New restaurants are popping up left and right in South Florida. In West Palm Beach, the Dixie Dining Corridor is heating up with fresh-from-the-oven eateries. In Fort Lauderdale, it's a slew of beachfront hotel restaurants. And farther south, Hollywood saw the growth of a farmers'-market stall turned brick-and-mortar.
If you're a foodie in the tri-county area, you want to know what's hot, new, and worth a night out. Here's a list of the "it" places of the moment: the year's best new restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
1. Mazie's West Palm Beach. West Palm Beach's Dixie Dining Corridor has a number of newcomers, including this year's Spanish tapas spot, Basque at Biba. But if you weren't able to grab a seat before the eatery's summer break, a more recently opened year-round offering is just as fabulous. Mazie's is a mecca for quintessential American dishes presented imaginatively. It's all thanks to chef and co-owner Eric Baker (formerly of Max's Harvest) and business partners Jason Lakow and his wife, sommelier Sandra Lakow. The trio has created a tribute to New-World comfort foods presented with Old-World traditions inside a beautiful, airy 2,600-square-foot restaurant named for Baker’s grandmother. The menu covers rib-sticking fare in various forms — odes to the chef's favorite foods — many offered as rotating nightly specials Monday (it's always a meatless dish) through Sunday (Chinese take-out). Specialties include house-made pastas, ranging from wide ribbons of pappardelle to roasted meat- and vegetable-stuffed agnolotti, all prepared by talented sous-chef Michael Cavanaugh. Don't miss the knish, a spiced-lamb-stuffed pastry served with toasted pine nuts and apricot yogurt, or the sweet-and-sour brisket served with egg foo young, and plump homemade pierogi smothered in your choice of sauce. Baker's favorite: the chop suey spätzle — a shrimp stir-fry served with butter-fried tendrils of his handmade German egg noodles, all topped with a soft-boiled egg. 3815 S Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach; mazieswpb.com.
2. Etaru Las Olas. Etaru, which opened its first Florida location in the summer of 2017 in Hallandale Beach, recently debuted an outpost off Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas Boulevard. The concept comes from Rainer Becker of Zuma, a restaurant best known for its charcoal-grilled robatayaki cuisine and wide variety of sushi and sashimi. The latest location, which opened in June, is already a hot spot for happy hour, offering $6 signature cocktails that pair perfectly with light bites such as cobia tempura with a sweet-corn skewer or beef, ginger, and sesame dumplings. Or go for lunch: A $30 option includes soup, salad, and sushi or sashimi. For dinner, grab a seat overlooking the open kitchen, where you can watch the entire operation in action, with the robata grill front and center. Be sure to try the 32-ounce tomahawk steak, black cod marinated in yuzu miso, or the lamb cutlets seasoned with Korean spices. Don't leave without a taste of the famous dessert platter — a tower of fresh fruit, sorbet, and house-made confections that can be shared with the table or enjoyed solo. 500 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; etarurestaurant.us.
3. Terra Mare. The name "Terra Mare" pretty much sums up this Fort Lauderdale restaurant, although it might not be exactly what you'd expect from a concept whose moniker is Italian for "land and sea." Debuting in the new Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach last September, this beachside establishment prides itself on serving locally sourced meat and seafood on a menu that includes dishes such as sea bass with miso glaze; crispy whole snapper with leeks, carrots, and ginger ponzu; and an 18-ounce bone-in tenderloin with roasted root vegetables and a spiced coffee jus. But the real beauty here is the idea of communal dining. Terra Mare's mantra is "beyond tapas," encouraging diners to share large plates instead of the usual small plates. Dishes such as
4. Lona Cocina y Tequileria. If you're waffling between Stephen Starr's El Vez outpost at the W Fort Lauderdale and Lona Cocina y Taquileria, choose Lona. Located inside the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, Lona — Spanish for "canvas" — pairs chef Pablo Salas' soulful Mexican cuisine with one of the city's best oceanfront views. (Salas' Mexican restaurant, Amaranta, is ranked among the 50 Best Restaurants in the World.) On the menu, find colorful dishes such as crab guacamole, pumpkin tamales, braised beef cheek, and salmon served with a traditional mole sauce. For brunch, items such as carnitas hash — braised pulled pork atop homestyle buttermilk masa pancakes with piloncillo syrup and pecan butter — round out the menu. Like Salas' tattoo-covered body, the restaurant is a creative canvas for eclectic culinary creations. Here, imbibing is also encouraged: an indoor/outdoor bar and a tequila tasting room boast 270 tequilas and 100 mezcals. Or try the bottomless Sunday brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For $35 per person, it includes various stations serving made-to-order chilaquiles, omelets, eggs cooked any style, and waffles with assorted toppings, while build-your-own taco and salad bowl stations offer chicken carbon, braised short ribs, and all the fixings. Free-flowing libations include handcrafted margaritas, bloody marys, and mimosas. 321 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; lonarestaurant.com.
5. Pompano Beach House. The newest addition to the redeveloped Pompano Pier, Pompano Beach House is the city's first and only oceanfront restaurant. Opened in March, it's also the fourth concept in South Florida from the Ohio-based Brimstone Restaurant Group, also behind Fort Lauderdale's Grille 401 and Pembroke Pines' Brimstone Woodfire Grill. The group's latest restaurant boasts 12,000 square feet of South Florida-meets-Mediterranean atmosphere, boasting second-floor stadium seating that offers unmatched ocean views for an incredible outdoor dining experience. The most popular item is the Beach House clams, a bowl of littleneck clams served in a piquant shallot-and-garlic-infused white-wine reduction served with grilled French bread. It's a nod to the wide variety of seafood offerings, ranging from sushi and cedar-plank salmon to shucked-to-order oysters and fresh catch of the day. The best spot in the house is the rooftop lounge, complete with a second full bar and eight stadium-seated banquettes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and offering views of the nearby lighthouse. Each banquette comfortably seats six to eight guests, who can access their own ottoman-style cooler, perfect for six bottles of beer or a chilled bottle of wine. 270 N. Pompano Beach Blvd., Pompano Beach; beachhousepompano.com.
6. Boathouse at the Riverside. In March, Boathouse at the Riverside launched as the newest dock-and-dine, waterfront restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. The indoor/outdoor eatery is part of the historic Riverside Hotel, which also houses longtime establishments Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille and Indigo Restaurant. Executive chef Toby Joseph's Mediterranean-inspired menu lists an array of hot and cold tapas paired with a shortlist of coastal-inspired main courses. Joseph says he wanted the menu to offer items not readily available in Fort Lauderdale, including his favorite dish: pickled mussels marinated in sherry vinegar with paprika, orange zest, chive, rosemary, and parsley and served alongside red-pepper mayo and fried crostini. The sprawling covered patio with quiet water views doesn't hurt either. 620 SE Fourth St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-377-5494; riversidehotel.com/boathouse.
7. Krakatoa Indonesian Cuisine. It initially opened as a stall at the Yellow Green Farmers Market in October 2017, but Krakatoa Indonesian Cuisine has a new brick-and-mortar that's a top spot to put on your bucket list. Partners in life and business, John Anthony and Indonesian-born Abe Muis are the duo behind this one-of-a-kind Hollywood eatery named for the volcanic island located between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Indonesian province of Lampung. Try favorites such as the spicy beef rendang,
8. 1000 North. Sports legend Michael Jordan is one of the names behind this restaurant and private club that opened this past February in Jupiter. The luxury dining establishment, named 1000 North for its address, offers a truly unique experience with nearly panoramic views of the Jupiter Inlet and Jupiter Lighthouse, accompanied by world-class fare. The concept was conceived by real-estate developer Ira Fenton and former New York Giants running back Tucker Frederickson, and other famous partners include pro golfer Ernie Els. Executive chef Lee Morris, who has worked at restaurants such as BrickTop's and Palm Beach Grill, offers his take on modern American with a nod to his Southern heritage. His roots are evident in dishes such as his sherry-and-paprika-spiked Charleston she-crab soup; bourbon-and-hay-roasted oysters; and vichyssoise, a thick, creamy soup made of boiled and puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock. Come Sunday, the $42 buffet-style brunch offers the choicest dishes, such as fresh Maine lobster-tail eggs Benedict and grilled filet medallions served with fried eggs and smothered in béarnaise sauce atop toasted English muffins. If you're a boater, arrive in style via the restaurant's private 350-foot dock. 1000 N. U.S. Hwy. 1, Jupiter; 561-570-1000, 1000north.com.
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9. The Balcony. A newcomer to Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas stretch, the Balcony is the latest offering from former Miami Dolphins linebacker and defensive end Kim Bokamper (also of Bokamper's Sports Bar & Grill) and PDKN Restaurant Group. The upscale, two-story spot, which opened in May, specializes in something decidedly different from the chicken wings, supersize TV screens, and sushi you'll find at Bokamper's. Instead, it's dedicated to New Orleans, offering a taste of the Big Easy's cuisine via tapas-style small plates that blend a variety of cuisines with the flavors of France, Spain, and Italy, as well as West African, German, Italian, and Vietnamese influences. Try executive chef Simon Porter's jambalaya, brimming with andouille sausage, smoked chicken, red beans, and tomato and served with garlic crostini; Natchitoches pies, stuffed with beef, vegetables with bayou hot sauce; and Southern confit duck Cobb salad, made with Point Reyes blue cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, avocado, heirloom tomato, egg, and lettuce in a creamy Cajun vinaigrette. Then wash it all down with New Orleans-inspired libations such as milk punch (best at brunch), the Balcony Sazerac, or a perfect French 75. The best seats in the house are on the open-air rooftop balcony — hence the restaurant's name — overlooking Las Olas. Whatever you do, don't miss the Saturday crawfish boil for $35 per person and the Commander's Palace-style Sunday jazz brunch, with live music and mimosas and bloody marys for $5 apiece, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1309 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-533-1838; thebalconylasolas.com.
10. Billy Jack's Shack. The brainchild of childhood friends Mike Sabin and Aaron Ludwig, Billy Jack's Shack was founded in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Today the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea location is the first of many slated to open in South Florida. The concept is all about creative comfort food and over-the-top desserts served alongside a rotating selection of local craft beer in a space that evokes the History Channel's American Pickers. Perhaps the biggest news here, however, is that the brand's executive chef is Todd Zimmer, formerly the executive chef of the Prime Restaurant Group in Miami Beach. If it's topnotch, creative comfort food you're after, try Billy Jack's Sticky Nuggz (fried white-meat chicken nuggets tossed in a choice of in-house-made sauces) or a double-patty 10 Napkin Burger made with Wagyu beef. If fried chicken and waffles aren't your thing, a raw bar offers fresh oysters. End with the fried doughnuts and fried Oreos. 218 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea; 954-990-8671; billyjacksshack.com.