of food and staffing have gone up so much since the COVID-19 pandemic came into our lives in 2020, and the costs have hit individually run eateries especially hard.
Still, I was able to find plentiful affordable sites in Coral Springs, my definition of “affordable” being $20 or less for an entree. For the list I created below, I hunted for destinations that get consistently good reviews from the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s veteran staffers and in “Let’s Eat, South Florida,” the Sun Sentinel’s foodie Facebook group.
If you’re looking for a meal outside Coral Springs, check out my previous “Ask Lois” columns: I’ve looked at Tamarac-Margate-Pompano Beach; Weston-Plantation-Davie-Pembroke Pines; Fort Lauderdale; Boca Raton and Boynton Beach-Delray Beach-Lake Worth.
Here’s my list. Feel free to email me with additional suggestions; I’m at AskLois@sunsentinel.com.
Hellenic Republic, 2764 N. University Drive, Coral Springs. 954-302-8994; thehellenicrepublic.com.
The “Big Plates,” platters with chicken or salmon or pork chops, are $20 and above, but you can get a chicken sandwich for $14 or a House Gyro Feast, with sauteed vegetables, pita, side salad and choice of side dish, for $17. Let’s Eat diners have been raving about this place. Said one recently: “Chef Nikol (Zarbalas), hearing that it was a special occasion, made the most awesome dessert for the table! Her talent in the kitchen is incredible. Jackson, our waiter, was perfect. This was not our first time there and it certainly won’t be our last!”
Pizza Time, 11504 W. Sample Road, 954-753-7828, pizzatimecs.com; Pizza Carousel, 4619 N. University Drive, 954-344-2717, pizzacarousel.com; Scuola Vecchia Pizza E Vino, 6240 Coral Ridge Drive, 954-420-6312, orderscuolavecchiapizzaevino.com.
Some of the large pizzas go over our $20 mark, but you can still get a calzone, pastas and salads for reasonable prices. At Pizza Carousel, two pizza slices and a drink go for $7.99 on the lunch special; at Pizza Time, a large 16-inch cheese pizza costs $19. These joints have many devotees on Let’s Eat; one diner said recently of Pizza Carousel: “Very nice casual eatery with fantastic food that won’t break the bank!”
Crocante Cafe & Gourmet Bakery, 2708 N. University Drive; 954-341-4416, crocantebakery.com
Open for breakfast and lunch, this cafe touts its Argentinean/Venezuelan baking style, most notable in its desserts, including flan and dulce de leche croissants. For breakfast, try the omelet with four mix-ins ($12.99); for lunch, there’s a Cuban sandwich, $10.75.
Phat Boy Sushi, Kitchen & Bar, 2702 N. University Drive, 954-360-8456, phatboysushi.com; Chopsticks Asian Cuisine, 10339 Royal Palm Blvd., 954-227-2888, chopstickscoralsprings.com; Fisho Sushi & Thai, 10430 W. Atlantic Blvd., 954- 866-9966, fishosushithai.com; Shibuya Grill and Sushi Bar, 11346 Wiles Road, 954-757-7888, shibuya.us/restaurant/coral-springs
Sushi, ramens, bento boxes, stir fries, hot pots: Coral Springs has so many Asian options with moderately priced entrees. Several restaurants offer lunch specials at reduced prices; a Thai lunch at Fisho goes for $11.50. If you’re a soft-shell crab fan, Shibuya (which also has a restaurant in Weston) serves them as an appetizer with ceviche, “Crab vuelve a la vida” (Spanish for “Crab returns to life”), for $19.
Embarcadero 41, 3111 N. University Drive, 954-688-6495, embarcadero41.us/coral-springs; Bravo Peruvian Kitchen, 9711 W. Sample Road, 954-688-9265, bravoperuviankitchen.com; Chabelo’s Cafe, 8021 W. Sample Road, 754-812-1948, chabelosfamily.com
So many ceviche options at these Peruvian restaurants! Many are more than $20, but you can still find a traditional fish ceviche for $19 at Embarcadero 41, $16.50 at Chabelo’s and $18 at Bravo. For those looking to explore non-traditional menu items, these restaurants offer an abundance, such as Chabelo’s Cau Cau, a beef tripe stew, for $17.60, or its Chicharron de Pescado o Calamar (pork rind with fish or calamari), also $17.60.
Arun’s Indian Kitchen & Taco Masala, 10278 W. Sample Road, 954-227-1123, arunsindiankitchen.com
Former Sun Sentinel restaurant reviewer Michael Mayo described Arun’s as “a marvelous hole in the wall.” He said every dish he tried was “letter-perfect. Bold flavors from Indian spices and local herbs are artfully simmered, sauteed and tandoor-oven baked into chicken, lamb, vegetables and shrimp.” The restaurant is oriented toward take-out, but there are a few no-frills tables for dine-in. Chicken biryani goes for $14.49, lamb korma, $16.49. Arun’s also has restaurants in Boca Raton and Sunrise.
Patio Tapas and Beer, 9651 Westview Drive, 954-906-5543, patiotapasandbeer.com
Patio serves montaditos, or little open-faced sandwiches, and bocadillos, or larger toasted baguette sandwiches. All the bocadillos are $12 at dinnertime, and there’s a choice of salmon, lamb, chicken, pork belly, ham or steak. A Let’s Eat reviewer raved about his meal: “The food reminded my wife and I of being in Barcelona last year. The octopus, churrasco, pork belly, & tortilla were standouts, but everything was great – especially the almond cake.” Patio also has a restaurant in Boca Raton.
Wings n Ale, 4685 N. University Drive; 954-344-6644 wings-n-ale.com
This is a local favorite for its wings, wraps, burgers, sandwiches and “Huge Hot Dogs” (several options, including the $8.95 Chicago Dog, served with stuffed peppers, onions, diced tomatoes and relish). A Let’s Eat reviewer wrote: “Unlike most wings places, Wings-N-Ale’s wings located in Coral Springs are grilled. That means extra crispiness and less fat or grease than you might find at other wing restaurants. Plus, it’s a bit healthier!”