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Last Update: Sep 11th, 2020
Lona 2020

Lona Cocina & Taquileria / Tinta

321 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33304
(954) 245-3069
Overall Rating
2.2
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
01/23/2018

Details

Hours: 11:30-3pm Daily, Sun-Wed 6p-11p, Thu-Sat 6p-12am
Attire: Casual
Parking: $13 Hotel Valet, Street Metered
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Outside Dining: Yes
Reservations: Yes

Pros

Oceanview, Outdoor space.

Cons

No Real Lunch Menu
Questionable Recipes
Cushions

Critic's Review

The Westin has rebranded this for breakfast; It's called Tinta from 7am - 11am. They claim to have a buffet but they have no menu online. Lots of fake reviews on Yelp; probably from Hotel employees. Probably another $25 buffet.

Lona Review 1/23/18

There's only a few months out of the year that you can dine outside comfortably at the beach; from November until the tourists get here in February. It's too hot in the summer, and too crowded (and no parking) during high tourist season. So it was a good chance to check out the new restaurant at the Westin.

As I was driving over the las olas bridge, I was horrified to see that they're doing construction where the West Side parking lot was. Really? There isn't enough parking at the beach as it is, and they're turning one of the 2 big parking lots into another building?

I got a spot around the corner, and walked in at 2:20pm. My first impression was that I didn't like the seating. Like any of it. Cushions on everything; patio style. This isn't restaurant furniture. The hostess offered me a high top, which I'd usually refuse and ask for a table, but I took the high top today.

Lona at the Westin

They've redesigned the outside and it seems like they're trying to make it appear that it's not a hotel bar. Unlike the old Shula's, they're not open for breakfast but they're open all day long. Shula's was open for lunch, sometimes.

Lona Bar

My server came by and took my beverage order and promised me some chips and salsa; the chips came but no salsa, so when she returned with the tea I mentioned it.

Lona Chips and Drinks

I thought it was interesting that a runner dropped off a not full glass of water. Also they give you your iced tea refill in a little beaker, which is a good idea.

One of the reasons I took the high top was that there as a babe by herself with a laptop at the next table; as I took a closer look I realized that I knew her. It turns out she was friends with my server, so from that point on I can't expect that I was getting random guy off the street service from her.

The menu here is absurdly expensive; typical hotel restaurant. $21 for fajitas. $14 for tacos. I ordered the Chile Rellenos appetizer for $12, which they spelled with an "i", but I ordered it anyway.

They've eliminated some of the obstructions from the old design. The View on a sunny day is quite nice.

View from Lona

The food came out in 18 minutes.

Lona Chile Relleno

Handsome presentation. The 'pinto bean sauce" was basically cold refried beans. I cut open the Chile expecting cheese to ooze out of it. But I was roundly disappointed.

Lona Chile Relleno

No cheese inside. Some sort of bread or stuffing. I was eating away; I'm so used to eating bad food it never really dawned on me to complain. I don't complain. I eat the bad food and then write about it. However today was not a normal day.

So the server girl comes over and asks about the dish, claiming that some other customers had said it wasn't what they expected. Having had MANY Chile Rellenos all over town; I proceeded to explain how it's usually made. We then tried to figure out what the stuffing was; one of the other servers said "I don't think they're making it right".

Lona Chile Relleno

So without me saying I wanted to send it back, the server tells me that she took care of my check, and offers me some Tacos. My parking was almost up, so I had no time to wait for tacos, nor did I want tacos.

I wasn't unhappy or unwilling to pay my check, but I didn't really want to eat the corndog masquarading as a chile Relleno either, so I dropped. a tip on the table and out I went.

Conclusion

If I sent back every dish I didn't like I'd never pay for anything in this town, but today was one of those days where I got special treatment because I knew someone, which is exactly why I try to be as incognito as possible. The hotel has apparently hired a "team" from outside, but that doesn't mean too much.

I don't really like the seating or the curtains; the Mexican music is fine; I'm not even sure if the inside restaurant is open for lunch. The big problem is the menu; the typical hotel menu that rips off their guests and eliminates any chance that anyone outside the hotel will want to come.

And lastly, the reality is that fancy Mexican food doesn't work. Go to a fancy restaurant in Mexico and you'll hate it; go to a little taco stand and you'll be in heaven. Mexican food is cheap and cheesy and spicy and sloppy. Case and point; the dish I got looked beautiful and tasted like junk. And that's a losing formula.

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Rick Hawson
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They are building a 6 story parking garage just north of the bridge, when it is completed they are going to turn the lot across from Elbo Room into a park.

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