Chelsea Scholler

Dinner on a rainy evening begins with warm cups of rice barley tea, which tastes like toasted almonds and brings an immediate, earthy comfort. Next up is bulgogi, the classic barbecued beef dish that will make your mouth water for hours afterward. Gabose is one of the few Korean spots in South Florida where the thinly sliced beef is grilled at the table and accompanied by a cornucopia of side dishes essential to the meal. There's spicy kimchi cabbage and zucchini, sautéed mushrooms, perfectly pickled cabbage slaw. Mixed with the savory marinated beef and a bowl of rice, the vegetables create an addictive blend of flavors unlike anything else in the Asian food oeuvre. Then there's dolsot bibimbap, Korea's version of paella. In a sizzling cast-iron bowl, white rice and vegetables are topped with a sunny-side egg and chili pepper paste. The rice gets slightly burnt and crunchy on the bottom; the egg holds the mix together. It's impossible to stop eating, so instead you stay, listening to the laughter of kids at the next table and sipping that warm, toasty tea.

The pupusas, man. It's all about the pupusas. They might look like pancakes, but they're full of pork and cheese and beans, and if you put a takeout container of them on your passenger seat, it'll make your car go crooked. You'll never eat a Crunchwrap Supreme again — La Molienda's pupusas are $2.75 each and come with all the fixings you'll ever need; if your server doesn't speak very much English, just point at those bad boys on the menu, hold up two fingers, and try not to hug any of the staff when the meal is over. The service is great, and the food is inexpensive without sacrificing quality. Also check out the chicharróns and sugary plantain empanadas.

Sushi Bon is known for having the freshest sushi around, and there's a reason for that: Because of its location near a marina, it is one of the few restaurants legally allowed to buy fish fresh and straight off the boat from fishermen. (A weird Florida law stipulates that unless an eatery is next to a marina, fish must be bought from a distributor.) Sushi junkies stick to blackboard specials: often triggerfish, grouper, wahoo, or tilefish. But no matter what you order, the artful presentations will wow you. Chef Ebi Hana assembles simple, beautiful dishes in a traditional Japanese setting. No wonder this place is a destination for foodies and chefs off work. If you have not been, you must go.

Perhaps as a testament to the strength of the offerings at El Jefe Luchador, one can order an item sans a seemingly crucial ingredient and still fall madly in love with the result. Such was the case with a recent experiment with the namesake "quesadilla champion" at El Jefe Luchador. Though it arrives with al pastor (split roasted pork loin), the quesadilla with grilled pineapple, fried sweet potato, queso blanco, and salsa verde remains compellingly addictive when ordered minus meat. The combo of savory and sweet is a can't-lose proposition whether you have to go slightly "off menu" to order it without the swine or you choose to order it as written. Either way, spring for the chips and an order of guacamole as your sidecar and prepare to obsess over these.

Unlike a certain successful faux-talian restaurant chain, Talia's low prices don't come from middling-quality food and an efficient corporate formula. It's cheap because chef Andrew has cut out anything resembling a frill, including wait staff and nice table settings. Hell — there's even a self-serve beer station. All of the focus is on the food: Hero sandwiches stacked as thick as phone books with salty meats, homemade mozzarella, and piles of fresh vegetables; meatballs made on-premises; and pasta platters dressed in house-made marinara. Who needs table service — or greasy, bottomless breadbaskets, for that matter — when ten bucks is all it takes for a meal that would make Mom proud?

Entering this space, you may feel like you've wandered into the living room of a family member — a hip but slightly eccentric favorite aunt, perhaps. A splash of bright-pink paint here, a Victorian-style couch there, and small clusters of people everywhere giggling over glasses of wine and ripping apart pieces of pita to dip into dollops of creamy baba ghanouj and garlic-laced tabbouleh. The familial vibe makes sense; owner-chef Numan Unsal is joined by two of his sisters in operating the Pineapple Grove venue. Together, they turn out fun Turkish dishes with a subtlety that you won't find at other paint-by-numbers tourist Greek joints that dot the coastline.

Inside Sweetwater, the bar is brooding, framed by exposed brick, hardwood floors, and low light. Behind the bar, you're likely to find Sean Iglehart, a self-proclaimed bar man whose passion is mixology. It may take awhile to get a drink here, but that's because these handcrafted cocktails are among the finest around. Quality ingredients — homemade bitters, fresh fruit juices, esoteric gins, or bitter Amaro — go into classic recipes from yesteryear, such as a Ramos gin fizz, made with Plymouth sloe gin, lemon, simple syrup, club soda, egg whites, and a garnish in a highball glass. Or go for the Aviation, a lovely concoction of gin and the purplish Creme de Violette. Allow yourself the time and piece of mind to savor one (or three).

A proper British tea has no place in the heat of a South Florida summer, until that lazy afternoon when you crave an escape from the blazing sun. Behind the shade of white lace curtains, pastel-colored ladies' hats and gauzy wedding veils decorate the walls. From a bookshelf, a picture of Princess Di brings an aura of propriety to the proceedings. Tea arrives in pots covered in flowery cozies. This is a meal designed for long hours of gossip and languid sipping. Each of the tea sandwiches arrives in finger-sized slices — the crusts cut off, the main dish accompanied by slices of watermelon, greens, and flower-shaped curls of carrot. There's curried chicken salad, quiche, slices of cucumber, and cream cheese. But the scones are the main event. Warm and moist, just out of the oven, decorated with sweet morsels of cranberry, they are accompanied by lemon curd, jam, and a heavenly creation called clotted cream. This miracle bears no relation to tin-flavored Reddi-wip. It's like sweet, whipped butter, impossible to stop mopping up with crumbles of scone. That's why there's a full pot of tea — so you can keep sipping and munching for hours.

Rod Deal

There are lots of reasons to love Riverside Market: It transformed the sleepy Riverside Park neighborhood into a beer lover's mecca with plenty of regulars. The charming location is across the street from a red-and-white Bozo's sandwich shop and a little park and a stone's throw from a quaint swing bridge. And the beer selection is vast (529 kinds at last count) — and self-serve. Once you've hemmed and hawed and opened and closed the fridge doors eleventy billion times, grab your bottles, find a church key, and pull up a seat. (An informal hierarchy seems to dictate that the superregulars get the couches.) Fish tacos, fish dips, sandwiches, and soups are good for balancing out your beer intake. Event nights include tap takeovers (the place gave away a whole keg of Swamp Ape during Craft Beer Week in May) and winetastings, and a neighborhood secret is the dirt-cheap breakfasts: croissant sandwiches and produce-stuffed omelets.

Contrary to popular belief, vegetarians really love to eat. And no, not just piles of leafy greens and cold tofu. They want good, hearty meals as much as their steak-loving friends do. And that's just what Sara's Kosher Restaurant delivers. Family-owned and operated for more than a decade, this quaint eatery boasts an extensive menu of vegetarian and vegan options. Try the Rooster, a savory "chicken" breast golden fried in tempura and layered with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and cheese (dairy or vegan) on a fluffy challah roll with special sauce. In the mood for Italian? Snack on the Boston Beauty, a personal pizza dripping in vegetables and marinara sauce and topped with an extra layer of dough. Treat your bacon-craving friends to a dinner at Sara's and they might renounce meat-eating altogether.

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