Best Fine-Dining Restaurant to Have a Highchair

Revolution 2029

No question, most people flock to Revolution for chef David Sloane's New Zealand mussels in a coconut-curry sauce with dried apples and cilantro, or his cherry-roasted half-duckling with calabaza-cornbread stuffing, or his slow-baked osso buco with saffron spaetzle. But the fact that we can take baby here and strap the squirmy little one down in the resident highchair unquestionably sweetens the bid. Not many restaurants recognize the parental need to spend $30 on a bottle of wine rather than a baby sitter. Revolution may be a forerunner in fine fusion cuisine, but it should also receive kudos for its recognition of the area's changing demographics.

Best Place to Break Plates and Dance on the Tables

Taverna Opa

Taverna Opa is probably the only restaurant in South Florida where patrons are encouraged to jump on the tables and make complete fools of themselves -- or at least the only restaurant combining table-dancing and damn good grub. This is where we bring our most rambunctious, loudmouthed out-of-town visitors. Whether the ouzo or the wine or the boisterous Greek music piped in from above is the cause, this place is always kicking. The conversations, dancing, and flying plates may also have something to do with it. When we're not working up a sweat, we like to linger with friends over a parade of meze, little plates of mouthwatering morsels -- seafood, sausages, vegetables, and dips -- that arrive at the table in a fragrant cloud of lemon, garlic, and olive oil.
Dear Mum: During our visit to Fort Lauderdale, we came across the most delightful little tearoom, situated in a quirky strip mall, just two doors down from a bookseller straight out of Dickens -- a man named Hittel. The tearoom was tastefully appointed with matching floral tablecloths and drapes, the lighting was subdued, and our glass-topped table -- bookended by a pair of comfy wicker chairs -- sat just inside a veranda overlooking -- what else? -- palm trees. A whisper of classical music filled the room, and the service was just delightful, vigilant and not too chatty. We opted for the Earl Grey -- as we always do -- and were somewhat disappointed to see a couple tea bags in our pot (we explained to an American friend that loose tea is the proper way to go); nevertheless, the three-tiered serving tray was filled with a scrumptious array of finger sandwiches (salmon, tomato, egg, Gouda, and mustard), pastries, and cakes. We finished off our 90-minute repast with scones slathered with jam and cream. Then we were off, two pots' worth of Earl Grey singing in our bloodstream! All the best, NT.
China Dumpling
The owners are from Brooklyn, the Hong Kong-born chefs are from New York's Chinatown, and the customers are from, well, here. But originally many of us were also from the New York metropolitan area, which means we miss the quality of the Chinese restaurants found up there. Now, however, we have a Brooklynese eatery to call our very own, and -- oh, my Gawd -- is the beef chow fun in black bean sauce good or what? The Peking duck is like buttah, and p.s., sweeties, the steamed dumplings are to die for. Long story short, every item here is made on the premises and tasty enough to keep the snowbirds south for the summer.
"Real Food For Real People, Really!" is the motto here, which means that the 226-item menu -- an actual book with table of contents and page numbers -- has something for every member of the "real" family. For meat-and-potatoes Dad: the meat loaf tower, layered like a cake with mashed potatoes. For on-a-diet-again Mom: the chicken stir-fry. For Grandpa, grumpy about missing Wheel of Fortune in order to have dinner out with the young'uns, there's an honest-to-goodness TV dinner served on a six-compartment, stainless steel tray. For Grandma, who just broke her bridge, she'll have the lox, eggs, and onions. And for Junior, who will eat only pizza, more than a dozen choices'll have his head spinning. Also included are a highchair and a kid's menu for the baby of the bunch; plenty of hallways for the toddler who can't sit still; and live bands playing around the corner for the teenager who just wants to hold down a burger and escape with his dignity intact.

Sedate Galt Ocean Mile may be known more for its old-fashioned snowbirds than for its newfangled eateries. But Bistro Double U is paving the way for change with appetizers like the house-cured salmon quesadilla with mustard dill sauce and salmon caviar; salads such as arugula with warm potato dressing and goat cheese croutons; and entrées that include pan-seared scallops and crawfish tails in cognac bisque. Proprietors Uli Dippon and Udo Mueller, who is also the chef, run a tight but almost informal operation, saving booths and tables in the smartly decorated dining room for those who make reservations but gladly seating walk-ins on the patio outside. After all, eating well on the spur of the moment is what contemporary dining is all about these days. Prices are also reasonable, and the wine list small but select, with about two dozen choices available by the split or glass. So, Uli and Udo, how 'bout a Double U 2?

Mamma mia, they actually speak Italian at this local fresh-pasta landmark. For three decades Mimi's has been supplying South Florida restaurants with ravioli, tortellini, agnoloti, gnocchi, and countless other pasta manifestations. Their retail outlet is overflowing with meats and cheeses (including homemade smoked mozzarella), breads, and homemade sauces, not to mention fresh pasta with fillings like porcini mushrooms, asparagus, seafood, and goat cheese.

Lucille's American Cafe
Photo by Bobby Sammarco, 47 Films, courtesy of Lucille’s Café.
No place is more American than Weston, an ultrasuburban community planned down to the buried telephone wires. Lucille's, which was built just a few months ago but evokes the '40s, fits right in -- if only because the conscientious proprietors and staff, like the city managers of Weston, see to every little detail. This American diner features countrywide favorites like old-fashioned chocolate egg creams, macaroni-and-cheese casseroles, and heart of iceberg salads. Breads are baked fresh daily, potato chips and ketchup are homemade, and even the pickiest kid would be happy to sell this fizzy lemonade on Main Street, USA. The comfortable diner-style booths and a speakeasy soundtrack are enticements in their own right, but it just might be the strawberry shortcake that sells the joint. You don't even have to be hungry to eat it. Hey, nothing could be more American than that.
Chef-proprietor Mark Militello isn't too comfortable with labels, and truthfully, we can never figure out what to call his inventive fare. But his newest restaurant, which debuted recently in Mizner Park, offers pastas such as saffron fettuccine Bolognese with braised veal, beef, and pork; pizzas topped with tuna, capers, olives, balsamic-roasted onions, and garlic aioli; and entrées like spiced charcoaled lamb loin with dried sour-cherry couscous and marinated tomato salsa. This all sounds as if the Mediterranean region has inspired Militello, so we'll stick his triumphant eatery with the big M label. We hope, of course, that he'll keep sticking it to us.
Trapped in a grubby mini-mall for more than a decade, this place nevertheless manages to impress falafel lovers with its recipe for savory, deep-fried chickpea balls. But Falafel King, while mainly Israeli, is more than just a one-note song. Turkish salad, spiked with hot peppers; Moroccan eggplant salad; Lebanese ful medames (beans); and Greek spinach pie create a virtual Middle Eastern symphony in the mouth. Enjoy the first movement -- split-pea soup -- at a rapid pace (you won't be able to help yourself), then linger over some deep-fried schnitzel, washed down with mango juice imported from Israel. Finish off the composition with a piece of baklava and a thimbleful of Turkish coffee or a glass of mint tea. The staff conducts a pleasant experience, right down to the presentation of the bill, which will run you a good deal less than a ticket to the nearest performing arts center.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of