The Golden Spoon Awards: Top Eateries from 2023

Chor Muang. Photo via

There’s something about the new year. As much as we are looking forward, we also reflect on the past year. In doing so, I’ve looked back on my dining reviews and selected the best places I visited in the past 12 months.

In December, the winners of OutSFL’s Your Choice Awards were announced. These are my choices.

Golden Spoon for Best New Spot - Asian

Nour Thai Kitchen
3554 NE 12th Ave., Oakland Park

I raved about this place when I first reviewed it after it opened, and subsequent visits and further exploration of the menu have confirmed my belief. What I said then, “Step inside Nour Thai Kitchen, and you are instantly transported to the streets of Isaan, Thailand, by the staff’s smiling faces and cheery greetings to the décor inspired by the region's vivid color schemes and murals. From the moment you enter, you'll be immersed in a sensory feast - the aroma of fresh herbs and spices, the sound of sizzling woks, and the sight of the vibrant murals (painted by the restaurant’s owner). … Each dish is a symphony of these tastes.”

Golden Spoon for Best Restaurant - High-End

Evelyn’s in the Four Seasons
525 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.

What I said then, “The old hippie in me still has a problem with spending more for a meal than most folks spend for a week’s worth of groceries … But when you’re being pampered so sublimely, and the coastal Florida cuisine meets Eastern Mediterranean flavors make for such a delightful pairing all that seems to float away … As the evening went on, I heard less and less from my inner hippie and more from my inner gourmand was practically running around the restaurant blowing kisses to the attentive waitstaff and chef for creating such an exquisite experience.”

Golden Spoon for Best New Spot - Latin

6206 N. Federal, Fort Lauderdale

This casual restaurant, located in a strip mall with dozens of other eateries, opened in April 2023 and is run by the Mexican-born Carrasco-Mendez family. It is everything you want in a family-owned and run restaurant: authentic Mexican cuisine, friendly service, beautiful presentation, and a desire to truly please the customer. Although the dining room is small, you never feel hurried. In fact, the staff will chat with you as if you are old friends. But it’s the food that keeps me going back, especially on Taco Tuesday when all tacos offered (except seafood) are just $2.50. The fillings include steak, chicken, chorizo, carnitas, and two vegetarian options, rajas con crema (poblano pepper, onion, and corn in a creamy cheese sauce, topped with cotija cheese) and fungi (sautéed mushroom with onion and guajillo pepper topped with cotija cheese), both delicious enough to win over any carnivore.

Golden Spoon for Best New Location

Lotus Chinese Kitchen
3020 N Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale

Lotus moved out of its location where it had been a success for more than 20 years because the building it was in was going to be torn down. Sometimes difficult circumstances are a blessing in disguise. Lotus took over a location on the corner of Oakland and Federal that had been home to two failed restaurants, and not only has it survived, but it has thrived. The food is better than ever, the dining room is more attractive, and the service staff is incredible. Lotus’ owner, John Yang, grandson of the founders of the original Lotus (opened in 1975), is constantly checking in on both the front and back of the house. While we dined, he checked on our table twice during our hour-long meal, after the appetizer and entrée had been served. I watched, and he did the same for every table, spending time chatting with regulars.

Golden Spoon for Best Delray Beach Spot

Hawkers Asian Street Food
640 Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

What I said then, "If you can’t afford a quick trip to the Far East, head to Delray’s Hawkers Asian Street Food for a quick vacation fix. Hawker’s may be a chain (there are a dozen or so locations, mostly up and down the Atlantic seaboard), but the Delray location is the only one in South Florida. During happy hour (3-6 p.m., Monday-Thursday), they offer half-off all baos and beers, special $5 small plates, and $3 off all cocktails.” Everything is delicious, and I’ve been back numerous times since my review.

It’s become my go-to place in Delray.


Miso Ramen Bowl. Photo via

Golden Spoon for Best Miami Spot

Barcelona Wine Bar
310 NW 25th St., Miami

Barcelona Wine Bar is a chain, but each location has its own feel, even the menus vary, based on the region and the chef’s background. There are plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. The smell of freshly baked focaccia bread fills the place, and the food lives up to the fragrance. Most of the tapas, priced well under $10, are meant to be shared, with a suggestion of two tapas plates per person. We finished the tapas course by splitting a small mixed salad. There was more than enough for the two of us and at $9 it could have served as an entrée, the delicious paella, available in two sizes and three varieties, vegetarian, seafood, and classic, are also generously portioned and reasonably priced.

Golden Spoon for Best Restaurant for Feeling As If You Are a Guest in Someone’s Home

Apt. 9F
2163 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors

Carol and Nancy, owners of this chic gastro pub explain their philosophy, “When we decided to open Apt. 9F, we wanted to create a cozy place with personal touches where everyone feels welcome. The kitchen is open – because let’s face it, when we go to friends for cocktails and dinner, we all end up in the kitchen. It really is like an apartment, albeit one with a large bar.”

They have accomplished that and more. The food is terrific, and the service is friendly. Sitting at one of their street-side tables, you understand exactly what makes Wilton Manors so special. As a bonus, Apt. 9f consistently gets perfect scores from the health department.

Golden Spoon for Best Place to Take Visitors

Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort
1140 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

On Thursday nights, the Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Hotel, with its porthole windows into the pool, switches its focus from mermaids to mermen and the guys put on quite the revealing burlesque show, stripping underwater. Sure, you can sit at a table and dine a bit more comfortably, but get there early to grab a seat at the bar so you can really enjoy the food, which is surprisingly good, and enjoy your tropical cocktails and the friendly bartenders. What I said then, “As for the men, they range from lean and muscled bald guys to a cute little twink with flowing hair and the host and MC, a few years past his prime, but oozing with sex appeal, working that jiggly ass like a 20-year-old. And when he strips down to a G-string his, ahem, ‘dorsal fin,’ will make your jaw drop.”

Your ticket includes a $35 credit towards food and drink. Performances are included, but tips are not. Whatever you do, bring some cash because after the show the “mermen” work the room in their skimpy finale costumes collecting tips. The guys were friendly and seemed to enjoy their work. Your Aunt Gladys will never be the same.

Golden Spoon for Best Place to Go Where the Food is Beside the Point

Golden Girls Pop-Up Kitchen
301 NW 23rd St., Miami, 33127

Picture it, Miami, 2023! The Golden Girls Kitchen, a dining experience based on the popular television series, opens as a pop-up restaurant in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. It whisks guests the moment they walk through the doors into the world of this endearing television show. Every ticket purchase includes a reserved seat, a guaranteed window of time to dine, and a choice of entrée served by a lovable Shady Pines waiter. The food is forgettable, but the experience is not, whether you dine in the kitchen, the Lanai, or with a view of the living room or Blanche’s boudoir, you’re bound to have a ball. Of course, there’s cheesecake for dessert. Reservations must be booked online.


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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