BEST LATE-NIGHT DINING - 2005
International House of Pancakes
305-866-8961 Not only is it open late at night, it's open all night. The price is right and the carbs are not disguised. The servers -- regulars include the gentle Yoselin, Michael of the perfect posture and lilting voice, and Dodi, who once worked as a bartender in a rough part of town -- will fuss over you if you like, but if you want to simply nurse your coffee and sit at the counter until well past dawn, that's okay too. Beyond the breakfast platters, which are reliably starchy and comforting (though omelets may be ordered with veggies and egg whites only), IHOP offers a fascinating syrup bar containing several jars of sweet stickiness, including strawberry, boysenberry, regular maple, and butter pecan. "Girls like the butter pecan," Michael informs. Other than that, the orange juice is fresh and cold and the coffee is hot and served in abundant refillable carafes. But this particular IHOP has even more charms. What other chain restaurant has a great flowing mix tape broadcasting everything from "The Walls Came Down" by the Call to the English Beat's "Mirror in the Bathroom" to funky tunes by the Dazz "Disco Jazz" Band? Where else can you see, at 4:00 a.m., a table full of very, very old ladies send back a plate of bacon because "it's not crisp enough" and not have the waiter completely blow up? Is there any place in Florida where you'd feel as comfortable daubing your eyes with a (cloth) napkin and ice water after the really, really, absolutely the last straw breakup? No, there's no place as totally on when it comes to pure public/private atmosphere.
Readers´ Choice: Denny´s