An unassuming shopping plaza in Juno Beach is home to your new favorite restaurant. The brainchild of restaurateur and Top Chef alum Stephen Asprinio, AquaGrille captures the best feelings of summer vacation, featuring a light and bright interior reminiscent of a beach house as well as the sophisticated culinary fare you’d expect at a five-star resort. In the kitchen, executive chef Peter Bartalini fuses flavors from Latin America, Asia, the tropics, and South Florida to create truly delicious cuisine that sings with acidity and umami. Given Asprinio’s beverage expertise, the wine and spirits program is equally compelling, and someone is always on hand to offer a pairing suggestion. Here, we share a few highlights to try on your first visit.
- Begin with Social Hour. If you visit on a weekday, aim to get there between 4 and 6 p.m. to take advantage of the restaurant’s Social Hour in the bar and lounge. In addition to specials on tap beer, house spirits, and a few wines by the glass, craft cocktails are also just $10. Try the Appletini, an Old Cuban, or a Long Island Iced Tea, among others, paired with an array of bites, such as Baja mahi-mahi tacos, raw and roasted oysters, and brussels sprouts with passion fruit kung pao, mango, cilantro, scallions, and peanuts.
- Don’t pass on the cheesy bread. Trust us: The Brazilian cheesy bread with truffle salt and honey butter is worth every calorie. Plus, it’s gluten-free!
- Start with surf. AquaGrille’s menu is packed with craveable seafood dishes. The tuna ceviche tostaditos (layered on a tortilla chip with guacamole and a slice of jalapeño and served atop a shooter of tequila-spiked tropical leche de pantera) are so adorable and addicting that you could easily throw back half a dozen. The seared yellowfin ahi tuna is the perfect salad-type starter, served with avocado, pineapple, cashews, pickled red onion, and a ginger-soy-lime vinaigrette. For something a little more substantial, opt for the guava soy-grilled Faroe Island salmon or the Caribbean mussels in a tom kha broth with a side of brussels, street corn, or pomme frites.
- Move on to turf. Carnivores will also find something to love at AquaGrille, where a curated “Meat” menu includes everything from chicken paillard to house-smoked baby back ribs, a bacon cheddar burger, and a slow-roasted prime rib French dip.
- Save room for dessert. Pastry chef Jenniffer Woo puts a playful spin on familiar after-dinner classics. The S’mores Sundae, for example, boasts graham cracker, Nutella, butterscotch, brownies, and a trio of gelatos. The Key Lime Baked Alaska has Floridian flavors of guava and passion fruit, while the Strawberry Shortcake Tres Leches is a marriage of two favorites. The seasonal cobbler—which currently features spiced apples—is also a great way to end your meal, especially when paired with one of AquaGrille’s digestifs and/or the AQ Tropical House Roast from Oceana Coffee.