Longtime friends Eric Lemonides and chef Jason Weiner unveiled Almond in Bridgehampton, New York, at a time when, as Lemonides says, “every restaurant opening in the Hamptons was more high-end and austere than the next.” Almond, a moody French bistro, instead wooed its devout following with a commitment to farm-fresh ingredients and comforting classics like cavatelli, escargot, steamed mussels, and steak frites. The year was 2001, pre-9/11 and pre–stock market crash, events that would only increase appetites for unfussy fare.
The duo brought Almond to Palm Beach, infusing the island with a more casual, hip vibe at the former Nick & Johnnie’s and Maven space. A robust local farming community similar to that of the Hamptons allows Weiner to serve up menu highlights like a Greek-leaning pork chop Milanese and a famed brussels sprout Caesar salad (“It has a crazy cult following,” says Lemonides), plus local catches like mahi-mahi.
With the back courtyard closed off for private events and cozy booths lining the walls covered in an orange Scalamandré zebra wallpaper, the restaurant feels more intimate in its newest iteration. “There’s no pretense to it,” says Lemonides. “It’s the kind of place where billionaires can sit down next to artists and everyone feels like they’re in the right place.” Turn the page for more of the season’s top openings.