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Best Palm Beach Restaurants

AOL PICK from our Editors
Palm Beach is not a city where restaurants come and go like the South Florida rain. The most successful restaurants here are the most expensive ones; many have established themselves as the places to see and be seen through years of serving faithful customers. Because this isn’t a clubbing town, much of the nightlife is integrated with dining out—particularly in West Palm Beach—so some of the most-popular dining spots are also where people go to drink, dance, socialize and people-watch.

Café Boulud

Neighborhood: Palm Beach
Price: Expensive
New York City French dining maestro Daniel Boulud has graced Palm Beach with this, his southern outpost of gastronomic glory. A Cobb salad is made all the more delicious with the addition of lardons and buttermilk dressing. Wild Burgundy escargots baked with wilted spinach melt in your mouth. Sides such as chickpea fries with piquillo pepper ketchup may sound pretentious, but they’re actually finger-licking good. The warm upside down chocolate soufflé with pistachio ice cream is a cocoa-infused cloud. The dining room is comfortably elegant, but if the weather permits, by all means dine in the cozy courtyard.

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Cafe L'Europe

Neighborhood: Palm Beach
Price: Expensive
You’ll pay plenty to eat with high society but you’ll also dine well at Café L’Europe: How often have you seen crab and lobster tortelloni on a menu for $40? But this restaurant, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary, has been showered with accolades and bestowed with “best of” awards for decades, and with good reason. It’s a place to splurge and savor every moment of the experience, from the first sip of Fleur de Champagne to the last perfect morsel of fresh summer berries served with Marnier white chocolate sabayon sauce. And although the most-familiar names of society, politics, film and industry have dined here, there’s none of that highfalutin’ attitude found in some upscale places. Café L’Europe is elegant—brick arches, wood paneling, white linens—yet comfortable, the food is phenomenal, and it’s an experience that defines the Palm Beach scene.

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Bice Ristorante

Neighborhood: Palm Beach
Price: Expensive
The only complaints you might hear about Bice have to do with the snobbish attitude that sometimes puts patrons off (from the waiters, no less). But the food has made this restaurant located on fashionable Worth Avenue legendary for a good reason. The menu includes dependable, authentic Italian favorites, such as pasta e fagioli, homemade pastas and veal chop Milanese; no outrageous, experimental fare of the Iron Chef America variety. As a bonus, you’ll most certainly enjoy some of the best people-watching you’ve ever experienced. Tip: Bring a sport jacket—that’s Palm Beach casual.

Taste Gastropub

Neighborhood: Downtown Delray Beach Price: Moderate
Culinary king Allen Susser, long renowned for his Chef Allen’s in Aventura, opened this unpretentious, 125-seat bistro in April 2010, and with it, he shows that even after decades of turning out amazing meals, he’s still bursting with creative ideas. The menu is just plain fun, with a section of Snacks (warm potato chips served with caramelized onion, and garlic and chive dip); Charcuterie, Salads, Sides (try grilled asparagus with melted blue cheese); and Candy Bar (piña colada panna cotta or hot lips organic soda float). This is not just about novelty—tuck into a plate of jerk chicken wings and see for yourself.

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Echo Palm Beach

Neighborhood: Palm Beach
Price: Moderate
The restaurant itself is just gorgeous, with contemporary fixtures with saffron and wood accents. Make sure to arrive ahead of your reservation time so you can savor a cocktail in the Dragonfly Lounge; the drinks are miniature works of art you’ll hesitate to violate. (But you will.) The Pan-Asian menu is divided into five stages, starting with Japanese staples such as sushi and sashimi, plus divisions entitled Wind, Earth, Fire and Water. Some of what you’ll find there? Dim sum, Thai curry, Mongolian beef, Chinese favorites like Moo Shu of the Day, Hong Kong-style noodles and Asian-accented seafood. Our favorites include the delicately prepared miso sea bass with white asparagus and bonito flakes.

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Charley's Crab

Neighborhood: Palm Beach
Price: Moderate
This is the only southern location of a well-known Michigan seafood house, and if any restaurant can be referred to as a “beloved institution,” this is it. Crab is only the beginning of the seafood smörgasbord offered here. Start with one of the raw bar offerings or appetizers, like crab-stuffed mushrooms. Variations on traditional fish preparations include macadamia-crusted mahi mahi (with mango coulis and coconut ginger rice, drizzled with peanut sauce flavored with Frangelico, and crab-crusted dynamite grouper. If you’re feeling fickle, order up a seafood mixed grill and let your fork dance between a jumbo lump crab cake, fresh-grilled fish and perfectly-seared shrimp. Should your carnivorous friends balk at the idea of Charley’s, let them eat steak—it’s on the menu, too.

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Dixie Grill & Bar

Neighborhood: West Palm Beach
Price: Moderate
Forget the starched linen and stuffed shirts, this is the perfect place when you’re in the mood to chill out, relax, and enjoy some hearty, satisfying, diet-busting food. Even the salads aren’t especially diet-focused (steak gorgonzola and buffalo chicken). But all those calories come with the benefit of full-on flavor, as evidenced by the sumptuous flat iron steak smothered in Cajun cream sauce, light and flaky Dixie’s fish and chips, and Jack Daniels-sauce shrimp. If you think your appetite is up to it, try on the 20-ounce Porterhouse steaks. Eat slowly, sample the beers and try to figure out what all the stuff hanging from the ceiling is. The place is covered, walls and ceiling, with items from the personal collections of the twin brothers who own Dixie Grill. You’ll see every imaginable expression of Americana, from little red wagons to advertising signs to surfboards.

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Havana Restaurant

Neighborhood: West Palm Beach
Price: Moderate
Maybe Miami automatically comes to mind when you think about Latin food, but for more than 15 years now, this has been Palm Beachers’ go-to eatery for authentic Cuban specialties—arroz con pollo, palomilla steak, Cuban sandwiches and vaca frita (fried steak that’s crisp on the outside and tender on the inside). Run by the Reyes and Perez families (who operated in Miami before Hurricane Andrew), this is as authentic as it gets. The sangria is homemade, as are exotic juices such as guava, passion fruit and watermelon. It would be a sin to leave before capping off your meal with a traditional, melt-in-your-mouth tres leches—cake made with fresh milk, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. The sugar buzz will keep you going all afternoon. 

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Hamburger Heaven

Neighborhood: Palm Beach
Price: Budget
Even the wealthy need a place to go casual and get greasy, and the name of this joint says it all. A favorite with locals for the past 65 years—including high-ranking bankers, politicos and other notables—this diner/coffee shop boasts a loyal following. They come to indulge in the enormous salads, sandwiches such as rosemary-baked chicken salad (get it with sweet potato fries), the humongous grilled Reuben on rye, and, of course, the Heavenly Hamburgers. Build your own for $1 a topping or choose one of the restaurant’s own creations, like a Bronx Burger (green pepper, sautéed onion and melted Swiss) or a Heavenly Garden Burger (no meat in this one). Get yours with a thick milkshake and follow with black-and-white cake for dessert.

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O’Shea’s Irish Pub

Neighborhood: West Palm Beach
Price: Budget
As the name implies, this is the place for bangers ’n mash, corned beef and cabbage and chicken pot pie (here named O’Shea’s Savory Chicken Pie). There’s much more to choose from on the menu, a virtual United Nations of offerings: penne a la vodka, baby back ribs, crab cake sandwich and grilled Atlantic salmon. There are also salads, stews, soups and all-out indulgent desserts like Bailey’s Irish Cream dessert (there are four scoops of ice cream in this, so share) and O’Shea’s bread pudding with Irish whiskey sauce ladled over the top. Throw in a couple of pints of Guinness and you’re practically back on the auld sod.

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