Eggs Benedict -- that stellar combination of perfectly poached egg, Canadian bacon, English muffin, and hollandaise sauce -- is one of those dishes that's next to impossible to master at home. Especially when you're just barely awake. Or slightly hungover. Perfectly poached eggs? That creamy Hollandaise? Toasting the bread is perhaps the only task that doesn't require a full-time babysitter.
Which is why they often taste so much better when someone else makes them. Today, there are as many variations of eggs Benedict as there are creative pairings you can think to slap on top. There's lobster and crab-cake eggs Benedict or salmon and corned beef hash or simply sliced avocado and tomato.
In South Florida, we've found places that do them all -- and then some. Here's our list of the ten best eggs Benedict in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
This retro diner in the heart of Wilton Manors draws a devoted crowd. Here, breakfast is served all day long -- and into the night, if you desire. The place is known for a few things, including its fried green tomatoes and fried Spam and eggs. But it's the eggs Benedict that help it stand out from the crowd. It's one of the few places that offers lox -- here the dish is called "salmon benny" -- a riff on the original with the addition of smoked salmon, tomatoes, capers, and onions.
This longtime Lake Worth establishment has lots going for it. It's located directly on the city's pier, with oceanfront views. It's got a great a killer brunch and well-stocked cocktail menu. There's even a new executive chef who's mixing a lineup of gourmet-style dishes in with the restaurant's classic favorites. Luckily, nothing is coming off the menu, and that includes the list of eggs Benedict variations. The menu offers several options, including the California: fresh-sliced avocado, tomato, and crispy bacon.
Every weekend, brunch and breakfast menus come out at the Wine Dive in West Palm Beach. These days, the downtown Clematis Street spot is just as well-known for its amazing array of morning menu items as it is for its wine. There are whimsical dishes like Captain Crunch French toast and hearty offerings like New York strip steak with eggs. The eggs Benedict, however, is among its bestsellers. That includes the "My Benedict," a tender, pulled short rib that's paired with a fresh béarnaise sauce over the traditional hollandaise.
7. City Diner
If you like a greasy-spoon diner, this tiny West Palm Beach establishment fits the bill. Along with all that grease, you'll get a hefty serving of nostalgia thanks to its old-time diner feel; think '50s photos and memorabilia hanging from the walls and menu items to match. But it's the corned-beef-hash eggs Benedict that offers a taste of something only City Diner can offer. Although it's not an official menu item, you can order it this way -- and regular patrons often do -- a platter complete with two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and potatoes or grits.
Since 2010, this beachside eatery, located all the way east off Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton, has been serving some pretty amazing organic eats. Open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, the chef-driven menu offers a number of specialty dishes. There's Jamaican jerk seared scallop tacos and a Cobb salad sandwich made using the restaurant's own organic vegetables, grown out back. The same attention to detail translates directly the house specialty: crabmeat eggs Benedict, where a heaping pile of fresh lump crabmeat is served alongside poached asparagus and under a wash of homemade hollandaise. Keep an eye out on the specials board too. In season, the kitchen has been known to offer soft shell crab eggs Benedict as well.
Out west on Boynton Beach Boulevard, hidden in the corner of an unassuming strip mall, you'll find the Breakfast Shack. If the bright-yellow sign doesn't grab your attention, the line out the door -- especially on Saturday and Sunday -- will. The restaurant is open only until 2 p.m. daily, but the breakfast it serves is something worth dragging yourself out of bed for -- especially the crab-cake eggs Benedict, which pairs two of the restaurant's oversized, homemade crab cakes with the traditional dish. You can get it with a side of thick-cut home fries, grits, or fruit.
Nothing says breakfast meat like pork, and the best outside of bacon and Canadian ham? Pork belly. It's good any time of day, especially when paired with eggs Benedict, as it is at Max's Harvest in Delray Beach. It's served on a toasted, thick-cut English muffin made especially for the restaurant and topped with a rich, house-made hollandaise along with a heaping portion of rich pork belly.
No need to visit your own mom for your next meal; just head to Fort Lauderdale, where this longtime breakfast and lunch spot has been making home-cooked meals since 1978. The menu offers a number of breakfast favorites that include a good selection of omelets and egg dishes. The best, however, is the sausage eggs Benedict. Extra-large, Grade A eggs are poached and plated with a toasted English muffin and a pair of thick-cut sausage patties seared in butter on the griddle and topped with a smothering of hollandaise sauce and chopped chives.
This classic French bistro serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week -- everything from merguez sausage sandwiches with harissa to the classic Croque Monsieur. Here, eggs for breakfast are a specialty. You can get them dipped in mushroom sauce or find quiches filled with onion jam. But the eggs Benedict trio is where it's at. If you have a tough time deciding which topping to get, you can have them all here. The dish arrives with not two but three poached eggs, each on English muffins and garnished with either spinach, smoked salmon, or Canadian bacon.
You haven't eaten breakfast in South Florida until you've dined at the O-B House. The menu, created by chef/owner Ron Ely, includes a variety of specialty items, many of which have a distinctly Floridian vibe. Take the Anchor Breakfast, inspired by Ely's fishing trips to the Bahamas: Florida grouper with eggs, toast, and cheese grits. There's also the D-Clawed, an omelet filled with jumbo lump crab meat, cream cheese, and cilantro. Of course, sometimes it's the simple things they do best -- like the classic eggs Benedict. There's something to be said for that simple combination of heritage eggs, homemade hollandaise, fresh-baked bread, and thick-cut Canadian bacon.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.