If I could live anywhere in South Florida, it would be Delray. Full of art, food and charm, downtown Delray and Atlantic Avenue are totally enchanting. Between the beach and the amazing restaurants, this is a city I’m proud to show out-of-towners.
It would be easy to get lost on the Avenue all day, hopping from bar to restaurant to after-dinner coffee spot, and ending with a walk down to the beach. My guide to every meal on the Avenue:
Find the perfect mid-day escape at The Office (201 E. Atlantic Ave.). Rustic meets refined at the trendy gastropub serving up prime burgers and craft beer, plus comfort food like truffled devil eggs, fried green tomatoes and creamy mac and cheese. Guests will appreciate the running office-theme, with Water Cooler Martinis, an Office Supplies menu section and the cheeky, butt-imprinted chairs.
One of the most happening spots when the sun goes down is Union (8 E. Atlantic Ave.). Creative cocktails like Grape Roundhouse (Monster, Svedka black-grape vodka, vodka-infused gummy bears) and the Peanut Butter & Jelly shot (NutLiquor, Chambord, peanut butter and chopped peanut rim) are complemented by the Candyfish sushi menu.
32 East (32 E. Atlantic Ave.) has been open 18 years and is the ultimate special-occasion dinner spot. The menu by Chef Nick Morfogen (named one of Food & Wine’s top chefs) changes daily, and everything is homemade and fresh, from the fish to the ice cream. It’s a must on every foodie’s bucket list. For divine, upscale Italian and homemade pasta, walk farther east down the Avenue to Tramonti (119 E. Atlantic Ave.).
Bring a laptop, a book you can’t put down, and your imagination to Spot Coffee (44 E. Atlantic Ave.), which offers coffee brewed from 100 percent arabica beans, plenty of couches and free Wi-Fi.
On the water
The work of restaurateur Burt Rapoport, Deck 84 (840 E. Atlantic Ave.) is great for “Sunday Funday.” Enjoy fresh seafood and watch the boats pass on the water. Try the crispy fish tacos or the jumbo crab cake.
Just off the Ave.:
Walk to the east end of Atlantic Avenue and you’ll meet A1A and the ocean. Here, you’ll find Chef Blake Malatesta’s Sunday brunch at 50 Ocean (50 S. Ocean Blvd.). It’s unforgettable. Indulge in a build-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar with 30+ ingredients, shrimp pot pie, PB&J waffle and the best sticky bun I’ve ever tried.
The Breakfast All Day Burger and Red Velvet Shake at BurgerFi (6 S. Ocean Blvd.) are a guilty pleasure when I decide I don’t care about looking good in a bikini anymore.
Swinton Avenue is full of charm, and the historical Sundy House (106 S. Swinton Ave.) restaurant, inn and botanical garden – open since 1902 – is my top recommendation to visiting guests looking for a place to stay.
This excerpt first appeared in an April 2014 article I wrote for Gold Coast magazine on the best foodie streets in South Florida.