English Tap and Beer Garden: Upscale Pub Dining
Named not for decor or menu, the English refers to Todd English - rather famous restauranteur and chef, author, TV personality, businessman with his own line of cookware, and concept designer. His early resume included La Cote Basque in New York City. Figs, his first restaurant in Boston, became widely famous, and he has followed up with sites all over the states (also executive chef for Delta airlines).
This venue follows in the line of his P.U.B. concept ( Public Urban Bar ) in Las Vegas. Centrally located in the tony Shops at Boca Center in front of the Marriott, it offers outdoor and indoor dining with widely spaced comfortable tables and booths, multiple wide screen TVs for sports events, and a mulltitude of beers ( up to 150 ) with the largest collection of taps I have ever seen.
So much depends in this type of establishment on the server - we got lucky, nice and knowledgeable young man who insisted i choose the basic variety of the Canadian vodka Pearl ( best known for concoctions like birthday cake flavored vodka ) - good vodka, good martini.
The menu is huge - multiple varieties of soups, appetizers hot and cold, burgers and sliders, several varieties of mac and cheese, salads sandwiches and panninis - all under $15, and a wide variety of entrees all under $20 --very reasonable pricing considering the location - with gluten free offerings. $7 children's menu and an $11 two course limited early bird menu too. The ultimate test of a pub is the hamburger - very nice, done as ordered. Other items tried here have also been excellent. Recommended.
Trulucks: Excellent Seafood, Shellfish, and Steaks
This very upscale and expensive seafood and steak house is located at the center of the Mizner Park shopping complex in downtown Boca and offers an impressive meal. Entrance is to a large modern bar with nightly live piano music. The two dining rooms are steakhouse classic with comfortable red leather banquettes and widely separated tables, one room overlooking the Mizner Park thoroughfare. Outside dining is also available. Service on our several visits has been quite competent as well as friendly, no rush service. Trulucks emphasizes that their seafood is acquired through their own fleet of fishing vessels, assuring fresh products.
The wine list is extensive, many by the glass. The martinis have generally been excellent - the house vodka is Svedka, a personal favorite. Appetizers range from tuna tartare to crabcakes approx $15. Salads are about $10 and have been the only relative disappointments here. But Trulucks ultimately is about their star entrees. Steaks average $45 - a recent strip steak for $42 was superb, sizeable and delivered perfectly medium rare as ordered. Grilled fish is served with parmesan mashed potatoes or locally sourced vegetables and are also superb - we have sampled their salmon, snapper, and Chilean sea bass, the latter locally acquired from Georgia- all excellent. The ultimate specialties are the Florida Stone Crab claws ( expensive ), the lobster, and the gigantic Alaskan king crab legs ($55/lb) preferred by our frequent dining companions here.
As an alternative to the stone crab claws, a cheaper Jonah Crab claw offering is available, also very good - maybe a bit less taste, more flaky in texture, and considerably cheaper. One of our party made this choice an entree and did not see that much difference from the real thing. There are a number of side dishes at $7-10 including properly prepared french fries and superb mushrooms. Desserts look great - we all shared the dessert provided for one special dinner order, a large slice of intensely flavorful chocolate cake.
The heavily promoted $35 Date Night Special is not so special. It includes a salad, a choice of four of the cheapest entrees, and a shared dessert with total saving probably not more than $2-3 per person.
Trulucks provides a superb dinner at high cost - close to $100pp would be a fair bet including tip and a drink. Expensive, but absolutely worth the splurge.
Favorite Dish: Valet parking is offered outside the door at a scandalous $5, plus tip, except if you drive a lexus - for unknown reasons, lexus parking is free. The multilevel parking lot just behind the restaurant is free. The valets were deservedly not very busy.
CITY FISH MARKET: Excellent Sea Food
This excellent restaurant is adjacent to the Hilton Suites Hotel. It is a large establishment with a wide menu of local and regional fish dinners. They have a very good Raw Bar, excellent service and overall great food. Their prices are slightly above average but not too much. Highly recommended. Reservations are suggested for the weekend.
Favorite Dish: As several in our party ate lunch late, I only had soup, a delicious Lobster Bisque, plus a hearty appetizer which was Calamari in a Spicy Thai Sauce. It was outrageously delicious. Desserts were above par and anyone who is a clover of pastries and cakes, this restaurant will make you drool.
Pinon Grill with 2013 Update: American Melting Pot Cuisine
Pinon Grill offers a moderately priced menu which incorporates selections from many of the cultures which have contributed to the modern American dining experience. Boca is one of many branches of this chain, but menus appear distinct and directed to location to some extent. Classic offerings are supplemented by many more au courant choices in a pleasant setting and with relatively modest prices for quality meals. As with the decor, there is a slight excess of southwestern influence, as reflected perhaps in the name. The bar is striking with bottles lined up in rows in a backlit wall. The dining areas include comfortable banquette seating as well as tables, spaced widely enough for comfort, and in the mid evening as the place emptied out a bit, the noise level was more than acceptable. Recessed ceilings help. Overall, service has improved considerably in Boca over the years, and was well paced, knowledgeable, and friendly here. The walls are decorated by conceptual art by Marcia Moore.
Drinks were very good, a nice properly made martini always starts the meal well. Soups, salads, and hot appetizers run $8-15. Appetizers run the gamut from Kobe sliders to tuna tacos and ceviche. There are several large salads including a seared tuna salad with cabbage and noodles, caprese salad, and a grilled salmon salad with green beans and roasted corn and potatoes. Sandwiches and a variety of burgers are also available. Entrees are all below $30 except a few steaks. A very good roasted herbed half chicken was accompanied by excellent shoestring fries. Baby back ribs and marinated grilled salmon were also done very well. And the portions are more than adequate. We passed on desserts.
We were very pleased indeed with the food here across the board and would certainly return to try different entrees from the extensive varied menu. And having eaten at Truluck's the night before, the prices were a welcome relief. Our dining companions eat here frequently and are never disappointed. Price ranges seem the same. Note that the house vodka is Pinnacle and not a favorite, martinis with premium vodka can be up to $13 (Stoli) $11 (Grey Goose).
Update 2/2013 -- more visits, more good meals. Recent visits featured entrees of trout and pork chops, both excellent, and the shoestring fries remain a good side. A rare dessert outing - flourless chocolate waffle with chocolate and cherry syrups and whipped cream - flourless cake is what it is, hardly a taste favorite, adequate here and enlivened by the sauces and a scoop of icecream.
Favorite Dish: Parking is free in the Town Center lots. A small outdoor dining area is probaby to be avoided, located adjacent the bar and band in the Blue Martini next door and insufferably noisy.
Campagnolo: Neighborhood Italian
This large neighborhood Italian spot occupies the somewhat ungainly space formerly Boca
Grill. Two large rooms pass from a cramped reception area, with a separate party room. The kitchen is located behind reception. Decor is not anticipated. Service is haphazard at best.
We had an opportunity to meet the owner, who offered the philosophy of the restaurant - serving a largely retired and largely ethnic Jewish population, his goal is to serve competent ( read uninspired ) Italian food in portions large enough to almost guarantee leftovers in "doggie bags". I guess he meets his goals well enough.
The menu is large, with several soups and 8-10 appetizers, pizzas, and salads, all traditional offerings ranging from minestone soup to gorgonzola salads to clams and sausage with mozarella, soups at $6, appetizers and salads largely $10-15. A large selection of classic pastas and entrees run $13-23. As promised, lots of bland food.
Our large group ordered a variety of plates and not unsurprisingly none of the meals were bad - nothing much exceeded the ordinary either. Seniors like this place - worth keeping in mind. It should be noted that martinis were actually pretty good.
Abe & Louie's: New Upscale Boca Steakhouse
In a town replete with upscale steakhouses, Abe & Louie's has completely renovated the space formerly occupied (improbably) by Hooter's with typical dark masculine decor of leather banquettes, dark walls, and aproned waiters. The crowd is drawn from all age groups. Service is more than adequate. Standard appetizers and salads run $7-14, while shellfish appetizers can be up to $15-30, the latter for the shellfish tower. The large selection of steaks are all between $37-42 and a group of seafood offerings are similarly priced for entrees. However, some fish entrees are market price and lobster can run up to $50++. All side dishes and a large dessert menu are al a carte at $7-9. The entire menu is on the website including the many desserts and side dishes. Our dining group was very pleased with everything ordered. NB -- the charge for sharing is exorbitant. Have some order salads or large appetizers as entrees while others order the steaks, cutting costs considerably. Overall, this was an excellent meal and a worthy competitor for the multiple similar venues in Boca. Of note, however - for a steakhouse, the martinis were very average, both the standard and the exotics.For an upscale steakhouse, this is a significant failing. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.
12/31/07 - repeat visits,prices above updated, similar results. The steaks are superb. A new gimmick is slightly oversized martinis, the excess put in a glass tube placed in an ice-filled chemistry beaker to keep the martini cold and undiluted - nice touch.
12/29/11 - service at Abe and Louie's has disintegrated. On a recent visit, our first server was an elderly gent, totally inept, incapable of getting even the simplest drink orders correct. He would be replaced by a matronly woman who told us that the new policy was multiple servers covering a larger number of tables. She was soon replaced by a young man, probably the best of the three, who confided that he was an unemployed backup singer on cruise ships and this was his first night on the job. None of them had any idea of who ordered what, much less anything to do with the menu. Chaotic service led unavoidablyand predictably - to not one but two errors on the bill, both in the house's favor. A primer on how to lose a star.
Favorite Dish: The 24 ounce porterhouse was a serious piece of meat, and appeared to be one of the most popular entrees throughout the restaurant. From the side dishes, the mushrooms were excellent - a large portion of Criminis and Portobellos - really good. Potato sides were also very good. We had key lime pie for dessert - not made on the premises, but nonetheless an excellent choice.
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Anthony' Coal Fired Pizza: Great Pizza
This shopping center venue looks just like what it is - an upscale pizzeria with friendly service and huge crowds. There is an extremely limited menu -- pizza with a vast selection of toppings, with preliminaries of salad, baked chicken wings, and not much else. There are two focaccia sandwiches -------- italian tuna and roast beet, and three sides -------- meatballs, eggplant, and broccoli rabe and sausage. Dessert - cheescake only. The most exotic pizzas are $18.50 and the basic pie is $14.50 with toppings at $1.50 each. Beer and wine only. The prices are a bit higher than the average pizzeria but so is the product quality.
This restaurant is one of about 15 scattered throughout So. Florida and all owned by Anthony Bruno, the owner of Fort Lauderdale's well known and long-successful (1982) Anthony's Runway 84. It's signature dish is obviously the pizzas baked in an anthracite coal oven till well done and crispy.
Anthony's is very crowded with the potential for long waits, as reservations are only accepted for large parties. Decor is pizzeria standard augmented by several wide screen TV's turned to sports and pictures of old movie stars on the walls. Service is friendly and well-paced.
The pizzas are quite good. Medium crust, well done, and not mushy. The toppings we tried were also high quality and tasty, perhaps the pepperoni a little bit oily. Beer offerings are standard augmented with several Italian offerings including Peroni's.
Favorite Dish: Most everyone gets the same order - salad ( get the dressing on the side ), wings, and pizza.
Update - 11/18/2011 - nothing changes here except the servers. Remains an excellent choice for what it is.
La Luna: Upscale Neighborhood Italian Restaurant
This neighborhood Italian eatery has aspirations of upscale elegance. With a subdued decor, tuxedoed waiters, soft lighting, and tablecloth service the setting is relatively elegant for a local restaurant. Prices are slighty higher than average with entrees up to $23-25, and appetizers, salads, and pastas in the $7-16 range. The clientele is considerable more senior than at many restaurants, and the kitchen realizes what makes an older crowd happy. Seasonings and spices are limited with relatively bland and uninspired food. Zest and sophistication are noticeably absent here, with a more middle of the road approach. The over friendly and over zealous waiters cannot offset a kitchen incapable of getting all the orders correct.
Favorite Dish: Mediocre food at above average prices makes La Luna, no matter how popular with the geriatric crowd, difficult to recommend. And La Luna gets my award for the ABSOLUTELY WORST RESTAURANT MARTINI EVER. Far better to eat at Florentino's on Lyons than this overcrowded restaurant.
NexStore: Many Tastes, One Stop!
You want Chinese, he wants Mexican and she wants Fried Chicken. You need to stop for gas while you're at it, too. Stop at NexStore!
This was the coolest concept I've seen in a long time. NexStore is a gas station/convenience store in front, and a buffet/deli carry-out restaurant in back! 2 coworkers and myself stopped at NexStore for lunch. There are soups, sandwiches, salads, chicken, seafood, beef dishes... The list goes on and on. There is something for everyone's taste available here, and at very reasonable prices.
I wish we had NexStore up here, I'd definitely be patronizing it, and often!
Favorite Dish: I paid $7.95 for a Chicken Caesar Salad, which was so big, I ate it for 2 meals and STILL didn't finish it! It was very good- the chicken was juicy, the lettuce was crisp and the croutons were crunchy! Coworkers also reported that their food was tasty as well. Take a look at the website, listed below, for their full menu!
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Paris Bread: Gourmet French in a Strip Mall
As of January 2006, I am sad to say that this place has lost some of its luster. It has new management and the food has been suffering.
I am a little bit afraid to tell people about this place as it is already crowded most nights.
This quaint place is quite the find. Serving exquisite french bistro cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. The owner, Bertrand (Burt), welcomes every guest. He even gave me restaurant suggestions for my upcoming trip to Paris.
Favorite Dish: Paris Bread has had glowing reviews in The Palm Beach Post, The Sun Sentinal and The Boca Raton News.
I highly recommend the French Onion Soup and the Steak au Poivre.
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Max's Grill: Max's of Mizner Park
Fabulous restaurant with asian & latin fusion food. Love the outside dining with the heat lamps, light display, people watching & holiday happenings at Mizner. Outdoor bar was really hopping. Service is attentive, menu fabulous, no complaints here!
Favorite Dish: Asian salmon spring roll had a sauce that was incredible. Caesar salad was good. Hong Hong Lettuce Wraps were disappointing; the lettuce was shredded & wouldn't wrap, filling was very drippy & messy.
Everything is pretty good but the Island Marinated Mahi-Mahi EntrÉe Baby Shrimp Fried Rice, Mango Salsa & Mango-Scotch Bonnet Sauce was incredible. Portions were a bit small, plates were very large. Menu seems larger with small plates, prix fix meals ... I missed the huge & lucious Veggie burger that I couldn't find on the menu.
Dessert wasn't anything too special. It was good, but we wanted to share the key lime pie and it was a small spoon full for each of us.
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Brewzzi's: Microbrewery with Great Food
Despite the unfortunate name, Brewzzi's places as much emphasis on food and mixed drinks as beer. Several visits over the last few years have been uniformly rewarding. A contemporary decor with brick, wood, natural materials and an open kitchen set the stage for a excellent mid-priced dining experience. A large bar attracts a similarly large hip crowd and a smoker-friendly patio offers outside dining. The generally young servers are competent and family groups including children are welcome. The menu offers typical pub appetizers, soups, and chilis from $5-12 and a large assortment of salads, sandwiches,pizzas, and pastas ranging up to $15. Entrees run up to $20 and include chicken, Italian dishes, fish, ribs, and steaks. The martinis are quite competently prepared.
Brewzzi's microbrewed beer offerings have won several awards for excellence. The Blonde Lager is the most popular, but a dark amber lager named Black Duke is also popular and there is usually a seasonal brew as well.
1/2/08 update - a continuing success story. An entree of pepper crusted tuna was as good if not better than one should expect in a bar, even an upscale bar. The mile high meat loaf is a mile high, and the bread on the meat loaf sandwich offering is superb. Go for the smashed potatoes - excellent side.
Favorite Dish: At various times we have eaten entrees - the meat loaf and herb-roasted chicken are superb- fresh excellent salads, great hamburgers, and for Boca Raton (but not for New York purists) surprisingly good pizzas - and been uniformly pleased. Non greasy onion rings and smashed potatoes are both great sides. In typical pub fashion, portions border on huge, particularly the entrees often good for leftovers. We are dining here with increasing frequency and recommend Brewzzi's very highly. 1/4/10 UPDATE - the roast half chicken is off the menu but new items have been added. And the food and drinks remain commendable.
Brewzzi: Good microbrewery and restaurant
Good Italian food and proper attention to serving a good pint here. Brewzzi is a good option if you are looking for either lunch or dinner in this part of South Florida. (The Brewmaster here has apparently won a slew of awards.)
The chicken parm sandwich is A LOT of food.
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arturo's ristorante: italian
arturo's ristorante is an excellent italian restaurant in boca raton. they serve italian meat, seafood, and pasta dishes. their torta primavera is very good. this restaurant is a florida trend golden spoon winner. in my opinion the best italian restaurant in boca.
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Addison Restaurant / Banyan Bar and Grille: Haute Dining in a Spectacular Setting
Addison Mizner was a famous S. Florida "character" in the early 1900s till his death in 1933 - known for wandering the streets in silk pajamas with his dogs. Artist, socialite, prizefighter, and renowned architect credited with Florida Spanish Revival architecture. He is perhaps best known for the Boca Raton Resort and Club. His name graces shopping malls, streets, condominiums, most everything. This 10 year old restaurant is located in the building which housed his offices and home and the setting is beautiful. A central courtyard with fountains and huge banyan trees is surrounded by classic a classic Spanish revival building with arcaded entrance and multiple dining areas surrounded by subdued yellow walls, dark wood trim, and scattered iron grillwork doors. Stone window arches and wall sconces are highlights. Even the sinks in the bathrooms contain paintings.
The chef is well known also - he came from Max's Grill in the Mizner Center in the mid-90's when it was probably the best dining spot in Boca ( we ate there often ). Prior to that, he worked at the Hotel Pierre in Manhattan.
The menu is extensive with a wide range of appetizers (($12-20), soups and salads somewhat less. The original concept was for a steakhouse and there are several beef offerings at $35-50 per person, as well as some sophisticated seafood dishes and a small section devoted to "comfort food" (shades of Max's). The former entrees are $30-40, the comfort food entrees are more comfortably priced in the high $20"s. The menu is alacarte although some dishes come with sides - ordered sides are all less than $10. Exquisite is the best word for the presentation of the meals. Service is understandably subdued and efficient. Some reviews describe the dining rooms as noisy - not on our visit with a full house. The setting is ultimately romantic and live music is offered most nights. This is a top flight dining venue, one of the best in Boca and highly recommended.
Favorite Dish: Martinis - the absolute hit of the night was the coconut martini, delicious and plentiful. My standard vodka martini was also well prepared.
Appetizers - the lump crab cake with mustard cayenne pepper butter on a bed of greens was spicy, large chunks of crab, delicious. Another top choice - bittermilk fried calimari with several dipping sauces including a memorable lemon flavored chili sauce.
Members of our group hit on each of the three entree classifications. My Lobster Shepherd's Pie with a whipped potato topping, roasted mushrooms, leeks, and corn was as delectable as it looked, although I suppose there could have been a bit more lobster ( the shells in the image were empty ). Of course, it was only a 1 pounder at $36. Porterhouse steak for two at $69 in an herbed oil with roasted potatoes was also very good and not the usual steak house fare. Scampi style shrimp with lemon pepper linguine was done in a garlic wine sauce - the flavor went right through the large jumbos.
Portions were large and surprisingly the dessert menu was typical steakhouse - I'm sure the offerings were as good as the rest of the meal as the restaurant has an in-house pastry chef - and we passed.
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