Back again for a second winter south PB County. We've been here a little over a week and have returned to a few of our favorites from last winter:
PIZZERIA OCEANO, LANTANA: Although several friends have been turned off my the structures of the menu and dining "rules," we love this place, which is probably my #1 in the area overall. A few days ago four of us began with their splendid fried green tomatoes and proceeded to devour all three of the daily pizza offerings. (We had just arrived and I neglected to take notes; sorry for lack of detail here)
CAFE LA BUCA, POMPANO: Stick to the appetizers and pastas, skip the mains, and you can have a very good-excellent meal here, as we did a few nights ago.
Their Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta ($13) have joined the Slivered Roasted Red Peppers ($12) as my favorite appetizers from the tavola calda in the glass case in front. Their version of Mozzarella in Carozza (they call it spiedini, $12) is decadent and delicious. Dinner for 4: Three apps and two pastas (Paparadelle Bolognese, $20) and a long pasta with cherry tomatoes topped by a full round of burrata ($28), and a bottle of imported water, $6. Total: $96.46 before tip.
The restaurant is still BYOB.
BUCCAN, PALM BEACH: Excellent dinner here; already booked a return visit. Among the highlights:
Warm brussel sprouts "Caesar," topped with a pair of Boquerones (white anchovies). Essential!
Hot Dog Panini with Sauerkraut and Gruyere. My partner devoured this happily, and will order again!
Duck Confit Pizza with Warm Balsamic Jam. Terrific interplay of flavors.
Maple Glazed Pork Belly. I order pork belly quite often.
Having just had what might have been the best rendition of my life at The Test Kitchen (CapeTown), the bar was set very high. The Buccan kitchen sent out a creditable contender; I loved this dish and will order again.
With one additional dish (Trout Salad, good but not a "WOW!"), and one glass of Riesling, the total tab for two of us was $84 before tip. Service was efficient and very friendly. Buccan will join our rotation this season.
PUNJAB, BOCA RATON. We expected the worst and were pleasantly surprised by this Indian restaurant located in a non-descript hotel on Federal Highway.
Nowhere near the level of London, or even Manhattan or Queens Indian, but if you have a hankering while in the area, this might fit the bill. Service is accommodating and helpful. The decor, contrary to reports, is just fine. Wines by the glass are fairly dismal, but prices of a few bottles bear a low markup.
I did not taste all dishes, but will say that the tandoori chicken, ordered by my partner, was moist, and my lamb chops were meaty, if not browned enough. Appetizers I tasted were good. (Sorry, again, for lack of detail; we were in a group of 8 and I was too busy talking to take notes)
Price per person, with ample food, was $31 per person before tip.
SO: What else should be on my list? We had a good meal last year at Sybarite Pig in West Boca; should I plan a return?
I read about a new place in the Wyndham Hotel, Boca, The Farmer's Table Boca. The emphasis on healthy eating does not seem to augur well for taste, or creativity, but wonder if CHers have been and care to comment?
I would love to hear from the regulars here--where can I find interesting, well-prepared food in the area from around WPB south to Deerfield? Not looking for Italian or Chinese, as we get great versions at home, but will consider anything if exceptional.
Here are a few of my comments from last year, to give you an idea of our taste: