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Where Palm Beach and Boca Raton

Edited from many posts:

Palm Beach Gardens
Off The Vine: PGA Blvd. Palm Beach Gardens. No reservations. Nice gourmet shop, buy your own wine. Reasonable, can then have opened for $15 corkage fee. Wine in shop better than wine list. Great food. Indoor or outdoor dining. The food is excellent and very fairly priced. The wine list is good, but the good news there is, you can browse their wine shop which has very fair prices and select a wine there for an additional $15 corkage fee to have with your meal. I found 1997 Hartford Court Zinfandel in the store and we had it with our meal.

Chardonnay: PGA Blvd. Reservations required. DO NOT sit upstairs. Hot. Cafe Chardonnay will right in front of you. It's our favorite place in Florida. Excellent food and wine list to match, though a little on the expensive side. Call in advance and reserve a downstairs table. Wear a jacket. Cafe Chardonnay is not really a cafe, but a gourmet restaurant. I've never been that thrilled by the place, I won't deny that it is one of the better places in Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach

Dress is Palm Beach casual: gray or khaki slacks, jacket, and no tie. And don’t wear socks, or you’ll be marked as a tourist!

Four Seasons: South Palm Beach. One of top rated restaurants in the area. Great wine list. Dress nice. Especially in the Restaurant [that’s what the main dining room is called, natch.] The GRILL There is a great Grill in there with HUGE steaks and chops.
Chez Jean Pierre: An amazing French bistro with a superb wine list as well. It just got the highest rating in Zagats, so call early for reservations. Chez Jean Pierre is on North County Road, just north of Royal Poinciana Way. It is a yellow non-descript building on the west side of the road. You have to get behind it to go into it, or you can try to find parking on North County and walk in from there. Definitely give it a try. The duck is excellent, and they have a frozen hazelnut soufflé that is a must as well (I guess I like soufflés, what can I say?)
Ritz-Carlton: in W. Palm (actually, I think it's in a place called Manaplan (sp?) Anyway, they have this outdoor patio where you can sit and view the ocean while you dine. When I was there, I had something called a Crab & Mango salad, perfect combination of citrus and spice and the crab meet was very sweet. One of the most memorable dishes I've had. Washed it down with a glass Riesling (it was lunchtime, so I passed on a bottle).
Testas: Must see and be seen. Great food, outdoor seating Palm Beach Classic. Try the steak for two.

Chuck And Harold’s: Another must see and be seen. All the rich and famous here. Owned by Muir chain. Good food. Great bar. Wine list so-so.

Bici: Expensive. Noisy, but great food.

Renatos: Palm Beach. Via Mizner. Great restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining. Piano bar. Outside eat under the stars by nice fountains, and plants. Great Lamb. Nice list. On Worth Avenue and great EXPENSIVE shopping.

Boca Raton

La Vielle Maison: It is a wonderful old Mizner house, and serves excellent French food. A very extensive wine list. Ask for the private room overlooking the fish pond (you probably won't be able to get it, but it doesn't hurt to ask when you make a reservation). If you go there, make sure you walk around the restaurant and check out the special "wine room" they have for dinner parties. I recommend the big prix fix menu (7 courses, I think). They bring out a huge selection of cheeses for the cheese course (ah, memories!). And the lemon crepe soufflé is a must have dessert.


Marthas: For a great place with a moderate wine list, go to Marthas there in Hollywood. It’s the last place north on A1A, before you go across the bridge to Dania. Downstairs has better atmosphere, and jackets suggested many evenings. Upstairs a lot more casual

Off The Vine: Palm beach Gardens. Small Gourmet shop. Nice selection, good with dinner at the place.

Any more left in that bottle??

Posts: 297 | From: Palm Beach | Registered: Nov 2001 | IP: Logged

Member # 69

Member Rated:
posted 03-06-2002 10:20 AM
My thoughts exactly on the first two.
Posts: 1323 | From: Long Island, NY | Registered: Oct 2001 | IP: Logged

Member # 1263

Member Rated:
posted 03-06-2002 12:50 PM
Ditto on La Vielle Maison. Amazingly, tucked away in Boca it is one of the best French dining/wine experiences I have had. It easily rivals Maxim's on 5th and Lucerc in NYC.

If you love Italian here is another in Boca. Very Highly Recommended.

La Finestra- I would recomend reservations on a Fri-Sat night. The wine list is extensive and very Italy specific (brunellos for me all day-all the time;-) with a california cabs and chards for the bargain hunters. Very expensive like La Vielle but so worth it. The seafood risotto is out of this world.


Board-O Member Member # 69

posted 03-06-2002 12:58 PM
I guess we need to give La Vielle Maison another try since mc and flwino both like it so much. We were there once and found it sort of ordinary. Maybe the chef was ill.

Doc Member Member # 1526

We were in Palm last November for a wedding...

I agree with your comments about the Season and the Ritz...

What about Cafe Europe. It was loud, but it was a lot of fun.

Of course, you have to go to the institution...Charlie's...
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I'm so very impressed with all your hard work in concerns to all your WHERE posts !

Great job, and BTW, great idea on the WHERE'S.

With all the people traveling on vacations, this is a great information outlet for our members.
Me likey [Wink]
Nice to see everyone getting into it [Big Grin]

Now, before I die, I want to visit each and everyone of these cities ! I love to travel.
The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach has a very elegant restaurant, L’Escalier that has a prix-fix menu with an optional wine pairing. Went there the other night, and here’s what I had:

Salad of Maine Lobster with tomato and apple gelee - paired with a 2000 Giesen Riesling, Canterbury, from NZ

Rabbit Terrine and Foie gras parfait - paired with a 2000 Mendoza Terrazaz ‘de los Andes’ Malbec from Argentina

Breast of Duck, with orange jus, served with plantains, mustard green and sweet potato – paired with a 1997 Stellenbosch Meerlust Pinot Noir Reserve, from South Africa

Almond Flan with peach sorbet and tarragon anglaise – paired with a 1997 Domaine de Coyeaux Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.

Price= $75, plus $45 for the wine pairings.

The restaurant is like dining in a Venetian palace. Tables are spread out, so no cramped sitting. Service staff is impeccable. Jackets required. Recommended for a special night out.
Café L’Europe, in Palm Beach.

During season this is THE place to see and be seen in the Palm Beach social scene, for dinner.

The restaurant has two sections: a formal dining room on the right side of the building, and the bistro and bar area on the left side. Obviously, the bistro/bar area gets pretty loud and wild. There’s much more action (ie: “Father/daughter” dinners) in that area than the formal room. If it gets crazy enough, a few women will get up on the piano and dance. Lots of money, old and nouveau, in the room. Men should definitely wear a jacket. Tie is optional.

The food is excellent, but very pricey. First course/appetizers are about $20 each. There is a caviar menu that starts at about $25 and shoots up from there. The main course will run you from $30 to $40. Desserts are about $12. Menu is continental, with an emphasis on fresh seafood.

The wine list is an encyclopedia. Probably 50 pages, separated by type (champagne, white, red), country, and then varietal. Plan on 10 minutes to wind your way through it. Bottles of various vintage Screaming Eagles, Bryants, Harlans, Lafite, Petrus and Margaux, interspersed among more common selections. The California cab list is over 4 pages long. Prices are about 200% of retail, but that’s to be expected. Nothing is a bargain, but you wouldn’t expect to find one here.

Wines are served in Reidel style glass. The ceiling is decorated with a design consisting of wine bottles. The towels in the men’s room are kept in empty Screaming Eagle cases. It received a WS listing as one of its restaurant selections. This place emphasizes wine.

Recommended if you have the cash for an expensive night on the town.

1/25/03: Went to La Vielle Maison again. The food was excellent; classic French cooking. I love the fact that you eat in small rooms in the house that hold no more than 6 or so tables per room. The service was quite good. The wine list was a bit on the pricey side, but not too bad. I ordered a burgundy by the glass ($8.50); it was brought out in Riedel glassware and was generously filled.

Their Grand prix fix menu (appetizer, main course, salad, cheese course, fruit platter, and dessert) runs $68. They have an ala carte menu as well. But the best deal is their Temptation menu (appetizer, main and dessert) for $38! Great QPR for this area.

I recommend.
The Falcon House. Delray Beach, US 1, one block north of Atlantic Ave.

Went to this "American Tapas" restaurant last night. Very eclectic interior: dark red walls, black ceiling, small rooms with six or so tables in each, all facing a long bar which appears to be quite the singles scene.

The food is very good: all sorts of smaller dishes that are perfect for sharing. The guacamole was delicious, the quesadilla was superb. There are a few entree-type dishes as well, such as duck risotto, chicken penne, and steak diane. No dish costs more than $16.

The wine list isn't extensive, but has some interesing selections. Veuve Cliquot (my standard for estimating winelist values) was $75, which is right on target for South Florida restaurants. They allow BYOB and if you purchase a bottle of their own, it appears that they waive the corkage fee.

The wine service leaves something to be desired. The glassware was standard restaurant stemware (no Riedel or Speigelau here) and the waitress, while enthusiastic, did not appear to have any wine-service training (little mistakes, like filling the host's glass after he tasted it before filling the guests; or never checking up if the wine glasses were getting empty).

Still, all in all, this is a worthwhile stop if you want to do the Atlantic Ave. scene. I recommend it.
Wife, in-laws and I went to La Vieille Maison for Mother's Day dinner. Always a favorite of ours. Had fricasse of cepe and morels for starter, dover sole meuniere for entree and we shared cheese course for dessert. Fantastic as always. We had a 94, Delas Freres Marquis de la Tourette Hermitage priced at 66 which is one of the better options for price on the list.
While I am also a big fan La Vielle Maison, I must report that my parents went there a week or so ago and informed me that they had a very disappointing dinner. They stated that the service was quite bad, and that the food was not as great as in the past. They contacted the manager the next day, who sent them some certificates and requested that they come back to try again. My parents are planning to return again at a later date.

I still think it is a superb restaurant, but thought I should post the negative feedback as well.
Cafe L'Europe in Palm Beach is advertising free corkage on Wednesdays (lunch and dinner) from now until November. The only catch: red wine must be pre-1997. I forgot to look at what the requirement was for whites.

The chef will prepare special matching menus if you call ahead.

This is quite a nice deal when you consider that Cafe L'Europe's wine list is rather expensive.
Michael McCarty's in Palm Beach (Poinciana Plaza) is offering the "Summer of the Grape"

For $29.50 per person, you get three courses. You can select from about 8 appetizers, 10 entrees, and 2 desserts. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! You get unlimited wine with the dinner. You can select from:

Wolf Blass Cab. Sav.
Beringer Founders Estate Merlot
Campanile Pinot Grigio
Ch. St. Jean Chardonnay

Although these are not top shelf wines by any means, I think that this is a pretty good special, offering fine QPR.

I had this last special week. I started with an awesome caesar salad, and then a very nice entree of sliced duck with berry sauce, followed with key lime pie for dessert. I had a glass of the Wolf Blass cabernet, which was acceptable. My wife had a appetizer of artichoke with dipping sauce (which was also superb), and then salmon with rice and veggies, and key lime as well for dessert. She didn't have any wine, however.

The restaurant itself is done in a casual island theme (think Tommy Bahamas), and is located where the old Dempsey's used to be (for any oldtimers).

I recommend.
Two more recommendations...

32 East on Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach. Good food, extensive wine list, $15 corkage fee. Entree prices are about $25-33; first courses are about $10-12.

Cafe Boulud, in the Brazilian Court Hotel, Palm Beach. This is the newest, hottest place to eat in Palm Beach. Those of you from New York are familiar with Daniel Boulud; he opened this restaurant in Palm Beach in the summer of 2003. Expensive and creative food; diverse and expensive wine list. Don't know about the corkage, but I doubt that they would allow you to bring your own (BYO is not very popular in Palm Beach). The decor is very chic; you wouldn't know that you were in Palm Beach at all.
Yes, I've been to the Kee Grille in Juno Beach twice in the last month or so. Both times I have enjoyed it.

The wine list is not very diverse and is moderately priced. Top wines will run about $60 a bottle on the list. I've had Ferrari-Carano Siena and Robert Mondavi cabernet when I've eaten there.

The food is good and relatively inexpensive. Main courses are mostly seafood and meats, and run around $24. That includes two side dishes, one of which should be their Spinach Maria (its delicious). They have a grouper covered with a remoulade of crab meat that is excellent. The steak and lamb chops are good, but not great. The decor reminds me of Hawaii for some reason (must be the lit torches outside the restaurant).

The Juno Beach location can get very crowded, and they don't take reservations. However, you can call them from your house and put your name on the waiting list, and then drive over after the appropriate waiting time. The first time we went the waiting time was 1 and 1/2 hours, so we happily stayed at home sipping wine for about an hour and fifteen minutes, and then drove over and got our table in less than ten minutes. The second time there was no wait at all.

I don't know if there are Kee Grilles in Delray or Boca.
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Rothko's description is accurate in my opinion, vis-a-vis both food and wine. The wine list is not particularly exciting or interesting, but the food is good and the prices fair. The spinach maria is an excellent side dish, but don't go see the doctor any time soon after or your readings will be off the chart.

There is one in Boca on Military Trail I believe.
The top places speak for themselves:

1. La Vielle Maison in Boca
2. Mark's in Mizner Park in Boca
3. Romeo's Cafe in the Gables

Some more casual suggestion:

1. Fish Joynt in North Miami Beach/Aventura exellent fish.
2. Cafe Ragazzi in Surfside, excellent casual Italian.
3. Crepe Chistina in Fort Lauderdale, obviously crepes.
4. Himarshee Bar & Grill in Lauderdale is also good.
5. Cafe Seville - Lauderdale - Spanish, fantastic and excellent wine list for spaniards
6. Greek Islands Taverna - Lauderdale.

In Hollywood -

1. Pizza on the beach at Sahara
2. Le Tub on the intercoastal side of A1A for burgers, fish sandwiches and awesome fried. The kids will love it.

If you need any more suggestions, I can come up with more.
Cafe Chardonnay update... Went to CC on Friday night and was impressed. This restaurant had gone down quite a bit in the last few years, but the quality was back up. The wine list continues to be expensive, and expansive (their liquor license is limited to wines, I think, so don't bother trying to get a cocktail). I had a dijon encrusted rack of lamb which was excellent. So, this place goes back on my list (at least for the time being).

Le Mistral - gets a big recommendation. This is a tiny little French restaurant in a strip-mall in North Palm Beach. Traditional French cooking, very affordable and delicious. They have an ala carte menu, a 3 course menu, and a 4 course menu. The 3 course menu runs about $30 per person (which is what the main course would cost at Cafe Chardonnay). Classic dishes like coq au vin, roasted duck, lamb tenderloin, and veal filet mignon. The wine list is limited, but very affordable. They also allow BYO for $20 corkage. You'd never find this place unless someone recommended it to you - consider it recommended.
I'm glad you had a good experience at Cafe Chardonnay. My complaint with the place had to do with the owner. We had a reservation when we were there in the Spring, and she took us to an upstairs table near the kitchen. The heat was intense up there (All men had removed their jackets and many had opened their shirts and rolled their sleeves up.) and I refused the table. She told us in a nasty tone of voice it would be an hour for another table. We left and have never returned.

Le Mistral sounds nice. Wanna go there in April? Big Grin Can we persuade Emilio to make the trip?

Just one more sip.

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