Restaurant Recommendations at/near Ritz Carlton, Palm Beach
My girlfriends and I are going to the Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach for a weekend getaway of pampering - no kids, laundry, cooking or cleaning...just a fun filled long weekend of much needed R & R. I have not been to the restaurants at the Palm Beach Ritz in about 10 years and I didn't see anything listed on the boards about Angle or Temple Orange. I am not sure when the Ritz actually switched from the Grill to these restaurants - would love to know that if anyone knows? We are looking for easy to get to - and close to the Ritz - restaurants for dinner, lunch on Worth Ave. while we are shopping, maybe a nice martini or champagne-type bar, and some input on the restaurants at the Ritz..
I've read about Cafe Boulud and Forte di Aspirnio on the boards. This is along the lines of what we're looking for for meals, but a nice casual cafe with great food and excellent service if fine too. It's real important that the service is great because WE want to be pampered on this trip. Unfortunately Forte is a bit further than we care to go - but if it's really, really worth it, we could make it happen.
Trip is early November - thanks in advance for the input.
In my OPINION, the restaurants in the WPB area leave a lot to be desired...
Cafe Boulud, for me, was okay food (classical french), but the atmosphere was very WPB "old money" stuffy. I was the youngest person (I am in my 30's) in the restaurant BY FAR and I felt like a teenager who was being taken to "the fancy restaurant" for prom... I wasn't comfortable and that made my experience less than desirable. I think the entire place kinda reeked of old-person-smell, covered in expensive perfume... Just my two cents...
On the other hand, I had a phenomenal experience at Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton (30 mins south). But, I have since learned that service and food there is hit-or-miss... some people did not have the decadent experience that I had.
I am a big advocate for Saporissimo (also in Boca Raton)... true Tuscany Italian in an intimate setting... It is family-run (the husband is the host/head waiter guy and the wife cooks) and I have never heard of anyone having a bad experience. It is upscale casual and can be very romantic... Next to the Forge, I have never had such personal attention.
City Cellar Wine Bar and Grill (at City Place in WPB) has also been a nice experience... It is in a quaint outdoor shopping mecca (sounds like an oxymoron, eh?), which promotes a bit of strolling after the meal. The steaks, for me, have been phenomenal and the service has been acceptable- nothing earth-shattering, but attentive.
32 East in Delray (15 mins south) has also been a good experience... The chef uses local, seasonal ingredients and regularly changes his menu. The downtown Delray area is also nice for an after dinner stroll. On the other hand, the service has (almost always for me) been inattentive or poor... I think 32 East is great for good food, but not so good for attentive service.
I am also a big fan of Cafe Maxx in Pompano (45 mins south). The food is incredible and the wine is phenomenal... The service was impeccable.
I have also heard a lot of good things about Grille 66 in Ft. Lauderdale (an hour south)... On a marina and, reportedly, some of the best steak and seafood around. Service was also reportedly brilliant.
One place you should really consider is The Sundy House (in Delray Beach) for brunch. The location itself is very, very romantic... with gardens and ponds and trickling streams. The staff is very attentive. Dinner can be a bit bland and, in my opinion, not really worth the cost. However, their brunch is exceptional... with fresh berries, fresh pastries, incredible salad and a litany of other delights... I think that brunch there is truly a special treat. And the service is usually really good.
Again, WPB (by itself) has been a disappointment for me... It's really sad- we had a friend in your same predicament (staying at the Ritz and wanting a good local meal) and I think she may have left the area feeling disappointed. I have often found that the older crowd who lives in WPB has blander tastes and values the predictable, with respect to food and flavors... The restaurants, in turn, cater to that crowd because of the wealth the patrons have to spend.
We enjoy nice meals and are sometimes willing to spend some money for decadence... Still, I most often find myself driving south, at least to Ft. Lauderdale, to get the kind of food and service that is truly a treat. I don't know if you are planning to have a car, but I would definitely get one for this express purpose- to get out of WPB for some good eats. The drive down the coastline can be liberating and, again, very romantic.
I wish you the best of luck in finding what you are looking for...
There's a new gourmet market across from the Ritz called Epicurean Gourmet, the food is fantastic and they'll be opening up a restaurant along with it soon. Also, Angle is currently closed at the Ritz, but I believe it will reopen Nov. 1st. Stay away from callero's which is across the street.
Whatever you do, DO NOT listen to the Concierge and wind up at Charlie's Crab. It was god awful. We stayed at the Ritz for a couple of nights last year. It's a beautiful hotel. Unfortunately our dining experiences in Palm Beach were less than. A few years before that we had a delightful lunch at one of the Italian restaurants on Worth Avenue, so I would definitely recommend you check it out. Enjoy your trip.