The Best Restaurants on Florida's most Prestigious Island

By Kristopher Neild, Travel Expert

Palm Beach is known for classy, upscale dining establishments located on the beach, near the beach, or in hotels on/near the beach. Eating is as much about atmosphere and companionship as it is the food. Restaurants make a big push to feel exclusive, even if they are open to the public. Dress codes are often enforced, reservations required and valet service apart of most outings. 

The list below highlights the ten eating venues that need to be sampled when on the island of Palm Beach. These include the super exclusive places like Cafe Boulud, where you are likely to rub elbows with millionaires while you sip your fancy cocktail. Seafood is in high demand by visitors to the Sunshine State, and Charley's Crab doesn't disappoint its guests. Stop in for some freshly caught mahi-mahi.

Not every person vacations to Palm Beach to become the next major socialite or aristocrat. Many "average" humans come strictly for the beach, sports and weather. Pizza Al Fresco is a good place to check out to grab a delicious bite, yet not have to worry about wearing a dinner jacket. Their thin crust Italian pies rival any others out there. 

Stick to this list when making a restaurant choice in Palm Beach and you can't go wrong. 

10. Pizza Al Fresco
Photo courtesy of brendan-c

If you find yourself craving pizza on Palm Beach or need a place to relax after shopping on Worth Avenue, Pizza Al Fresco is the place to go. A sprawling courtyard with light-wrapped trees and an expansive menu with a twist on traditional Italian thin crust pizzas are sure to please everyone in your group. The menu also boasts great pasta and salad selections, with the lobster salad being a crowd-pleaser. Of course no Italian meal is complete without an accompanying wine or a gelato to finish the meal. Another perk of this affordable casual dining experience, well-behaved dogs are also welcome to enjoy the courtyard.

9. The Circle at The Breakers
Photo courtesy of The Breakers

The Circle at the Breakers is THE place to go to for Sunday brunch. Sunday brunch has been a tradition for more than 25 years. Reservations recommended for Sunday brunch but not needed for breakfast during the week. The whole aura of the place is fantastic; there are fabulous ocean views, 30-foot frescoed ceilings, Renaissance-themed murals and more. Brunch specialties include bananas foster, country ham, prime rib and king crab legs. This will be the best breakfest buffet you ever have (and likely the costliest). Like other Palm Beach jaunts, there is a bit of a dress code here, so don't expect to roll in from the beach with a tank top on and expect a table.

8. Bice Ristorante
Photo courtesy of Cafe Boulud

Golden-hued and elegant, Bice is a formidable presence on the Palm Beach dining scene. Refinements like crisp linens and fresh flowers provide indication that a meal here will be nothing less than spectacular. Northern Italian cuisine is particularly authentic, given that the restaurant was founded in Milan in 1926 (and still maintains headquarters there). Society folks frequent the place for everything from light pastas to grilled meats and seafood, reveling in impeccable presentation and service. Pasta e fagioli, a favored dish, ranks highly, along with perfectly prepared calamari and great veal cutlets. The outdoor terrace adds romantic ambiance on balmy evenings.

7. Buccan (Bistro)
Photo courtesy of Buccan

Buccan is a top Palm Beach restaurant located on South Country Road, just a 5 minute walk from the beach. The joint's them is "small plates with big flavors" with prime examples being the short rib empanadas and the grilled octopus. The menu is constantly changing to reflect supply of seafood and the whimsical nature of Chef Clay Conely. Happy hours appease guests during the week, and a DJ spins music on weekend nights. This is a bistro type of setting, a great place to share some small plates over light conversation. Valet parking is available, and reservations are recommended during the busy season.

6. Meat Market
Photo courtesy of Cafe Boulud

Meat Market is a steakhouse and seafood joint, self-described as "more glamorous and sexier" than the traditional restaurant in this space. Meat Market originally started as a Miami restaurant, but have since opened locations in San Juan and Palm Beach. The menu is deep. Starting with beef, there are options ranging from Australian kobe beef tomahawk rib-eye to aged porterhouse of the 32 ounce variety. Seafood is another specialty of the Meat Market, with seabass, salmon and lobster being some of the specialties. There are four different steak butters and 10 sauce toppings to try on whatever meat you end up selection. Meat Market's bar has also drawn rave reviews, with martinis and manhattans being some of the favorite orders.

5. Charley's Crab - Palm Beach

Charley's Crab in Palm Beach blends fine dining and the best parts of a "seafood joint" to make what is considered one of the area's top eating stops. Take advantage of the free valet when heading in. Start with a glass of cool white wine from the award-winning list while gazing out on the Atlantic Ocean. The complimentary jalapeno bread will get diners ready for what is about to come. Crab cakes, shellfish, mahi mahi, etc., beckon and will please any palate. Save room for the rich desserts and cappuccino, as that part of the menu receives the biggest praise of all.

4. Flagler Steakhouse

Lit by candlelight and accented with brick columns and greenery, this hotel steakhouse is convenient for guests at The Breakers and makes for a nice excursion for other patrons. Top-quality meats are served and are prepared to your specifications. Steaks in a range of sizes and cuts allow you to cater the menu to your appetite, and you'll also find pork, veal, and chicken. If you're in the vicinity around the lunch hour, stop in for one of their fresh, crisp salads or a hearty sandwich. The joint functions like a classic social club but has none of the exclusivity or pretentiousness.

3. Cafe Boulud
Photo courtesy of Cafe Boulud

Housed in the Brazilian Court Hotel, Cafe Boulud is exquisite, contemporary-designed French-American restaurant with an irresistible dining terrace. Before dinner, enjoy a cocktail in the comfortably revamped bar overlooking the patio. An interesting variety of starters includes smoked salmon with herbed salad and Scandinavian brown bread, a Spanish tapas platter, and veal ravioli. Diners feast on artfully prepared mains such as the squab tartine with mushroom duxelle. Exquisite desserts draw the meal to a close; try the pear struesel with cinnamon ice cream.

2. Café L'Europe
Photo courtesy of SinglePlatform

A constant outpouring of accolades renders this spectacular restaurant one of Palm Beach's best known establishments. A romantic ambience is set with arched windows, mirrors and candlelight, and glorious flower arrangements. Guests are graced by impeccable service and cuisine, not to mention live music, courtesy of a pianist and a jazz combo. Representative entrees include roasted veal chop, rack of Colorado lamb, wiener schnitzel, tempura style ahi tuna, and crispy duck breast and leg confit. A celebrated and extensive wine list promises a wealth of possibilities, and the caviar and champagne bar extends dining options, as does the late-night menu. Whether you want to honor a special occasion or simply indulge for a moment, Cafe l'Europe guarantees excellence.

1. Chez Jean-Pierre

Although it entertains Palm Beach's elite, this fashionable eatery is refreshingly without pretense. Its cozy rooms and imaginative artwork grant patrons license to relax and enjoy the ambiance and the food rather than the social scene. Under the chef's capable hand, authentic French cuisine takes on a Proven�ale accent, redolent with fresh herbs and seasonings. Poultry in particular is well prepared, crisp-skinned and juicy, and seafood benefits from unfailing attention as well. Desserts beg sampling too, whether you opt for a frosty sorbet or perhaps the delicious excesses of homemade profiteroles. This French Bistro really packs the portions in, so bring an appetite.