It wasn't all that long ago that Delray Beach was just like any other South Florida beach town — excepting, of course, Palm Beach proper. Oh, how times have changed.
In 1985, the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) began its plans to revitalize the city by cleaning up the neighborhoods, preserving historic buildings, and stimulating the local economy. Next, the CRA joined forces with the City of Delray Beach, the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Development Authority to establish a special Downtown Marketing Cooperative to get the area more foot traffic in the form of a number of specialty and foodie-focused events.
Today, you'd hardly recognize downtown Delray Beach if you haven't strolled its streets since 2010. It's become one of South Florida's go-to culinary capitals, and now cities across Broward and Palm Beach counties are attempting to emulate its
We delivered this list to you in 2013, but since then, we've seen a number of new restaurants pop up across the city. So we figured it was about time to compile an updated top ten. And here they are, the best new restaurants in Delray Beach.
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10. Bistro 241
Bistro 241 opened in January 2013 as another addition to downtown Delray Beach's quiet Pineapple Grove, located just a few blocks north of the bustling restaurant scene off Atlantic Avenue. Owner Elie
9. The New Vegan
The New Vegan opened in the summer of 2013 and since that time has been redefining what innovative, raw, and vegan food should taste like. Located on a side street just north of Atlantic Avenue, the entrance may seem hidden, but the windows say it all: "Juice Bar: Home of the no ice, no water smoothie" and "No GMO, No Dairy, No Wheat, No Soy, No Gluten — No Kidding." The owner is
8. Mussel Beach
When you hear the name "Mussel Beach," the first image that might pop into your head is a swath of oceanfront sand occupied with a dozen or so tanned, oil-slicked men clad in nothing but Speedos and Ray-Bans. Rest assured that's not what you'll get at Mussel Beach, where owner Mark Mezzencello has partnered with Rotelli CEO Joseph Bilotti to revamp a corner spot at Federal Highway and Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach. The swank shellfish and seafood concept dazzles with a menu by chef Aaron Bender, a Florida Culinary Institute graduate who began his career at Dan Marino's Fine Food and Spirits in Coral Springs before moving to the Beach House Hotel in Miami. For a chef who enjoys working with seafood, Mussel Beach was a perfect fit. As the name suggests, the highlight of the menu revolves around Prince Edward Island mussels served in a variety of flavors, by the pound, in wooden buckets. Of the 15 options, the classic garlic, shallots, white wine, and butter is a top pick. However, there are more exotic offerings like creamy lobster bisque, spicy fra
Restaurateurs Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich — as well as partner David Robinson — have gone and done it again. Late last year, the trio rebranded longtime Delray Beach late-night hot spot Deluxe into a sexy, sophisticated lounge where you can dance, drink, eat, and mingle until the wee hours. So, yeah, Honey isn't really a restaurant. But it's not really a nightclub either. It's a little bit of both. Enjoy the extended happy hour, from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with an exclusive small-plates menu compliments of 32 East's executive chef, Nick Morfogen. Selections change daily depending on what's new and fresh from the 32 East kitchen. Signature items make repeat appearances, however, including wood-fired pizzas, tacos, specialty pasta dishes, and salads. Honey is located at 16 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-270-7187, or visit honeydelray.com.
6. Papa's Tapas
Papas Tapas may not be as new as some others on this list, but it's one Delray Beach restaurant that is worth the shout. Located in a quaint shopping plaza in Pineapple Grove, this hidden gem offers fresh, authentic Spanish cuisine from a family with more than 20 years experience in the business. During the
5. 3rd & 3rd
In the heart of Pineapple Grove's artists' district, at the corner of Northeast Third Avenue and Northeast Third Street, you'll find a clandestine eatery beloved by locals in-the-know. Because the restaurant has no sign,
4. Max's Social House
South Florida restaurateur Dennis Max and his partners in The Max Group opened Max's Social House — or SoHo — off Federal Highway in Delray Beach early in 2015. The restaurant offers a full range of American-style small-plates, accented with craft cocktails, beer, and an eclectic wine list. The 2,000-square-foot restaurant is housed in a historic Delray Beach cottage, complete with a covered brick garden patio surrounded by lush landscaping. Although the interior was given a complete overhaul, it still features the home's original brick fireplace behind the bar. "SoHo" sticks to Max's mantra of featuring all-natural meats, local fresh produce and fish, seasonal menus, and a killer Sunday brunch. Max's Social House is located at 116 NE 6th Ave., Delray Beach. Call or visit facebook.com/maxssocialhouse.
3. El Camino
It just makes sense that the owners of Cut 432 and Park Tavern decided to bring the taste of the taco to downtown Delray Beach with their new taquería-ish El Camino. Creators Brandon Belluscio, Brian Albe, and Anthony Pizzo have delivered Mexican soul-food and a top-notch tequila bar — which opened its doors December 2013 — just off the city's Atlantic Ave. restaurant row. The establishment offers patrons a taste of Mexico through the lens of executive chef Victor Meneses, originally from Juarez, Mexico. Schooled at the L'Acadamie de Cuisine in Maryland, he spent five years learning from the likes of Michel Richard and Todd Gray cooking everything from French to Italian. Mexican, however, is where Meneses' heart is, and El Camino represents many of the unique dishes he ate as a
2. Smoke BBQ
Last year, one of downtown Delray Beach's favorite weekend haunts, Union, closed its doors.Owners Scott Kennedy and Steve Chin wasted no time transforming their popular sushi restaurant and late-night destination into a sleek new barbecue joint dubbed Smoke BBQ. And now the aroma of good, old-fashioned barbecue — that hypnotizing smell of charred pig and smoked meat — comes compliments of BBQ legend, executive chef Bryan Tyrell, one of the world's most lauded competitive barbecuers. The Kansas City, Missouri, native is officially a South Florida transplant, however, and is making his mark despite a famous past cooking for Kansas City's Oklahoma Joe's. The menu offers everything from pulled chicken and pork or
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If you love fresh-flavored Mediterranean fare — and keeping slim — the hunt for a new favorite restaurant may soon be over. In partnership with executive chef David Blonsky, Burt Rapoport's latest modern pan-Mediterranean eatery,
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.