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Need for-real Top spots in Boca Raton/Delray-

I am looking for top spots in Boca Raton/Delray area. Not usually fan of chain places... hence, Capital Grille, Houstons, etc. Specifically, Steakhouse, Italian, Greek, Mexican and Pub. I really need a great Italian deli, bagel place, and most of all Grocery store. Totally NOT impressed with Publix, Greenwise, Wholefoods or Fresh Market. What's going on in Florida? Don't people have standards?
What we've been to so far (but could use a good chowhound list):
Table 42. Good lite Italian, such as pizza or panini
Trattoria Romano: loud, but good
Capital Grille: stunk, bad shrimp
Trulucks: overpriced, ok
Dubliner: wouldn't go back
Abe and Louie's: thought it was good, but was with people who were ragging on the whole meal and ruined it for me
Flakowitz: Stick with the bagels and eggs
Einstein bagels: you've got to be kidding me! they should be be condemned for horrible food
13 Table American: outstanding. really.
Burt and Max's: fresh and good.
Farmer's Table: I like this kind of food, not for everyone. Vegannaise is a gross ingredient they use however.
Yakitori Sake House: Enjoyable and fresh tasting
Souvlaki Fresh: fast, cheap and good
Spedini Pizza: Long Island/New York worthy
Cotes de France: delicious croissants

I'm not a food snob, just a food lover. I love cheap, I love fancy, I love good. I keep it real.

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  1. Just curious...

    Which great grocery stores do you have up in Great Barrington, Mass? Want to get a baseline, so our low standards won't offend you any further.

    Good way to introduce yourself to a new board!

    As for restaurants...

    Bagels, try Bagels With on Linton and Dixie in Delray. Others like Brooklyn Bagels on Military just above Atlantic.

    Spadini's (correct spelling) is indeed good pizza. Check out also Café La Buca in Pompano and Pizzeria Oceano in Lantana. Both are "quirky" so read up here before you go.

    (Erica from NYC has been through your situation and her posts are esp valuable).

    13 American Table is also indeed good. Check out Rebel House right down the street.

    If you like Burt and Max's, visit in Delray 32 East, Dada, and Max's Harvest for starters.

    For Italian "deli" try Talia's Tuscan on Dixie and Spanish River. Get a Michelangelo sub.

    For more ideas, search this board for Delray or Boca and you'll see plenty of recurring themes.

    6 Replies
    1. re: CFByrne

      Thanks CFBryrne. I'm so happy to live here, and totally didn't mean to offend- but I was looking forward to Florida having super fresh produce and I've just found the stores I've shopped at to be just o.k. (and so expensive). I know I must be missing something. There is too much sunshine to not have more local stuff.
      In the Berkshires, there are very few markets- mostly farms. Guido's is good.
      Thanks for the restaurant rec's. I'll check out Erica.
      Spadini's is from my hometown. Tom does a good job making a pizza.

      1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

        For fresh Florida produce... the season can be surprisingly short for much... but in this area, right now, your two best bets are probably:

        Bedner's "Farm Fresh Market" out on 441 in west Boynton (just over the N Delray line)

        http://www.bedners.com/

        And then, on Saturday morning, take a trip up to the West Palm Beach Green Market.

        http://wpb.org/greenmarket/vendors/

        It's right on the Intracoastal at the east end of Clematis. Among much more you'll find Swank Produce, Farmhouse Tomatoes, and lots more.

        And then, if you are focused on low prices, check out The Boys, a local institution of sorts. It's a crazed madhouse but you can pick up some very good deals.

        http://boysfarmersmarket.com/

        (You can go there when you check out Brooklyn Bagels).

        http://brooklynwaterbagels.com/

        Right across the street

        1. re: CFByrne

          Gotta say, The Boys was very good. If you smile through the whole process, you can find some pretty good stuff there. Working in the grocery world, I would have to say they would probably make a boatload more money if they either expanded or organized better.

          I've now been to Fresh Market over 10 times, and it's pretty good. Maybe I've gotten accustomed to the high prices, but I've been able to navigate the store and get some delicious things, such as the sweet italian sausage. My local Publix isn't the best, but I get stuff there anyway. I purchased ground chuck for hamburgers and they were delicious. Being someone who's happy place is the grocery store, I would say they have some room for improvement. It's not a fun/pleasant environment to shop at, yet, I still go and will continue to do so.
          Pop's wasn't great for me, just ok (they did a hack job on tuna) and I think it's called Old Dixie Fish in Delray was also just ok, even though 2 friends said it was out of bounds fantastic. The shrimp and clams I purchased were both tasty. I thought it was seriously weird that the fish was all sliced and pre-wrapped in plastic and the store had ZERO fish aroma (I'm used to fish on ice cut to order)
          Thanks again for all the rec's. I'll continue to try and report back.

          1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

            I prefer Capt Frank's and Boynton Fish Depot by far over the place on Dixie.

            If you go to either, while in the area you can check out one of the brand new, "full size" Publix stores.

            In south Boynton Beach, basically on SW corner of Federal Hwy and Woolbright. If you don't like this Publix... you're never gonna like one.

      2. re: CFByrne

        Haha... CF I thought the same thing.

        Perhaps us savage Floridians can take a few minutes out of our day to help some Connecticut royalty find some decent restaurants. That is of course if we're not too busy shopping for goat heads and chicken feet at our 3rd world grocery stores.

        All joking aside... If you're looking for a smaller boutique grocer Josephs on Military in Boca could work. Or perhaps Doris on Yamato in west boca.

        For Italian deli sandwiches I'd recommend V&S on fedreal highway. It reminds me of a small neighborhood italian deli you'd find in NY or NJ.

        For prime meats you can check out the Meating Place which is I believe what you were mentioning. They have an east and west boca location. You might also want to check out Torchios in Boynton on Woolbright.

        For fresh seafood you can try Captain Clays on NE 4th Ave in Delray Beach.

        1. re: coffeyucf

          Now you are being rude. I'm not royalty or spoiled or snobby. If you read the thread, you would have seen that i apologized if i came off that way. Im just looking for good inside info from people in the know. Chowhound has been a great resource of mine since it started. So, thank you for the recommendations. Btw. Im not from Ct.

      3. > Souvlaki Fresh: fast, cheap and good

        If you like that, check out Gyroville. There's one right by Town Center.

        In that same strip, you'll find Nick's Pizza. They do a great New Haven White Clam / Garlic / Bacon pizza.

        And amazingly, in Town Center itself, check out:

        Maoz Falafel - Falafel on pita with all the sides you care to add is terrific.

        and

        PUMMAROLA Pizza - The prosciutto and arugula pizza for $9 is a great great deal.

        12 Replies
        1. re: CFByrne

          Thanks for all the info! I see you visit and take a real interest in the food scene around here. I really appreciate your input. May I ask you a bit more? I am a Personal Chef and am looking to find great resources that I can build a relationship with. I know about the Meating Room (i think thats the name) which looks great- but what about other places to get meat, say a brisket with the 1st AND second cut? Or fish? Do you shop at an independent Mom and Pop? I also love to shop at ethnic stores (latino, asian, indian). I saw that there is a place on Linten and Congress- but also read that it had a foul aroma... You seem extremely knowledgeable. Is it worthy of a visit?

          1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

            I have gone to that market on Linton and Congress. Yes... it seems to cater to low-income shoppers. And it does indeed have a questionable odor. I personally would not buy meat or fish there. But they do have certain ridiculously cheap produce... perhaps because some is about to turn... but, say, you want to make stuffed yellow peppers or fajitas today... and they don't have to be world-class... They might be $1/lb instead of $4 elsewhere. So on occasion it might serve a purpose.

            BTW in that same strip is an authentic Mexican joint, Taqueria Huetamo. You may want to check it out, you can get 3 tacos, rice and beans for lunch or dinner for about $8...

            Of course this place is not exactly spotless either but I try to ignore that and just sip on my Jarritos.

            There is no sign so you have to look carefully. Nice business model. I keep on meaning to tell them, a sign would probably help.

            1. re: CFByrne

              Thanks. Ill try this and report back. I really appreciate all the good recs

            2. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

              LIL, I know it may be a bit far for you but as a personal chef myself, I love my butcher! At http://smittysmeatsandwines.com/ they are always knowledgeable and helpful and with a few days notice will order most anything you require. I have ordered everything from Bell & Evans chickens to a rib eye cap (deckle) and always find satisfaction at Smitty's.

              For Italian I second the V&S suggestion and would add that any of the Doris Markets are genuine and quite good. Talia's is great for sandwiches and dinner if you bear in mind that management can be somewhat eccentric!

              Lastly I suggest that you might visit a couple of Publix stores...especially the newer ones. In my area alone there are three with the newest (East Atlantic in Pompano) being far superior to the others...especially in the produce department!

              1. re: LiveRock

                Thanks! I will definitely try where you recommended. I will also definitely go to another Publix. There's one a bit further from me that looks way bigger and they seem to carry a bunch of stuff from Greenwise. As far as the Whole Foods goes, its the parking lot that really freaks me out and the massive crowds inside. :) btw, do you belong to a Personal Chef Association here? Ive thought about joining USPCA. Any thoughts?

                1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

                  I do not...though I too have looked into it. With the exception of an online presence...I am not what you would call a joiner.

                  1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

                    If the Whole Foods parking lot freaks you out, you better pop a Xanax or two before you visit The Boys.

                    For maximum excitement, go on Saturday morning when crowds are at the worst. :-)

                    1. re: CFByrne

                      Already refilled the prescription! There was a place on Long Island, John's Farm with the same thing, both in the parking lot and store. You gotta just bite the bullet and smile through the whole thing.

                      1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

                        LETTUCEINLOVE: You must be a Long Islander if you know John's Market in Plainview. Glad you started this discussion as I've found it useful as a Long Island snowflake in Delray Beach.

                2. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

                  For seafood, my favorites are:

                  *** Pop's Fish Market on Hillsboro Blvd in Deerfield (East of 95). While you are in the area, go to El Jefe Luchador for tacos or Charm City Burgers for guess what.

                  http://popsfishandships.com/

                  http://www.jefetaco.com/

                  http://www.charmcityburgers.com/index...

                  ***Captain Franks on Boynton Beach Blvd (just E of 95).

                  Neither are cheap but fresh fish is not cheap anywhere...

                  *** The Boys sometimes has some decent looking fish, if you happen to be there for produce, check out the fish counter.

                  *** And then there's a new place, on Federal Hwy in Boynton, I don't recall the name, it's an old fish market that recently changed hands.

                  EDIT: Boynton Fish Depot, 1022 N Federal Hwy, Boynton Beach, FL

                  I saw some very nice product in there recently and it seemed to be a tad less expensive than Capt Franks.

                  It's on the corner where Martin Luther King Blvd "T-bones" into Federal.

                  (While you are there, note the BBQ shack across the street, Troy's. Visit it sometime on rare occasion when it is open (usually Thu-Sat late afternoon-night)).

                  1. re: CFByrne

                    CF- seriously. You are my kinda person (not sure if you are man or woman) Thank you so much for all the awesome hookups. I'm sure I'll be back for more rec's. And since I'm on the hunt for all this, I look forward to sharing my finds with you too!

              2. I love this place:
                http://josephsclassicmarket.com/

                If you don't like Publix or Greenwise I'm not sure you'll like it though.

                I agree with you on Einstein's It's a chain but this is South Florida and we have plenty of people making good bagels. They're everywhere.I like the sandwiches at Toojay's. Another chain but good food.

                http://www.toojays.com

                In the same area is my favorite sub:

                http://laspadashoagies.com/

                They cut the meat when you order it.

                If you travel a little south there's some more ethnic places. I'm Vietnamese and love Noodle House in Lauderdale Lakes. I drive by multiple Vietnamese restaurants to get there.

                https://www.facebook.com/FLnoodlehouse

                And if you really feel like a road trip one of my favorite places is in Miami

                http://www.versaillesrestaurant.com/

                Yummy Cuban food and the real deal atmosphere. About an hour from Boca.

                1. Hands down Way Beyond Bagels on Jog is the best bagel store in Delray. Between Linton and Clint Moore on the E side. Under new management/ownership.
                  Cafe Martier on E Atlantic is a great little cafe for any time of day.
                  The Boys on Military is a hoot but great produce and cooked and fresh foods. Watch your ankles for rudely rampart carts being pushed by impatient customers.
                  Trader Joes will be opening on US 1 and 8th St one block south of Camino soon.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: smartie

                    Thanks. Saw that Trader Joe's is also coming to Boca, or is that the Boca location? I'm still really bad with directions and stuff here. A Fairway Market would kick butt here.

                    1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

                      You may have seen a TJ's also coming to Delray, on Linton and Federal.

                      1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

                        I'm with you about Fairway. It will never happen....Look how long we've waited for Trader Joe's! All suggestions on the board are good ones, but as an ex NYer, I, too, expected wonderful produce here. It's definitely been a disappointment.

                    2. If you want good produce in S Fl I suggest you grow it yourself if you have space in your yard. I put in 4 tomato plants in January by buying a bag of organic soil, making a slit, planting the 4 plants from Home Depot, staking them and whoo hoo I have had pounds of tomatoes already. Next year I plan to grow peppers and zucchini the same way.

                      I have also planted a key lime tree, a loquat tree, passion fruit and bananas plus I have a lemon tree. My neighborhood is full of mangoes in summer, oranges and mandarins through winter and one neighbor had so much passion fruit all through fall and winter I was eating 4-5 a day. My easement has an avocado tree that nobody else wanted to pick from. I barely ever buy fruit.