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Palm Beach County Florida Restaurants: Experience Exceptional Culinary Delights at These Passionate and Ingredient-Focused

Updated: Apr 8


Palm Beach County Florida Restaurants. Grato, Bucan, Imoto, Buccan Sandwich Shop
James Beard Award Semifinalist, Clay Conley


This article appeared in the January Issue of Up and Away Magazine It is reprinted here with permission. Click here to see the original version: Up and Away.


Looking for an exceptional meal while you are in Palm Beach County? From Palm Beach Island to Boca Raton, here are four Florida restaurants that are approachable, chef driven and offer the magical combination of passion, hospitality, unique flavor combinations and carefully sourced ingredients.



Thoughtful Passion - Clay Conley’s Grato West Palm Beach, Florida Restaurant


Palm Beach County Florida Restaurants. Grato, Buccan, Imoto, Buccan Sandwich Shop
Butternut Squash Pizza, Grato West Palm Beach

Chef Clay Conley is a culinary force to be reckoned with in Palm Beach County.  He has a passion for creating innovative dishes that highlight the flavors of the region. As the executive chef and co-owner of Buccan, Imoto, Buccan Sandwich Shop and Grato, his restaurants showcase his culinary skills and dedication to culinary excellence.

Chef Conley's journey to becoming a renowned chef began with humble roots, starting out as a dishwasher in his teens and working his way up through the ranks in some of the best kitchens in the country. While honing his skills under renowned chefs like Todd English and Daniel Boulud, Chef Conley developed a unique style that blends flavors and techniques from around the world.


What sets Chef Conley apart is his unwavering commitment to sourcing the freshest and highest quality ingredients. His dedication to locally-sourced produce, sustainable seafood, and humanely-raised meats shines through in his dishes. Each plate that Chef Conley creates is a harmonious balance of flavors, textures, and seasonal ingredients, resulting in a culinary experience that is absolutely delicious.


Chef Conley has received numerous accolades since he opened his modern American, Palm Beach restaurant Buccan in 2011, including being a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South, six times. Recently Buccan was named one of the “Top 100 Restaurants in the United States” by OpenTable for 2023. Chef Conley has taken his skills in developing unique flavor profiles, to three other more approachable and relaxed restaurant concepts; Imoto, Buccan Sandwich Shop and Grato.



Imoto, which means little sister in Japanese, was his first Palm Beach Restaurant outside of Buccan. It was inspired by his time in Japan, while working for Chef Todd English. Imoto offers small plates and craft cocktails in true Japanese Izakaya style.  Buccan Sandwich Shop is American fast food, Clay Conley style. Their sandwiches, salads and house made drinks are created with locally sourced and produced ingredients. Pick up an order at their West Palm Beach location and head to the a local park or the beach for a 5 star picnic experience.


Chef Conley created his fourth restaurant as a family friendly, neighborhood, gathering place, in West Palm Beach. Grato is a lively and energetic establishment where wood fired pizza and homemade pasta are the stars.  You can enjoy innovative Craft Cocktails or Mocktails at communal, high top dining tables or sip a glass of Italian wine or a locally brewed beer at the Kitchen Bar, while watching the creation of your pizza or pasta.  If you are a fan of octopus don’t miss Grato’s Octopus Taboulleh.  All of Chef Conley’s restaurants are open for dinner daily except Buccan Sandwich Shop, which is open daily from 11am-3pm.  Grato has a happy hour starting at 4pm and a Sunday Brunch, served from 11am-3pm.



Essential Online Links For Booking Your Trip to South Florida


Logistics:

 There are 3 airports that service Southeast Florida, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach: Uber and Taxis are available. Tri Rail and Brightline trains service Fort Lauderdale and Miami Airports. Private and Multiple Passenger Transfers are available from all three airports: ☆Transportation Service Miami Hotel - Miami International Airport


Advanced Tickets for the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi.   


Save on entry fees: If you plan on visiting multiple museums or attractions, it is more economical to purchase a Miami Sightseeing Pass to save money, you can buy this pass for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days.


 Top-rated Southeast Florida Tours and Experiences:

Seven Isles of Fort Lauderdale Kayak Tour (one of my favorite Southeast Florida experience)

Downtown West Palm Beach Food Tour (great for foodies)

Wynwood Graffiti Golf Cart Small-Group Tour (perfect for art lovers)


Top Places to Stay in Southeast Florida: 

1 Hotel South Beach (Luxury, Miami)

Yotel (Budget Friendly, Miami)

Hollywood Beachside Boutique  (Budget Friendly, Fort Lauderdale)

The Pillars Hotel (Luxury, Fort Lauderdale)

The White Elephant (Luxury, Palm Beach)

The Canopy (Budget Friendly, West Palm Beach)

Crane's Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas (Amazing Tropical Vibe, Delray Beach)


My favorite Guidebook for Florida: DK Eyewitness Florida   

My favorite Novel about Southeast Florida: The Last Train to Key West  


 


Leila in West Palm Beach, Florida: Where Passion for Hospitality makes Grandma’s Recipes Shine


Palm Beach County Florida Restaurants
Leila Dining Room, West Palm Beach

Located in West Palm Beach, Leila is a charming restaurant that brings the flavors of the Mediterranean to South Florida. Step inside Leila, and you'll be transported to a Mediterranean oasis. The restaurant's décor features rich colors, rustic accents, and soft lighting, creating a cozy and intimate setting. Whether you're dining with friends, celebrating a special occasion, or simply enjoying a taste of the Mediterranean, Leila's ambiance sets the stage for a memorable dining experience.


With Lebanese and Syrian heritage, Alex and Mirielle Awad immigrated to the United States in 1989. They opened Lelia in downtown West Palm Beach in 2003. Twenty years later, they continue to serve high quality, healthy, Mediterranean cuisine for lunch and dinner! Alex rules the front of the house and Mirielle rules the kitchen, using recipes that have been handed down from their mothers and grandmothers. From hand cut french fries to baba ghanoush made with wood fired eggplant, every dish is prepared fresh for their guests.



When asked how they get inspiration given their longevity as restaurateurs, Alex stated, “From our guests, I love people and making them happy.”  Their passion for hospitality and welcoming nature brings locals and visitors back to restaurant regularly.  Alex and Mirielle have a passion for their food, especially sourcing the best possible ingredients to create their Mediterranean comfort food, matching the tastes and flavors of their youth. 


Lelia is open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner, dinner only on Saturday and Sunday, with belly dancing on Friday and Saturday evenings. Do not miss the fatoush, it gets it fresh taste from locally grown parsley and its brightness from lemon juice or the lamb kebab marinated in olive oil and garlic.



Gallaghers - A Nostalgic New York City Steakhouse in Boca Raton, Florida


Palm Beach County Florida Restaurants
Gallaghers Steakhouse, Boca Raton

If you're looking for a great steak, in a nostalgic atmosphere, Gallagher's is the place to be in Boca Raton. Restaurateur Dean Poll brought a second location of his legendary restaurant to Boca Raton in March of 2023. Gallaghers Boca Raton has quickly become a favorite among locals and visitors. 


With its 1920’s Florida ambiance and a delectable menu that includes both dry aged steaks and seafood, everyone can find something to enjoy. Whether you're in the mood for prime beef, fresh fish, or a flavorful pasta dish, Gallaghers has got you covered. Under the direction of Executive Chef Alan Ashkenazi their dishes are prepared with the finest ingredients, ensuring an unforgettable experience.


The History of Gallaghers in Boca Raton, Florida


Gallaghers in New York City has a rich history spanning over a century, Helen Gallagher first opened the establishment in 1927. Located on West 52nd Street it was Speakeasy during prohibition. After the Depression, Gallaghers pivoted  becoming a popular restaurant, known for its exceptional hospitality and mouthwatering steaks. At that time, the neighborhood was bustling with actors, artists, and writers, creating a vibrant atmosphere that attracted celebrities and New York's elite. Mr. Poll purchased the restaurant in 2013 doing a complete renovation and restoration to its former glory.


The restaurant's success can be attributed not only to its superb food but also to its unique décor. Gallaghers New York interior has always been adorned with a collection of caricatures and photographs featuring famous faces from the entertainment industry, sports stars, and influential figures. This tradition began in the early days of the restaurant when a regular customer paid his bill with a caricature instead of money. Since then, celebrities and patrons have contributed their own photographs to the restaurant's ever-growing collection, making it a visual delight for visitors. Many of these can be seen inside the Boca Raton location.



Over the years, Gallagher's has become synonymous with fantastic steaks. The restaurant takes great pride in its dry-aged beef, carefully selecting the best cuts of USDA Prime meat and aging them in-house under controlled conditions. This process results in incredibly tender and flavorful steak.  These dry aged steaks have become a hallmark of the restaurant. Whether you prefer a marbled ribeye, a thick porterhouse, or a perfectly grilled filet mignon, Gallagher's offers an array of options to satisfy every steak enthusiast.


Beyond its delectable steaks, Gallagher's also offers a diverse menu that includes fresh seafood, chops, as well classic American dishes. From succulent lobster tails to hearty lamb chops, there is something for everyone's culinary preferences.  Don’t miss the French Onion Soup and the Lobster and Shrimp Dumplings. Accompany your meal choice with a beverage from their extensive wine list or a craft cocktail menu.


Whether you are a connoisseur of fine steaks or simply looking to immerse yourself a historic American dining experience, a visit to Gallaghers is a must. Experience the charm, savor the flavors, and bask in the timeless tradition this iconic restaurant creates in Boca Raton. Gallaghers is open daily for lunch and dinner.


Almond Restaurant - Where Locally Sourced Ingredients Create Memorable Meals in Palm Beach Florida



Palm Beach County Florida Restaurants
Le Grande Macaroni and Cheese, Almond, Palm Beach


Nestled in the heart of Palm Beach, Almond is a hidden culinary gem that delights patrons with its exceptional cuisine, inviting ambiance, and warm hospitality. With a focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, Almond offers a dining experience that combines classic French techniques with innovative flavors.

Step inside Almond, and you'll be greeted by a charming and cozy atmosphere. The restaurant's French bistro like décor creates a welcoming space, perfect for intimate dinners or gathering with friends. The dim lighting and soft music add to the relaxed ambiance, inviting guests to savor their dining experience.


The menu at Almond is a celebration of French Mediterranean cuisine with global street food and American classics in the mix. From the jams at their Sunday Brunch to the pastas on their dinner menu, everything is made fresh in house. Led by talented Chef Jason Weiner, the kitchen team takes pride in creating dishes that showcase the finest local ingredients available. From the first bite to the last, every dish is thoughtfully prepared and beautifully presented.


Palm Beach County Florida Restaurants
Chef Brendan Long Almond, Palm Beach

Chef Weiner’s favorite dish on the menu is the Plat du Jour, where he expresses his creative culinarily talents daily. He is a self proclaimed lover of cuisines from the warm weather countries that are close to the Equator. You will find innovative Plat du Jour offerings like fish tacos flavored with a house made, yellow, spicy pepper Sriracha sauce. A regular on their menu is a Vietnamese Chicken Salad flavored with cilantro and black sesame seeds. You will also find French classics like, steak frites, escargot and mussels & frites plus American classics with a twist like decadent mac & cheese flavored with winter truffle and a smoked turkey club.


Almond's location, one block off the beach on Palm Beach Island, offers a convenient and central spot for both residents and visitors. The relaxed upscale atmosphere allows you to sit in the outdoor seating area with your beach cover up. Indoor dining options include meals at the lively bar or at numerous cozy tables. They are open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner and for brunch on Sunday.


Looking for more information on visiting Southeast Florida, check out these Blog Posts:



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