Graduation Dinner in Boca, Palm Beach
I am having family visit from out of town to attend my graduation in Boca Raton next week. i live in Miami, so I have no clue where to eat dinner. Looking for something nice (will tolerate bad service for good food) but not too expensive (i.e. Bova...too chic for the fam). Something waterfront would be nice, if possible I have been scouting the posts and Opus 5 might be good? What is the atmosphere near Boca Town Center? Outdoor? I dont want to eat in a mall. Foodies, I need your help please.
My nephew graduated from FAU a few years ago and we had a grad dinner for appx 10 people at DaDa in Delray. Advantages: reasonable prices (I hear they just updated their menu); nice outdoor atmosphere under the trees; and after dinner, your party can wander along "hip/cool/fun" Atlantic Ave ("The Ave") for, if you like, drinks, dessert, or just people watching. Search this board for DaDa and you'll find more info.
So given that you want not that expensive and somethin on the water and in Boca I would opt for Oceans 234. Seafood oriented and right off the beach. Although it does not have the best seaffood, its still a fun place and one where i have taken out of towners a number of times over the years.
In terms of the restaurants near Boca Town Center, Opus 5 is located in the Boca Center which is a strip mall outside of the big mall. I barely remember it so clearly it wasn't great by my standards. Definitely loud and expensive. None of these restaurants are on the water though. The mall has a wonderful outdoor atrium however where most of the high end restaurants (including Opus 5) have tables and it certainly doesn't feel like a mall experience. Waterfeatures and many outdoor trees make it a nice experience.
Also in the Boca Center is Cucina D'Angelo which has a wonderful, more modern take on Italin food. It is one of my top 3 Italian restaurants in Broward County and would be my top choice. Morton's steak house is in Boca Center and is nice if you like paying an additional $7 for a baked pototo. It also has no outdoor seating. Uncle Tai is an upscale chinese restaurant which many people like but I really don't care for. Absinthe is located in there also but I have never been there before. The service has been suspect in the past but the decor supposedly is to die. Irrelevant to me as I rarely get filled up admiring the window treatments.
How about Gigi's in Mizner Park? We did the wife's B-day there last year. Max's Grill and Pranzo in Mizner park all are very popular and can be nice places for a graduation dinner. Soba in Mizner park is one of my new favorite restaurants which is a Japanese/Peruvian fusion place with an emphasis on Sushi, Caviar, Ceviche, and Martinis. Pretty sure that is not what you are looking for in a graduation dinner. All these restaurants have outdoor seating and although it is a "Mall", its not a strip mall experience. Great night life in Mizner park also if you are interested in drinks, dancing, music.....