Best Teahouse - 2005
Belle & Maxwell's
Ladies who shop and then lunch have enjoyed leisurely afternoon tête-à-têtes at Belle and Maxwell's for years; it's time they scooched over their Chanel-clad fannies and made room for the rest of us. In the heart of West Palm's Antique Row, where uniformed chauffeurs keep the Bentley running while Madam dickers over the price of a Louis XIV end table, Belle & Maxwell's is an excellent place to lean back with a pot of Earl Grey and forget for the moment that the social contract is crumbling around us. The space is surpassingly luxe, calme et volupté, full of flowers and plump pillows; a back door opens onto a tiny, sunlit patio. Try the pear and gorgonzola salad ($9), a brie baguette with apple and walnuts ($8), or a slice of homemade quiche with gazpacho ($9), but damn it, don't skimp on the sweets! They're homemade by the ladies who run the place: key lime pound cake, chocolate croissant bread pudding, an almond joy tart, apple praline pie, chocolate espresso truffle cake. Ten bucks buys you a "sampler choice of four." Go get your just desserts. Open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.