Updated
May 1st, 2017
First Posted
May 1st, 2017

Pollo Tropical

5554 Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33308
954 375-4165
Overall Rating
2.4
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
05/01/2017

Details

Hours: 10:30am-Midnight
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: None
HasWifi: Broken
Outdoor: No

Pros

Cheap Food
Decent Chicken
Good Sauces

Cons

Fast Food Atmosphere
Inconsistent Fare

Insider Tips

The small bowl is big enough

Critic's Review

I don't usually do fast food when they open a new location, but this place has a new TropiChop bowl and with all of the new bowl restaurants opening, I figured I'd see how they compare.

This restaurant stands out like a sore thumb; a colorful new building in the middle of a big parking lot. Plenty of free parking, which is always a good thing.

Inside it's fast food all the way with a self-serve beverage area. No lines, but they also have no hand-held menus. So you have to read the wall menu. It's nice when you can pick up a menu and not have to squint at the wall.

Unlike chipotle, they have a small bowl, and also unlike chipotle, they make the bowl in the back. So you can't see what you're ordering. These bowl things are an experiment; on their website they mention "calypso beef", but they didn't have that here. I went with chicken, yellow rice with vegetables and black beans. They have a salsa bar were you can get additional items and sauces.

It only took a couple of minutes for the bowl to come out. They don't bother you with your name here; they call out your order by number. I really enjoy the impersonal approach rather than having to tell some min wage worker my name.

I hit the salsa bar and got onions, salsa and some of their excellent cilantro garlic sauce.

The dining room is uninspiring compared to the new QSR restaurants, but it's a lot cheaper here. You come here to eat, not enjoy an afternoon with friends.

My bowl was pretty basic, but I like yellow rice; I like black beans and the chicken looked decent.

I wasn't sure about the salsa so I just tucked it into the side of the bowl; the onions and sauce I was more sure of.

Aside from a couple of pieces of gristle, the bowl was very good. Possibly the best bowl I've had among my latest bowls from Beehive, Potatopia, Poke House and Chipotle. This actually had some flavor.

Negatives include weird Caribbean music and the wifi didn't work.

But you can't beat the price.

One tip is don't order the rice with the vegetables. They had some random, overcooked vegetables like broccoli and peas which weren't what I expected. At Chipotle the vegetables are peppers and onions.

Conclusion

Despite the lower prices and their omnipresence, I never really consider going to Pollo Tropical to eat. I've tried it a few times, and it's just fast food. Of course this is what I think of the new bowl restaurants; they're really just overpriced fast food.

You have to lower your expectations when you're only paying $4.99 for a bowl of food.

But if I was looking for a bowl of stuff and there was a Beehive, Chipotle, Spatch and Pollo Tropical next to each other; I might come here or go to Chipotle. They're the lowest priced and the better tasting food. I don't need no fancy music to eat a bowl of stuff.

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