Best of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of 2013

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Arts & Entertainment

Food & Drink

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Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Soul Food
Donnie's Place

Get a good home-cooked meal from a guy who grew up eating some of the area's best home-cooked meals. This restaurant is clean and comfortable with friendly service and a relaxed vibe. Just one year ago, the place reopened after a fire at its old location forced chef and owner Donnie Dobson to shut his doors. When he reopened, his devoted crowd was waiting, ready for more. Come hungry, because the place specializes in hearty meals like oxtail, chicken gizzards and souse, fried pork chops, and chicken, and the ribs are guaranteed to be fall-off-the-bone tender. The best of both worlds comes with the ribs and chicken combo. Sides include mac and cheese, fried okra, pigeon peas and rice, collard greens, corn bread, and lima beans. Wash it all down with Donnie's own version of Kool-Aid, the "Parker's Special" fruit punch made with real fruit and flavored naturally. End it with a slice of homestyle sweet potato pie, red velvet cake, or peach cobbler.

60 NW 5th Ave., Delray Beach, 33444
MAP
561-243-9996
Best Bartender
Jacques

Jacques Bruna is a man of many hats. A musician, a lyricist, a friend, a family man. In this case, Jacques (or "Bleubird") is a bartender, and a damned fine one at that. Working at Laser Wolf for just a little under a year, Jacques tends bar "to make helicopter cash," he says. Still, Bruna takes pride in his work, describing all of the hours there as "happy" when asked for advice on the best time to come in for a drink, and everything is "special." Ask him for a recommendation and Bruna will tell you that Laser Wolf "only serves the best beer, so you can't go wrong!" He knows your name, remembers your face, and if he doesn't say much, it's because he's listening. Fast with his wit, Bruna is even faster on his feet. When one night, a regular suddenly started looking ill and feeling even worse, the man stepped up when no one else would to drive this friend and patron home safely (because no one else knew how to drive stick). Don't rely on the bartenders at Laser Wolf as a regular cab service, but that is the stuff a Best Bartender is made of. "He really wasn't doing so good," Bruna says. "I had never seen him like that. Bartender or not—why wouldn't you help someone if you could?" After all, the sign on the door does say "No Jerks."

901 Progresso Dr., Fort Lauderdale, 33304
MAP
954-667-9373
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1507 S. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach, 33435
MAP
561-509-9277
Best Pizza
Annie's Pizza & Subs of Margate

No category is more hotly contested than Best Pizza. Everyone has an opinion, and with so many former New Yorkers living in our midst, most of those opinions are negative. (We get it. New York has the best pizza.) But Annie's Pizza & Subs meets all the requirements for a perfect pie: Slices are bigger than your face. There's a good sauce-to-cheese ratio. And when you bite in — scalding the roof of your mouth a little because you just couldn't wait — the cheese stretches the length of your arm before breaking loose yet doesn't slide off in a cheese avalanche. At Annie's, when you fold the slice at the top, grease drips down your arm, and the tip of the floppy slice points downward at a 45-degree angle. Feel free to argue that you can't get good pizza down here and write an essay extolling the magical properties of New York water in the baking of pizza dough. After rousing from our pizza-induced coma, we're going to actively ignore you and eat another slice.

2524 N. State Road 7, Margate, 33063-5722
MAP
954-970-5117
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516 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Oakland Park, 33334
MAP
954-565-7100
Best Falafel

Run by Mohod Flafil and his wife, Hanna, this is not just a falafel stand. The goods here range from yogurt soda to hookah tobacco to halal meats from the deli. If you've been hunting down a rare ingredient or craving some baklava, this well-organized, clean, brightly lit little shop is the place to stop. Then, of course, there's the falafel. Hanna (who prepares the food) is not stingy — there are plenty of crispy chickpea balls in the nearly foot-long tube of pita bread — which is baked and delivered to the shop every day but Sunday. A falafel sandwich comes with tomatoes, onion, pickles, and tahini sauce, but they will gladly leave off any topping you don't want. The falafel meal includes a drink and a piece of baklava. (Do NOT skip the baklava.) Falafel balls are also available minus the sandwich for 70 cents apiece.

4344 U.S. 441, Coconut Creek, 33073
MAP
954-752-8340
Best Burger

Tucked away in a converted house on the outskirts of Delray Beach's Pineapple Grove is the juiciest, meatiest, most delicious burgers that can be found in South Florida. On the corner of NE Third Street and Third Avenue, the appropriately named 3rd & 3rd creates burger magic. A firm brioche bun cradles a perfectly seared patty of luscious beef with lettuce, tomato, onion, and choice of pepper jack, cheddar, Swiss, or blue cheese. Those ingredients alone make for the perfect burger. Add the balsamic red onion jam and you have yourself a match made in heaven.

301 NE Third Ave., Delray Beach, 33444
MAP
561-303-1939
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208 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale, 33301
MAP
954-525-7656
Best French Fries
Gilbert's 17th Street Grill

Traditional fries have an old-school appeal that means they'll always be the most popular kid in school: the quarterback, the letterman, the prom king. But like the intense, art-school loner who charms all the ladies, there's something special about the orange-hued uniqueness of a sweet-potato fry. And when they're hand-cut and fried to a light, gentle crisp, it's easy to pass up your average-joe potato. At the family-owned Gilbert's 17th Street Grill, you can pair 'em with a juicy burger or make 'em your main course — they're downright addictive. They'll come out piping hot, sitting coyly atop newsprint. Place your order at the counter and sit a spell in the casual, no-frills dining room. Once you've inhaled an order or two, you may need to be rolled out. But a tryst with these homemade treasures is well worth the aftermath.

1821 Cordova Rd., Fort Lauderdale, 33316
MAP
954-768-8990
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208 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale, 33301
MAP
954-525-7656
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Best Soul Food: Donnie's Place

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