West Palm Beach’s Food and Drinks Scene Is Hot. Here’s Where to Dig InBy Holly Kapherr
South Florida’s culinary scene has evolved in big ways over the last 10 years. Between the emergence of 24-hour cable food TV, the rise of celebrity chefdom and access to ratings websites like Yelp and OpenTable, restaurants and bars have, well, raised the bar.
Now West Palm Beach and other areas are havens for James Beard–nominated chefs to push the palate, brewers to show off their suds and mixologists to top off their tipple in grand style.
Restaurateurs and chefs have flocked to the West Palm Beach area as of late. Competition is lighter than in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, and there’s a bevy of seasoned palates to please — especially the influx of Northerners in the area from other storied food cities.
September’s Flavor Palm Beach restaurant month features more than 50 area eateries offering three-course menus for lunch or dinner. It’s a great time to survey the gastronomic landscape. Plus, the craft beer scene is positively buzzing, with 19 breweries making up the Ale Trail of the Palm Beaches, from Boynton and Delray Beach to Boca Raton and Lake Worth.
Looking for a spot for dinner or drinks on your next visit? Here’s where to find the best eats in West Palm Beach.
One of West Palm Beach’s most revered fine dining restaurants, Buccan is under the direction of chef Clay Conley, a four-time James Beard Award semifinalist. If you can’t get a table at Buccan, he also runs Imoto in Palm Beach and Grato in West Palm.
Buccan’s menu features seafood-forward Latin–Asian fusion dishes, like hamachi tiradito with Peruvian chilies, mojo onion, fried lotus root and yuzu vinaigrette, and Peking duck breast with cherry sauce, sweet and sour cabbage and roasted kuri squash.
Husband-and-wife chef-owners Tim and Jenny Lipman own Coolinary Cafe, a farm-to-fork spot in a strip mall right off I-95. The proteins here are really the star. The Lipmans butcher all the meat in-house and source from the best local ranches and farms around the state.
Locals will tell you that the chicken and waffles with jalapeño cheddar are the must-order item. And you can walk over to their bar, the Parched Pig, for charcuterie boards, small plates, local beer and live music.
West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault
Chief Brewer Joel Kodner runs this craft brewery and tap room in downtown West Palm Beach, which also features a premium wine selection and bar-style food.
The brewery is the only place to taste these beers, and if you want a brew to go, you can purchase 32-ounce “crowler” cans to enjoy later. The taproom features 18 draft selections, from blonde ales and saisons to IPA and Imperial stouts.
At the heart of the historic 1920s hotel, the Brazilian Court Hotel, is Café Boulud, the legendary chef Daniel Boulud’s winter escape from New York’s punishing cold.
The restaurant is elegant, the food melds classic French technique with the freshest local ingredients, and the service is flawless. Slurp down some oysters with mignonette or cider-glazed duck with rutabaga and Granny Smith apple.
Grandview Public Market
West Palm Beach’s food hall , Grandview Public Market, is likely the area’s trendiest spot to grab a bite. Open seven days a week starting at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast, the renovated 13,000-square-foot “epicurial playground” features 12 chef-inspired vendors, so there’s something for every taste.
The Bar at Clare’s features craft cocktails, and you won’t want to miss the handmade dumplings at Ramen Lab Eatery. In the morning, head directly to Pumphouse Coffee Roasters for an icy cold-brew and then to Tropical Crepes for a fruit-filled French-style pancake.
Regional Kitchen & Public House
Finalist on the ninth season of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” chef Lindsay Autry directs the kitchen at this West Palm Beach eatery.
Regional Kitchen’s menu stretches from a leisurely brunch, featuring Southern favorites like pimento cheese with Florida blue crab and tomato pie with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions, to a sophisticated — but not uppity — dinner service.
Pasta lovers shouldn’t miss the Bucatini a la Americana, with country ham, crushed chilies, toasted garlic and Parmesan cheese.