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Seeking recs for Boynton,Delray, and around...

Food obsessed New Yorkers are once again heading south, this time for a visit of several months. Will be based in Boynton, but willing to travel for food!

Prior to a brief visit last winter, we were delighted by the recommendation of Max's Harvest (thank you, CFByrne!) where we enjoyed a superb dinner. We plan to re-visit Max's in a couple of weeks and if our next meal there is as good as the first (see my report in link, below) will put the restaurant into regular rotation.

Now: I cook most meals at home, but I do need at least one other recommendation for top-quality food. Anything else in the "farm-to-table" genre of Max's? Open to any price range, and any location within a 40-minute or so drive. Not interested in a bar scene, do not care about decor..the food is the
only critical factor.


Will be happy to report back on our experiences...many thanks!

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  1. You may want to look into 32 East right in downtown Delray. Chef Nick Morfogen has actually been using a lot of locally-sourced ingredients for years now.

    Best place for updated info would be their Facebook page, there's a menu tab which will load after a delay...


    Of course you could always poke around some of the other foodie review sites to get a feel for what's going on....

    Another option is take a ride up to N Palm Beach and hit Coolinary Cafe. Chef Tim is quite obsessed with farm to fork. You could even sit at the counter and chat while your food is prepared if you have just one or two in your party.

    This is a somewhat more casual experience than Max's or 32 but the food may be just as good - and it's very Florida-oriented.

    Again, Facebook is best place for info, and they post their specials menu every day (they have a whole nother "regular" menu.


    Tho they also have a regular site


    5 Replies
    1. re: CFByrne

      I know that I could count on you! Will put both of those places on the short list. Early in our stay, I need to plan two dinners with friends from Boca. Have Max's Harvest booked for one dinner, and will likkely try 32 East for the second, unless you come up with something else...

      Anyplace come to mind in or near Boca?

      There seem to be a lot of places with much style but not much substance, if I am phrasing correctly...glitzy, big bar action, unadventurous food, etc etc. Would like to avoid those, if possible.

      Any thoughts on an Italian restaurant in Pompano Beach named La Buca (has been recommended by a friend who lives nearby...reviews seem to be mixed.)

      Once again, please keep the ideas coming. I will report on my experiences!

      1. re: erica

        Agree about 32 East and Max's Harvest. Tramonte is very good for Southern Italian food. In Palm Beach which is about 30 minutes from Delray, Chez Jean Pierre is excellent for French and Buccan is very creative.

        1. re: erica

          For Boca you MIGHT want to take a look at The Rebel House.

          It is loud, noisy, young... and some would say hit and miss. The menu is all over the place, as is the decor.

          Yet it is named after what they did NOT want to do: Another boring Boca restaurant.

          But it is definitely adventerous. The chef behind it has received a ton of acclaim and awards for his other two ventures: Charm City Burgers and El Jefe Lucador Mexican Street Food.

          There's a thread on Rebel House here...


          FB Page again probably best spot for info:


          And of course plenty of lively discussions on the other foodie sites...

          1. re: CFByrne

            I did read that thread on Rebel House; will keep it on the long list. What are the local online food sites that you like?

          2. re: erica

            Cafe la Buca is great. Tiny place with daily changing verbal menu and byob. Great food and fun experience.

        2. Give Bamboo Fire a try. It is not farm to table but I don't know of anything like it in New York. Island cuisine, Donald and Beverly are from Guyanna, everything they cook is with love and delicous. It is so nice to sit outside on the quiet street, have a drink and eat such good food. They have beer but you can bring a bottle of wine. They should lose the guitar player though.


          1. I would suggest trying out Sweetwater Bar & Grill in Boynton...

            1. Top Chef contestant Lindsay Autry just took over the kitchen at Sunday House in Delray. That would be high on my list.

              On the casual side I would highly recommend paying visits to Pizzeria Oceano in Lantana, Nick's New Haven Pizza in Boca and Scuola Vecchia in Delray. All three do fantastic pizzas.

              I would also check out Hiway Burger in Delray

              If driving to Palm Beach Buccan is a must do as is Cafe Boulud.

              1 Reply
              1. re: The Chowfather

                And next door to Buccan is another of their signature restaurants Imoto - exquisite Asian.

                If you are feeling adventurous and will drive to Ft. Lauderdale - a must is Market 17 - probably one of the best creative menus and execution in the area.

              2. You may also want to try The Grove in Delray. It's right next to Max's Harvest. Their chef Meghan O'Neal spent some time in Chicago working for Grant Achatz at Alinea and Next http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/cle.... I'm also a big fan of Brule Bistro on that same street.

                2 Replies
                1. re: lync0091

                  Thanks...The Grove looks very interesting..will try it soon and report back.

                  1. re: erica

                    Thanks for the update on Pizzeria Oceano Erika. It is high on my ToDo list. A reminder for anyone else, it is CASH ONLY.

                    Meanwhile, also high on my ToDo list: The Grove Restaurant, as suggested by Lync91. I've been hearing a lot of good stuff from reliable sources.

                    I was walking by today at lunchtime, and had a nice chat with partner Paul Strike who was outside tidying up the entrance. There are enough CIA grads at this place to staff a Bourne film...

                2. Four of us had a good dinner last night at Pizzeria Oceano in Lantana. Began with two shared appetizers from the ever changing menu:

                  Roasted Turnips in Honey Butter was the more interesting of the two; I liked the contrast between the sweetness of the carmelized turnips and honeyed sauce with the bitter green vegetable served within.

                  Heirloom Tomato Salad with Manouri Cheese was less interesting, and tomatoes were not quite optimal, but it was a good salad, nonetheless.

                  Two pizzas provided ample food for four of us: The Basic Pizza with Smoked Kielbasa as an addition was excellent; my partner thought it stacked up well against NYC area haunts like Motorino and Grana (North Fork), to mention two of our current favorites.

                  Raclette Pizza, with mozzarella and browned onions was good, too, but we all put it in second place, after the Basic Pizza.

                  Interesting wine and beer selection; intelligent service.

                  We liked this place and hope to return often.

                  The bill for four of us, covering two apps, two pizzas, and one wine or beer each (one Soave and one Monastrell, from the choice of four wines offered by the glass, and two Naragansett beers) totalled $89.50 before tip.


                  8 Replies
                  1. re: erica

                    Thanks for the great report Erika.

                    I have been wanting to try this place and now am charged up about it.

                    Suggest you make Scuola Vecchia your next group stop.

                    If you go to S.V., be sure to chat with owner Sharon, she loves when foodies come in.

                    PS: I dined at Don Antonio in NYC two weeks ago, chatted with Chef Roberto and mentioned how we were lucky to have our own little "Keste South" here in Delray.


                    1. re: CFByrne

                      CF: You've been so helpful to me during my stays here! I've put Scuola on my list and will try, and report back, within a few weeks. I'll be interested in your comments about Oceano. Mind you, I would not put it in the category of my favorite NYC pizzerie (although dining partners would disagree on that) but food was very good and I liked the place itself very much, too.

                      1. re: erica

                        Pizzeria Oceano is the best pizza I've ever had. Beats anywhere in Boston, NYC, you name it.

                        1. re: Blind Mind

                          Can anyone tell me where to find their operating hours? Went by there today (Monday) at 1 PM, place is closed. Are they open only at night? Checked all their website listings, no hours shown.

                          1. re: CJT

                            Yes please.

                            Places that do NOT include their days open or hours include: Their website, their FB page, and review pages on Yelp, Urban Spoon, Trip Advisor...

                            I get that they apparently do the "Pizza Nazi" thing here - but it's a little annoying already, and I haven't even been there yet.


                            PBPulse says this

                            Pizzeria Oceano

                            201 E. Ocean Ave., Lantana. No listed phone number.

                            Hours: Tues.-Sat. 5:30 p.m. until the restaurant runs out of ingredients. Closed Sunday and Monday.


                            1. re: CFByrne

                              Yes, I understand it is pizza nazi mentality and don't ask for an ingredient substitution. It even says so on the menu. That reason is why I have never been actually.

                              And Mondays are Meatless Mondays, so take that into consideration.

                              1. re: freakerdude

                                They are open for dinner, no lunch. And yes, when they are out of something, they are out. I'm sure they are trying to make max money each day so I doubt there's many cases of them running out. I've never heard anyone having an issue at the restaurant so just go with an open mind and enjoy.

                    2. re: erica

                      Had another dinner at Pizzeria Oceano in Lantana last night.
                      We arrived at opening time, 5:45, and had no trouble scoring one of the few tables on the outdoor terrace. (The place is tiny).

                      Four of us shared one Roasted Pepper Salad, with Manouri Cheese and Capers, with undressed red romaine leaves on the side. Very good.

                      We had two "Basic" Pizzas, which were, again, very good. Crisp crust with bubbles of char.

                      The showstopper was the Mustard Greens Pizza, with Asiago, mozzarella, and pecorino melted over onions and lardons and showered with baby mustard greens. There was a slight sweetness from honeyed vinegar that played against the salty pork and knocked this out of the park, for me.

                      The baby greens come fromSwank Farms in Loxahatchee. The server was not sure if they sold retail but based on the produce I've had from this farm, I think it merits a visit.

                      Service is informative and friendly. They do not offer takeout, we were told, because they do not carry pizza boxes large enough. But they will pack up extra orders in a small box. (Also do not serve diet sodas, but do offer Mexican cokes) Never mind..we plan to return soon.

                      With bottled water, and one AlbariƱo (from a choice of two whites and two reds by the glass, plus bottles) the bill totaled
                      about $83. before tip. Good value. We plan to return.

                    3. Had dinner last week at Pinon Grill and was pleasantly surprised. Everything we ordered was quite good, well cooked (not overcooked) and seasoned properly! What a concept! We had Kung Pao calamari - a deviation from the usual breaded and fried - these were dredged lightly in a seasoned flour and flash fried - very light, had a bit of a kick and were very tasty. Grilled artichokes were delicious as were the Kobe beef sliders. I would definitely go back again - on that basis I would recommend it. Atmosphere is also pleasant and there is a huge bar that looked as though it could be fun spot.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: DolceFarNiente

                        I also tried at Pinon Grill, a few weeks ago. Big, bustling sleek place. Service was efficient enough, if not knowledgeable about food
                        I ordered skirt steak with grilled pineapple salsa, ($27) which was excellent. Buttery steak, perfectly cooked. So good that Ii would return for that dish, and so good that I tried to replicate at home, with predictable result. Others at the table were also pleased by their choices. (Sorry for lack of detail) While I prefer smaller more intimate restaurants, this is a good bet in a convenient location near I-95.