13 best restaurants in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach, right now

photo buccan

In Palm Beach, Buccan’s ahi poke pops with coconut Thai chili flavors. (Contributed by Steven Barracos/SoFlaFoodie)

Here’s a current snapshot of the restaurants we’re loving best at the moment in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Next month, the snapshot might be different. This unranked list, which omits eateries closed for summer break, includes only restaurants we have visited.

Grato, West Palm Beach

photo grato restaurant

Grato’s orange-apricot scones. (Photo: Liz Balmaseda)

The fab new pizzeria on South Dixie Highway has been packed every night since its debut. Evenings at Grato, opened by the powerhouse team behind Palm Beach’s wildly popular Buccan bistro, is marked by the glow of a wood-burning pizza oven. Grato’s non-fussy menu lists crostini, pizza, pasta, salad and roasted meats. The eatery serves a terrific a la carte brunch on Sundays, and has recently kicked off a lunch service.

Grato: 1901 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-404-1334.

Avocado Grill, West Palm Beach

At Avocado Grill: Chef Julien Gremaud's grilled swordfish with carrot and sumac puree, fresh garbanzo beans, cauliflower, baby kale and salsa verde. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

At Avocado Grill: Chef Julien Gremaud’s grilled swordfish with carrot and sumac puree, fresh garbanzo beans, cauliflower, baby kale and salsa verde. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

There’s a good reason why Chef Julien Gremaud’s hip, sunny eatery is a busy spot at night: His small plates and shareable selections are both refined and decadent. But why limit your visit to this downtown West Palm eatery to nighttime when it serves one of the best weekend brunches in the county? Gremaud’s eggs Benedict dishes are sinful, as are his gently scrambled eggs dusted with piment d’Espelette, and his crab-avocado toast topped with an oozy egg. And if you’re lucky, that day’s special menu will include his outstanding rendition of shrimp and grits. The Jerez-spiked shrimp alone are worth the price of admission.

Avocado Grill: 125 Datura St., West Palm Beach; 561-623-0822.

Related: 20 best restaurants right now in Palm Beach County

Buccan, Palm Beach

photo buccan

Paccheri with herb ricotta, Parmesan and “Sunday gravy” with braised pork shoulder, short rib and Italian sausage. (Contributed by LibbyVision.com)

Whether you stop in for one of chef Clay Conley’s supreme small plates (he’s masterful with raw fish and seafood dishes) or settle in for a 14-ounce, wood-grilled prime New York strip steak and a night of people-watching, you’ve come to the best bistro in Palm Beach. Reservations are a must.

Buccan: 350 S. County Road, Palm Beach; 561-833-3450.

Kitchen, West Palm Beach

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A scallop dish created by chef Matthew Byrne at his Kitchen restaurant, a stylish and cozy eatery located on Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach. (Contributed by LILA PHOTO)

Chef Matthew Byrne creates refined takes on comfort classics while his wife/partner, Aliza Bryne, keeps a gracious pace in the front of the house at Kitchen. The menu is seasonally inspired and beautifully executed. In addition to the small main dining room, there’s a lounge area as well as a private dining room to accommodate larger parties. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Kitchen: 319 Belvedere Road, #2, West Palm Beach; 561-249-2281.

Jardin, West Palm Beach

At Jardin: crispy hummus with lemon aioli. (South Moon Photography)

At Jardin: crispy hummus with lemon aioli. (South Moon Photography)

This newcomer has raised the bar on creativity on Clematis Street. The food here is gorgeous to the eye – and to the palate. It’s the handiwork of executive chef and co-owner Jordan Lerman, whose credits include stints at New York’s celebrated Eleven Madison Park and Momofuku Ssam Bar. Like his talented pastry chef/ general manager/wife, Stephanie Cohen, Lerman is a chef who seems unafraid to heap excess love on a plate.

This young couple is on an adventure, one defined by seasonal harvests and whims. Their excitement spills from their menu and into their disarming hospitality style.

Jardin: 330 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-440-5273.

Chez l’Epicier, Palm Beach

Chez L'Epicier's poutine. (Contributed by Chez L'Epicier)

Chez L’Epicier’s poutine. (Contributed by Chez L’Epicier)

Just as a grocer’s shop is driven by the harvest, Chef Laurent Godbout’s menu celebrates seasonality. Godbout, who owns and operates the restaurant with his wife, hostess Veronique Deneault, is an exceptional chef whose artistry is reflected in a dish’s heightened flavors as well as stunning looks. His whimsical style is evident from the welcome tray of fresh savory macaroons.

There’s a sense here that one is in good hands. The chef cooks with style and authority.

Chez l’Epicier: 288 S County Road, Palm Beach; 561-508-7030.

Ristorante Santucci, West Palm Beach

Ristorante Santucci's Carpaccio di Polpo (shaved octopus appetizer). The family-owned restaurant is located in West Palm Beach. (Daniel Owen/ The Palm Beach Post)

Ristorante Santucci’s Carpaccio di Polpo (shaved octopus appetizer). The family-owned restaurant is located in West Palm Beach. (Daniel Owen/ The Palm Beach Post)

Nicely removed from the more bustling blocks of Clematis Street, this eatery seems to exist in a city apart, one that finds serenity in polished, white-on-white décor, warmth in service and sheer pleasure in Old World dishes that have been mastered and modernized. This lustrous city is not exactly social-media obsessed, which is why you may not have heard about Ristorante Santucci.
If you haven’t been, you’re missing out on authentic, high-end Sicilian cooking. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s worth it.

Ristorante Santucci: 610 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-337-2532.

Meat Market, Palm Beach

For the carnivores: Meat Market opens today in Palm Beach at the site of the old Palm Beach Steakhouse. (Contributed by Michael Pisarri)

For the carnivores: Meat Market in Palm Beach at the site of the old Palm Beach Steakhouse. (Contributed by Michael Pisarri)

This steakhouse in Palm Beach was voted “best restaurant” in our 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards. Chef Sean Brasel has created a sleek temple of food and drink designed to wow diners beyond the carnivores. Yes, carnivores will find nirvana in a menu that offers a selection of reserve cuts, such as dramatically presented mega-steaks, all tender beneath a gorgeous char.
(Photo by Bill Ingram/The Palm Beach Post)

Meat Market Palm Beach: 191 Bradley Place, Palm Beach; 561-354-9800.

Café Boulud, Palm Beach

Main Lobster Roll at Café Boulud in Palm Beach. (Photo contributed by Café Boulud)

Main Lobster Roll at Café Boulud in Palm Beach. (Photo contributed by Café Boulud)

Chef Daniel Boulud’s Palm Beach eatery offers more than a stylish backdrop for dining — it offers some of the best food on the island. Executive chef Rick Mace is a true star, a culinary storyteller who knows how to capture the imagination and palate with food and presentation.

Café Boulud: 301 Australian Ave. (in The Brazilian Court hotel), Palm Beach; 561-655-6060.

Okeechobee Steakhouse, West Palm Beach

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Okeechobee Steakhouse’s 26 oz Porterhouse steak.

Expect no foodie lingo here, no “artisan” this or “hand-crafted” that, no menus tripped up in adjectives. But you will find a mighty fine steak. And you will find stellar service, the kind of service that brings you back to the warm, welcoming time capsule that is Okeechobee Steakhouse. (Reopens at 5 p.m. July 28 after weeks of remodeling.)

Okeechobee Steakhouse: 2854 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-683-5151.

Queen of Sheeba, West Palm Beach

photo queen of sheeba restaurant

A sampler platter of Ethiopian red lentil stew and split peas in turmeric sauce is served at Queen of Sheeba, a full-service Ethiopian restaurant located in West Palm Beach’s Northwest Historic District. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

Voted the “best new restaurant” in The Post’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards, Queen of Sheeba is South Florida’s only Ethiopian restaurant. The Ethiopian-born restaurant owner and cook, Lojo Washington, presents the foods of her native land and the lightly sour injera bread, which serves as a scoop for stewed dishes and veggies she serves.

Queen of Sheeba: 716 N. Sapodilla Ave., West Palm Beach; 561-514-0615.

Pistache, West Palm Beach

photo pistache restaurant

Gnocchi “Parisienne” at Pistache French Bistro. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

It’s easy to see why Pistache has become a favorite on finicky Clematis Street: French favorites offered with a sophisticated touch, warm hospitality, lovely setting. The bistro never fails to impress. Come for lunch, dinner, cocktails or one of the most pleasant, a la carte Sunday brunches in central county.

Pistache: 101 N. Clematis St., #115, West Palm Beach; 561-833-5090.

PB Catch, Palm Beach

photo pb catch restaurant

PB Catch serves a pan roasted Snowy Grouper. (Meghan McCarthy /Palm Beach Daily News)

PB Catch not only has a terrific raw bar, where the fresh oyster selection is hard to beat, it has Chef de Cuisine Aaron Black’s fanciful “sea-cuterie” creations, as well as his beautifully prepared fish and seafood dishes. The interiors are serenely rich, the ambiance relaxed and the service polished.

PB Catch: 251 Sunrise Ave., Palm Beach; 561-655-5558.

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