Epicurean Excursion: The South County Tour

The tour of must-try restos across the Palm Beaches concludes with these seven picks in South County

Courtesy of Dada/Food Mamacita

Dada, Delray Beach

Located on the edge of the Old School Square arts and entertainment complex, Dada slings a rotating menu of avant-garde dishes for gourmands and art-lovers alike. Prep your palate with one of the dozen hand-muddled mojitos, from the Razzmatazz with raspberry to the Man-Go-A-Go-Go with mango puree. For dinner, vegetarians will appreciate the mushroom tikka masala, while omnivores will love the glazed salmon with Mexican quinoa and grilled asparagus.

El Camino, Delray Beach

More than just a happening haunt prominently placed in Delray Beach’s popular Pineapple Grove, El Camino is an eatery you’ll want to come back to immediately after leaving. Its offering of “Mexican soul food” is more than just a marketing ploy: It’s a promise. The bar boasts a titanic tequila and mezcal menu to kick-start a legendary night on the town. After the drink, it’s taco time—precisely the point when your night gets hotter, literally. Pick your protein pleasure (crispy fish, shrimp, carne asada, barbacoa, pork belly, chorizo, carnitas) or the awesome veggie taco and drift into a more-than-welcomed food coma. If you’re passionate for pollo, do not miss the spicy chicken tacos marinated in achiote seasoning and topped with scallions, cotija cheese, and an intensely hot chile de árbol sauce.

Courtesy of Kapow! Noodle Bar

Kapow! Noodle Bar, Boca Raton

Named and decorated like a classic comic book shop, Kapow! is the superhero’s choice for authentic Asian food and clever cocktails. In addition to an outpost in West Palm, Kapow’s original location is within the chic Mizner Park—and noodles are its claim to fame. One dish that’s always on the menu is the umami-heavy pork belly ramen tonkotsu made with fresh wheat noodles, bamboo shoots, and hon-shimeji mushrooms. Pair that with the Seoul Sunshine—a devilishly drinkable mix of soju (Korean vodka), tequila, ginger, and fig jam—along with an order of crispy mushroom bao buns and follow your taste buds halfway around the world in record time.

Courtesy of Farmer’s Table/Photo by Gyorgy Papp

Farmer’s Table, Boca Raton

To experience the apex of clean eating, visit Farmer’s Table in Boca Raton or its new location in North Palm Beach. Either is a top destination for great food made simply because of the company’s dedication to its “never-ever” menu, meaning there are no chemicals, hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics in any of the ingredients.

Courtesy of Farmer’s Table

After ordering a bottle of organic wine or a nonalcoholic elixir, start off with the buffalo cauliflower “drumettes,” dressed in a sauce with so much tang and heat, you’ll want to take a bottle of it home. For a sweet, complex precursor to the main event, opt for the Root to Stem salad, which lends an au naturel presentation to a smorgasbord of power greens, watermelon, roasted butternut squash, and quinoa-brussels sprouts tabbouleh, all dressed in a fig vinaigrette and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. For supper, you’ll never be nearer to nirvana than with a plate of the grass-fed beef short ribs with mushroom bordelaise served atop a bed of roasted brussels sprouts and whipped maple potatoes.

M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom, Boca Raton

There are hidden gems throughout the county, but M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom wins the award for most unique in terms of location. Tucked into the bottom floor of a modern coworking space, the gastropub’s main attraction are its gourmet burgers. Give into indulgence and treat yourself to an Inside-Out Juicy Lucy, a brisket and beef patty stuffed with pimento cheese and bacon bits. 

Fran’s Chicken Haven, Boca Raton

Boca Raton’s fame doesn’t end at its incredible architecture and penchant for pink. Rather, it extends into the city’s casual food scene, and Fran’s Chicken Haven is a prime example. It’s been around for more than 50 years as a fried chicken favorite, and from the first bite, you’ll know exactly why. The attention to detail and tried-and-true methods make it a crispy, savory dining experience unlike any other.

Barrel of Monks, Boca Raton

Belgium makes its way to Boca Raton via the city’s best-known brewery, Barrel of Monks. Order the Wizard witbier, brewed with orange peel and coriander, for a small taste of Belgian bliss in a homey setting.

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