Bite into a taste of Wilton Manors

ECLECTIC SOUTHERN: Trent Baker shows off Rodeo’s raspberry chipotle chicken salad,EILEEN SOLER/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

If you’re a regular in Wilton Manors, you probably know about the wide variety of dining options along Wilton Drive. But for those that haven’t visited in awhile it’s worth a trip. Here are three we checked out:

Texas native Trent Baker offers an eclectic mix of Southwestern, Tex-Mex, Cajun/Creole, barbecue and traditional Southern favorites at his Rodeo Southern Restaurant & Bar (pictured) with dishes like Georgia peach pork chops, jambalaya pasta and dos sopes (cheese-topped corn cakes). Our New Orleans-style quesadilla with blackened shrimp, andouille sausage and smoked Gouda arrived soggy, so the waiter took it off the bill. We moved on to Southern pecan chicken — tasty, lime-marinated and grilled breast tenders in a honey sauce that was too sweet for us. Barbecued brisket brought four large, lean, well-smoked slices. Our sides arrived cold and needed a second trip to the kitchen, but when they returned the mashed sweet potatoes were a hit. Rodeo has huge potential if it can iron out the kinks. It’s is just the type of classy place the neighborhood needs. We hope the bumps we encountered were because we hit it on a busy night.

Humpy’s Pizza & Panini offers more variety than your average pizza joint. The calling card is the gourmet pizza combinations with a perfectly thin, hand-tossed crust. Two large slices are plenty for a meal. Choose from about a dozen combinations including shrimp scampi, rosemary chicken, bacon cheeseburger, baked ziti and buffalo chicken. If you can’t agree, order a half-and-half pie at no extra charge. Healthier options include a honey-wheat crust, low-fat mozzarella, turkey sausage, grilled chicken and plenty of fresh vegetables. Toasted cheese ravioli are a good starter to share, the pasta lightly coated in bread crumbs and baked. On the lighter side, the side salad is a mix of fresh greens in a tasty balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Rosemary chicken pizza with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh spinach on the wheat crust is a flavorful combo that at least feels like a healthy indulgence. Wild mushroom with caramelized onions is a good choice if you are not a red-sauce fan, but could use more spice. We also like the meatball with roasted red peppers and caramelized onions. Save room for cupcakes or take some to go. Big enough to share, they come in flavors like red velvet, coconut, cookies and cream and chocolate-peanut butter.

A longtime mainstay on Wilton Drive, Galanga Thai Kitchen & Sushi Bar still draws a crowd. You can’t miss the A-frame building, and inside, low lightning and high-backed wicker chairs make for an intimate setting. You’ll find all the usual Thai favorites plus a wide range of rolls (some have cucumber wrappers, and brown rice is available for $1 extra). Lobster is used heavily including in a number of rolls and a special of Big Mama’s Pad Thai. Prices trend a little higher than your average Thai restaurant, and the large menu makes it hard to choose. Our starter of steamed shrimp dumplings were light and not too doughy, with a nice amount of shrimp filling. Galanga’s signature pad Thai and chicken with onions, peppers, scallions and Thai basil chile sauce were both solid executions. But make sure to specify spice level; our waiter didn’t ask, and we would have liked more heat. If you’re in the neighborhood for lunch, there’s a great two-for-one deal Monday through Friday.