Best of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of 2012

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  • + Margate
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  • + North Palm Beach
  • + Oakland Park
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  • + Out of Town
  • + Outside South Florida
  • + Palm Beach
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  • + Parkland
  • + Pembroke Pines
  • + Plantation
  • + Pompano Beach
  • + Riviera Beach
  • + Sea Ranch Lakes
  • + South Beach
  • + South Dade
  • + South Miami
  • + Sunrise
  • + Sunrise/Plantation
  • + Tamarac
  • + Treasure Coast
  • + Unknown
  • + Wellington
  • + West Dade
  • + West Palm Beach
  • + Weston
  • + Wilton Manors
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Best Of :: Readers' Choice

Best Hairstylist
Sofia Navarro at Salon Mantra

The Salon Mantra's website spells out its mission: "To create a salon environment as unique to this planet as our clients are to us." It's clear Salon Mantra co-owner Sofia Navarro is helping meet that goal, considering she has won this poll two years in a row. The mission statement ends: "We will live this by keeping our Mantra one of trust, love, and beauty. After all... isn't that what it's about?" Yes, apparently it is.

3337 NE 33rd St., Fort Lauderdale, 33308
MAP
954-396-4247
Best Broward County Restaurant
Sublime Restaurant & Bar
Michele Sandberg

Gourmet diners have long had Sublime as their go-to, a restaurant founded by animal-rights activist Nanci Alexander and serving an entirely vegan, and partly organic, menu. Sublime has always been beautiful, with its water wall and open brick oven and its inventive list of "healthy" cocktails and organic wines. The food lives up to the name, from a delicious tempura-battered cauliflower "frito misto" to a gorgeous sublime roll wrapped in grasshopper-greensoy paper. Classic Margherita pizza from the wood-burning oven could totally go crust-to-crust with the best brick-oven pizzas in South Florida. And a braised spinach, wood-fired artichoke, and roasted shallot "quiche" lacking either eggs or cream is a knockout. Presentation is exquisite.

1431 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, 33304
MAP
954-615-1431
Best Pizza
Tucci's Fire N Coal Pizza

This wood-oven pizzeria sits in a standalone building near Mizner Park punctuated by a large brick oven and a few rows of brightly colored industrial tables. The single-page menu features chicken wings, Italian salad, a handful of appetizers, and a few specialty pizzas (eggplant, broccoli rabe and sausage, Margherita). But the pizza is a treat. The crust crackles with a snappish crunch, and the sauce is garlicky and rich. Even better is the capricious nature of the cheese, which randomly finds its way into every other bite without ever getting rubbery.

50 NE First Ave., Boca Raton, 33432
MAP
561-620-2930
Best Radio Personality

Last year, Le Batard launched upward and onward from his days as Miami Herald columnist, local radio personality, and occasional guest host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption. Now he's all marquee, with his name on his own show. Appropriately, he kept that personality that made him "the hatable Dan Le Batard" and called his show Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable. He's also highly unpredictable. Take the fact that he hosts his show with his father, Gonzalo. It's like nothing else you'll see on the ESPN networks, and that's exactly what makes it good.

Best Beer Selection
Laser Wolf

Located where NE Fourth Avenue meets the train tracks, Laser Wolf fits in an unusual triangular space. The place vibrates with bright-red walls, a mural by pro skateboarder Kris Markovich, and the runaway trendiness of a crowd that gathers between its walls to drink sake and locally crafted microbrews. Ashtrays feature the Misfits' skull logo, and even the chairs made the trip from the moody-hip downtown hangout the Poorhouse. Dance parties instinctively emerge in front of the DJ's corner setup, while an adjacent, charming courtyard hosts bands for the rock-devoted.

901 Progresso Dr., Fort Lauderdale, 33304
MAP
954-667-9373
Best Burrito Joint
Zona Fresca

Welcome to the "Fresh Zone," where the Cal-Mex fare lives up to the joint's name. Everything here is made daily on the premises, from lard-free beans to guacamole to cilantro-spiked rice. Baja-style Mexican food includes the best fish tacos and shrimp burritos in Fort Lauderdale. Portions are huge and prices ridiculously reasonable.

1635 N. Federal Highway, Wilton Manors, 33305
MAP
954-566-1777
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1095 S. University Dr., Plantation, 33324
MAP
954-370-3332
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800 N. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach, 33062
MAP
954-781-0030
Blue Willy's Barbecue Critics' Pick
Best Barbecue
Blue Willy's Barbecue

The best barbecue has always been the kind of spots you might see along county roads in the Deep South, just like Blue Willy's. This food truck sets up at various locations around Fort Lauderdale, including a regular stop at 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays at SE First Avenue and SE Sixth Street. Go for the brisket or St. Louis-style ribs, which will make you feel like you've pulled up to a pit master in rural Alabama, just like barbecue ought to be.

613 SE First Ave., Broward / Palm Beach, 33301
MAP
954-224-6120
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1190 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park,
MAP
954-224-6120
Best Burger
Relish

Relish, in the cozy and quaint Northwood Village, is the ultimate mix-and-match burger joint. Choose from 12 types of burgers: beef, all-white-meat turkey, tuna, mahi-mahi, crab, shrimp, black bean, mushroom, lamb, buffalo, veal, or lobster, all of which are freshly ground or made in-house each day. Next, add any number of Relish's 20-plus gourmet toppings. There are relatively normal offerings, like lettuce slaw and drunken onions cooked in lager. And then there's the wacky stuff you would never have thought to put on a burger in a million years, like oven-roasted beets with fresh herbs or shaved asparagus with white wine and tarragon. The freedom of choice is mirrored on down the menu, from fries and onion rings (top them with your choice of six gourmet salts) to milk shakes (there are more than a dozen flavors) to cookies (six varieties with six dipping sauces).

401 Northwood Rd., West Palm Beach, 33407
MAP
561-629-5377
Best Palm Beach County Restaurant
The Office
Ian Witlen

This Delray Beach gastropub is all about indulgence but, most pointedly, bacon. A glance down the menu reveals bacon in salad, bacon smothering macaroni and cheese, bacon on burgers, and bacon finishing off a tray of souped-up tater tots. If you count the various forms of pork and ham employed by the kitchen, then there are also Serrano-wrapped scallops, Spanish toast with tomatoes and ham, and a retooling of pork and beans where the pork is, in fact, pork belly (read: bacon). And lest you think the bacon bus stops there, for dessert, you can order perhaps the restaurant's greatest triumph: a maple-glazed doughnut topped with — what else? — bacon. It's all consumed in a rollicking 1950s atmosphere that's a cross between a Madison Avenue office building and a Dick Van Dyke-era home study. Cocktails are picture-perfect and delivered by a bow-tied staff, and craft beer flows liberally from the bar.

201 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 33444
MAP
561-276-3600
Best Rock Band

Named Best Of Live Band by in 2010, Community Property has gone undefeated in every South Florida battle of the band in which it's participated. Proud to be "Sunrise boys," Community Property has been rocking in Broward for six years now. The band's frontman, Lucien Sawyer, writes all the lyrics, and the band comes up with melodies. In addition to Jimi Hendrix comparisons, Community Property brings together a wealth of dirty blues and soul that will run you as ragged as any Black Keys guitar romp. Keep your ears peeled; the band will be dropping a self-titled album this summer.

Best Club DJ

From his Facebook fan page comes this bio: "Growing up in the Wax Trax era of Chicago music and moving to South Florida in my Teenage years gave me an eclectic taste. Always working in the background promoting and working with artists, I started DJ'ing on a dare and hit the ground running." He sure did, and you can find LinderSMASH at Fort Lauderdale's Green Room on Thursdays through Saturdays and on rotation at the Fetish Factory.

Best Local Hip-Hop Artist

With current-day experimental electronic music so often divided along trendy blog lines, it's refreshing to hear a local act resurrect a term you don't hear too much on Hype Machine and the like — trip-hop. But the local three-piece Astrea Corporation does, indeed, pick up a strain of boom-bap beats and wrap it in all kinds of lush but electronic beats. It updates that '90s sound, though, with contemporary left-field flourishes, from looping, echoing vocals to the occasional warped bass line and drum 'n' bass inflection. On some tracks, like the meandering, almost yodelly "Artifact A," they even get positively New Agey.

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Best Hairstylist: Sofia Navarro at Salon Mantra

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