Written by Rebecca L. Rhoades
With its pristine beaches, warm ocean breezes and endless blue skies, South Florida has long attracted those seeking a change from winter weather. Palm Beach, in particular, has held special allure for travelers since the town was founded in 1911.
It’s been three years since Barrett-Jackson was able to hold an event in Palm Beach, and since then, dozens of celebrated eateries have opened or will soon be opening locations in Palm Beach County. They provide the perfect spot to celebrate your bidding success or to simply unwind and enjoy a delectable meal after an exciting day of auction action.
“Palm Beach has the right balance of a classic yet relaxed vibe. People want to live here, and everyone wants to visit. We’re so happy to be part of this community,” says Ed Carter, operating partner of La Goulue. The bistro by famed restaurateur Jean C. Denoyer transported its French cuisine to the South Florida shores in late 2020 and has since been labeled one of the hottest restaurants in town.
A few months later, the Palm Beach outpost of chef Philippe Delgrange’s iconic French boîte, Le Bilboquet, opened to great fanfare. “Palm Beach is one of the most enchanting towns. Some of the best restaurants in the country have found second homes here,” says Dobi Trendafilova, managing partner of Le Bilboquet Palm Beach.
Whether you’re a Florida resident or visiting Palm Beach for the 2022 auction, you’re certain to find something to please your palate, from traditional French fine dining to chic al fresco fare.
Almond: With locations in New York and nearby Bridgehampton, this rustic French bistro opened in Palm Beach in early 2020. The decor pays homage to the eatery’s Long Island space, including the famous red Scalamandre zebra wallpaper, and executive chef Jason Weiner’s casually elegant menu features market-fresh ingredients. Classic dishes include steamed black mussels, roast chicken with hand-crushed potatoes and Le Grande macaroni and cheese. Raw bar selections range from a half-dozen oysters to the Plateau Royale with oysters, shrimp, lobster and more.
La Goulue: Famous for its award-winning cheese soufflé, La Goulue welcomes guests with a lively French-influenced ambiance, including cushy leather banquettes, Majorelle chandeliers, pewter bar and wood paneling. The restaurant recently added a special menu for Apéro, the time of day in France between lunch and dinner to meet for cocktails and small plates. Brunch is available on weekends.
Le Bilboquet: Like its locations in Atlanta, GA; Dallas, TX; and Denver, CO — in addition to its flagship restaurant in New York City — Le Bilboquet Palm Beach serves a delicious menu of traditional French dishes, including Moules Marinières, Le Tartare de Boeuf and Le Chicken Paillard, as well as a selection of fresh seafood. A lush courtyard gives way to art deco French-chic decor that’s elegant yet relaxed, with velvet seating, art-lined walls and a wood-and-pewter bar. The Palm Beach restaurant is the only Le Bilboquet to offer breakfast, complete with omelets, fresh-pressed juices, just-baked croissants and perfect cappuccinos.
Sant Ambroeus: Still one of the toughest reservations to score, a meal at Sant Ambroeus is like a trip to Milan. The design was inspired by the “Gran Caffés” of 1950s Italy, mixing modern lines with rich mahogany and Italian stone. The menu includes such favorites as caviar, Pappardelle alla Milanese, Fettucini alla Bolongnese and Vitello Tonnato, alongside dishes inspired by the sea and a coffee bar and gelateria.
Swifty’s: This re-creation of New York’s now defunct Upper East Side celebrity gathering spot — itself an offshoot of the legendary Mortimer’s — has taken over The Colony Hotel’s pool patio, with a warm decor accentuated with a few tropical flourishes. Signature dishes include the Twin Burgers, Swifty’s Crab Cakes and Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf.
The Honor Bar: This casual take on the time-honored Palm Beach establishment, Palm Beach Grill, is the fourth Honor Bar location since the original debuted in Beverly Hills, CA, in 2010 — and the only one with a Florida address. The small-scale no-reservations restaurant, located next door to Palm Beach Grill, features 12 tables and a one-sided bar with a kitchenette in the middle. The eatery’s classic American menu focuses on premium sandwiches, salads, shareable snacks and first-rate cocktails.
For more on Palm Beach dining visit ThePalmBeaches.com/food-drink