By Rebecca Cahilly
Candlelight, crisp linen tablecloths, a white-gloved maitre d’. Fine dining was once defined generally by these three elements – along with an equally impressive price tag. As tastes, preferences and interior design styles have evolved, though, so has today’s definition of fine dining. White tablecloths, crystal wine glasses and high prices may no longer automatically guarantee fine cuisine – sending a new generation of culinary aficionados off to find restaurants that set a new standard.
There’s something so chic, so charming, so quintessentially Palm Beach about stepping into the lobby of The Brazilian Court Hotel and making your way down the corridor to the lounge, restaurant and courtyard that comprise the elegant and refined atmosphere of Café Boulud. The namesake of famed Chef Daniel Boulud, Café Boulud operates under his influence, as he frequently visits Palm Beach and works closely with his in-house chefs. Traditional French dishes from steak tartare to moules-frites juxtapose local favorites such as blackened mahi and roasted chicken with squash. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Café Boulud also offers prix fixe menus and private dining for special occasions. Jackets, naturally, are preferred.
Café Boulud at
The Brazilian Court Hotel
301 Australian Ave., Palm Beach
Ask any Fort Lauderdale local who is well versed in quality cuisine where to take a visitor for a fine-dining experience and Casa D’Angelo inevitably pops to mind. The original establishment of now-famous Chef Angelo Elia, Casa D’Angelo remains at the forefront of upscale dining in Broward and Palm Beach counties. With an emphasis on classic Tuscan and southern Italian dishes, the restaurant maintains a consistency of excellence. Since 2000, Casa D’Angelo – now with locations in Boca Raton and Nassau – has been acclaimed for its specialized wine selection, menu caliber and exceptional service. Reservations recommended.
1201 N. Federal Highway,
The French word for “song,” the newly opened Chanson in Deerfield Beach is music to the ears of anyone who lives for fine dining. Situated in the boutique Relais & Chateaux Royal Blues Hotel overlooking the ocean, Chanson boasts an exquisitely curated dinner menu that plays up culinary creativity while emphasizing local, sustainable and always fresh, never frozen, ingredients. Chanson has personality, too – personality established by hands-on owner, filmmaker and producer Edward Walson, best known as a producer of Woody Allen films. The dining room features the owner’s collection of art and a saltwater aquarium with a window into the pool above. Executive Chef Sylvain Noel created an inventive menu, and the wine list features unique varietals and vintages discovered by Walson throughout his travels. For dessert you’ll want to try the s’mores, which arrive with the scent of a campfire.
Chanson at the Royal
45 S. Ocean Way, Deerfield Beach
As anyone who frequents good restaurants in South Florida would say, don’t let the location fool you. Such is the case with NYY Steak, with locations in Manhattan, in Yankee Stadium and in the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. NYY Steak specializes in 21-day-aged USDA Prime steaks, seafood and decadent desserts – handcrafted daily by in-house pastry chef Mark Weideman. Despite its proximity to slot machines and blackjack tables, and despite the touches of sports memorabilia and subtle New York Yankee baseball references, NYY Steak is anything but frivolous when it comes to quality and excellence. The service is everything you’d expect from a five-star restaurant, except that at NYY Steak you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your taste preferences and perfect cut of meat with Walter Apfelbaum, NYY Steak’s third-generation butcher. His cured meats and sausage – sourced from Chicago’s gourmet steak shop Allen Brothers – are clean-up hitters.
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
5550 NW 40th St.,
When it comes to modern Italian-inspired dishes, Chef Giovanni Rocchio exceeds expectations. Driven by the desire to make each dish better than the previous one, he introduces new flavor profiles and pushes the boundaries of the conventional. Since its modest beginnings in a strip mall in Fort Lauderdale, Valentino has been the name on the lips of anyone with a passion for food, service and ambience. Today, from its larger modern location not far from the original site, Valentino welcomes regulars and visitors from far and wide who come to try something new. Rocchio’s same standard of excellence in the kitchen extends to his staff, who guide bold dining adventurists on a culinary journey.
620 S. Federal Highway,