Best Bagel 2015 | Bagel Snack | Food & Drink | South Florida

Family-owned and -operated since 1972, this New York-style eatery and deli has been serving the people of Pompano Beach — especially the Palm Aire neighborhood — for more than three decades. In 1992, its current owners, a husband-and-wife team, took over full-time and continued the Bagel Snack legacy of delivering the restaurant's cooked-on-premises bagels and bialys to a hungry (and happy) patronage of snowbirds and locals. Bagel Snack features bagels in all the traditional New York varieties, from plain and poppy seed to sesame, rye, pumpernickel, onion, and garlic. You won't find anything as sacrilegious as jalapeño or cranberry in the big plastic bins, however. Here, they make all the bagels the old-fashioned way. First, they boil them. Then, they bake them. The final product: a soft, doughy interior with the perfect thin, crispy crust that's not too tough to chew or hard to swallow. All that's left is to decide your favorite flavor. Bagel Snack also offers some of the tastiest bialys in South Florida and fresh cream cheese and smoked salmon that will put all that prepackaged stuff to shame.

Readers' Choice: The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.

The gooey-rich flan cheesecake at Miramar Bakery is one of the most popular menu items at this family business, which has been serving South Florida for more than 30 years. Opened by Cuban-born Mario Cortes and his two brothers in the early 1980s, the original location was a simple shop with a short-order counter. In April of last year, a new generation of owners — Ryan Campbell and Alex Recio Jr., founders of Fort Lauderdale's new Colada Cuban House — took over operations, expanding the business and relocating to a new, state-of-the-art retail and wholesale facility. The move marked the continuation of the bakery with a new generation of Cuban-Americans, who have partnered with Cortes to help keep the tradition of Miramar Bakery (and its goods) available for many generations to come. You'll still find the same recipes and baking methods — everything from the guava and cheese pastries to café cubano and fresh-from-the-oven Cuban bread. Many of the bakery's employees, some of whom have been with the bakery since its inception, can still be found in the kitchen or at the front of house. Of course, some things have changed, but for the better: The menu now offers lunchtime meals, dishes like ropa vieja and lechon asado, served with rice and beans for $5.99.

There's no fluff about the sign hanging above the door at this Wilton Manors diner. It simply reads: "Quality Diner." Refreshing, isn't it? There are no promises of the world's best anything or of magical, organic, gluten-free eggs. The eatery is simple and to the point. It knows you've got places to go and people to see, and it doesn't want to waste your precious time. But inside the restaurant, you'll find something deserving of a stronger adjective than the simple "quality." With omelets bigger than most midsized SUVs, quick service, and classic dishes with a Greek twist, Quality Diner is truly the breakfast (or dinner) of champions. Whether you're looking to get your bearings after a night of vodka-fueled dancing in Wilton Manors or you just need some fuel for a long day at the beach, Quality Diner has your back.

Readers' Choice: Lester's Diner

It's rare you go somewhere specifically for the hot dog cart. Usually, it's more of an afterthought — something you see on the way to the bathroom that makes you think, Hmmm, haven't had one of those in a while. But that's not the case with Frankie Dogs. The wonderful world of social media has allowed its fans to track this mobile cart's every movement like hungry lions with zebra apps on their smartphones. Die-hard fans know the usual hangouts: Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park or Fort Lauderdale's Laser Wolf. And there is perhaps no better late-night food after a couple of local IPAs than a Frankie Dog. The buns are soft and warm, the wieners have a snap to them, and you're drunk, so everything tastes great. And great things taste amazing. And that Frankie Dog you're holding tastes whatever great plus amazing equals. Shhh, don't worry about the mustard all over your white shirt. Deal with that tomorrow. Because tonight, you've got a date with a Frankie Dog.

Readers' Choice: Dada Restaurant & Lounge

In the internet age, there's probably no such thing as a secret anymore, but the year-old GoBistro has as close to a secret menu as you can get. The sushi, wings, and avocado fries are among the best in all of Broward County, but it's the ramen that gets you through the front door. Though ramen is on the menu, there are often weekly specials, and if you ask the wait staff, you may get to try unlisted additional ingredients and sometimes new dishes the chefs are testing out. If there's nothing secret that night, you'll still have a great meal, but if you get lucky, well, you'll have gotten very lucky.

In June 2013, Sauced Up food truck hit the streets, a rolling kitchen with a menu serving two American staples: burgers and wings. The brainchild of Florida natives Dan Scala and Matt Kaiser, the Coral Springs-based food truck is best-known for its gourmet-style filet mignon sliders, a pair of two- to three-ounce filet steaks on fresh potato-bread buns dressed with homemade garlic aioli and topped with sautéed onions. Kaiser, who attended culinary school at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, boasts that his latest menu item — chicken and waffles — has become one of the truck's more popular dishes: buttermilk fried chicken stuffed between two Belgian waffles slathered with maple bourbon buttercream frosting and topped with warm maple syrup. The real treat here is the stuffed chicken wings, which earned Sauced Up its cult following, a meal inside a meal. Extra-large jumbo wings are sold five for $10 (or ten for $18) and fitted with a choice of macaroni 'n' cheese, pulled pork, or bacon and cheddar. Each of these delectable treats is so good, it won Sauced Up a shout during the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, where it was ranked the Best Bite by the Food Network food blog, FN Dish.

Readers' Choice: Zombie Ice

The game just ended and your baseball team is hungry, but where can you take 20 kids and their parents to eat? Bokampers Sports Bar & Grill in Plantation, that's where. Few places offer the seating, menu options, and entertainment that a Bokampers location does, and it all comes at a price that won't make you want to seek out McDonald's next time. Televisions fill every possible area the eyes might drift to at Bokampers, an especially useful feature when looking to keep kids in their seats. Parents can choose anything from calamari to steak to please their adult palates, while at the same time, kids' options like chicken tenders, chicken wings, and sliders make it so everyone in the group can find something to satisfy. Bokampers is the sort of place a coach might pretend to take his baseball team because he knows they love it, but in reality, it's his first choice too.

In 2013, Boca Raton-based Swami Juice started with an exciting — and fruitful — year. The brainchild of late founder and yoga instructor Stephen "Jak" Jakobot, the line of signature cold-pressed juices once sold to friends, family members, and hard-core yogis has grown from just five recipes to 15, including Jakobot's original "Sunscreen," made with carrots, oranges, apples, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon. Today, Swami operates several Florida juice bars that offer a variety of nutrient-packed fruit and vegetable juices made using a two-step, cold-press process. Choose from a number of energy shots and eight- or 16-ounce juices with names like "The Bush Doctor," "Yo Greens," "Swami-Ade," and an all-vegetable "Zeus Juice" that combines bok choy, celery, romaine lettuce, lemon, fennel, and turmeric. Swami has also become well-known for its one- to five-day juice cleanses. Swami opened its first full-service Fort Lauderdale juice bar last year where you can pick up any of the bottled juices and a good selection of raw and vegan snack foods. Stop in during "happy hour," when select juices are on sale for $8, or sign up for nutritional counseling (pre- and postcleanse) free of charge. Can't make it to the Broward or Boca Raton locations? Both make it easy to juice with free local delivery when you purchase six juices or more.

Wine is as ancient as the Bible. Early in humanity's history, someone figured out that letting fruit spoil and ferment improved it exponentially. In a few thousand years, little has changed, really. The best wine is low-tech — wooden barrels, glass bottles stopped with corks. Quality is subjective, perceived with nose and tongue. Wine, for all its haute elegance, is truly a pleasure best enjoyed simply. Then again, a little technology could be a good thing. N2 proves that. The walls are lined with Enomatic machines from Italy. You give your credit card to the bartender, who gives you a swipe card. At each machine, you put in your card and choose a one-, three-, or five-ounce pour from one of 64 wines, thus tasting many different wines in an evening. Some of the bottles are expensive — not something the average wine novice would be able to afford. Behind the bar is another changing selection of wine that can be served in five-ounce glasses or in flights, and any of the bottles available for tasting can also be purchased in the retail section for carryout. There are also beers and ciders, as well as charcuterie plates, salads, and a selection of flatbreads including Caprese, Four Cheese, and the Pineapple Grove, topped with artichokes hearts, grilled chicken, pineapple, and Brie cheese. If you've been looking for a cost-effective way to learn about and sample wines, technology has finally made that possible.

Readers' Choice: Tanzy

If you grew up in Fort Lauderdale, you remember certain things. Whenever relatives came, you had to experience the kitschy Floridian joy of the Jungle Queen. You probably spent the night in the Discovery Museum back when it was in that awesomely creepy house down by the New River. And hopefully, on a special occasion, maybe after your mom had taken you to see Riverdance at the Broward Center, you ate snails at Le Cafe de Paris on Las Olas Boulevard. Opened in 1962 by Louis Flematti, Cafe de Paris is a landmark on Las Olas. There is nothing hip or trendy here, just excellently done traditional French fare served with all the white-napkined pomp it deserves. One of the joys of being a grownup in Fort Lauderdale, however, is the café's extensive wine list. Vineyards like Brunello Di Montalcino, Chateau La Garde, and Paul Bouchard make up the restaurant's standard list of about 50 wines of varying vintages. Many are, of course, French varietals, but there is a decent collection of Italian and California wines as well. If you are looking for something excellent, something suitably special for your special occasion, Le Cafe is happy to accommodate you with something like an '85 Jordan Cabernet — a wine so good, the corking of it gets noticed on social media.

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