This pleasant little bistro
is quietly nestled into a corner just south of Oakland Park Blvd. on Federal
Highway. It is truly a home for contemporary American food at its
finest. Already highly rated by mainstream culinary reviewers in
daily publications, the Hi-Life Cafe is owned and operated by Chuck Smith
and his life partner Chef Carlos Fernandez.
The cafe only recently celebrated
its fourth anniversary, and I wonder why I have not been here more often.
From the enticing sweet potato fries, which greet patrons as they sit down,
to their dessert of orange coconut pie, the restaurant is superb.
Their recent expansion now
provides ample room for indoor and outdoor dining for those who may have
been dissuaded from coming back because of their once smaller accommodations.
Now roomier but still cozy, the Hi-Life cafe also feature a Tapas Bar which
enables guests to enjoy Sangrias and Spanish appetizers prior to dining.
Specials are offered daily
in this dinner-only establishment, which includes a healthy variety of
appetizers and salads. The wine list is plentiful as well.
The salads include a tasty goat cheese salad, a gently seasoned caesar
salad, and a rosemary chicken salad that is truly to die for, not too heavy,
but engagingly romantic.
Somewhat rushed to accommodate
a screening, the pleasant wait staff insured our meals were served on a
timely basis, but with still enough room to allow for proper enjoyment
of the evening. Remembering exactly who ordered what and where in
our party of five, we got to taste test a peppercorned seasoned Steak au
Poiver,at $18.95, which was utterly sumptuous. The steak was as tender
as filet and melted in your mouth. Even the chicken fried chicken,
I suppose the American version of twice cooked pork, was a Southern sensation.
The pastas were equally alluring. The Penne ala Mama, at $14.50,
was served in a spicy cream sauce. And the gnocchi ala Vodka, at
only $12.95, was a bountiful plate full of Italian sauces.
Of course, the Coca Cola
Cake was a dessert so attractive one of our party ordered an extra to take
home to his partner. Rich in chocolate and flavor, it was matched
by a Grand Marnier ice cream, that also had appeal. The expansion
of the restaurant has not cost a tad in intimacy, and we are left only
to congratulate Chuck and Carlos for their excellent dining establishment.
This little bistro is not only a find but a keeper. It is a testament to
the passions of its owner, who maintains a constant vigil for excellence.
He succeeds marvelously. Value and elegance at its best. Unique intimate
dining at its finest.