Royal Pig Pub

Last Activity: May 26th, 2015

royal pig pub2

Location

350 E Las Olas
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
954 617-7447
What's Nearby

Critic's Rating

Rating2.8
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review: 05/26/15

Information

HoursM-Th 11am - 12am. Fri/Sat 11am-2am, Sun 12pm-11pm
Dress CodeNeat Casual ParkingStreet Metered, Valet, Garage Self
CCYes AlcoholFull Bar
OutdoorYes ReservationsNo
DeliveryNo

Pros

Great "Pub" Atmosphere
Friendly Service
Big, Close TVs Great for Watching Games
Free Potato Chips
Good Drink Prices

Cons

No Lunch Menu
No Happy Hour
No Buy-Backs
Food is Expensive
No Good Vegetable Sides

Critic's Review

I haven't written anything up on the Royal Pig in a long time, mainly because there hasn't been anything good to write about the food. The bar scene here is about the same, except that the crowds are smaller and you can usually get a seat at the bar without much of a wait on a Saturday night. It's a great place to watch a game and most of the servers are pleasant and competent.

When they first opened, I was pretty excited about their menu. They had a bunch of things I liked and their pricing was fair. Unfortunately, the menu is a moving target; they're constantly changing recipes and for the most part they've ruined what used to be some pretty good dishes. I'm not quite sure what the strategy is; I'm not sure if they're trying to lower the cost of the food or if they just have a chef with too much time on his hands, but changing recipes is something that I think is a no-no for a restaurant. I don't want to go to Timpano and order the mussels and find that they're now serving them in a garlic wine sauce. I'm ordering them because I know I like them. If I'm going to pay $13 for an appetizer I don't want there to be a 50% chance I won't like it. Also, if you're going to change a recipe, make the dish taste BETTER. That isn't the case here.

The big thing about the menu is that some of the stuff is downright weird, which some people may consider the point. They've started piling watercress on everything (weeds as I call it). I would have liked to catch the look on the girl's face when she was delivered the Royal Pig BLT:

Royal Pig Pub BLT

Royal Pig Pub BLT


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Another peeve is the lack of vegetables. No side salads and no normal veggies. I tried the "summer succotash" and decided that it wasn't for me.

Royal Pig Succotash

Royal Pig Succotash

One thing very sad to me is the duck nachos, which were great when they first opened; served with cheese and jalapeƱos.

Royal Pig Duck Nachos

Royal Pig Duck Nachos

They're now made with mango; maybe mango is cheaper than jalapeƱos? I'm not ordering them.

Royal Pig Pub Duck Nachos (5/15)

Royal Pig Pub Duck Nachos (5/15)

Recent Food Experiences

Case and point, we have my last 3 tries at the Royal Pig food. Last night I ordered the Spinach Dip, something I've had a few times before.

Royal Pig Pub Spinach Dip 05/15

Royal Pig Pub Spinach Dip 05/15

At first glance, it looked pretty good. They certainly don't cheat you on the chips or the cheese.
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They have substantially shrunk the "extras"; no more onions and a lot less of the pork rinds. A smidgeon of salsa.

Royal Pig Pub Thimble of Bacon and Salsa

Royal Pig Pub Thimble of Bacon and Salsa

While I'm glad they don't put artichokes in it, which I've never understood, there's really no concept of flavor here. You can't really taste the spinach; it just tastes like cheese, and not really good cheese. The chips also aren't very salty.

Royal Pig Pub Spinach Dip 05/15

Royal Pig Pub Spinach Dip 05/15

Another annoyance was that half of the chips where stale. It seemed like every other one. By the time I was half done, the cheese was too hard to scoop with the chips. I tried this with the bacon/pork rinds, the salsa. There was just nothing I could do that really made me raise my eyebrows.

I still can't believe that they took the Spinach Formaggio off of the menu at Timpano; easily the best spinach dip I ever had; and exactly the same every time.

Meatballs

A few months ago I tried their "new" meatballs; they used to have Turkey Balls that were OK, but these are made with "Duroc" Pork, which is supposedly better. Two meatballs are $14.

Royal Pig Pub Pork Meatballs ($14)

Royal Pig Pub Pork Meatballs ($14)

The balls themselves are very dense, but not very well seasoned or interesting. You need stuff in meatballs; cheese, onions, something. These just tasted like balls of pork.

Royal Pig Pub Pork Meatball

Royal Pig Pub Pork Meatball

They're served with a "charred tomato sauce"; to me when you char tomato sauce it's because you forgot about it and it cooked way too long. I didn't like anything about the meatballs. Restaurants attempt to convince us that brand name meat products are better, but if it doesn't taste better, it's just more expensive.
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BBQ Wings

When they opened they had terrific wings that were a little bit jerk and a little bit buffalo. They were small and they didn't give you enough, but they were good for $11. The wings have changed a few times; none for the better, and are now described as "Mesquite smoked in a Texas BBQ sauce". I just felt like wings one day, and I ordered them.

The first impression is the battered onions; a stack of unwanted stuff to fill the plate.
Royal Pig Pub Wings (1/2015)

Royal Pig Pub Wings (1/2015)

They're served with some sort of fancy mayo; I asked for some blue cheese. The wings are saucy, messy and the weeds stick to them and there's no way to get them off.

Royal Pig BBQ Wings

Royal Pig BBQ Wings

Additionally, the wings were undercooked; pink isn't a good color for poultry.

Royal Pig Wings. A bit Pink.

Royal Pig Wings. A bit Pink.

I've queried a number of long time regulars and we all pretty much agree that the wings were much better when they first opened. Change for the sake of change isn't a good thing for a restaurant. I go to Martorano's for their $20 meatball and it had better be what I had the last time.

Conclusion

Given the widespread incompetence on Las Olas, the Royal Pig remains one of the coolest, most comfortable spots on the street. It's a good place to drink and have some potato chips; and the best place to watch multiple games at once. But I think that their menu has gone off the rails. When they opened the filet was $28; now it's $36. Everything on the menu has a buzzword in front of it; Prime, organic, free range. Higher prices are one thing, but the food isn't as good, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Why can't rich people be happy making a lot of money running a really good restaurant? Why must they always have to squeeze out more and more until they become just another place with a mediocre, overpriced menu? Does the ownership group really think that the food is 20% better now to justify the pricing? I find that difficult to believe.
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Review 7/24/13

If you haven't figured it out yet; The Royal PIg Pub is the new "it" on Las Olas. Teaming with ex-YOLO regulars, there's a new place in town for the grown ups to hang out, and it's taking Las Olas by a storm. Previously the Samba Room; The Royal Pig is a complete remake of the space, from a dark, clubby space with a smallish bar to a mega bar that runs from the rear kitchen to 20 feet from the front door.

The Royal Pig is the first place since YOLO opened to quality as a suitable hangout; it's as close to a sports bar as you can get without being called a Sports Bar. They have lots of TVs, comfortable bar seating and lots of booths. The bar scene is the big thing here; everything revolves around the huge central bar.

Royal Pig Pub Bar Scene

Royal Pig Pub Bar Scene

The Royal Pig is owned by the restaurant group that owns most of the Hooters in South Florida, as well as Lulu's Bait Shack; this concept is intended to be a more sophisticated approach. While they have some cuties working here that I wouldn't mind seeing in tight, orange shorts, the bartender's attire is more refined with vests and purple ties.

One thing I can say without hesitation is that they have the best free bar food in the city; house-made potato chips are served up during the week.

Royal Pig Free Potato Chips

Royal Pig Free Potato Chips

Sometimes they're a bit soggy, but when they're crispy and well-done I have to stop them from giving me refills on these. They usually run out by 10pm.

Talking with a friend the other day, he mentioned that he really liked the burgers; of course I was skeptical. It's a burger. But I decided to try one, as I've been here many times without ever having tried it. I ordered it on a brioche bun, medium rare with cheddar cheese and cole slaw; it comes with a choice of side for 12.> It came out without the cheese (it was ordered correctly), but soon made an appearance properly done.

royal_pig_burger.jpg

I cut it in half to check how it was done; perfect, pink without being raw.

royal_pig_burger_close.jpg

The cole slaw was very good; more like a cabbage salad, made without mayo. I tried the burger plain, with pickles, with and without ketchup. It was a terrific burger. I didn't need seasoning, and I liked the pickles, which weren't the usual out of the big jar standards.

I'm not one to rant about burgers, but this was great. I'm not sure if it was really 10oz; because I could have eaten more.

The Scene

The Royal Pig has become the new Bar Scene place in Fort Lauderdale; if you remember what Big City Tavern was like 5 years ago you'll know what's going on here. While Big City reigned before there was competition for the "Look at Me" crowd from YOLO, the Pig is the younger, yuppier, rock-and-roll crowd that prefers Tom Petty to the disco beat where they hang out. On Fridays the crowd is decidedly younger, and the place has become the de-facto place to watch Heat games and college sports. Recent grads screaming for their alma-maters; I've never taken to college sports myself. Saturdays are a bit older; with a spattering of YOLO defectors easily identified by the sequins and clutches.

During the week, you can usually get a seat at the bar, although the place is never dead empty. The Big TVs make hanging out and having a drink a comfortable experience.

They push the "schooners", which seem curiously popular considering that they're only 2 ounces bigger than the much more manageable "pub" glasses, which are a pint.

royalpig_glasses.jpg

They have a wide selection of beers on tap; drink prices here are fair.

Their outdoor space is much more appealing than previously at the Samba room. There are TVs at the bar and an eclectic array of seating choices, although big fans by the bar will mess up your hairdo.

Royal Pig Pub Patio

Royal Pig Pub Patio

Outdoor spaces have become mostly for smokers in modern times, unfortunately, so it's difficult for me to enjoy it with any sort of crowd.>

The Service

Service here highly depends on who is working; some of the servers are routinely excellent, and others simply lack a second gear needed to handle the big crowds they get here on weekends. On Fridays and Saturdays the bar is 3 deep and getting a drink can be a challenge.

Eating here on weekends can be 'hectic". There's really no where to hide from the scene. It's part of the charm of the place, but don't expect to have a quiet dinner on a Friday night as there's no escaping the action, except perhaps on the sidewalk tables. During the week it's more tranquil and service ranges from good to top notch.

The Food

I had high hopes for the menu here, with wings, ribs and rotisserie fowl creating some interesting possibilities. But overall, I have to say that I'm underwhelmed. While many of the items can be quite good, inconsistency is a problem. Dishes tend to be too saucy with too much bread. They favor fancy ingredients over portions; 6 wings and 4 ribs just isn't enough. The first time I had the wings they were moist, rotisserie wings; the next time they were finished on the grill and not as good.

Royal Pig Chicken Wings

Royal Pig Chicken Wings

The same goes for the Spinach Dip, I've seen it 10 times and it never looked the same twice.

royalpig_spindips.jpg

The ribs are excellent; easily the best restaurant ribs in the area. The brussels sprouts are good also, but the dish leaves me wanting another rib or 2.

Royal Pig Pub Rib Appetizer

Royal Pig Pub Rib Appetizer

By far my favorite menu item is, surprisingly, the Buffalo Chicken Sliders. With mild buffalo sauce and blue cheese, they're just want I want in a snack. I've gotten these piled high with chicken and with much more modest portions; sometimes they come on onion rolls and sometimes they're plain.

royalpig_buffalo_sliders2.jpg

I also like the nachos, individual "tostada" style nachos with your choice of pulled pork, chicken or duck. I order them with extra jalepenos. IMO the weeds on top are wholly unnecessary. You gotta love the tiny tabasco, even though I have no use for the stuff.

royal_pig_nachos2.jpg

Specifically not recommended are the Salmon entree and the "Prime" beef sliders. The other sliders are better.

The Royal Pig Pub is the best addition to Las Olas in years. Whether you're having a meal, grabbing some apps at the bar or watching a big game, the Pig provides a fun, comfortable atmosphere at reasonable prices.

Photo Gallery

Disclosure: Some photos were from a mock service where food was provided free of charge.

Showing 33 Comments

Comment Policy Add Comment
AdministratorReply
New menu is up. They have a "creole" chicken sandwich with cheddar, avocado and "chipotle" aioli which is very curiously un-creole.
RitaReply
$27 for Gumbo?
AdministratorReply
It's "chefs" gumbo. It's too bad they can't serve it in human-size portions. It comes in a big pot and it's probably 3000 calories.
SherryReply
Asshole Irish drunks have infested the place
AdministratorReply
So there's this young couple sitting next to me one day and the girl is buying drinks for random people at the bar, telling everyone how "hard" she works. She was asking people what they did for a living but wouldn't divulge her income source. This was her way of "giving back".

Here's my advice: If you have some extra cash lying around, instead of buying people who may very well be multi-millionaires drinks in a bar, give some money to charity. There are a lot of people in real need.
AdministratorReply
They added a Chianti to their menu. $8. A decent drinking wine. Goes well with Potato Chips.
Walked out last night. Girl behind the bar was serving people randomly without regard to when they arrived.
SherryReply
Now the Official Jewish hangout on Friday nights.
RyanReply
What does that mean exactly?
SherryReply
It's the place to be!
SusieReply
True statement
BradshawReply
Jerry Rice was at Timpanos chowing down on Mussels and giving autographs...Class Act...
AnonymousReply
Joe Montana was here on Thursday. He was a dickhead. Sitting with a couple of 22yo girls and throwing cloth napkins at people trying to take pictures. Maybe he didn't want his wife finding out.
MikeReply
I really love the Pig, but they need to be careful to maintain quality control for the long haul. After a few great experiences here, i was disappointed this past Sunday night - very messy bar with discarded glasses and plates not being cleared after people left (not very appetizing atmosphere to eat at the bar) , and sub-par food as well on the same dishes that were previously very good. Hope its not a trend.
Jiggers O'MalleyReply
Great Looking Place. Bartenders not perfect. My Martini was not as I asked. Beer selection terrific. Pork sliders A+. Comfortable. I'd come back.

I love the bar, but the schooners are better suited for ice cream sundaes than beer.
JaneyReply
The Anti YOLO. I like it.
Hooters, chicken fried steaks, New Orleans--this place is trying to be everything but a proper royal pub. Way too much going on. Call Gordon Ramsey before it is too late!
GoldilocksReply
I seriously hope I can get a thick sliced freshly cooked pork sandwich, crispy lettuce and mayo on a top quality bun. If not, why bother?
NativeReply
"Thick sliced pork" ... Your not from around here are you?
annieReply
Stopped in today and spoke to someone who said they'll open mid-July. It's a great-looking place.
Fat HandReply
Flatbreads and sliders would be my guess.
AdministratorReply
I hate flatbreads. Why does everyone have to do the same thing? Mussels, sliders and flatbreads. It's a culinary wasteland.
Fat HandReply
Indeed. It's sliders as far as the eye can see.
BOBBY EYESReply
They have hired 5-6 hot Hooters girls from their other places....Should be nice Eyes CANDY....
NativeReply
What about hot guys?!? Not fair!
AdministratorReply
Last time I went to Hooters 2 of the girls were "expecting" and there weren't any "Hot" ones. Hopefully some of the old VIBE cheerleaders will apply.
Barbie Reply
Another Yes, Hooter Girls as your service staff.. When will Las Olas Restaurants learn that Model servers are often the worst ones..
AdministratorReply
They make bad wives too, but who wants to marry an ugly chick?
Royal pig pubReply
Looking to find out who is adding the pictures
AdministratorReply
We take our own pictures.
Ryan BReply
I hope this place is good. Downtown really needs another place or 2. YOLO is getting so boring, and the crowd at Timpano is too old.
MarqusReply
Hey! I may be old but "too old?" Not only do I disagree with you but so does my life insurance carrier.