Last Update
Mar 1st, 2014

Pollo Tropical

1819 S Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33316
(954) 764-2141
Overall Rating
Last Review


Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: None
Entree Prices: Moderate
Outdoor: No
Reservations: No
Delivery: No

Critic's Review

I planned to go to a place on SE 17th today, but some sort of convention had the entire avenue crawling with people on foot, and it was just a mess. Not having a plan B, I though about trying Pollo Tropical's new "chops", which is their answer to Chipotle. But when I got there, I realized that I wouldn't be able to see what they're putting in the bowl or have any control of how much of each item, so I decided against it. I wanted to try a few things, so I ordered a Trio with black beans.

The place is surprisingly popular. I suppose this is supposed to be a cut above fast food, but it plays like a fast food restaurant. Cold counter people, a lame, messy "salsa bar" with lots of bad lookins salsas. A lot of people not wearing suits standing around.

I got my stuff and headed to find a table. The chairs are so close together on one area that I could barely get in; too claustrophobic for that. Of course the other side you're in front of the bathroom. You can't escape it.

I took a closer look at my food; I'm not sure why it all had to be on 1 plate, but it was. The ribs were very well done; a token portion of black beans. But all in all a good amount of food for $8.29.

Whatever Caribbean flavors might have been on the rib sauce was burned off; they actually weren't terrible for fast food ribs. The "mojo" pork is just a joke; no mojo flavor, in fact, no flavor at all. This just tasted like boiled meat.

The chicken was a decent chunk of protein; nothing Caribbean about it, it just tasted like a roasted chicken.

On it's own, the caesar salad was not very caesar-like. The dressing didn't taste like much. This is where the Cilantro-Cream comes in; one of the few things that's good on the Salsa Bar.

A pretty good salad dressing, even if that's not what what it's supposed to be.

This is my last time ever at a Pollo Tropical. It's just not good enough, and not comfortable enough, for my taste.

Review 5/20/2011

I'd never been to a Pollo Tropical before; it's always looked like some sort of South Florida McDonalds to me and I never really considered it much of a choice. Every once in a while I hear someone saying how much they like it; but you always have to consider the source. Recently I'd heard some people discussing the black beans; that they had some great recipe and you just have to get the beans.

Ok, well when the grilled wings came out last year I almost stopped in, but never did. So today I figured I'd grab some wings and beans; a nice low-carber lunch, and see if there was anything worthwhile going on.

This location is just a block or so south of E17th street, but as is often the case with Fort Lauderdale, it's far enough for civilization that there were a bunch of hoods hanging out in the parking lot. Inside, the place is quite the dump, with a lot of fat people and some girls dancing in front of the take out counter. A real class joint. I order the stuff and it was ready in about 5 minutes. 5 pieces wings and a small order of black beans to go.

Of course the best thing about grilled wings is the charring, but these are grilled on a flat grill. I'm also not sure WHEN they were grilled; I'm guessing a few hours before I arrived. The wings were cold by the time I got home, and I don't live very far.

The wings didn't come with any sauce; maybe there was some station but nobody told me about it and I didn't see one. I had some blue cheese in the fridge which came in handy. The wings had a mild spice to them but they weren't very good. They would have been better if they were fresh and hot. The beans were the big disappointment though; they were just beans. Not much different then you'd get eating them right out of a Goya Beans can. Nothing special at all about them. Just bland beans.

Well, its my fault for listening to other people and not trusting my instincts. This place isn't worth wasting a meal on.

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