Americans who’ve traveled in Europe are familiar with the prix fixe menu, a three- or four-course meal that relies on whatever is fresh and compelling in the market. The choices are usually more restricted than those available à la carte, but it allows the restaurant to carry a smaller food inventory while giving customers a complete dining experience—along with a price break. While many South Florida restaurants offer summer specials, few embrace the prix fixe with all its benefits. Here are some of the best.
Superstar chef Daniel Boulud’s Palm Beach outpost offers a choice of starter, entree, and dessert at lunch ($32) and dinner ($48). Choices change according to the whims of the kitchen, but a recent lunch consisted of watermelon gazpacho, pan-seared mahi, and vanilla crème brûlée—voluptuous fare, elegantly presented. (561-655-6060, cafeboulud.com/palmbeach)
When chef Laurent Godbaut and his wife, Véronique, opened a branch of their Montreal restaurant in Palm Beach, everybody won: The Godbauts traded in the frozen tundra for the tropics, and locals can now enjoy his hearty yet refined French cuisine, including classics such as moules frites and an authentic version of Canadian poutine. Now through the end of October, dinner guests may select from four appetizers, four entrees, and three desserts for $34. (561-508-7030, chezlepicier.com/palmbeach)
Dining in the restaurant attached to one of the area’s largest gourmet Italian markets has its advantages. At Carmine’s La Trattoria in Palm Beach Gardens, customers have two three-course dinner options (appetizer, salad, and entree) at $30 and $40, with dessert for an additional $5. Choices range from starters such as fried calamari or a combination of sautéed clams and mussels, to a filet of sole Francese topped with shrimp, or medallions of beef in a porcini mushroom sauce with sun-dried tomatoes. (561-775-0186, carmineslatrattoria.com)
Chef Adam Fatigate raised the profile of Martin County dining when his catering company morphed into a full-service restaurant in Stuart. His three-course dinner prix fixe ($45) allows guests to choose two savory dishes and one dessert, with wine pairings for an additional $25. It’s an opportunity to enjoy items such as rabbit pappardelle, duck breast, or his brodetto-style market fish with clams, mussels, and shrimp. (772-287-5599, chefstablestuart.com)
The West Boca location of Atlanta’s famed Buckhead Restaurant Group specializes in pristine, just-caught fish and shellfish. Their three-course menu, offered Sunday through Thursday, is priced at $44. Start with freshly shucked East Coast oysters or a sweet-and-spicy combination of Maine calamari and Florida shrimp. Entrees include Maryland crab cakes, pecan-crusted salmon trout with bourbon-honey butter, and roasted Ashley Farms chicken breast; an extra $10 delivers a stuffed, 1.5-pound Maine lobster. (561-487-1600, buckheadrestaurants.com)