I ate at the Reef Grill/Captain Charlie's last Thursday when I went to St. Louis Cardinals spring training for a couple of days, and the tour books underestimated this place despite their praise. I asked for fish that a Chicagoan would be unlikely to find up north, and my friendly and knowledgeable waiter pointed out seven different fish, each of which he described for me. I began with a really nice fennel cream soup with shrimp; had a wahoo salad on greens with plantains (!), and a side of rice and beans; an imported nonalcoholic beer [I don't drink]; and a spectacular peach cobbler with equally spectacular and flavorful vanilla ice cream for dessert. Total bill (before tip): $30.06! Good thing I don't live down there, they'd have to charge me rent at the restaurant because I'd be there so often...
Best Seafood Restaurant - 2002
Captain Charlie's Reef Grill
Readers' Choice: Shells
There isn't much in Juno Beach except pine scrub, sand, and ocean, and the locals like it that way. It isn't Old Florida anymore -- too many condo communities now blanket the coast -- but the sense of connection to the sea lingers. Boating is a big deal here, and some of Palm Beach County's most dedicated fishermen call the area home. Bringing high expectations to the dinner table when they're in the mood for seafood, these folks skip the crab-house tourist traps around the Jupiter Inlet to the north and head to this inconspicuous boite on U.S. 1. A casual atmosphere, moderate prices, and succulent fresh fish, any style, are the heart of the place. The chef's flair for pastas and appetizers by way of the bayou and the islands is a kicker. The joint is jammed every night in season, but it's worth the wait.