Royal Pig Pub and Kitchen on Las Olas
The Royal Pig is one of the most treasured eateries on the Las Olas Strip. Located at 350 E. Las Olas, it is on the west end of the main strip, just before Andrews Avenue. The Royal Pig is considered a local treasure for Ft. Lauderdale residents and most of their patrons are in fact locals. On any given evening you can find patrons that live in the surrounding area residences enjoying the $6 Happy Hour signature cocktails and food specials (3-7pm on weekdays). The reputation of the Royal Pig made it a perfect fit for the first installment of our new blog and the fact that it features New Orleans style and classic pub style cuisine, makes this Louisiana transplant very happy. The Royal Pig is open 7 days a week all year long, even on holidays and has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. It boasts one of the best brunches in town with $14 bottomless and interchangeable Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, and Bellinis. Their RPP Mac and Cheese and their Free Range Chicken fingers and biscuits were voted best in South Florida by the Sun Sentinel.
The Royal Pig features a beautiful interior with bar seating, intimate booths, standard and tall tables. Their total capacity for their indoor and outdoor seating combined is around 270 and they can accommodate large parties. They have a semi- private area in the front for parties of up to 25 people and outdoor seating for up to 30. There is a gorgeously inset circular bar in the middle of the room which has seats for around 40 patrons. The bar seating runs almost the entire length of the restaurant with spectacularly displayed liquor under the stunning brick arches. The ambiance alone is worth the trip from wherever you live in the South Florida area. The lighting is perfectly dim enough to enjoy an intimate meal, but illuminant enough that you don’t feel like you are in a cave. The brick and leather accents really give the interior a comfortable and elegant feel. You can easily take a date here for a meal and have an intimate space to converse, or you can hang out with your buddies and watch the game on the several flat screen televisions set into the arches and all over the restaurants. If you prefer outdoor seating, The Royal Pig has you covered! The Royal Pig features a large and comfortable patio and outdoor bar. There are plenty of fans for the warm South Florida weather, making the patio temperate all year long. The outdoor bar is a local favorite and friendly regulars are always hanging out on the patio. The patio is smoker friendly (and yes they do sell cigarettes) and dog friendly making it the perfect pit stop for your after work walk! The bartenders are amazing at tending to their local regulars as well as making out-of-towners from all over the world feel at home. If you don’t know what you are in the mood for, the servers and bartenders are can give some enthusiastic recommendations for you. Among staff favorites are the Grilled Avocado and Tuna, the Peach Salad and the Signature Burger. The Royal Pig also features an open kitchen so you can admire how efficiently and professionally their kitchen staff works to please their patrons. The bartenders are attentive, laid back and can handle a big crowd. Their Sunday brunches are often as full as are their Happy Hours. The Royal Pig is definitely a favorite place to be. They have some of the best specialty drinks that South Florida has to offer, particularly their 350 Lemonade and The Royal Old Fashioned.
My husband, Tom, and I went to The Royal Pig when it was nice and quiet during the week between lunch and dinner. The staff was exceedingly helpful with recommendations. The first thing I noticed was the bartender’s attentiveness. Two locals were served their “regular drinks” giving it an “everybody knows you name” sort of vibe. I had a quick conversation with manager, Peter Helmick , about the atmosphere and cuisine. Helmick said, “Most of our patrons are here daily. We truly are a local’s favorite. It was very important to us that people feel like they can come to a really nice place, with beautiful architecture and feel at welcome, comfortable, and at home. We never established a dress code for this very reason. We really wanted it to feel like an oasis that people can come to at any time and on any day, whether you just got off of work and you are walking your dog, or you just came off the beach and are in flip flops.” Indeed, the ambiance is so flexible that it is completely suitable for business meetings and corporate groups. Peter Helmick said, “We didn’t want a hoity-toity or uptight atmosphere, it was really important that people feel like The Royal Pig is a place they can relax.”
After we sat down at a booth, we chose several menu items that were at the top of the list. There were so many great dishes to choose from, that I can’t wait to come back and try more.
The burger is perfectly cooked to your liking with American cheese, tomato marmalade, greens, RPP Mayo, and homemade pickles. The burger was the perfect size with the best quality meat. We asked that it be cooked medium rare and we were not disappointed. The RPP mayo with the homemade pickles gave the burger a sweet and crunchy yet creamy balance that made our taste buds sing! If you are a burger connoisseur, look no further, the Royal Pig undoubtedly has one of the best burgers in town. It was served with a side of the parmesan truffle fries which were a top notch addition to the meal.
Blackened Ahi Tuna
This dish features the best cuts of sushi grade seared tuna presented with house potato chips, truffle ponzu, cucumber watermelon kimchi, bacon fat avocado mousse, chipotle aioli. It came beautifully garnished with micro greens and fresh jalapeno. The blend of flavors from the fresh watermelon plus a little bit of heat was fantastic. It was decadent, yet not heavy. The tuna was perfectly moist and the bacon fat avocado mousse was the perfect addition without being overbearing to the other flavors on the plate.
Grilled Avocado and Tuna
This was a staff favorite, so we were eager to give it a shot. A grilled avocado is served on top of coconut rice with chopped cucumber, mango, and tuna. Pickled ginger, truffle ponzu, tortillas chips, sesame crostinis are used to give the dish a little extra flavor and crunch. We loved this dish! It was so different and tasty. The flavors were reminiscent of a deconstructed sushi roll, but with the mango and coconut rice giving it a tropical flare. It truly is a perfect South Florida lunch dish as it is filling enough to keep you going, yet light enough to not induce a food nap.
RPP Mac and Cheese
This is one of the dishes voted as Best in South Florida by the Sun Sentinel and it features large macaronis with cheddar cheese, Chihuahua cheese, parmesan, house tasso and andouille Bread Crumbs. The hefty macaroni noodles are served in an iron skillet, browned in the oven, giving the breadcrumbs and top layer of cheese a golden crunch. Digging into the Mac and Cheese, the first thing you will notice is the perfectly creamy yet desirable stringiness of the cheese. The blend of the different cheeses with the tasso gave the flavors a rich depth. The RPP Mac and Cheese did not disappoint and we found it worthy of its “best of” title! If you want to have yours as a full meal, you can add Mojo Pork, Brisket, or Buffalo Fingers to your order. Either way, this is one appetizer that you are not going to want to share with your friends! It’s just that good.
We started off with some fruity drinks. We chose the Briar Patch because it’s not often that you find a drink made with blackberries. The Briar Patch is made with Bulleit Bourbon, blackberry preserves, maple syrup, mint, fresh squeezed lemon juice. This drink came in a nice tall glass and was indeed reminiscent of youthful summer days picking and eating blackberries but with the snappy taste of bourbon. The bourbon really complemented the blackberry, offsetting the sweetness just a little bit giving it a nice smoothness going down the hatch.
Mango Fruit Cosmo
We wanted to give The Royal Pig’s version of a Cosmopolitan. This drink is made with Skyy Mango Vodka, fresh squeezed lime, pomegranate juice, and simple syrup. The use of pomegranate instead of cranberry juice made this Cosmo a little sweeter than your average Cosmopolitan. If you enjoy a sweet cocktail, then we recommend giving it a shot. The mango flavor is pretty subtle and blends with the other flavor giving it an overall “tropical juice” flavoring. It came beautifully presented in a traditional martini glass with a dried orange slice.
The Lazy Pig
We wanted to try something that was really different and my eyes lit up reading the description of this drink. It is made in a tall glass with Empress 1908 Gin, St Germaine Elderflower Liqueur, fresh Muddled Cucumbers and lime. It is coloring is beautiful, as it is a glowing lavender color with a bright green cucumber garnish. I really love that this drink’s visual presence pays homage to everyone’s favorite New Orleans carnival, Mardi Gras. The flavors itself are perfectly refreshing and mildly sweet. I loved the fresh cucumber notes with the lime, but I think the St Germaine really makes it a winning drink. I could probably drink a little too many of these in a sitting if I let myself, because the refreshing nature is so darn smooth.
The Royal Old Fashioned
The Royal Pig’s version of an Old Fashioned was hands down our favorite drink. They use Michter’s Bourbon, ginger peppercorn syrup, bitters, served over a legitimately old school whiskey cube and garnished with an orange peel and cherries. This drink was fantastic. If you are not a fan of sweet drinks, this is the drink for you. The subtle ginger flavor with the bite of peppercorn and hint of orange makes this drink exceedingly special. I wanted a second one as soon as I started the first. Tom and I split this drink and, believe me, we were sad when we got to the bottom of that glass. Is it happy hour again yet? Gah, what a winner!
The Royal Pig just celebrated their 7 year anniversary and has top ratings on Yelp. Amongst the positive feedback on social media are praises for their quick service, their friendly wait staff, fantastic happy hour deals, large portion sizes, and amazing cuisine. Favorites from the Yelp reviews are the Classic Burger with Chipotle Ketchup, Parmesan Truffle Fries, the Brisket Ruben, and the New Orleans BBQ Shrimp. My tour groups always love the Royal Pig’s strong classic cocktails, particularly the Strawberry Margarita. I often send my groups back to the Royal Pig for their post bar tour meal. The staff is always accommodating to large groups. Every group I have sent to The Royal Pig has raved about the food. Their consistently delicious cuisine and outstanding reputation speaks for itself and I find that many out-of-towners have already heard of it! They offer plenty of great sharing plates for large groups as well. When we take groups for Cycle Party Foodie tours, our go to sharing appetizers are the Buffalo Chicken Nachos and Pulled Pork (They can make a Veggie option as well), Sliders, the Organic Pub Spinach Dip, and the Killer Shrimp. Additionally, for those with Food Intolerances, Allergies, Celiac Disease or are Vegetarian/Vegan, there are a lot of options for you! You can find specialty diet menus featured on their website. Also, the staff is attentive at making sure your order comes our correctly if you alert them of your special needs. The Royal Pig Kitchen has no problem removing items from a dish that could bother sensitive patrons or doing simple modifications depending on your needs. All burgers and sandwiches can be made with a lettuce wrap and sauces like their ponzu sauce can be eliminated from a dish. Overall The Royal Pig is fantastic at catering to the needs and culinary desires of their patrons. It is a perfect place to enjoy quick lunch, relax after work for happy hour or spend your Saturday evening with your friends. Once you have visited The Royal Pig, it will quickly become one of your top choices for burgers, comfort food, innovative seafood dishes, and local hospitality.