Though most people lump all Italian food into the same category, ingredients and preparations across Italy's 20 regions are crazy varied. Italian Red Sauce's specialty is right there in the name, and it's all about the heavily sauced Italian-American classics, inspired by southern Italy. This is the food most Americans think about when they say "Let's do Italian." This restaurant is as much about family as it is the food. All plates come in larger sizes for sharing, even though single orders are more than enough for one person. It's the kind of place to go with a large group of people, a thirst for wine, and several hours to laugh and eat. Even if you order the short ribs and gnocchi special for one ($19.95), you'll have plenty left over for a late-night snack.

To assess whether a great Chinese hole in the wall is truly great, ask yourself: Is it hard to find? Are there lots of actual Chinese people there? Are there authentic dishes Americans might shy away from? China Pavilion is tucked into an inside corner of a sprawling Miramar strip mall and is full of Chinese people and curious Chinese dishes. Yet what really sets Miramar's China Pavilion above the rest is the bounty of fresh seafood. Tanks stacked two high and three wide nearly cover an entire wall toward the back of the restaurant and hold tilapia, lobster, and golden crab. Watch as cooks pluck a one-and-a-quarter-pound lobster out of the tank and toss it into a wok with a punchy rich ginger scallion sauce ($32.95 for two). Whole tilapia goes for $8.95 a pound. The silver and red fish is steamed whole, drenched in a soy sauce and Chinkiang vinegar mixture. Oh, and the dim sum is pretty good too.

Everyone loves those crazy, loud Maryland-style seafood houses where you can crack open your food straight onto the table. It's cathartic to take out your deep-seated aggression by banging the crap out of some crabs. However, it's not exactly the way to make a good impression on a first date — or any other social situation that requires you to act like an adult. For mature seafood cravings, there's PB Catch. Situated on Palm Beach, this little gem of a spot offers fresh, clean seafood in a fresh, clean environment. Dishes like mussels in Thai basil broth with coconut and lotus root chips ($15), Parmesan-macadamia-zucchini-crusted mahi-mahi with arugula, avocado, orange, and toasted coconut ($29), and Chilean sea bass with caramelized soy-infused Brussels sprouts, enoki mushrooms, glazed baby carrots, and crispy leeks ($39) highlight the globally inspired, sustainable fare.

There are occasions when nothing less than the best will do: marriage proposals, 50th anniversaries, dropping the infidelity bomb. And for these momentous evenings, the awe-inspiring view from Top of the Point will impress even the most difficult of dining companions. The food is classic, upscale American cuisine — a jumbo lump crab cake ($19), petite Maine lobster rolls ($16), herb-roasted rack of lamb ($45), a prime NY strip ($48). But it's the view that really sells at this swanky spot. Sit with your S.O. and gaze at the unsurpassed beauty of South Florida. The mansions of the rich and famous, the yacht-laden marinas of the Palm Beaches, the vast blue expanse of the Atlantic Ocean — it's all within reach from here. There's no better place to do a little buttering up. It's hard to stay mad when you're looking down from heaven.

The Delray Delivery Dudes started out as the brainchild of Jayson Koss. He contends that he and his friends were so lazy, they wished they could get anything they wanted delivered to them. Since no such service existed, at least not in South Florida, they started a business and delivered stuff themselves. Their resulting concierge delivery service, aptly named the Delivery Dudes, started off in Delray Beach, the perfect place to tempt customers with home delivery because it has so many amazing restaurants. Needing little more than a cell phone and a portable credit-card reader, the Dudes took off and have since expanded their business to Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Wellington, Deerfield Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. All deliveries are only $7 ($5 cash) — half of which goes to the driver and the other half to the business, though tipping is still encouraged. Our favorite order: a weekly delivery of milk and eggs from Heritage Hen Farm for $15, which is just so retro.

Too many South Florida restaurateurs take the easy way out in terms of design. Minimalist art, chrome fixtures, white furniture as far as the eye can see: Frankly, it's dull and more than a little played-out. When Mike Saperstein and Evan David last year debuted their first full-service restaurant, they sidestepped the "IKEA showroom meets South Beach salon" aesthetic entirely. The duo hired Lake Worth artist Adam Sheetz to blanket the entire space from front to back and top to bottom in original, one-of-a-kind art. Sheetz's cheeky paintings and collage-like tabletops (each one is different) inject a level of personality seldom seen in South Florida restaurants, let alone in staid Boca Raton. Odds and ends (glass jars, wooden boxes, and other curios) blend with a mix of reclaimed and refinished furniture.

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For years, Giovanni Rocchio churned out delicious Northern Italian fare to wide-eyed, smitten customers in a strip mall on Federal Highway. An impressive wine list, impeccable service, and a comfortable, intimate atmosphere kept customers and critics raving for years. Then Rocchio kicked it up a notch by moving the restaurant to a new, larger, more open location. Today, you can still get his fresh handmade pastas — like the famous ham and egg raviolo, a whimsical dish filled with ricotta, asparagus, and egg yolk finished in truffle butter and pancetta ($21); and the Cavatelli, a comforting plate of pasta osso buco, bone marrow, and ricotta salata ($26) — but in a bright, European-inspired interior with white walls, rustic accents, and a huge open kitchen. A brand-spanking-new bar with a mind-blowing mixology program has brought Rocchio's game to a whole new level. Expensive? Yes, but we doubt you could find food, cocktails, or atmosphere this impressive anywhere else in Broward.

Rabbit tostadas. Gator sausage. Wild boar tenderloin. They're all on the menu — or have been — at Coolinary Cafe, which opened just one year ago in March. Owner Tim Lipman and his wife, Jenny, are the cool kids behind this hip 47-seat eatery, where an arsenal of well-planned menu items changes seasonally and specials change twice daily. Lipman (the original executive chef for well-known Jupiter establishments Little Moir's Leftovers Cafe and Little Moir's Food Shack), a Florida native and resident of Abacoa, is also steadfast about product sourcing, buying as much as he can close to home: produce from the Peddler in Juno Beach, milk from Daikin Dairy in Myakka, honey from McCoy's in Loxahatchee, and eggs from Lake Meadow in Ocoee. What he can't buy local, he grows himself in community gardens his team has established nearby.

Steven Zobel is a classically trained French chef who spent more than a decade cooking in New York City, moved to Florida, said "no more" to corporate restaurants, and started cooking for himself. He linked up with business partners Mike Lynch and Tom Moynihan via Craigslist, and together they built a restaurant that is warm and casual — low lighting, old trinkets, and wine-crate art — and a menu that's anything but. Zobel is still showing off his hand for French fare with rich dishes like crostini topped with seared chicken livers and sweet onions braised in sherry wine ($12), but he mixes up the highbrow with the low: A chicken special comes marinated in buttermilk, deep fried, and served on top of funnel cake with powdered sugar and maple syrup. An ever-changing wine list and mystery winetasting nights curated by sommelier Lynch keep the place fun and intriguing.

Breeding the perfect show dog takes a prestigious pedigree, thorough training, and a handsome build. If restaurants were dog shows, the Grove would definitely win Best in Show. The two young chefs who run the entire kitchen are both grads of the most prestigious cooking school in the U.S.: the Culinary Institute of America. (There's the pedigree.) Chef/partner Michael Haycook went on to become sommelier at Zuma and D.B. Modern Bistro in Miami. Resident chef Meghan O'Neal worked in Chicago for Grant Achatz, at Alinea and Next, and Paul Kahan, at Publican Quality Meats. (There's the training.) Combine those backgrounds with a comforting, contemporary atmosphere, a constantly evolving menu, a wine list that would please even the pickiest wine geeks (wines range from $25 to $1,800), and friendly, prompt service and you have yourself the prized poodle of the restaurant scene.

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