Critic’s pick: cozy vibe, scratch-made eats in Northwood

Chef Roberto Villegas opened Table 427, a cozy spot on Northwood's main drag, in 2013. He makes everything from scratch, from the bread to the salad dressings to the gnocchi. (Jennifer Podis/ The Palm Beach Post)
Chef Roberto Villegas opened Table 427 in 2013. (Jennifer Podis/ The Palm Beach Post)

Central county pick: TABLE 427

In Northwood’s primetime bustle, it may be easy to overlook this quiet, cozy eatery.

Located on the historic district’s main drag, Table 427 is the domain of chef/owner Roberto Villegas, a versatile cook who often takes inspiration from his Mexican roots. His dishes are not precious, but they are earnestly prepared and lovingly served.

Villegas is the culinary equivalent of a DJ – he takes requests. And for those who enjoy surprises, he offers a “No Menu” option, a five-course dinner of his own design.

The pace here may be slower than at other neighborhood eateries, as the chef does most of the cooking himself. Consider the lag a chance to have a glass of wine and an invitation to be treated like family.

Table 427: 427 Northwood Rd., West Palm Beach; 561-506-8211; Table427.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

Critic’s pick: a Jupiter spot for kicky enchiladas

White Sangria is served at Cabo Flats restaurants. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)
White Sangria is served at Cabo Flats restaurants. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)

North county pick: CABO FLATS

This is the Mexican-inspired eatery that originated in the Downtown at the Gardens plaza in Palm Beach Gardens. It has since expanded to three other cities, with three others on deck.

With the original location closed, north county Cabo fans can now find their Pancho Villa quesadillas in this free-standing restaurant on U.S. 1 in Jupiter. This is where I found a lively, but not overwhelming vibe and spot-on service on a recent night.

Avocado fries at Cabo Flats. (Photo: Christina Nicholson)
Avocado fries at Cabo Flats. (Photo: Christina Nicholson)

Also spot-on: the classic enchiladas stuffed with Cabo’s Chicken Tinga. I love it with a side of the kicky ranchero sauce and a Dos Equis lager.

Cabo Flats: 1352 S. U.S. Highway 1, Jupiter; 561-320-9644; CaboFlats.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

Best restaurant: Mizner Park’s cool spot for hot tamales

Uncle Julio's Skinny Guava Rita, flavored with guava nectar and sweetened with an agave sour mix, weighs in at under 130 calories. (Contributed)
Uncle Julio’s Skinny Guava Rita, with guava nectar and agave sour mix. (Contributed)

South county pick: UNCLE JULIO’S

Location is everything here. Grab an outdoor table at this Mizner Park eatery on a night when there’s a concert at the amphitheater across the street and enjoy the music while you nosh on crisp tortilla chips and smoky salsa.

Order the chicken tamales appetizer for the table (eight to an order, also available individually) and enjoy the contrast of the creamy masa and the tangy tomatillo dipping sauce.

Uncle Julio's Bacon-pineapple guac. (Contributed)
Uncle Julio’s Bacon-pineapple guac. (Contributed)

Or visit for weekend brunch (served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday) and feast on hearty chilaquiles or Julio’s migas. For the pairing, skip the Bloody Mary and have a tequila-loaded Salty Juana (Herradura, Bloody Mary mix, salt rim) instead.

Uncle Julio’s: 449 Plaza Real (Mizner Park), Boca Raton; 561-300-3530; UncleJulios.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda