Christopher's Kitchen

Forget any fears about dry, tasteless, health muck. The grassy, fresh smell of fruits and veggies hits you when you walk in the door. Inside, the dining room is light and airy, with an open, spacious kitchen where you can see everything, including the machines used to dehydrate the bread. The dinner menu is lengthy and varied — zucchini lasagna, a mezze platter, a taco salad. A surprisingly filling baja veggie burger is served on a nutty, nourishing onion bread with a slathering of crushed avocado, a kick of jalapeño, and a chipotle mayo that slides through your fingers as you gobble it up. The Thai wraps come with hummus, cabbage, a hint of sweet mango, and an addictive almond-ginger dipping sauce. Dessert is the biggest shock: How can an ice cream sundae made of cashews and coconuts taste better than the real, guilt-inducing treat? This version is cool and minty, with chunks of sprouted buckwheat covered in cacao, reminiscent of Snickers bars. The whole thing is so healthy, there must be some magic involved.

Boo Rileys

This here is what happens when a bartender buys her place of employment, gives it a makeover, and throws parties as often as possible. Boo, the aforementioned bartender, is a five-foot-two-inch blond bombshell who dispenses hugs like candy and doesn't have "patrons" — she just has a shitload lot of drinkin' buddies. Whether you come in for the rowdy company, sexy bartenders, or the Tuesday-night prime rib special, Boo will make sure you have a permanent spot at her party bar in no time.

PRL Euro Cafe
Carina Mask

PRL Euro was one of South Florida's first serious beer bars, crammed as it is into a narrow little space on Hollywood Boulevard. The place is friendly, and the bottle list is staggering — on some nights, there could be 140 brews between the taps and bottles, including a few fancy ciders. There's a heavy emphasis on Belgian, German, and Polish beers, with quite a few domestics as well. PRL doesn't serve food, but there's plenty of oddball European techno, which, unlike the beer, you really can't find anywhere else around here.

East Coast BBQ
Candace West

Slaving over an oven that spews thick, resinous clouds of wood smoke is an arduous task, one reserved only for the most passionate. That's why good barbecue is all about passion — the love of the craft, the desire to rise above mediocrity and produce a truly exceptional product. That's the driving force at Pompano's East Coast BBQ. This hidden gem is located far in the back corner of a Publix parking lot, out of roadside view and with little signage to speak of. But owner Dave Audet and his staff pump out barbecue as if they were competing for the grand prize at a state fair. The pork is pulled into meaty, thick strands, full of texture. The moist smoked turkey isn't anything like those sad Thanksgiving birds — it's a whole other beast, full of brined, marinated goodness. And the ribs... oh God, the ribs. These dry-rubbed racks are competition-quality, plucked straight from Audet's high-tech pellet smoker and given a quick turn on the grill to char them up before they land on your plate. What you get is rib perfection: tender bark collapsing over waves of rendered fat, which, upon biting, coats the succulent meat inside with its own gravylicious juice. Goddamn. Complete the package with some no-fuss sides like stellar baked beans and German-style potato salad and you might very well think you're at a competition cook-off.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

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