The Best in Palm Beach
May 2, 2011
If you want perfect food in a beautiful atomosphere this is the place to head for in Palm Beach. The staff is wonderful.
Best Beaches in Palm Beach / West Palm Beach
Florida is one of the top travel destinations in the country, especially for those who intend to soak up the rays and take a dip in the warm blue ocean. The Palm Beach/West Palm Beach area has beautiful public beaches that attract visitors and locals alike no matter the season. The following list is a mixture of the no frills beaches that rely on simply the sun the sand as well as the beach parks with running trails and playgrounds.
When it comes to a family day on the beach, nothing could be more important than children entertainment and safety. Lake Worth Beach is a great option for families thanks to the lifeguards on duty daily and the large playground right off the beach. There is also ample parking and restrooms, as well as several dining options all within a quick walk from the shoreline.
For those looking for more of a party, Peanut Island is a nice spot to getaway to for the day. With a walking trail around the island and lots of snorkeling spots, it&rsquos easy to remain entertained. The list below has eight more public beaches, so there is sure to be one perfect for your next adventure under the sun.
THE BRAZILIAN COURT
The entrance to the 95-year-old Mediterranean-style hotel
Nearing a century of the finest in hospitality, The Brazilian Court greets spring with reinvigorated interiors and special packages to match. The circa 1926 grande dame is the epitome of Mediterranean glamour, with its stucco facade, romantic arched walkways, terra-cotta barrel roof tiles and wrought-iron accents. And now its interiors, once again, live up to its legacy. Inside, owner Bobby Schlesinger commissioned renowned designer Lauren Hastings of LSI Designs for the recently completed interior upgrades.
In the redesigned rooms, the furniture is custom, with accent decor from Arteriors, Assouline,Made Goods and local shops, including Keller Palm Beach and Mecox Gardens.
With the redesign, each room features curated black-and-white photography that pays homage to some of the most inspiring icons of pop culture. Among them, find Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.&mdashall photographed by Terry O&rsquoNeill. Among the furnishings, lush green velvet headboards and sofas provide a nod to the palms outdoors, especially the gardens surrounding Café Boulud, while white linens and pops of lavender brighten the rooms. Fan-favorite The Brazilian Court Salon too has unveiled renovated environs. Decked in custom Italian furnishings, the fresh, intriguing design features expanded space for hairstyling and treatments, a new mani-pedi room and a traditional men&rsquos barber. Rooms from $399, 301 Australian Ave., Palm Beach, 561.655.7740, thebraziliancourt.com
West Palm Beach
Start your adventure in the vibrant neighborhoods of downtown West Palm Beach. Overlooking sparkling Lake Worth Lagoon, Clematis Street is home to funky sidewalk cafes, colorful murals and buzzworthy bars. Hop on a free trolley to Rosemary Square, a shopping district and open-air plaza where it’s not unusual to stumble upon rousing events and live music. Venture a little farther to explore Antique Row and the candy-colored storefronts of Northwood Village, an eclectic enclave known for its art galleries and global cuisine. Bargain shoppers love Palm Beach Outlets, with savings on more than 100 name brands like Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Nike and Vera Bradley. You can also enjoy Grandview Public Market with 12 gourmet food vendors their is something for everyone.
Art aficionados come for the museums and stay for the shows. View extensive collections of American, Chinese, contemporary and European pieces at the Norton Museum of Art. Walk through the jungle-like Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, where nine major sculptures are set amidst palms and tropical plants. Or take in a performance (concerts, comedy shows, ballets, operas and more) at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
It’s hard to beat West Palm Beach for family fun. Sitting side by side just south of downtown, the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society and South Florida Science Center & Aquarium offer more up-close animal encounters and hands-on learning experiences.
Plan your visit around our year-round calendar of amazing events, from SunFest to the Palm Beach International Boat Show. The South Florida Fair brings 17 days of midway rides, fair foods and live entertainment starting in mid-January, and February brings spring training to FITTEAM The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, where baseball lovers can watch top teams warm up for the MLB season.
For more ways to play, reserve your tee time at one of the area’s outstanding golf courses. And with so much going on in West Palm Beach, you may forget that some of the best beaches in Florida are just a short drive away.
Updated: Best Palm Beach Restaurants
Vacherin at Le Bilboquet
With each trip to Palm Beach I make new dining discoveries, though always returning to a few favorites. It’s not surprising about the new finds, as PB is continuing to evolve as a dining destination, with new entrants boasting beautiful people watching and fine dining credentials, “modern coastal cuisine”, of the moment cuisines and the ubiquitous Mexican tacos. But PB also likes the retro thing, which I admit I really enjoy when it’s done right. So here are my picks of the best Palm Beach restaurants for your day trip or Staycation. Note that in winter season restaurants can book up very early, so best to reserve two weeks in advance or think about going for lunch to the most coveted spots. Since I go to PB regularly, check back for new additions. And in case you missed the earlier post, click here on an updated list of New Things to Do in Palm Beach.
Patio dining at Le Bilboquet
My newest find and now one of my favorites is French restaurant Le Bilboquet which comes from New York City. I felt as if I was in a tony restaurant in one of the European Rivieras, in their outdoor courtyard with the well starched, crisp white table cloths, handsome umbrellas and attractive people. Whatever we had was exceptional — delicious, perfectly executed French (and some American) classics, and well presented (loved one of the signature dishes in particular, the Cajun chicken, and don’t miss the vacherin for dessert). Service was very professional and everyone was pleasant and accommodating.
We went for lunch which they serve late, so it was a late lunch/early dinner Mediterranean style. In my book, that’s the time to go there, especially in the winter when the weather is glorious. Combine it with shopping (or window shopping), and it’s a perfect afternoon. Note though that they only take reservations for parties of 4 or more (another reason to go for a late lunch) and there’s a dress code. What you can do is check online when there are openings so you get an idea of when you can snag a table without much trouble.
Tuna tartar at The Honor Bar
Another new addition is The Honor Bar and sister restaurant Palm Beach Grill. They have been on my “to go” list for awhile, highly recommended by friends and finally went, for lunch. In Royal Poinciana Plaza, they’re favorites with locals. The menus feature American classics, the kind of food you find at other restaurants operated by Hillstone. The Honor Bar in particular is a good place to go if you’re eating alone — a friendly atmosphere and service, and comfortable bar seating along with solid quality and good value.
For a change of pace, there’s Okeechobee Steak House, Florida’s oldest steakhouse, 71 years old. Interestingly enough we heard raves about it from a foodie friend from Italy, home of the Bistecca Fiorentina, who works in the world of luxury in Palm Beach. It’s for serious carnivores and serious eaters in general including loyal regulars. Unusual for me, after a first rate classic martini, I ate everything it was so good — prime bone-in ribeye which came with a house salad and choice of potato (in our case, baked potato).
The steak was perfectly charred, tender, and beefy. It was grass fed, surprising to me who usually opts for corn fed beef. And for those for whom more is more, they can team the steak up with several variations of surf and turf as well as toppings. Choose to have it crusted with horseradish and butter or gorgonzola with mushrooms and onions, sauced with bearnaise, or topped with bone marrow butter.
I also did damage to the uber chocolately seven layer cake, one of several rich all American desserts. Everything was more than WTC (worth the calories The decor is likely not very different from when it opened — dark wood banquettes and leather upholstery, and a happening bar with local regulars. Service is very professional and friendly, and it offers very good value and prices considering the quality. Note: exclusively indoor seating. There’s also a store where you can buy their meats and sister restaurant Okeechobee Prime Seafood which opened this month. Open for lunch and dinner.
Okeechobee Steak House photo by Palm Beach Post
For people watching and fine dining, the Italian restaurant Sant Ambroeus which hails from Manhattan is a local favorite for its elegant ambiance, always delicious food, and lovely outdoor dining. I favor the pastas and veal dishes and foodie friends swear by the branzino, blue pasta special and the signature Princess cake for dessert. Open for lunch and dinner. Another good pick for lunch in an attractive outdoor courtyard is Cafe Boulud in the Brazilian Court Hotel. They often have a lunch special which offers good value.
There’s buzz about La Goulue, which made its mark in Manhattan in the 80’s as one of the places for the ladies who lunch, celebs and celeb watchers. It offers a classic French menu with dishes ranging from cheese souffle and rack of lamb to duck confit and crepe suzettes. If you decide to go, go very early and sit outside. We went at 8 p.m. and the place was packed, noise level inside was very “energetic” and service wasn’t what we had expected.
If seafood is your choice, a very good option is HIgh Dive in West Palm Beach. It’s by award-winning husband and wife team, Chefs Jeremy and Cindy Bearman. Bearman is the talented chef behind the Michelin-starred restaurant Rouge Tomate in New York City, and his wife Cindy, was former Executive Pastry Chef at Jean Georges’ ABC Kitchen. The menu is exciting and creative, the place could be plucked off the New England seaside, and when we went the service was friendly and attentive. For more, see my review below. Note: as of March, 2021 they are only doing take out and delivery.
Ceviche at High Dive restaurant in West Palm Beach
Another one of my favorite dining spots is the Leopard Lounge in The Chesterfield Hotel. It’s right out of the 50’s with its supper club like decor, live music for dancing playing nostalgic favorites, and a menu with dining classics. Mr. W and I always start with a caesar salad for each of us followed by the 14 ounce veal chop (we share) with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. The chicken curry with jasmine rice is also very good. The Lounge is known for its generous traditional cocktails and wrap around bar and dance music.
Leopard Lounge in the Chesterfield Hotel
A new find in the retro department is the Green’s Pharmacy Luncheonette which dates from 1938 and still has a soda fountain. The extensive menu includes breakfast items (get this, pigs in a blanket for breakfast), and diner fare along with deli selections .Mr. W opted for a reuben sandwich and I chose the philly cheesesteak, both quite good. And, included in the price, the waitress calls you Honeybun. and while you’re in the neighborhood, check out Michelle Farmer Collaborate boutique which features her own lovely fashion creations, perfect for South Florida.
Green’s Pharmacy Luncheonette
For a breakfast of coffee and pastries check out Loic in West Palm Beach .The charismatic French owner, chef and patissier, Loic Autret, has a devoted following who flock to the West Palm Beach spot for baguettes, quiche, croissants, breakfast specialties, sandwiches, salads and excellent coffee. His secret to success is the onsite bakery where everything is made fresh daily, 83% fat content butter, Belgian chocolate and passion for what he does. Signature items include the decadent white chocolate pistachio croissant, aptly named double chocolate passion cookies, foccacia with tomato and egg, and the quiche with a novel and welcome twist — the crust is made from croissant pastry. Don’t miss the avocado toast either, with a very generous topping of avocado topped with crunchy pistachios served on an addictive walnut raisin bread. The outdoor seating is an appealing area with trees and some umbrella topped tables. For a good coffee and French pastry, another good bet is Patrick Leze near County Road in Palm Beach.
Another good spot, though for a full breakfast in lovely surroundings and very good service is LoLa41 which hails from Nantucket and now has several outposts. I had a five vegetable omelet that was the best ever, thick green smoothie, along with Zak the Baker’s chewy sourdough bread and perfect, strong black coffee with generous refills. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner when it’s the “hot spot” for the younger crowd, and a jumping bar scene. It’s adjacent to the equally attractive White Elephant boutique hotel.
Other good bets are Clay Conley’s Buccan which I plan to try next time (he’s scheduled to open Chateau Miami on Brickell) and The Breakers hotel has a restaurant that opened during the pandemic — Henry’s, an American inspired bistro.
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila plans to party in Aventura, West Palm Beach . and beyond
When South Beach’s Bodega Taqueria y Tequila opened up in Fort Lauderdale late last year, that was just the beginning of an ambitious expansion plan for the hotspot.
The boîte is spinning off its concept — which is equal parts fast-casual taco eatery and late-night speakeasy lounge — with a third location opening this summer in Aventura.
And West Palm Beach would be next, sometime in late 2021.
That’s the same time frame for yet another location in Coconut Grove. And then there is a Bodega slated for a Wynwood opening early summer of 2023.
Some of the new locations will serve food only and skip the p.m. party place, specifically Aventura and Wynwood as well as North Beach on the board to open in 2022 and inside the Natiivo Miami Hotel & Residences planned for 2023 for a spot in the Brickell neighborhood.
Fort Lauderdale set it all off
It was the Fort Lauderdale addition that sparked the rollout throughout South Florida, according to Miami-based Menin Hospitality, which opened the original Bodega Taqueria restaurant and speakeasy (which you enter through a secret portapotty door) in Miami Beach back in 2015.
“Fort Lauderdale was really kind of… a tryout of our expansion,” says Jared Galbut, co-founder and managing principal of Menin. “It was a huge success, almost overnight. We were really excited to see that. It was interesting: COVID put things on a quicker track with us because we realized how well the food was doing, with takeout and delivery.”
What makes Bodega so SoFlo?
Menin Hospitality currently owns, manages and/or operates the Mondrian South Beach, the Shelborne South Beach, Gale South Beach, Gale Miami Hotel & Residences at Natiivo, two Pizza Bar restaurants in Miami Beach and Raffaello Chicago.
But it is Bodega that is the most successful and valuable brand in the Menin stable.
“Yes, definitely on the food and beverage side,” Galbut adds. “It would be the Gale on our hotel side, which we are expanding. But with food and beverage, Bodega is our No. 1 priority.”
The triumph seems to be its appeal to a wide swath of customers throughout the day. “Bodega is really unique,” Galbut explains. “It is a combination of nightlife and fast casual restaurant, which is kind of unique. You have high-end restaurants and in the evening they’re going to more of a nightlife feel. But fast-casual . with nightlife and a lounge, that’s rare. People feel like it is an all-day concept.”
Galbut, who runs Menin Hospitality with his cousin Keith Menin, adds that the Bodega formula “transcends. in all kinds of markets.”
A part of that formula is the type of building they feel suits their Bodegas best, venues with a little history.
“With Bodega, it is not a conventional retail box tenant,” Galbut says. “We always like to have a little character to the building that we are going to be in. It’s been there awhile and we can bring the space back to life. The original Bodega was a cut glass and mirrors place. It had characteristics of 40 to 50 years of doing that. We kept a lot of that style.”
- That will also be the case for Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, West Palm Beach, which will be located at 118 S Clematis St. The space was formerly Tapeo Tapas Bar and Restaurant.
- Bodega Taqueria Aventura will be at 19129 Biscayne Blvd.
- Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Coconut Grove, will be at 3419 Main Highway.
- Bodega Taqueria, Wynwood will on the first floor of Society Wynwood at 2431 NW Second Ave., Miami.
The West Palm Beach version will have the bar and taqueria on the first floor and a high-end tequila and mezcal lounge upstairs
The Coconut Grove location will have a lounge in the back and the taqueria in the front. There will also be a smaller private bar on the second floor.
First, a little about Palm Beach
Palm Beach has a plentitude of impressive, unique shops and great places to dine . Many rich and famous people live here. The population tends to multiply during the winter months to around 400%. Although some of the best places to live in Palm Beach County can be an expensive place to purchase a home , don’t worry. You can still find affordable options and hire one of the top moving companies Palm Beach County can offer. There are start condos for around $200,000 and single-family homes for less than $500,000 . Additionally, rentals start under $1,500 per month.
However, just like with everything else, Palm Beach has its negatives points too . Because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, some of the best places to live in Palm Beach County come with a high risk of damage from hurricanes, sea-level rise, and flooding . It has a higher probability of evacuation than other cities in Florida. Still, these factors seem to not be able to deter its residents from living here .
Palm Beach’s Best Sushi
Sushi has officially become a dining stalwart in Palm Beach County, with sushi-centric restaurants and eateries dotting the map. But who does it best?
Update: The Votes Are In
After three weeks of robust reader support, we have taken the pulse of the Palm Beach County sushi fan. Of the six sushi spots listed below – and a few write-ins to boot – the runaway favorite is Jupiter’s Aah Loi Thai and Sushi. Helmed by Roy Villacrusis and Charlie Soo, this swank little sushi pad is by far one of the boldest bites around. The menu is authentic and creative, the ingredients as fresh as fresh can be, and quality is mantra, not goal. Congratulations Aah Loi Thai and Sushi, and thank you for voting your mind palmbeachillustrated.com readers.
Under the expert culinary minds of Roy Villacrusis (Palm Beach County’s top ronin chef) and Charlie Soo (of Talay Thai fame), Aah Loi Thai and Sushi, located in a relatively quiet shopping plaza in Jupiter, is one of the best sushi spots around. A seat at the table is worth the wait—just 40 seats has made this one of the most coveted meals in town. Specials change daily (whatever it is, try it), while the sushi and sashimi options are lengthy, creative and authentic. For the adventurous eater, this is the place to go omakase—”chef’s pick,” meaning you never know what’s going to land on the plate but, rest assured, it will be great.
Basic Nigiri options from Aah Loi Thai and Sushi
Imoto is in a class of its own. The restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Clay Conley, who also founded neighboring restaurant Buccan, and serves as his ode to Japanese fare. Adhering to the mantra of “less is more,” Imoto is ingredient driven and fresh to max. Conley uses locally and internationally sourced fish—going so far as to have fish flown in daily from Toyko’s famed Tsukiji Fish Market—and keeps the servings simple, allowing the ingredients to set the table.
The menu is updated daily. While the sushi menu is a treat, the real reason to make the trek is the sashimi and special nigiri menu. When Hamachi is offered, take advantage of it. The seared yellowtail with jalapeno is a small bite with serious flavor.
It’s hard not to talk about Palm Beach sushi without mentioning the seemingly omni-present Sushi Jo. Chef/owner Jo Clark, a Miami native, got his start as an apprentice at Yama in Lake Worth. Now, he operates Sushi Jo in three locations throughout the county (West Palm Beach, Juno Beach and Boynton Beach), owns Thai Jo in West Palm Beach and serves his sushi at the Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa on the weekends.
For the sushi eater who likes options, Sushi Jo is your place: The specialty roll menu is extensive, while the a la carte menu (sashimi by the piece) often has diners squabbling over what combinations to try. If cheeky names and fresh tuna is your thing, the Red Light District roll is your best bet: spicy tuna on the inside and on top.
Related Content: Sushi 101
Need help with sushi basics? Head to our Sushi 101 page for a lessons on all things sushi.
Click here >>
Part of The Breakers’ stable of restaurants, Echo has earned its stripes as one of the best seats on the island. With a menu steeped in Asian cuisine that includes plenty of land and cooked options from which to choose, its the sushi and sashimi offerings that keep this place packed (not to mention the plethora of creative cocktails streaming from the bar).
|Echo’s Red Dragon Roll—a vegetarian option for the sushi fan (the red topper is roasted red pepper).|
With more than a handful of specialty rolls to choose from, the namesake Echo—tempura shrimp with red tobiko and Sriracha sauce—is a spicy change of pace from the more traditional maki roles found elsewhere on the menu. Traditionalists will be hard-pressed to pass up a hand-rolled hamachi and scallion roll or fresh uni from the sashimi menu.
For one of the most authentic sushi spots in Palm Beach County, Sushi Simon in Boynton Beach tops the list. Fresh is an understatement here, not just because of the locally caught fair but also because finding cooked dishes here can be difficult.
This is a great place to dine at the 12-seat sushi bar and watch the master craftsmen ply their trade. For those interested in specialty rolls, the Volcano is one of the best in town, while the Hamachi Jalapeno Roll is tasty. But for the conventionalist, a la carte is the way to go: With nearly 30 types of fish and seafood on the menu served as pairs of sushi or a trio as sashimi, the combinations are nearly endless. As a bonus, the selection can be topped with a quail egg for good measure. Some of our favorites: scallops from Hokkaido, blue fin toro, uni, Japanese kampachi and snapper, and ama ebi (sweet shrimp grilled with the heads on). (561-731-1819)
Nippon Japenese Restaurant Sushi Bar and Hibabchi Grill
A personal favorite, more for sentiment than anything else, Nippon Japanese Restaurant Sushi Bar and Hibabchi Grill in Jupiter has held sway in the Jupiter Square shopping plaza for as long as locals can remember. While the hibachi grill seems to be one of the main draws to the restaurant, we’ve always been partial to the zashiki (low traditional tables) dining option, which is both intimate and a fun break from standard dining options. There is also a sushi bar to the back where guests can dine omakase style while watching a steady stream of sumo wrestling and Japanese game shows.
The sushi options incorporate all of the standards diners have come to expect in South Florida, with a few local treasures thrown into the mix. Always a good choice, the Jupiter Roll, served uramaki style (inside-out), is stuffed with tuna, avocado, cream cheese and masago (roe). For those with a hearty appetite, the Nippon Roll, served uramaki style, is a big roll packed with shrimp, octopus, kanikama (imitation crab), cream cheese, cucumber, avocado, mayonnaise and masago. (561-743-0033)
“The inspection for the guest rooms and all of our food and beverage were accepted by the SOC,” he said.
Both the Riverside Hotel and the Okeechobee Steakhouse are members of the Restaurant and Lodging Association. The organization supports about 10,000 restaurants and hotels across Florida, but membership isn’t required to apply for the program.
“It’s not difficult. You can reach out to the FRLA and they’ll get you in touch with a local representative. We work with anybody and we want to encourage every hotel and restaurant to get involved,” said Lewis.
What to do:
Stroll along Ritzy Worth Avenue
Worth Avenue is the place to see and be seen in Palm Beach. One of the most beautiful shopping venues in the country, Worth Avenue is a collection of upscale luxury shops, one of a kind, international dining options, and a multitude of incredible art galleries. Aspire Tip - Check out BiCE Ristorante Palm Beach for great Italian food.
Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach
Atlantic Avenue is the heartbeat of Delray Beach. With plenty of window shopping, beautiful art galleries to visit, and views of the boats. Grab a bench and people watch, do some shopping, or enjoy a picnic!
International Polo Club Palm Beach
The International Polo Club Palm Beach is the premier polo destination in the world, hosting the largest field of high-goal teams and the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States. Polo enthusiasts descend upon Wellington, Florida each winter season to enjoy their love of the sport in the most prominent and well‐equipped polo facility.
Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, art lovers will have over 7,000 works to peruse, with a concentration in European, American, and Chinese art as well as in contemporary art and photography. Click here to learn more.
Manatee Lagoon – An FPL Eco-Discovery Center® is a free Palm Beach County educational attraction with a dedicated area for viewing manatees up close. The 16,000-square-foot center features engaging, hands-on exhibits for visitors to learn all about these threatened and unique creatures as well as the natural wonders of the surrounding Lake Worth Lagoon. On cold winter days, the facility’s observation deck is the ideal spot to view manatee herds basking in the warm-water outflows. Click here to learn more about what you will experience.
*Please note: Some attractions may be closed currently due to COVID. Get in touch with Aspire Travel Advisors to plan the details of your trip.