You come for the sun, the sea and the right to wear shorts in January, dear Northerner. But no amount of South Florida stone crabs can fix your cravings for the foods of “home,” wherever in the frozen tundra that may be.
This one’s for you: our local picks for tastes of New York, New Jersey, New England, Maryland, Philadelphia and Montreal.
Did we leave out your go-to favorite? Let us know in the comments section!
NEW YORK/ NEW JERSEY
Junior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake
This “Sixth Borough” outpost of the Brooklyn favorite serves cheesecake that dreams are made of. So, yes, you come to Junior’s Restaurant for the cheesecake. But first you gorge on a Reuben, maybe some potato pancakes and matzo ball soup. The menu is extensive.
Dorrian’s Red Hand
The family behind the Upper East Side fixture opened a West Palm Beach rendition in May, setting out to create a New York pub vibe. As an occasional special, Dorrian’s on Clematis Street even brings in Katz’s Delicatessen pastrami from the iconic New York deli.
This Arizona-based pizza chain has Brooklyn roots serves delicious, thin-crust pies. The menu is simple here – pretty much, pizza, salads and dessert – but it hits the spot.
Granted, the place doesn’t open until December, but already it screams “New York.” Restaurateur Burt Rapoport took inspiration from his grandfather’s lower east Manhattan deli, Rapoport’s, for this long-dreamed spot. Unlike his grandfather’s place, Rappy’s is not a strictly dairy restaurant. The menu puts a modern spin on some of Rapoport’s favorite comfort dishes.
Manzo’s Italian Deli
This popular deli brings Northern soul to Italian favorites. Mike and Mia Manzo operate the 21-year-old, family-owned spot. Mike makes killer red sauce every morning. It jazzes up his homemade lasagna, the meatballs and other dishes. As for sandwiches, Manzo’s big seller is the chicken salad sub – they sell almost 200 pounds of chicken salad a week.
BOSTON/ NEW ENGLAND
Boston’s on the Beach
Consider this your south county, oceanfront spot for New England clam chowder, lobster bisque, Ipswich steamers, New England clambake and Maine lobster. To wash it down, there’s a specialty cocktail named The Patriot, of course. Plus, there are more than 30 TVs to watch the big game.
What began as a green market kiosk selling creamy clam chowder and lobster rolls evolved into a popular Jupiter restaurant. The warm lobster roll stuffed with lobster chunks that have been sautéed in butter and sherry is particularly delicious, as is the chowder. The seafood-centric menu is extensive enough to keep you coming back. Chances are, however, you’ll order your favorites again and again.
Spoto’s Oyster Bar
This seafood restaurant, consistently good in food and service, serves a mean New England clam chowder and a pretty terrific lobster roll.
Baldino’s Italian Restaurant
The logline for this restaurant is “A Taste of Philly,” and that’s evident from the menu at Baldino’s, which boasts no fewer than four Philly cheesesteak sandwich varieties.
They root proudly for the Philadelphia Eagles and run game day contests (win a free pizza if you’re the first customer to guess the winner and score).
This Boca Raton shop bakes a variety of doughy Philly-style pretzels, from twists to pretzel dogs to pretzel sandwiches, including a pork roll and cheese-stuffed sandwich. Phlorida Pretzel also offers a good mix of party trays that are perfect for tailgating. (And, yes, this is Eagles territory.)
Caffe Luna Rosa
At brunch/lunch, this Italian spot by the sea serves Philadelphia-style scrapple, a pan-fried loaf of pork trimmings and flour. (Hey, Jersey folks, Caffe Luna Rosa also serves Taylor Pork Roll as a brunch side.)
This sports grill is popular with Baltimore Ravens fans as well as with fans of proper crab cakes. Kirby’s rendition are cakes chockfull of crab, not bready filler.
This restaurant not only bills itself as a Maryland crab house, the menu delivers on that promise with Maryland crab soup, Maryland-style crabs steamed in beer, vinegar and spices and Chesapeake references.
Pure Baltimore inspiration built this spot, and a love of crabs keeps it going. The cream of crab soup at True carries hints of sherry, shallots and Old Bay. The True Blue sandwich layers a Maryland-style crab cake, lettuce and tomato on a Kaiser roll. There’s a crab dip that’s topped with cheddar and the Homesick Soup with plenty of Old Bay love.
Poutine Dog Café
17 S. J Street, Lake Worth; 561-766-2281
What’s so Montreal about fries, gravy and cheese curds? Everything. And this café serves it in abundance and with plenty of bling. There are at least nine ways to top your poutine here.
Set in farmhouse-chic décor, this Palm Beach restaurant offers a most compelling reason for a Montreal fan to visit: The chef is a food star there. Chef Laurent Godbout, who runs Chez l’Epicier with his wife Veronique Deneault, renders artistic yet soulful plates. And, yes, he offers a mean poutine.