Local fresh comfort food spanning an impressive list of World Cuisine, Hot & Soul Restaurant in Wilton Manors / Oakland park does a good job providing home cooking with finesse. International Soul Food as they bill themselves, is a good description. We actually were headed to a different restaurant in the same strip mall for a beer and noticed the Hot & Soul sign and walked by. It looked interesting and different and they had a board outside that said they had craft beer. Ok…we’re in.
With a few tables outside, inside is where you probably want to be. We hear that their lunch is ‘counter service’ with more ‘traditional’ dining for dinner, but we were happily greeted by Christy, one of the owners. We sat at the bar toward the back and ordered a few beers. They had a few different craft beers on tap and they serve them in two different sizes (12oz and 16oz I believe). She directed us to the chalkboard next to us that contained their lunch menu. It looked to contain few items from the dinner menu with lower prices.
Hot & Soul prides themselves on fresh ingredients which might lend to a slight variation in the menu daily. This gives a great opportunity to try different items on each visit. The menu looks really good with many vegetarian options that any meat lover would try.
The cuisine type also spans the globe and US with items like gumbo and mole to chutneys and curry. This is not a vegetarian only restaurant…you’ll find your meat fix here like mole Colorado pork shoulder. We were originally going to just hang and get a beer, but we had to try something off the lunch menu. We settled on the ‘Soup and Smile’ which is curried chickpeas and papadum.
Christy had said they have been open for about a year and they seem to be settling in quite well. The restaurant is nicely laid out with two bar areas and another area for dining to the left as you walk in. Soothing colors make for a relaxing dining experience and the colorful blue and green tiles tie it all together. While we enjoyed our beers, the staff was busy setting up for the dinner service while still being friendly and taking good care of us.
Our ‘Soup and Smile’ came out soon and it looked really good. The chickpea curry was served in a cup and the papadum was huge and made for a cool presentation. Papadum is a kind of Indian flat bread/cracker-like staple that is lentil based, not flour. They were light and crisp with a slight nuttiness. We spooned the chickpeas on pieces of papadum as we ate them which worked well. The chickpea curry was packed with layers of flavor and we enjoyed the onions that were also in the mix. We really liked our selection and plan on heading back to try more items.
It’s always great stumbling on a new place and even better when it’s a cool Mom & Pop establishment that provides good service and great food. I’m sure Hot & Soul will fit in nicely in this corner of Oakland Park Blvd and US1.
Hot & Soul restaurant is located at 3045 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL and is open for lunch and dinner.