The Porch Brings Upscale Italian and Seafood to Delray Beach

Newcomers to the Delray Beach scene are either flashy, high-end joints slinging cocktails and stuffing gastropub pomp down your throat, or the fad niche spots that never seem to last long. Then there are the quiet comers, the ones that steal the show over months of top-notch service, consistent fare and creative menus serving nothing but the best.

That's what you'll get with The Porch, a new restaurant located in one of Delray Beach's historic homes off Federal Highway just south of Atlantic Avenue.

Originally built in 1907, and known as the Blank House, it stands as the city's third oldest home and was most recently the Delray Tea House. Lovingly preserved, today the bright yellow cottage is owned by Heinrich Lowenberg and his wife Pamela Lomba, who opened their third establishment -- an upscale Italian and seafood concept -- in late January.

The couple, who also own Cafe Via Flora in Palm Beach and Rustico at the Log Cabin in North Carolina, told Clean Plate Charlie they were drawn to the historic home's charm, and decided its quaint setting was just what they needed to enhance their concept for home-cooked Mediterranean inspired fare and seafood. The concept is one Lowenberg and Lomba also felt would fit perfectly with the Delray Beach dining scene, as they often found themselves driving out of the Palm Beach area in search of sophisticated dining, ending up in the city's downtown area.

The menu will offer affordably priced entrees from $16 to $25, Lomba said, with a focus on Italian, while a second specialty seafood menu will highlight a global palate with specials and fresh catches. Think appetizers that range from an Asian-inspired tuna salad with asparagus, masago and a ponzu sauce, to escargot, scallops and shrimp in a lemon, white wine and butter reduction.

Keep an eye out for the chef -- who has been transported from Cafe Via Flora to head the kitchen at The Porch -- and his favorite dish, a sea bass papillote. Papillote --French for "in parchment" -- means the fish is steamed with a medley of fresh, local vegetables, white wine, garlic and whole herbs for an unmistakably fragrant, light dish.

The Porch is located at 85 SE 6th Ave. in Delray Beach. For more information visit the website at theporchdelraybeach.com, or call (561) 303-3647.

Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.

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