Red Dog Cantina

Last Activity: Feb 23rd, 2015

red dog cantina

Red Dog Cantina


3134 NE 9th St
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
401 533-7013
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Critic's Rating

Last Review: 10/30/12


HoursSun-Thu 11;30am-2am, Fri/Sat 11:30am-3am
Dress CodeCasual ParkingStreet Metered
CCYes AlcoholFull Bar
OutdoorYes ReservationsNo

Critic's Review

Bad Restaurants close; The Red Dog Cantina has closed.jump-->

Red Dog Cantina Closed

Red Dog Cantina Closed

I've been unconvinced that I should re-view the Red Dog Cantina; they menu features burgers, winds and fish and chips; it just doesn't seem like a restaurant much less a Mexican restaurant. A beach bar that serves Mexican-like food. Fits the neighborhood well.

Review 10/30/12

Cafe Bluefish closed a few months ago amid some dispute with the landlord, and we learned soon afterwards that Red Dog Cantina would be opening. There was some blurb about it being a "Taco and Tequila" bar, and I had a vision of a Rocco's Taco's copycat. But as time went by, there was no buzz about the place; no info; a functionless web site and a basic facebook page with little useful information. Then, all of a sudden, they were open.

A place that opens that fast isn't building a new restaurant; it takes a while to build a place from scratch. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I saw that the place was Cafe Bluefish with a facelift. A paint job and replacing a lot of blue with a lot of red and you've got the Red Dog Cantina.

The hanging paper "chandeliers" mimic the huge authentic ones at Rocco's; Red Dog is a low-budget, Rocco's Tacos wannabe.

I'd heard that the owners had another place up in West Palm, but they don't seem to know much about opening a new restaurant. They don't even have a menu out on the sidewalk where passers by can look at it; in fact they don't have printed menus at all. They're not ready yet; they opened so fast that they're not really ready to open.

Their menu is very weak, with few interesting entrees, no Chilis Rellenos (which I was hoping to get), no black beans. I ended up just ordering some tacos which range in price from $3 for $4.50 each; carne asado, shredded chicken and chorizo. I asked for Iced tea with extra lemon; instead of one mini 1/8" slice of lemon she gave me 2 slices, which was still less than a regular sized wedge. I had a server "team"; I didn't ask details. One of them brought over their sauces, which come in plastic squeeze bottles.


One similarity to Rocco's is that there are no chips or salsa. Good music from Puddle of Mud, Kelly Clarkeston and Snow Patrol plays at medium low volume. It takes longer than expected; both of the team came over to assure me that the wait was almost over; finally they brought them over.

Red Dog Cantina Tacos

Red Dog Cantina Tacos

They come pretty well cheesed and sauced, so I didn't have much use for the plastic bottles. I tried the "garlic" sauce, but it didn't add anything positive, so I just went with the tacos as prepared. The shredded chicken was rather mundane, but the steak was good; roughly sliced skirt or flank steak, seared medium rare. It was a little hard to eat as a taco; It took a serious bite to rip off a chunk, but it was a good. But best was the chorizo; a browned, greasy mexican chorizo had some serious flavor; a nice change of pace from the "Fresh" mexican crap that is spreading like the plague.

$17 for 3 tacos, iced tea and no chips, The food is better than fast food; it's somewhere in between fast food and a real restaurant. With something like 12 new Mexican places in town in the last 3 years it's hard to get excited about another generally; this place isn't nearly as cool as Rocco's Tacos, but I suppose it will fit this neighborhood just fine.

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You've got to ask yourself one question; Is Carmen still employed at the Red Dog??
Just read on their Facebook profile that the landlord does not seem to want to keep that building operational - will not make ADA upgrades required for them to stay in business - landlord forced them out. Shady. Maybe he has plans to move a chain restaurant in.
If you remember the landlord also forced out Cafe Bluefish. ADA improvements aren't optional unless he's going to convert it to a parking lot. It's a crap restaurant in a crap part of town. How much longer can the B hotel fool people into staying in this armpit neighborhood?
So --- this was one place that actually treated the locals well - they honored the locals discount they handed out when it first open right up unitl they closed. It was not the best food but it was relaxed and the crowd was nice. A loss of something not wonderful but nice to have around. Glad I enjoyed it while I could. That all said how can you NOT make money in that spot.
I agree that the owners really don't have a clue in running a resturant !!! The opening was rushed and pretty pathetic. When making a first impression it needs to be outstanding but not a thing was operational and the customers suffered.
I witnessed many customers leave when the food took too long - the owner sat at the bar with MANY plates of food in front of him !!!
Two weeks after the opening the beer taps don't work and menus are stapled together like a childs homework paper.
They also suffer in attracting customers. Place is completly empty with beachgoers strolling by - you would think the waitstaff or management would be on the sidewalk and cheerfully welcoming them in. I actually witnessed a manager texting on his phone while about 6 customers walked by him without so much as a "hello" !!!
We went for dinner... There were no other tables occupied in the place, however our food still took the better part of 45 minutes to arrive.(it was just some tacos). It appears that the owners like to sit in the place, like God, but have no experience in the people business. Try getting off your butts and saying hi to the locals, that will make or break your business. Also, the drinks are double priced of what one would expect from the fabulous Bluefish. It looks nice in there. I recommend grabbing 1 drink to see the place, then going to the parrot, or somewhere else, if you want to eat anytime soon. I'm shocked they don't have the staple to their business working there, Clare-Chuck-Cindy. Maybe the next owners will be smarter than this.