A blue awning and fragrant wall of tropical flowers transform Taso’s Greek Taverna’s patio into a private enclave, illuminated by a string of twinkling lights. Inside, the ambiance is no less welcoming: sunlight streams through windows and illuminates pale-yellow walls and paintings of Mediterranean vistas. At the restaurant’s sister location, Taso’s Greek Taverna 2, the atmosphere is just as charming, with glistening wooden tables and a serpentine ceiling outlined with fluorescent light.
The ambiance is the first sign of Chef Taso Katechis’s commitment to celebrating Mediterranean culture. In the kitchen, chefs roast lamb and beef, stuff fresh fish and flaky filo dough with spinach and feta, and garnish their edible masterpieces with traditional accoutrements of Greek potatoes and warm, homemade pita. Additionally, they serve up a kid’s menu of Greek specialties to help create an experience that’s pleasing to both children and parents, much like a sock-puppet rendition of Law and Order.
Jimmy and Joe Castello, the father-son proprietors of Mamma’s Pizza Co., trace their culinary origins to 1969, when their family bought a small bakery. They commemorate this milestone by proudly displaying a black-and-white photo of their family posing in front of the shop’s quaint, striped awning. Today, they continue their journey by slinging traditional and sicilian pizzas that host toppings ranging from pepperoni and sausage to fresh basil and mozzarella. In addition to Italian-American favorites such as toasty subs and calzones and pasta dinners, they also whip up chicken wings slathered in mild, hot, or barbecue sauce.
Inside their cozy dining room, pale-yellow walls festooned with rolling pins and potted plants on the counter help maintain a cheerful atmosphere. The Castello family picture still stands watch over a few wooden tables, making sure that diners practice proper table manners and pizza-origami technique.
When you look at a Philly cheesesteak, "subtle" might be the last word on your mind. But it is, in fact, a sandwich of subtleties?just ask Big Al and his son Adam. When they moved to Florida from Philadelphia, they tried many cheesesteaks that purported to be authentic, but that lacked the small, signature touches of a true Philly creation: ribeye that was sliced and not chopped, for example, or the steak rolls only the East Coast had perfected.
So, the duo started their own cheesesteak restaurant. They sliced the ribeye steak, scheduled weekly deliveries of rolls from Philadelphia, and even put Cheez Whiz on the menu in addition to melted cheeses for added authenticity. This is not to say that they don't branch out?Big Al's also has burgers, hot dogs, and cheesesteak variants, such as the bacon-bleu cheesesteak or the spring-mix salad (it tastes like a cheesesteak if you close your eyes and concentrate hard enough).
Guests walk by book-lined walls, take their seats in red leather chairs, and open envelopes filled with silverware. It's just another day at The Office, an American gastropub that serves classic comfort foods remixed with a modern flair. Executive Chef Nick Troisen?who's worked under James Beard Award?winning Chef Mark Militello?teams up with Chef De Cuisine Zack Orsini to craft an eclectic selection of dishes, such as certified-humane beef burgers and lemongrass-glazed sea bass. The chefs use ingredients from local vendors and produce grown in The Office's hydroponics area, as well as unique preparation methods including molecular gastronomy, sous-vide cooking, and burgers extracted directly from visitors' dreams. In keeping with its chic workplace-inspired motif, the restaurant also features a front desk in lieu of a hostess booth.
The three men behind Park Tavern have been partners in arms for more than eight years. Their friendship began when Brian Albe and Brandon Belluscio tended bar at the restaurant where Anthony Pizzo manned the kitchen. Soon the symbiotic team broke out on their own, opening the wine bar Vertical 114 and the steak house Cut 432 before realizing their third venture together, Park Tavern.
The seasonal menu centers on locally procured fare, with veggies arriving at the kitchen so fresh that their roots are still intact. Signature dishes include the tavern burger, made from house-ground short rib and sirloin before being topped with locally grown tomatoes and onions. Each order of barbecue ribs is paired with a housemade buttermilk biscuit and green-apple-jalapeño chutney, which marries sweetness with spice as seamlessly as a donut maker whose custard gun is filled with wasabi.
The from-scratch mentality carries through to the specialty drinks, some of which are served in mason jars and cooled by just one large ice cube. The oversize cubes, frozen and shaped in house, melt more slowly than smaller squares, keeping flavors fresh and undiluted for longer. Fresh-squeezed juices complement drinks such as the Strawberry Fields of Kentucky—made with Tap 357 maple-infused bourbon, strawberry jam, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.
Rustic decor completes the Park Tavern experience, with exposed brick walls and a stained concrete bar top. The American flag on the rear wall was painted by one of the staff bartenders, who also salvaged the wood paneling from pallets. Extensive outdoor seating offers the opportunity for up to 125 guests to share the same french fry.
Fresh, seasonal ingredients, harmonious flavors, artful presentation, and eclectic gastronomic touches are the core tenets behind Patio Delray's tropical-inspired menu. The creative bill of fare highlights fresh local seafood?including Florida blue-crab cakes and a catch du jour?as well as Asian-inspired dishes such as braised boneless beef short ribs that the Sun Sentinel praised as "slow-prepared to practically dissolve in your mouth." An intimate purple-and-gray bar pours more than 30 craft and local beers, plus a menu of specialty cocktails and martinis, each one devised by owner Miss Lily.
Patio Delray?s namesake space?a covered outdoor patio area?situates diners amid lush tropical plants and casual patio tables, and an interior dining room offers a more refined experience, complete with crisp white tablecloths, silk draperies, and forks that whisper in French. The yellow-and-orange walls are made all the more colorful with the addition of artwork from Dr. Mark H. Widick, a local photographer who captures cityscapes, space-shuttle launches, and vivid underwater scenes in vibrant high-resolution images.