Updated
Jan 31st, 2017
First Posted
Jan 31st, 2017

Colada House

525 N Federal Hwy Suite E
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33301
(954) 368-4705
Overall Rating
2.7
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
01/30/2017

Details

Hours: M-Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 9am-3pm
Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Street, Garage
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Wine and Beer
Outdoor: Yes

Pros

Nicer than your typical Cuban Cafe
English Speaking Counter People

Cons

Difficult Parking
NOT a Cuban Cafe

Critic's Review

I think about going back to Colada quite often, but then I realize that they don't have anything I want. Today I thought I'd give their Cuban Sandwich another try, and maybe try some croquettes or an empanada.

The big news here is that they finally got a sign. It took an awfully long time.

Another reason to not go to Colada is the parking; there is none in the front and there isn't much in the back. At 2:30 you have a chance of getting a spot; I didn't. I went into the garage and had to park in a spot reserved for Mellow Mushroom takeout. I figured they wouldn't have me towed in the 10 minutes it would take to get a take-out sandwich.

The rear entrance isn't too elegant, but it's all they've got. Open the door into a small foyer and another door.

They have a hokey menu on the wall but it's not very well organized so I sought out a paper menu; the first thing I noticed was that their web site had a very old menu; a Cuban Sandwich is now $7.99 and it $.99 for a croquette. I expect a basket of croquettes for $5, so I passed on that and just ordered the sandwich.

Inside the place hasn't changed much, except for the loud music. Alex Newell's "Nobody to Love" rocked the joint.

The original idea of this being a Cuban Cafe for the dykish millenial clietelle clearly didn't work out. It's not clear what this is; they describe their Cafe Americano as Cuban coffee with water; it ain't no Starbucks. The sandwich was ready in a few minutes.

I got it home and opened it up. A good sized sandwich for sure.

Taking a look inside, it looked pretty well stuffed. The issue with the first sandwich I got here was the pork; it seemed wholly incompetent, and the pork is the entire point of a good Cuban Sandwich. Anyone can do ham and cheese.

The first impression was that it wasn't very well pressed. Buttering and grilling the bread (flattening it) is key to a Cubano, and they seem to poo-poo this step.

While the sandwich LOOKED good, it didn't pop when I tasted it. Not enough flavor; The pork was dry and tasteless; and the bread didn't have that buttery toasted taste.

Notice that they put the cheese between the ham and the pork, which is just wrong. Not enough cheese. Pickles embedded in the mustard. Ugh. A year later they still don't have the slightest understanding of the food they're serving.

Conclusion

The sandwich I got today was much better than the first one, but still an American Cuban sandwich. The cafe itself is hippish and suitable for kids; the music plus the atmosphere isn't conducive to more highly evolved.

The place is an interesting idea, but Cuban cafes are mostly appealing to Cubans; not snotty, entitled white Millenials. This place is nothing more than a change of pace from tacos and sushi for lunch.

Comments on 8/1/15

Colada has taken their cloth sign down last week, and no new sign has gone up, so the best conclusion would be that some authority asked them to take it down. This is a perfect example of amateur business people. If you're going to pay rent to be on a main road, you'd better have a nice big sign. They're losing boatloads of free advertising.

Review 5/20/15

With aspirations of becoming the Cuban Chipotle, Colada is an attempt to cash in on the fast casual concept. It's sort of the same idea as Sweet Bananas, hopefully without the suckiness.

I was at Fresh Market and didn't have time for a sit down lunch, so I got the idea to do some take out. With Colada across the street, I thought about walking over. It's about 120 yards, which isn't that far, but in 90 degree heat it can seem further when you multiply that by 2. So I thought I'd check out the parking.

Behind the restaurant, you can forget about it. The handful of spots on the east side of the street are reserved for the "future venues", and all of them have trucks parked as the units are under construction. The roadways between these buildings are a disaster; it's very narrow and the parking spots aren't big enough to accommodate trucks; There seemed to be a Fed Ex or delivery truck every 50 feet or so.

Right behind Mellow Mushroom was no different; the Beer Truck was blocking the entire southbound lane.

As I approached the truck, a girl on a bicycle was coming the other way. There wasn't enough room for both of us to pass. This is going to be exponentially worse when there are multiple businesses and people actually live in the complex.

I almost gave up, but I still had some time, so I thought I'd circle around and try another street. I found a spot on NE 5th Ave, near the corner of NE 5th Street. How confusing is that grid going to be? A major annoyance is that the street parking, which is free for now, is randomly sized and not marked off. So you have a lot of spots that would seem to be for 2 cars that are only big enough for 1 and a half cars, or maybe a scooter.

The designers probably thought that everyone would be driving those electric cars by now; let's Thank Goodness for Fracking. There might be a rear entrance, but I wasn't sure, so I walked around the front.

Inside, there's a long counter that's very fast foodish. They have a huge menu on the wall; I hate trying to read wall menus; I grabbed a printed menu to be sure that the one I'd seen before was correct, and it was. I wasn't going to eat a big bowl, so I ordered a Cuban sandwich, figuring that it would give a pretty good idea about how really Cuban the place is.

Something of note is that the 2 girls working the counter were Fort Lauderdale chicks in ball caps; I'm not sure if I've ever ordered Cuban food from someone who spoke Valley English.

They take your first name but there are no beepers, sound system or big numbers here. There was a Tip line on the receipt but I paid no attention to that.

The interior of the place is now typical QSR, with a fast food counter and some "nicer" furniture that is supposed to somehow justify charging higher prices. They even have a couch; it's like a Starbucks.

While I was waiting I noticed the towering ceilings and I wondered if they couldn't have put a 2nd floor in the place and made it a real restaurant? Of course there wouldn't be anywhere for people to park.

One of the ball cap girls brought over my bag; I guess I'm supposed to tip for that? The bag was fairly heavy. I thanked her and I got a "No Problem". Out the door and back to my parking spot 2 blocks away.

When I got home, I opened the bag and took a look.

A decent size sandwich, but it didn't look like it was buttered and pressed. It didn't really look pressed at all. It was cut diagonally; inside it didn't look like the cheese had melted. I tasted a piece of the cheese and it seemed like it was right off the slicer.

I decided to press half the sandwich on my griddle and to eat the other half as-is. If you eat in house you don't get the benefit of fixing the food. I left it on until the cheese started to flow.

Meanwhile, I tasted the other half. Man, it didn't even taste like a Cuban. It tasted like a ham and cheese sandwich. One problem was that there were chunks of pork; probably chopped and refrigerated, instead of nice sliced freshly roasted pork roast. I tasted a chunk and it tasted pretty bland. After a couple of bites I decided that I needed to look inside.

McDonald's pickles that were way too salty; pickles are an important flavor and good dill pickles make a lot of difference. Chunks of bland pork.

The other half was better mainly because the cheese was melted. There was no butter on this; as a Cuban this was a real loser.

This was easily the worst cuban sandwich I've ever had. This is the sandwich I would expect to get if Subway had a cuban sandwich. Or maybe at Sweet Bananas.

Conclusion

My impression of this place is that it's yet another "idea" launched by people who have no real experience serving good food. While they claim that this is a "spin-off' inspired by the Miramar Bakery, the truth is that Miramar Bakery was never really a Cuban Cafe. I checked them out recently, and their Cuban Sandwich is pretty lame; it's really just a bakery that sells some sandwiches.

In 2012, two college kids came up with the idea for a QSR Cuban Cafe. It's not a bad idea, but for some reason they've chosen to put forth the false narrative that it's an Americanization of something Authentically Cuban. While the Miramar Bakery is certainly an authentic Cuban Bakery, it's not a Cuban Cafe and their food service is something that has no traditional foundation.

They claim to have "scouted out locations" for the restaurant for 2 years, and this is what they came up with? They're not going to draw people away from Starbucks with the coffee, and the difficult parking makes stopping off to pick up coffee or a sandwich too cumbersome.

Comment Policy Add Comment
Marie
Reply
Is this place still open? Every time I drive by it's DEAD and it looks closed.
Dan
Reply
Decided to check it out as I live nearby. Nothing at all worth going there for, even if you walk. The girl behind the counter was very nice. But the little guy in charge on Saturday morning had a serious attitude. I'm not sure straight males are actually welcome there, at least by him. A Cuban cafe should make you feel welcome no matter what your persuasion.
Administrator
Reply
That's the "Americanized" element they've added. When you open a business with a false premise; one that can be checked out simply by driving to Miramar, then you're starting out on a bad foot.
JulieT
Reply
The shills keep coming for this place. It makes you want to not like the place. Why don't restaurants understand that dynamic?
Administrator
Reply
I'm wondering when they're going to get a sign. Usually the town won't let you hang a banner forever.
Benny G
Reply
Breakfast was ok. Nothing special. My friend got coffee said it was good. Nothing special about the food, at least the breakfast. Not sure if i would come back for it. Seems like it will only cater to the residents of the local apartments.
Chef Jay
Reply
Don't let anyone tell you that this is the Cuban Chipotle. At chipotle you can see them cooking and you see the food before they put it on the plate.

The key to chipotle is the volume. Because it's so busy, the food is always fresh. They're constantly cooking to keep up with the crowd. A place like this is lucky if they sell 1 roast the whole day. When you re-heat meat or grill cold leftover meat it's not the same.
Suzanne
Reply
Every Cuban friend, relative and friend of relative is posting 5 star reviews about this place.
Rita
Reply
Do they know about Tropical Cafe right down the road with that big, free, convenient parking lot?
Rob
Reply
Shhh...

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