Best of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of 2011

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Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Beer
Der Chancellor, Tequesta Brewing Co.

The Tequesta Brewing Co. is a perfect mixture of old and new. The always-packed tap room sports modern flourishes like exposed metal rafters and dark-blue lighting that makes the stainless-steel brewing vessels visible from the bar look like UFOs about to take flight. Complementing that is vintage-style black-and-white photography and a 100-year-old bar that looks like it was taken straight out of a German bier garden. TBC's beers are all topnotch, from the smooth and drinkable Gnarly Barley to the heavy-hitting Double IPA injected with nitrogen. But the one that best represents owner Matt Webster's ability to toe that contemporary/classical divide is Der Chancellor, a German-style Kölsch that pours a beautiful shade of pale gold. In authentic fashion, this light-bodied lager is well-carbonated, with an almost champagne-like finish. But where Webster introduces a bit of good ol' American ingenuity is in the hops, a heady dose that's slightly bitter but extremely aromatic. The result is a brew that demands another round — and one you can appreciate no matter how old- (or new-)school a beer drinker you are.

287 S. U.S. 1, Jupiter, 33469
MAP
561-745-5000
Best Restaurant in Broward County
Grateful Palate

Once solely an upscale provisioning company for yachties, the Grateful Palate in Fort Lauderdale successfully evolved into a contemporary restaurant just last year. In the newly overhauled wine lounge, you'll find both aficionados and novices sipping on global wines from family-owned vineyards. It is so serious about wine, the Grateful Palate regularly offers wine and food pairing events, classes, and tastings. Besides the 300-plus wine choices, it's the inventive, contemporary menu that lures in first-timers and keeps those from the provisioning days returning for more. The pan-seared seafood is succulent and fresh, and the duck breast with beurre noisette is mind-numbingly delicious, as is the bone-in fillet with truffled potatoes. In keeping with many other gourmet restaurants in town, Grateful Palate has made its bed in an unassuming strip mall. No matter; the liquor store and laundromat next door won't take away from this upscale dining experience.

817 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale, 33316
MAP
954-467-1998
Best New Restaurant in Palm Beach
Buccan
Candace West

Almost from the minute it opened in January, Clay Conley's Buccan was the hottest dining ticket in Palm Beach. Named after the wooden grill used to cook over an open fire in the Caribbean, it might not be quite the restaurant you'd expect in the playground of the obscenely rich and inexplicably famous, neatly splitting the difference between upscale sophistication and casual comfort. The space itself offers an ambiance for almost every mood, from a small bar and sofa-bedecked lounge to bustling main dining room and intimate dining area by the glassed-in wine room. The food is equally accommodating (not to mention ravishing), treating more adventurous palates to choices like sweetbread and mushroom spring roll and Korean short-rib tacos while cosseting conservative taste buds with herb-roasted chicken and ricotta gnocchi Bolognese. Prices, however, are comforting to wallets of all dimensions, with a roster of small plates ranging from $5 to $12 and many dishes available in half and full portions.

350 S. County Rd., Palm Beach, 33480
MAP
561-833-3450
Best New Restaurant in Broward
Rok:Brgr

Chef and co-owner Marc Falsetto knew just what was missing in Fort Lauderdale's Himmarshee Village when he brought us Rok:Brgr. Brick walls and dark wood create a chic vibe at this small, trendy eatery. What makes Rok:Brgr such an outstanding addition to the boozy village is the fusion of comfort and gourmet foods — perfect for satisfying an alcohol-induced food craving while wearing your best shirt. Watch the nightlife unfold at an outdoor patio table while gulping a frosty-cold microbrew. Or sip on a bacon-infused Maker's Mark to wash down dishes such as Mom's meat loaf or short rib grilled cheese. And no late-night craving is void of a yearning for thick, juicy burgers. Satisfy the urge with the innovative Peggy burger — Black Angus beef and pulled short rib matched with horseradish cheddar and bourbon barbecue sauce. Or the delicious Las Olas burger with Wagyu beef and Gruyère cheese atop a buttery brioche bun. Don't forget the variety of fries, including the poutine, hand-cut and smothered with gravy and cheese curds; the Parmesan reggiano with truffle oil; and the sweet potato fries with garlic aioli. Food this good is satisfying during both p.m. and a.m. Rock on, burger dudes.

208 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale, 33301
MAP
954-525-7656
Best Burger
Old Fashioned Cheeseburger at Big City Dogs
Photo by Eric Barton

A generous half-pound beef patty charred to a crisp on the outside with a tender pink inside, smothered in melted cheese and sandwiched amid cold lettuce, fresh tomatoes, onions, mayo, and pickle spears on a hearty fresh Kaiser roll — that's the Old Fashioned Cheeseburger, and there's no reason to detour from a perfect classic. This creation — an impeccable assemblage of everything that makes a burger fucking amazing — is not for the faint of heart. Take a fork and a handful of napkins, because you'll need to hoover everything that falls out the back when you bite into whichever side you deem the front. The pickle spears and mayo make the meat slip and slide on the roll like a game of hard to get with someone you lust after madly. But, of course, that burger is yours in the end, and you'll undoubtedly be jonesing for a second date by the end of the week.

1199 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park, 33334
MAP
954-776-4744
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2451 S. University Dr., Davie, 33324
MAP
954-888-1338
Best Steak House
Cut 432

Most steak houses are mausoleums of meat, boneyards of beef, retirement homes for carnivores. There's the obligatory dark wood and brass rail décor, which was really, really hip... in 1920. There's the pretentious, stultifying ambiance — half snobby suburban country club, half pompous dillweed. There's the usual roster of side dishes — shrimp cocktail, creamed spinach, hash browns, and the like — that have been around since the invention of food. Even if the steaks are good, everything else is so dull and dated that you feel like you've been dropped into an old black-and-white episode of Leave It to Beaver. Then there's Cut 432. The beef is pedigreed and killer — wet- and dry-aged, USDA Prime, Wagyu, Niman Ranch. The sides are actually interesting — beet and pistachio salad, blue cheese tater tots, pancetta-roasted Brussels sprouts. And the sleek, modern dining room and rollicking good-timey atmosphere are anything but old and tired. You don't go to Cut to retire; you go to live.

432 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 33483
MAP
561-272-9898
Best Margarita
Prickly Pear Margarita at Canyon Southwestern Cafe

The prickly pear margarita at Canyon is pink enough to give you advance visual warning that this is not your average tequila cocktail. But worry not: The bright color does not mean it's going to be sickeningly sugary like most festively hued drinks. It's perfect: sweet in a way that's complementary to the sour of lime and sour in a way that delivers a gentle pucker without curling your tongue into submission. The fruit of the prickly pear cactus is subtly pleasing like fresh watermelon and pairs with tequila better than meatballs with spaghetti. Balance is key to the margarita, and this specimen walks a tightrope of secret ingredients without faltering one bit. Canyon bartenders serve up the drink to a usually full bar of well-dressed locals, so arrive early if you want a seat to enjoy the most delicious pink drink in town — a Fort Lauderdale fixture as much as the adjacent Gateway Theater marquee.

1818 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 33304
MAP
954-765-1950
Best Poured Guinness
The Field Irish Pub & Eatery

The elusive best poured Guinness: a chilled, ruby-colored brew buried deep in a pint glass and crowned with a creamy, frothy head that coats your throat on the way down. Maybe the Irish have fire in their blood because, west of Ireland, finding this heady, alcohol-filled treasure done right is rarer than finding gold at the end of a rainbow. But at the Field, a dollhouse-like Irish pub, you can settle on the outdoor patio (under the shade of an enormous banyan tree) and have a pretty bartender pour you a pint of pure perfection. The Field may not be close to Ireland, but it's certainly close to heaven.

3281 Griffin Rd., Dania Beach, 33312
MAP
954-964-5979
Best Martini
Trina

A swanky, sultry hotel lounge with an ambiance that inspires sex and a view that stares straight out at the sparkling sea? Adding awesome martinis — a perfect classic and a unique collection of specialties, including the award-winning Cubeltini — can only make that better.

601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 33304
MAP
Best Bloody Mary
Rosie's Bar & Grill

Rosie's bloody mary is a drink most blessed and revered: It's spicy enough to wake you up, tangy enough to please your taste buds, and filling enough to combat even the nastiest of hangovers. It's like a big, welcoming bowl of (alcoholic) tomato soup and even perfectly acceptable by most social standards to consume before noon — lavish brunch not required. But should you opt for it, Rosie has you covered: "Sunday Funday Brunch" takes place every Sunday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and during this very special time, you can procure $2 Ultimate Bloody Marys. They're cheap enough to down a lot of 'em and good enough to guarantee you'll never get a mary elsewhere again.

2449 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors, 33305
MAP
954-567-1320
Best Specialty Drink
Da Big Kahuna's Jungle Juice

Da Big Kahuna's Jungle Juice is an intoxicating, tropical-themed elixir that deserves this award if for no other reason than because there is no category for "Best Drink With Which to Knock an Entire Sorority on Its Collective Ass." The Juice is served in a giant plastic seashell with multiple straws and partially submerged pieces of fruit, all of which have spent adequate time floating in this magic potion to become potent themselves. Whether you're dosing out-of-towners or downing the whole thing yourself, the Jungle Juice is novel, fun, and delicious, and it will totally fuck you up.

17 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 33316
MAP
954-530-4867
Best Cheap Thrill
Walking the Plank at the Pirate Bar

You've been at the beach for hours, you've had a few beers, you have no plans for the entire afternoon, but you're getting sleepy. It's scorching outside — too hot to drink coffee and too pleasant to go home. Solution: Brush the sand off your ass and go to the Pirate Bar to walk the plank. It's a sake bomb but much more fun. Once you walk down Pirate Alley, just north of Las Olas, between Spazio and a junky gift shop, you'll encounter a dark enclave that is the diviest of beach bars. There, the bartender lines up booze-filled cups, balancing shots of sake on chopsticks over beer glasses; slam the bar and guzzle — and all for four bucks.

234 Almond Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 33316
MAP
954-779-7677
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Best Beer: Der Chancellor, Tequesta Brewing Co.

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