Area gastronomes looking to tackle new food frontiers might want to venture north to discover what Palm Beach County has in store.
If sitting in traffic isn't on your to-do list, however, the Brightline offers an easy way to explore one of Palm Beach County's last foodie frontiers: Boca Raton.
While Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations have been up and running, the new Boca Raton stop is perfectly situated just minutes from the city's Mizner Park and growing restaurant row.
Here are our picks for the top five restaurants that make a trip to Boca Raton unforgettably flavorful (in alphabetical order):
AlleyCat409 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton
alleycatboca.comA partnership between South Florida chef Eric Baker and Sushi By Bou's David Bouhadana is dishing out creative sushi, casual omakase, and innovative Asian fusion at this Boca Raton hidden gem. Designed as a Japanese izakaya, or a casual spot for drinks and small plate eats, the menu offers a number of whimsical elements that, should you not arrive hungry, require a repeat visit to sample each at least once. Snag a spot at the ten-seat bar where you can watch aushi chefs prepare the evening's offerings, or enjoy a peaceful outdoor meal on the patio. Try the Wagyu beef dumplings, garlic fried rice, or scallop gratin. A can't miss: the pastrami sando. Baker, an expert at all things Jewish New York deli-inspired, offers his riff served as a Japanese-style sando stuffed with Uncle Pinkie’s Market & Deli pastrami that's breaded, fried, and layered between two toasted slices of traditional milk bread smothered with red onion marmalade and hot mustard.
Corvina Seafood Grill110 Plaza Real S., Boca Raton
CorvinaBocaRaton.comHospitality veterans Dean Carras and Patrick Marino, alongside partners David Wizenberg and executive chef Jeff Tunks, have delivered a seafood haven with live entertainment to East Boca Raton with Corvina Seafood. The ocean-inspired interior features a colorful saltwater aquarium and numerous eye-catching design elements, but ithe menu will catch any seafood lovers' attention. Locally-sourced or off-the-boat fresh offerings range from briny oysters on the half shell and spectacular seafood towers to sushi rolls and the day's fresh-catch fish. The restaurant celebrated its first anniversary in December, and Tunks continues to flawlessly execute dishes that embody South Florida's Latin and Caribbean influences. Think Tahitian-style poke with creamy coconut, Jamaican jerk chicken, Peruvian ceviche, or a Brazilian fish stew. For local flair, try the plantain-crusted corvina or a pineapple-spiked red Thai curry that features Key West pink shrimp for a mix of spicy and sweet.
Kapow!402 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
kapownoodlebar.com In September 2022, South Florida-based Sub-Culture Group launched an expanded take on its Boca Raton staple inside a new space across the street from the restaurant's original Mizner Park location. First opened in 2011, the larger space now offers room for special events, an expansive indoor/outdoor wrap-around bar, covered patio seating, an omakase bar, and — perhaps the most unique upgrade — three private karaoke rooms. The menu, which hasn't changed much in its ten-plus years of business, is beloved for fan favorites like the Vietnamese chicken wings, hoisin baby back ribs, and Peking duck but you can't go wrong with the added lineup of items that range from crispy rice and gyoza tacos to dumplings and bao buns. Reserve a spot at the eight-seat omakase bar, where the chef offers an exclusive and personalized experience with fresh fish not found on the regular menu. Perhaps the best part of Kapow! is the bar scene, where sustainability and innovation remain the hallmark of house mixologist Angela Dugan, whose thoughtful cocktail program repurposes viable food waste like avocado skins for a toasted rice and avocado orgeat, and pineapple cores for a minty lemongrass-pineapple shrub. Using a Suntory highball machine that creates perfectly carbonated soda water, guests can make DIY highballs with housemade offerings such as limeade and rose-sweetened tea. The menu also offers a number of low-ABV and innovative alcohol-free libations created with as much care and presentation as the spirited selections.
Los Bocados980 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton
losbocados.com In December 2016, Boca Raton City Fish Market executive chef Anthony Hoff teamed up with longtime friend and local chef Robby Bushman to open a taco shop inside a Chevron convenience store in Parkland. Their goal: make every bite as close to perfect as possible. It didn't take long for Los Bocados — which translates to "snacks," "a bite," or "mouth" in Spanish — to win the hearts of Broward County taco fans. After a 2021 move to Boca Raton, the chefs' collaborative menu is now available for takeout or eat-in further north. Options include tostadas, toasted burritos, and quesadillas, but you'd be remiss if you didn't indulge in several of the signature, gourmet-style, two-bite tacos served three per order. If you're especially hungry, order Hoff's accidental creation: the Bocado bowl. As the story goes, a customer who couldn't decide what to order asked for tacos with a little bit of everything on the menu. The resulting dish is a heaping pile of everything from carne asada, pork, and chicken to pickled onion, beans, and spicy slaw over a pile of rice, all smothered in the house spicy chipotle sauce, avocado relish, guajillo glaze, and crema.
Nori Thai Ramen17 E. Palmetto Park Rd., Boca Raton
noriboca.com At Nori Thai, ramen is a veritable meal, served in giant white ceramic bowls topped to the brim with pork or seafood-infused broth and mounds of chewy-soft crimped Japanese noodles. Options include a traditional tonkotsu, a sesame-and-garlic-oil-infused broth rife with fatty chunks of pork, large cuts of broth-infused bok choy, a fistful of tender bean sprouts, sheets of seaweed, half a boiled egg, and large slices of kikurage mushroom. Thai green curry ramen is simmered in fresh basil and fish-infused green curry sauce before serving, then paired with bamboo, zucchini, red bell peppers, and the fresh catch of the day. A spicy version marries a Thai broth with lime, fish sauce, fried garlic, crushed peanuts, cilantro, and scallions before it's topped off with shrimp, scallops, squid, and mussels. But the best is the spicy miso ramen, a tonkotsu broth flavored and thickened with a spicy bean paste for a kick of heat, then finished with the standard tonkotsu accouterments.