The Best New Restaurants

We confess – we go out to eat a lot. So as we put together a list of the best new culinary arrivals, we had many to choose from. We debated, we researched, we debated some more. And, of course, we indulged. We finally narrowed it down to 29 openings that remind us of why we love the culinary scene in South Florida.

by Jennifer Tormo by Sara Ventiera Apr 2014 Also on Digital Edition

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Hot & Soul

While attending culinary school together in New Orleans, husband-and-wife team Mike Hampton and Christy Samoy fantasized about opening a restaurant. After a meal here, you’ll be glad their dream came true. The internationally inspired comfort food speaks to the soul.

Craft beers and boutique wines match the multicultural, home-cooked fare.

With indie music and local art on the walls, the vibe is cool and laid-back.

Try: Chicken Adobo, Filipino-style chicken thighs in a sweet and spicy soy-based sauce; Aunt Dewey’s Gumbo with duck, andouille sausage and long-grain rice; In-fin-ity, local fish with vegetables in orange soy butter

3045 N. Federal Highway, 60B, Fort Lauderdale | 754.206.2155 |

Call: 754.206.2155Visit: http://hotandsoul.com
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DORSIA

Inspired by the fictitious, pretentious restaurant from “American Psycho,” this restaurant is glamorous – yet wholly approachable. The stunning atmosphere sets the scene for the exquisite, modern continental fare.

The menu offers a wide selection of vegetable-centric dishes, meats, and artisan and house-made pastas.

A wide selection of wine is available by the bottle and glass.

5837 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton 561.961.4156 |

Call: 561.961.4156Visit: http://dorsiarestaurant.com
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Piccolo Ristorante

The Italian word piccolo may mean “tiny,” but this small restaurant packs explosive flavor. With so many good Italian restaurants in the area, it’s hard to stand out, but Chef and Owner Andres Avayú’s homemade pasta and bread truly distinguish the restaurant.

Chef Avayú formerly worked at Chef Allen’s in Aventura.

Half off appetizers from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays; 25 percent off bottles of red wine on Tuesdays; half off all glasses of wine from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays

Try: Chianti-braised short ribs; truffle risotto; homemade ricotta cheesecake

2826 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale 954.776.8066 |

Call: 954.776.8066Visit: http://piccolofl.com
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S3

S3 stands for sun, surf and sand, but many other “S”s would also fit – sushi and seafood, “see and be seen,” and just plain sexy. Conceptualized by the same team behind YOLO, the trendy spot features shareable plates, a fire pit and plush seating in its outdoor lounge, and stunning views of the ocean.

Executive Chef Chris Miracolo, formerly of Max’s Harvest and Himmarshee Bar & Grille, helms the kitchen.

Brunch on Sundays

Try: grilled octopus; edamame; mac and cheese; The Drink Sampler ($14 to sample three speciality cocktails)

505 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale | 954.523.7873 |

Call: 954.523.7873Visit: http://s3restaurant.com
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Fresh First

If you’re looking to dine out without the nasty inflammatory gluten, a safe haven has arrived. This is the first spot to earn the title “Great Kitchen” by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Little did the NFCA know, the title was appropriate in more than one way.

Friendly service matches the casual, comfortable environment.

No gluten, corn, peanut oil or GMOs used.

Try: raw zucchini puttanesca; quinoa cupcakes; grilled cheese

1637 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale 954.763.3344 |

Call: 954.763.3344Visit: http://freshfirst.com
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Red Cow

We cannot get enough of the food at The Foxy Brown. So when we heard that the Be Nice restaurant group (that also owns Coconuts and G&B Oyster Bar) was opening a barbecue spot, we couldn’t take a lunch break fast enough. While the menu does offer salads and no-meat options, this is the place to go when you want to indulge your more carnivorous side. Wash it down with a nice craft beer.

Brunch, served on Sundays, puts a twist on the daily menu, turning the restaurant’s popular cornbread into French toast sticks and offering some of its barbecue staples alongside potatoes and eggs. Get your fill of fruit with items like grapefruit brulee, apple pie pancake and watermelon mimosas.

Guests are served a complimentary, warm cookie for dessert.

Try: Iron Skillet Corn Bread; fried brussels sprouts; “Eat More Meat” combo, with a choice of three meats and two sides

1025 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale 954.652.1524 |

Call: 954.652.1524Visit: http://redcowftl.com
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Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille

On a strip known more for catering to tourists than locals, this seafood spot follows the road less traveled. Classic techniques are used to render perfect meals from the highest quality fish and produce.

Whole fish are delivered and filleted daily.

An extensive wine list and creative craft cocktails pair perfectly.

Try: the rotating raw bar selections

620 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale 954.467.2555

Call: 954.467.2555Visit: http://wildsealasolas.com

Butcher Block Grill

It’s not easy to find a steakhouse with ethical and sustainable products – unless, of course, you dine here. Simple albeit original dishes feature local and all-natural ingredients devoid of those nasty hormones and antibiotics. A clear conscience never tasted so good.

The indoor/outdoor restaurant has a warm and stylish vibe.

Executive Chef Josh Hedquist formerly worked for the Max Group and da Campo Osteria.

Saddle up to the open kitchen bar area to watch the chefs work.

7000 W. Camino Real, Boca Raton 561.409.3035 |

Call: 561.409.3035Visit: http://butcherblockgrill.com

El Camino

With so much good cuisine on Atlantic Avenue, El Camino (brought to you by the owners of Cut432), brings something truly unique to the mix. The restaurant and tequila bar serves more than 200 different kinds of tequila, but that’s not the only reason to stop by – its Mexican soul food is just darn good.

The restaurant is authentic, from its Mexican chef to its ambience.

A large mural of Mexican graffiti art by local artist Ruben Ubiera decorates the exterior.

Take advantage of the fact that El Camino accepts reservations – you’ll need ’em.

Try: Chile-guava margarita; squash blossom quesadillas; cripsy fish tacos; smoked brisket nachos; house salad (with pepitas, roasted pumpkin, queso, radish and maple dressing over greens – it’s a winner)

15 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach 561.865.5350 |

Call: 561.865.5350Visit: http://elcaminodelray.com

Blue Willy's Barbecue

After catering to busy business types for years at his downtown Fort Lauderdale food truck, owner Will Banks packed up shop for a permanent brick-and-mortar home up the road. Aside from the air-conditioned space, not much has changed – he’s still serving some of the best slow-cooked meat around.

Counter service mimics old-school barbecue shops in Texas.

Corrugated steel, exposed brick walls and communal tables create a down-home atmosphere.

Try: Texas-style beef brisket, inspired by Banks’ grandfather, who owned a butcher and barbecue shop outside of Dallas, Texas.

1386 S. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach | 954.224.6120

Call: 954.224.6120Visit: http://facebook.com/BlueWillys

Jazziz

Part jazz-club, part high-end restaurant, this stunning, 11,700-square-foot venue tucked away at the southwest corner of Mizner Park is unlike anything else in Boca. The food created by Chef Justin Flit (who has worked with culinary legend Daniel Boulud) is just as good as the entertainment – a mix of non-ticketed nightly live music and bigger-name acts like Molly Ringwald and Jon Secada.

Features a cigar bar, piano room, Champagne and caviar bar, and sound-proof, private space for parties

Try: seared diver scallops; the 10-ounce burger (with five prime meats ground daily); and chocolate chip bread pudding

201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton | 561.300.0730

Call: 561.300.0730Visit: http://jazziz.com

Hardy Park Bistro

Former yacht chef and Australian native Philip Darmon has landed on solid ground with this comfortable neighborhood restaurant. His fare highlights his South Pacific roots and travels, with a wide Mediterranean and South Asian influence in his constantly evolving menu.

The menu changes weekly.

The intimate space offers both indoor and outdoor seating.

Wines have been curated by celebrated Chef Angelo Elia of Casa D’Angelo.

21 SW Seventh St., Fort Lauderdale 954.652.1475 |

Call: 954.652.1475Visit: http://hardyparkbistro.com

The Farmer's Table

Eating well while dining out is not easy. Most dishes are full of fat, salt and all the other delicious yet nefarious ingredients. Not here. The flavorful fare is fully composed of fresh, whole foods, that will make you feel good, on the inside and out.

Ingredients are both local and organic, whenever possible.

It’s safe for all dietary restrictions: dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian and vegan.

Cocktails include artisanal products, including cold-pressed mixtures by Boca Raton-based Swami Juice.

1901 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton 561.417.5836 |

Call: 561.417.5836Visit: http://farmerstableboca.com

Sky Thai Sushi

This spot in the bustling business section of Las Olas serves excellent sushi and is also great for after-work drinks, lunch business meetings or dinner dates. The sky-inspired atmosphere is uber-cool, and the whole restaurant is cast in a celestial blue-purple light.

If you’re looking to have an intimate gathering with a small group of friends, a private dining room is available for parties of five to 10.

Offers delivery to downtown Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas.

Try: the Las Olas Roll; Candy Cane Roll; banana fritters; pad thai; fries – coconut-battered, white sweet potato with sweet vinegar sauce and crushed peanuts

350 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale 954.993.9889 |

Call: 954.993.9889Visit: http://skythaisushi.com

RACKS Fish House + Oyster Bar

This spot has prime real estate in downtown Delray, but that’s not the only reason Gary Rack’s latest endeavor is always buzzing. The New England-style restaurant has become known for some of the freshest seafood in town.

RACKS is housed in a historic VFW building, but the decor is modern and trendy. The ceiling is designed to look like a fishing net.

Serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays

Try: New Englander burger topped with fried oysters; fish tacos; oysters; steamed clams

5 SE Second Ave., Delray Beach 561.450.6718 |

Call: 561.450.6718Visit: http://racksdelray.com

13 American Table

Delray Beach food-scene whiz kids Oliver Tito and Anthony Fiorini, from highly acclaimed 32 East, run the front and back of house, respectively. With them comes the first-rate cuisine and service from the food capital of Palm Beach. Inspired by the melting pot of the United States, 13 American Table serves straightforward fare made with the finest ingredients.

Comfortable urban design creates a fashionable yet homey vibe

New American cuisine with a strong Mediterranean influence

Try: eggplant with burrata; josper grilled octopus; Florida ceviche

451 E. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton 561.409.2061

Call: 561.409.2061Visit: http://facebook.com/13AmericanTable

Green Bar & Kitchen

Health-conscious eaters: your mothership has landed. GBK offers a vegan, gluten-free menu that could make even the most die-hard carnivore change his or her ways. The cheery space fills up with a diverse lunch crowd of yoga instructors, hospital staff and said meat addicts in suits. Good food speaks to all.

Owners Elena Pezzo and Charles Grippo previously owned Zenergy food truck.

Fresh smoothies and juices are available.

Try: avocado toast; organic GBK salad; thai coconut soup

1075 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale 954.533.7507 |

Call: 954.533.7507Visit: http://greenbarkitchen.com

3rd & 3rd

With gourmet food served in a laid-back environment, this neighborhood spot is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy life. Gone is the pomp and pretension of haute cuisine, and here to stay is world-class fare for those who just want to dine in a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

Sample fulland half-sized portions

Creative, classic and original cocktails

Plush couches and a back patio with a cornhole toss create an artistic, frat-house vibe.

301 NE Third Ave., Delray Beach 561.303.1939 |

Call: 561.303.1939Visit: http://3rdand3rd.com

Lobster Bar Sea Grille

Set in the iconic space that once housed Jackson’s Steakhouse, this modern seafood restaurant has brought the famous Las Olas address into the 21st century. Crisp, vintage-inspired subway tiles and elegant marble create a chic and polished atmosphere, filled with professionals enjoying after-work delights.

Fish is on the plate within 48 hours of leaving the sea.

Greek wines are available by the glass or bottle

Try: whole fish in any preparation

450 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale 954.772.2675

Burt & Max's

Of all the restaurants that have been unveiled at Delray Marketplace, this one stands out. The work of notable South Florida restaurateurs Burt Rapoport and Dennis Max, this rustic and whimsically decorated restaurant is the place to check out if you venture into West Delray.

The restaurant features reclaimed barn woods, and the floor is made of pennies.

Make reservations as this spot fills up quickly, especially on weekends.

Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays features a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.

Try: Max’s Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf; Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles; carrot cupcake

9089 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach 561.638.6380 |

Call: 561.638.6380Visit: http://burtandmaxs.com

Burger & Beer Joint

The Broward location for the famed SoBe spot is worth making the drive to Pembroke Pines – this place serves some of the best burgers in the region. The meat is great on its own, but these babies are gourmet, with toppings like Brie, red onion marmalade and even foie gras. Consider it heaven between two buns.

A variety of patties are served, like ahi tuna, turkey and marinated portabellas.

Wash it down with one of many craft beers.

Try: Mustang Sally, made with wagyu beef, red onion marmalade, Brie cheese and sliced prosciutto; Turning Japanese, made with ahi tuna, avocado, watercress, jalapeno relish and spicy garlic mayo; Freebird, a turkey burger made with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and sautéed portobello mushrooms

11025 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines 954.367.8980 |

Call: 954.367.8980Visit: http://bnbjoint.com

Fork & Knife

The owners of this spot, originally from Michigan, aimed to create an all-American eatery inspired by New York City diners, coffee shops and grilles. Serving up comfort food like meatloaf, fried apple pie wontons and Coney dogs, we’d say they succeeded.

Brunch (weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) features bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys

Try: the signature fries (choose from sweet potato, bacon gravy, salt and vinegar, Parmesan and truffle oil, Gorgonzola and balsamic, and original); Detroit Coney dogs; turkey meatloaf cupcake; Sanders hot fudge cream puff

99 SE Mizner Blvd., No. 110, Boca Raton 561.405.6542 |

Call: 561.405.6542Visit: http://forkandkniferestaurant.com

Mancini Modern Italian

Tucked away toward the west end of Las Olas, this restaurant has remained somewhat of a hidden gem. Owned by restaurateur Jack Mancini, we feel this spot is one of his best works yet. With an open kitchen, wood-burning Neapolitan oven and marble-topped bar, the restaurant is gorgeous, and the food – high-end Italian – is just as good.

The restaurant can be pricey but becomes more affordable during lunch, happy hour or High Heel Thursdays, when ladies get a complimentary glass of Prosecco, $4 select cocktails and apps, and two-for-one select drinks

Try: Wood Oven Roasted Branzino; barbecue pizza; any of the house-made pastas; the bomboloni Italian beignets

401 E. Las Olas Blvd., No. 150, Fort Lauderdale| 754.200.8602 |

Call: 754.200.8602Visit: http://mancinilasolas.com

Darbster

Vegans like eating out, too. At this Boca Raton outpost of the original West Palm Beach favorite, plant-based eaters – and omnivores – have plenty of delicious, meat-free options.

Delectable vegan takes of animal proteins, like wings and sliders

Indoor and outdoor seating in an inviting atmosphere

Try: Hearts of palm cake; buffalo wings

6299 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton 561.586.2622 |

Call: 561.586.2622Visit: http://darbster.com

Buddha Garden

While Buddha Sky Bar has been a staple on Atlantic Avenue for several years now (offering arguably the best view on the Ave), its counterpart Buddha Garden opened on the ground floor of the restaurant last year. The centerpiece of the room is a giant cherry blossom tree, and the zen decor also includes a fountain surrounded by green plants.

This is a great spot for sushi and drinks: Sushi ranges from eel to lobster to veggie and more, and specialty cocktails range from sangria to saketinis to daiquiris and more.

Try: peanut butter and jelly wontons; pineapple fried rice; truffle wasabi filet mignon

217 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach 561.450.7557

Call: 561.450.7557Visit: http://buddhagardendelraybeach.com

Atlantic Surf Club

The old spot that used to be a SONIC got quite an upgrade last year. This upscale-casual restaurant on Fort Lauderdale beach offers an inventive menu – everything from king crab guac to lamb sausage burgers to premium hot dogs – and an attentive waitstaff.

Girls, don’t miss ladies night on Thursday for free drinks. Parties of six females get a complimentary bottle of Veuve Clicquot when they RSVP in advance.

Try: Sugar Cane Shrimp; Duck Fat Fries; lobster mac and cheese; the make-your-own milkshake bar (you can even spike shakes with Baileys)

17 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale | 954.256.7873

Call: 954.256.7873Visit: http://atlanticsurfclub.com

The Blue

The old Cielo space in the penthouse of the Tower at the Boca Raton Resort & Club has been revamped. It is still host to one of the most stunning panoramic views in all of Boca, but the menu – serving seafood and American cuisine – and the decor – Atlantic Ocean-themed – have been upgraded.

The centerpiece of the restaurant is its claw bar, featuring Maine lobster, oysters, shrimp, king crab legs, stone crab claws and more.

The menu is the work of Chef Christine Tenaud, who has worked with James Beard Award winner Melissa Kelly. Tenaud says it only took one visit to the resort for her to decide to move to Boca and work with the restaurant.

The Blue is open to guests of the resort and Club members.

501 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton 561.447.3222

Call: 561.447.3222Visit: http://bocaresort.com/Dining/The-Blue

Himmarshee Public House

In an area known for partying, not decadent eats, this sporty lounge challenges the status quo. The global comfort fare and innovative cocktails bring a welcomed new breed of creative cuisine to “the block.”

Trendy industrial digs and numerous TVs create a sports-bar-meets-urban-pub atmosphere.

Food is inspired by street food from across the world.

Individual cocktails and punch bowls for the table are made of artisanal ingredients.

201 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale 954.616.5275 |

Call: 954.616.5275Visit: http://publichouseftl.com

Shake Shack

We usually steer clear of chains – especially fast food ones – but Shake Shack is special. There’s a reason visitors to the original Madison Square Garden location are willing to stand for more than an hour in line for a turn to order. The burgers and Shack Sauce (a sweet, sour, hot, mayo-based sauce) are so good you’ll practically inhale them. You won’t have to wait quite as long in line at the Boca location, but even if you do, it’ll be worth it.

The Boca menu has a South Florida twist, featuring Glades Donut and Mizner’s Muse frozen-custard concretes.

The restaurant offers doggie treats on the menu and outdoor dining for those who want to bring their four-legged friends.

Try: the vegetarian ’Shroom Burger; Shack Stack, which combines the ’Shroom Burger with a cheeseburger; thick, custard-based shakes

University Commons, 1400 Glades Road, Boca Raton | 561.923.0847 |

Call: 561.923.0847Visit: http://shakeshack.com