Which PB County restaurant offers the best free food?

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Squares of freshly baked marble pound cake are offered as welcome bites at Flakowitz of Wellington deli. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

An excerpt from our Food Editor’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards:

Best Restaurant Freebie: Flakowitz Marble Cake

It arrived moments after I settled in at my table, ordered coffee and started perusing the menu at Flakowitz of Wellington deli: a generous wedge of marble cake. How did they know about my weakness for marble pound cake? They didn’t, but no matter: The freebee is offered at this location as well as at Flakowitz of Boynton. Smitten with it? You can buy more to take home.

Flakowitz of Wellington: 2803-300 State Road 7, Wellington; 561-847-4346;FlakowitzofWellington.com

Related: Our full list of 2015’s best restaurants, food in Palm Beach County

Critic’s Choice: Which bar is the best in Palm Beach County?

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A view before the rush: The bar at Brule Bistro, in Delray Beach’s Pineapple Grove district, is an intimate spot that’s popular with locals. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

An excerpt from our Food Editor’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards:

Best bar in Palm Beach County: Brule Bistro in Delray Beach:

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View of Braised Beef short Rib, creamy mascarpone polenta, sauteed spinach, natural red wine reduction at Brule Bistro in Delray Beach. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

Belly up to the intimate bar at this Delray Beach bistro, or grab a seat at the adjacent long high-top table and enjoy the charms – and delicious bar bites – of Brule. You won’t find a staggeringly long cocktail list, but some notable, locally inspired updates on classics, a respectable menu of

wines and a small but well-curated list of craft beers.

Related: Full review – Brule Bistro in Delray is lively in both atmosphere, food

But you will find it quite easy to segue from happy hour (3 to 6:30 p.m.) to dinner service here, as regulars populate the indoor and outdoor tables and raise the volume to lively levels. Blocks removed from Atlantic Avenue and its traffic, this Pineapple Grove bar/bistro has established itself as a local favorite.

Brule Bistro: 200 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach; 561-274-2046;BruleBistro.com

Related: Our full list of the 2015’s best restaurants, food in Palm Beach County

Which Jupiter restaurant has the best view in Palm Beach County?

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The view of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse is splendid from the Rustic Inn Crabhouse. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

An excerpt from our Food Editor’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards:

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, which restaurant has the most stunning view in the county?

Rustic Inn Crabhouse in Jupiter:

If your idea of a captivating view is a panorama of shimmering water and bobbing boats, punctuated by a stunning-red lighthouse, you will find your sweet spot here.

Related: Full dining review of Rustin Inn – “Bibs required at Jupiter’s Rustic Inn Crabhouse”

Whether you’re cracking crustaceans or simply having a batch of conch fritters and a glass of wine, you can always count on a side of soothing visuals here, at the Jupiter Inlet.

Rustic Inn Crabhouse: 1065 N. A1A, Jupiter; 561-320-9130.

Related: 5 best romantic restaurants in Palm Beach County

 

Which restaurant has the best burger in Palm Beach County?

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An Inside-Out Juicy Lucy Burger prepared at M.E.A.T. Eatery and Tap Room restaurant located in Boca Raton. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

An excerpt from our Food Editor’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards:

Best Burger in Palm Beach County: MEAT Eatery & Taproom:

When Chef George Patti brought the Inside-Out Juicy Lucy Burger to Boca Raton from his Islamorada burger joint, he set a new standard in pure decadence. This burger, a brisket and beef patty stuffed with pimento cheese and house-made bacon bits, then topped with a swoon of American cheese, is a thing of beauty in all its messiness.

Meat Eatery & Taproom: 980 N. Federal Highway, Suite 115 in the Cendyn Spaces building, Boca Raton; 561-419-2600;MeatEateryBoca.com

Related: Juicy Lucy! Home wrecker! Boca burger eatery is eclectic experience

Related: 15 best burgers in Palm Beach County

Critic’s Choice: The best dine-in lunch spot in Palm Beach County

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Thai salad at The Chesterfield’s Leopard Lounge features shrimp, avocado and mango. (Palm Beach Daily News)

An excerpt from our Food Editor’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards:

Best dine-in lunch spot: Leopard Lounge 

Tucked into the Chesterfield Hotel in Palm Beach is the refurbished, still glitzy Leopard Lounge, punctuated by glossy black shutters, leopard-pattern carpet, black granite tables and punkah fans.

Here, well before happy hour kicks off or weekend celebrations begin, lunch is served with exquisite style. The setting is sedate and sophisticated. Service is excellent. And the well-edited menu boasts one of the best dishes I had this year: the chicken schnitzel with haricot vert, lemon béchamel and French fries. For dessert, indulge in a chocolate molten cake. Why not? Lunch here is always a special occasion.

Leopard Lounge: at The Chesterfield, 363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach; 561-659-5800; ChesterfieldPB.com

Related: The full list of our Critic’s Choice picks for 2015

Critic’s Choice: Which restaurant has the best service in Palm Beach County?

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The Woods’ lobster and jumbo crab cake: fresh lobster and jumbo lump crab cake, served with a warm mustard sauce and roasted corn relish. (Contributed by The Woods Jupiter)

An excerpt from our Food Editor’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards:

Best service in Palm Beach County: The Woods

Tiger Woods, superstar golfer and restaurateur, brought a stroke of excellence to Jupiter’s Harbourside Place when he opened The Woods in August. The place has steakhouse sophistication and sports bar accessibility, good meat dishes and top-notch service.

Related: Our full review – “The Woods is a game-changer for Harbourside Place”

This is where servers in Nike kicks and sportswear hand out luxuriously hot towels after rounds of finger food. Servers check in often and command the menu. Their bosses check in as well.

All this in a jammed, busy restaurant, in a region stricken by spotty, inconsistent service. It is clear exceptional service is a priority here. Nike sneaker-induced speed accounts for only part of it.

The Woods: 129 Soundings Ave., at Harbourside Place, Jupiter; 561-320-9627; WoodsJupiter.com

Related: The full list of our Critic’s Choice picks for 2015

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The Woods Jupiter at Harbourside Place in Jupiter. (Contributed)

 

Critic’s Choice: Which is the best new restaurant in Palm Beach County?

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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

An excerpt from our Food Editor’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards:

Best new restaurant in Palm Beach County: Queen of Sheeba

When a former registered nurse named Lojo Washington opened this jewel-box of a restaurant on a neglected block of West Palm Beach’s Historic Northwest District, she tapped into the essence of what makes a restaurant truly great: passion and devotion.

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“Doro wot,” chicken stewed in robust African chili spices and served with a hard-boiled egg, is the national dish of Ethiopia. It is served at Queen of Sheeba. Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post

The Ethiopian-born restaurant owner and cook 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. Because Queen of Sheeba is South Florida’s only Ethiopian restaurant, her customers hail from near and far – a dream come true for a woman eager to share the flavors of her childhood with the community at large.

But it is Washington’s devotion to the restaurant’s struggling neighborhood that fuels her sense of purpose in the kitchen. She wants to do more than dazzle customers with stunning plate presentations – she wants to share with them her food stories, to nourish them in body and soul.

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

Related: A full list of the Critic’s Choice picks for 2015

Queen of Sheeba: ‘Queen’ of eatery hopes to change hearts, minds one dish at a time