You know those scenes in western movies — the outsider steps through the doors of the saloon and music comes to a screeching halt? That's almost the sensation when you walk into Lauderhill's Blue Mountain Restaurant. If you're not a regular, the old Jamaican guys at the bar might turn around and give you a curious look. With poker machines, a stage, a DJ booth, and just a few tables, the spot has the air of a secret meeting place. There's no printed menu, but eight bucks gets you a small plate of curry goat, brown stew chicken, curry chicken, jerk chicken, jerk pork, or oxtail with peas and rice and a salad. And trust us, this jerk's for real.

Cielito Lindo

Authentic Mexican? Maybe not, but Tex-Mex, or Florida-Mex, for that matter, has a legitimate place in the Hall of Foodie Fame for its undeniable deliciousness. Cielito Lindo's got those eats down, from guacamole and spinach queso dip to sizzling steak fajitas and cheese-smothered enchiladas. Colorful sombreros and Mexican blankets adorn the walls. It's folksy with a side of charming. The menu offers Spanish selections too, but let's face it — South Floridians need more Mexican food in their lives. Try the massive El Grande Burro ($14) — beef or chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese all bundled up in a flour tortilla and topped with cheese and guac and slathered in sauce. Or opt for the ropa viejo, shredded beef simmered with peppers, tomatoes, onions, wine, and savory spices ($11). So roll on up, sip a margarita with salt, nosh on chips and salsa, and bemoan the fact that there aren't more local places like this to add a little extra padding to your waistline.

Myung Ga Tofu & BBQ Restaurant

Korean food is so much more than just barbecue, the common gateway into the cuisine. Adventurous eaters who want to try as broad a sampling as possible have to get to Myung Ga. The crispy rice at the bottom of the hot stone bowl in the dolsot bibimbap, with beef, bean sprouts, cucumber, and dried seaweed, will become your new standard for the simple grain. The house-made tofu appears in ten kinds of bubbling stews, including the kimchi soondubu ($16.95). The pickled fermented cabbage, along with a generous helping of red chili paste, gives the broth its fire-red color and eye-watering spice. The big chunks of creamy tofu provide a cooling respite in each mouthful. Myung Ga also has the barbecue — huge portions that arrive on sizzling cast-iron platters, just in case you have an uncontrollable desire for meat.

Peruvian is in. From farm-to-tables to neighborhood cafés, you can find a ceviche or Peruvian-inspired dish on almost any menu. That's certainly not a bad thing. But if you're looking for the best example of the omnipresent cuisine, you want to go authentic. You want Gordo's Grill. Situated in one of the many strip malls that line Sample Road in Margate, Gordo's does simple, traditional Peruvian cuisine. All of the favorites can be found here: causas, chilled layers of creamy mashed potato, avocados, choice of meat, and olive or golf sauce; anticuchos, skewers of chicken, beef, or beef heart; eight ceviches ($11.50 to $18); tiraditos, the Peruvian equivalent of sashimi ($11.50 to $19); aji de gallina, chicken served in a creamy, spicy yellow sauce made with the ever-present aji amarillo chili... You get the drift.

It's been said that you should never judge a book by its cover. Likewise, you should never judge a shop by the strip mall in which it sits. Situated in a rundown building on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach is an average-looking Asian market. Step inside and you'll find your usual array of Asian ingredients, a large communal table, and a counter for takeout. This spot sells some of the most authentic Thai food South Florida has to offer. Curries — masaman, red, green, and panang — have flavors so intense that you'll picture yourself overlooking the streets of Chang Mai. Pad Thai so convincing, it's like you're eating in a Thai roadside shack. All of these go for around nine bucks, but according to the handwritten, dry-erase sign, "Prices are subject to change." This cover is not fancy, but the contents are delightful.

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.

China Pavilion Restaurant

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.

PB Catch
Brickhouse PR

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.

Top of the Point

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.

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