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  • Candela

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Candela Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.candelarestaurant.com
  • Email: candelarestaurantwm@gmail.com
  • Phone: (954) 563-8088
  • Hours of Operation:

    Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm

    Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm

    Closed Sundays
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Tapas / Small Plates, Cuban
  • Executive Chef: Armando Vega
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Private Party Contact: Armando Vega (954) 563-8088
  • Entertainment: Thursdays and Saturdays, Live Music

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Okland Park Blvd
  • Parking: Private Lot
A word from Candela
Candela blends authentic Spanish, Italian and Cuban cuisines with inspiring results... Chef Armando Vega meticulously minds each dish, occasionally emerging from the kitchen to chat with his clientele... The pace of the service here is attentive but leisurely, geared toward a lengthy sit for wine and conversation.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMediterranean
Diner Reviews
  • "We love Candela and especially taking friends who have never dined there. Everything is delicious from the bread, to the salad with beets & goat cheese to Shrimp with plantains for app. Main courses suit the meat or fish eater. Excellent wine. First time we tried the Sangria, which was lovely. Others drank it, leaving the entire bottle of Malbec for me! Armando the chef comes out to chat with the guests. No dessert this visit but we have loved the almond torte or chocolate desserts in prior visits. Don't be afraid of the shopping center - it keeps the rent down and prices reasonable. Highly recommend this place and with summer coming, snowbirds leaving, it is easier to get in."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "I can't believe this place has been in Fort Lauderdale for 7 years. Happened to try as a fluke after reading the reviews on Open Table. Everything was fantastic. Ambience , Service, and Food were great. Will definitely be back. Would like to try everything on the menu!!!!!!"
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Friendly family run restaurant serving a nice selection of tapas and other dishes. Don't let the strip mall location fool you, some of the best ethnic restaurants are in these places"
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "IInsidetely adore this place. I take all my out of town guests and foodie friends to this place. It is beautiful Inside , the portions are proportionate to price and appetite, and the foid is nreathtakng and the wine is intetesting and beautifully matched. The chef is passionate and extremely talented. I cant wait to go back, again and again"
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Candela, situated between a pawn shop and a storefront Catholic Church...(seriously, you cant make this stuff up!) is one of the best neighborhood gems in Fort Lauderdale! the wine is good, the food devine! We had the spicy moraccan chicken...and the pork tenderloin with gorganzola sauce....off the chart great!"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "This is not an expensive restaurant, yet the food is exceptional and the portions are generous. It's very easy to take home a snack for the next day. I loved my beef carpaccio appetizer, and the Morrocan chicken entree was flavorful and different. The nice thing about the restaurant is that there are so many different flavors offered. Depending on your mood or what you recently had, you can always find something a little different here. The restaurant does not offer liquor but has a nice wine selection. Most importantly, we love the friendly owners. One of them will usually be working in the dining room, and they are very in touch with customer satisfaction."
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "The staff was excellent, their wine list was good specifically for the Spanish and Chilean wine list, they even offer a fantastic rose. The appetizer's we ordered for a table of 4 person's came at different times which I like, the cod croquettes & Garbanzos con chorizo both were exceptional in flavor. The main courses we ordered the special char grilled octopus, ( not chewy at all) prepared with great seasoning, chicken Serrano & manchego had great flavor, pork dish ( cerdo Asada) was exceptional with the lemon mojo and last the "Ropa veija" was the best I have ever had in my life. Overall a fabulous restaurant I would recommend reservations on the weekend."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "My fiance's grandmother turned me on to this place. I'm not even quite sure how she found out about it. The chef/owner is adorable, so personable and caring. All of the staff are so attentive. I've been here large group outings as well as intimate 2 person dinners and both are fabulous. The wine list is impressive, the sangria divine, and the food is heavenly. The food is a wonderful mix of mediterranean meets cuban. There's a huge variety of tapas and large plates, everyone can find something. Please do yourself a favor and try this place out."
    Dined on 3/13/2014
  • "Had been wanting to go here forever...the food was great although portions were small...the service was absolutely ghastly...so disappointed....we were greeted by a child at the door, sat for about 20 minutes before I flagged down a waitress from another table to please bring us a couple of glasses of wine...while we were eating, another waitress kept coming over and trying to take our plates away....super annoying. The food was nice, authentic, creative....best thing was chef came out to say hi and move our plates around a little...a bit pricey for what it was. I would, however, go back at some point to give them another chance."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "It was my moms 80 th birthday and what a fantastic place the food was so good that we will be seen once a week here! My mom said if this was her last meal she would die happy (lol) thank you candela's for the great memory until next week when we do it again!"
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "You won't be disappointed--as we weren't--at Candela. Don't let the exterior (next to a check-cashing shop!) fool you. Candela is authentic, upscale, and delicious."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "The food was amazing So good in fact we were fighting for last bites and wanted to lick the plates clean! We started with the meat and cheese sampler plate, chiorizo in wine, and the yucca fries. The food was hot and flavorful and presented in a picture worthy way. For dinner we each had something different pasta, fish, chicken stew, and Moroccan stew. Each was better than the one before. While the outside is a little offputting once you walk through the doors you are in another world. It is a must go for everyone"
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "The food is not your average restaurant fare. It is incredible. It's creative. Just look at the menu and you'll see. The Chef is passionate about his creations. This is a place where you will want to take out-of-town company or good friends to. I would suggest reservations for weekend nights as I have seen people turned away. I've been dining here for many years and have watched this restaurant bloom into what it is today. Bravo!"
    Dined on 2/18/2014
  • "this is a wonderful restaurant in fort lauderdale. if you like bold flavors, and spot on preparation don't miss this restaurant. had tender calamari rings in a rich spicy tomato based sauce. my only complaint was that there was not enough calamari. the Moroccan casserole was nicely prepared, it had spicy, bold flavors, with nice chunks of chicken. you can drink the broth like soup, or sop up every last drop with bread. there was no room for dessert."
    Dined on 2/21/2014
  • "This is my second dining experience and I will say that the food was excellent just as the first. This is definitely on my list of fav restaurants!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Two words - EAT HERE. This was an incredible experience from the moment the first tapas dish arrived until we finished the last sips of wine & coffee 3 hours later. Yes, the restaurant is in a beat up strip mall and when you arrive you will question if you found the right place. You did. The restaurant is staffed primarily by family - Mom, Dad, teenage son. Dad is the main chef and he turns out some amazing Spanish & Mediterranean dishes with some of the best quality ingredients I've had in a while. Do not come expecting anything more than a leisurely, personal service experience, this is not a "New York" quality of service, but if you come expecting to be treated like family and eat an incredible meal you will not be disappointed."
    Dined on 2/13/2014
  • "Candela has completed some rennovations to the front room and there's more of a restaurant feel when you walk into the dinning area. The front was at one time a little less formal with simpler tables and the cooler with foods prepped for the night on view. Tables and coolers have been replaced by a bar. I still have the best time with the tapas. I did venture with an entree this time (lamb chops) and didn't particularly care for them, so I'll go back to a total tapas menu next time."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "the most wonderful special birthday dinner from the bread, wine and spanish beer to the delicious ham/chorizo/manchego and beef/lobster carpaccio plates, to the pork tenderloin with blue cheese/fig/nuts to the incredible coffee, flan and cava - will return!"
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "When we drove up to Candela we thought we were in for a disappointment. Just the opposite happened. The food and service more than made up for an ok ambience. The restaurant has tapas and entrees. We treated all as tapas. The Chprico app was great as were the white anchovies. We ordered a lamb chop entree and split it between all. It was wonderful. The prices are very reasonable. We had a wonderful Spanish wine that we can't remember the name of. The owner who is also the chef will help with menu. A wonderful character! I felt like we were in Barcelona. The location is a little funky but please try it as I want this place to continue. You won't be sorry."
    Dined on 1/30/2014
  • "What a great little neighboorhood place. Great friendly service, and really creative food. The menu changes often so there is always new items to try."
    Dined on 2/5/2014
  • "What a wonderful little restaurant. Recommended by a colleague, so very happy that he did. Food was simply scrumptious....and there was a lot of it. I even had a deja vue lunch the following day! We started off with the bruschetta, which was simply delicious, I hd the pulled pork and HR hd the mussels and those two items we superb, we finished off our meal with the flan which our waiter recommended and I must say, it was awesome. The Sangria complimented our entire meal. Even tho they got pretty busy toward the end of our dinner, the service was impeccable. We certainly will be back for Tapas....can't wait."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "Table ready almost at arrival time. Service was outstanding and very effecient. Food was absolutely delicious. Beet salad excellent. Skirt steak was fabulous. This will definitely become one of our favorites."
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "Features large and small dishes from Spain and Latin America, Good size portions even on a small plate. High quality ingrdients. Some spiecy, others not. All perfectly balanced, Excellent wine choices, Family owned and operated. Their pride shows in the quality of food and level of service. All this, and very reasonably priced. Almost undetectable, in a small strip mall. It is a secret I'd like to keep to myself but also would like them to contimue with their success, A must go if in the area, and worth the trip if not."
    Dined on 1/30/2014
  • "I first learned of Candela from the program Check Please South Florida. The restaurant is close to my condo and I decided to give it a try. Now it is one of my Go To places when I have friends in from out of town. Wish they had a full bar and were in a nicer location but you go for the food. Great chef who loves to come out and talk about food and cooking with the patrons. The servers could use a bit more training but---You Go For The Food!"
    Dined on 1/3/2014
  • "Large menu selcection..very fast serviice..we were a table of five. We ordered about 6-8 apps..they all came out almost at the same time..the wait staff should have paced the apps since there wasn't room on the table for all the plates. Definalty worth a trip.the Cunab style entrees had great flavor..better than most. resonable pricing and generous portions."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "Great chef who really loves food and to talk about how he approaches cooking. Generous portions and good variety. Wait staff needs more training."
    Dined on 1/16/2014
  • "This is the second time we have visited Candela. It is located in an unimpressive strip mall and the dining room is not fancy. STOP! The service and food are exceptional. A wide and varied menu. The term “small plates” is really a misnomer. An appetizer and two main plates were so much good food, we had no room for desert. A tremendous value."
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "This is probably the fifth or sixth time I have dined at Candela. What a treat! The small staff and the chef are very attentive and will modify dishes if there are specific preferences. Selections are varied, imaginative and very well prepared. I have had the Pork Tenderloin with blue cheese, the Ropa Vieja, Pasta with clams, mussels, scallops and shrimp, but most recently I enjoyed the Crispy Noodles with Calamari and Squid Ink. All were superb, and my biggest problem when I dine there is what to order. Their dishes also fare very well shared if your mind is not easily made up. I can recommend Candela without hesitation - we love to dine there and enjoy taking out-of-town guests there as a special treat!"
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "The dinner we had at Candela was among the best ever, anywhere (we live in NYC so have access to a lot of first-class restaurants, and Candela is in their cohort...). The menu is extensive and interesting, and the food was outstanding. It's family run, and they treat you like family even if you aren't (and many tables seemed to be family or friends). DO NOT be put off by the somewhat out-of-the-way location. The interior is pleasant, and everything else about the restaurant is first-rate by any standard..."
    Dined on 1/10/2014
  • "Took a bunch of friends here. Always consistently good. But this time we hit a bump in the road. Everyone enjoyed their apps and salads... But they have a really new server. He didn't know what he was serving even smelled our food and made a face. We smiled and laughed but they need to do some better training before sending the server out. Otherwise the food was delicious as always. One person tried the octopus and he does normally eat it... He loved it.... Another had beet salad and he licked his plate.... I ordered chicken castellano which was delicious but temperature was so freaking hot. Took me a while for it to cool but I loved every bite. No one had room for dessert... It's a hidden gem"
    Dined on 1/4/2014
  • "Definitely make a reservation! Food and service was genuine and outstanding! Authentic Spanish cooking. Do not judge this place by the plaza facade. The chef and owner made regular appearances . We will make this a regular stop while in S Florida!"
    Dined on 12/14/2013
  • "We were pleasantly surprised at how excellent the food was at Candela. Although there were limited selections because we do not eat pork or shellfish, what we did try was all great. We were especially fond of the Croquettas de Bacalao (codfish cakes). Superb! The Moroccan chicken casserole and ropa vieja were also excellent!"
    Dined on 12/18/2013
  • "Great evening..... Superb food and good personal service..."
    Dined on 12/14/2013
  • "We went to Candela based on the positive reviews.... and didn't regret it. This little gem stuck in a non nondescript strip mall is THE place to go, The food was excellent. Simple and relaxed atmosphere, I had the Paella( The best i had in many years); while my wife had the Ropa Vieja Oh my god!!!! - both delicious dishes. We were so happy and satisfied with the whole experience that we are going back ASAP!"
    Dined on 12/7/2013
  • "We travel to Fort Lauderdale several times and year and often dine at the same places. However, on our last trip, we decided to try Candela and were thrilled by the quality and authenticity of the cuisine, the professional level of service, and reasonable prices. We will be back, that's for sure!"
    Dined on 12/6/2013
  • "food was great ! Pork tenderloin with gorgonzola cheese to die for and the eggplant parm is like nothing you have ever had, sliced thin and delightful not heavy. Sardines (not on menu but they have ) were large and done perfectly. Everyone at the table enjoyed the food. Don't be put off by the mall it is in as the food is worth it. Will be back again."
    Dined on 11/27/2013
  • "Two of our 4 dishes were served so boiling hot they could not be eaten for about 10 min. One had there Lasagna it was so soupy he ate it with a spoon. I had the pork it was fairly tough and not so tasty. We all did agree we loved the garbanzo app that was it. None of the 4 of will be returning"
    Dined on 11/20/2013
  • "Although the white tablecloths are gone, the food was excellent. The baked eggplant Parmesan appetizer was awesome. This is not an Italian restaurant. The menu is a little limited but the food quality is very good."
    Dined on 11/21/2013
  • "Excellent saw on local tv show and was everything we thought it would be. food is awesome!"
    Dined on 11/1/2013
  • "We had yuca fries and a shrimp/yuca appetizers which were outstanding! We shared the zarzuela which was also excellent. I had a lovely dry, red wine which the waiter picked out for me and was delicious! It is a minimalistic decor and great for couples or groups. Low lighting, which I like, and low noise though it began to pick up at 8 when we were leaving. We went on a Saturday night and would definitely go again but we are restaurant "hopping" and have a long list of restaurants to try. If you like big portions, you will not get that here. the portions are appropriate, as served in Europe but if you are accostumed to huge portions, go elsewhere."
    Dined on 11/9/2013