Southern Hospitality: Steakhouses, the Longtime Favorites & Enticing Newcomers

Le Colonial's flavorful chicken curry - at one of the great area Palm Beach County steakhouses
Le Colonial’s flavorful chicken curry
Courtesy Le Colonial

South Florida has always been known for its steakhouses, from old world classics like Abe & Louie’s and Okeechobee Steakhouse (the oldest in Florida) to fun lively spots like New York Prime and Meat Market, and now three more are being added to the roster.

Gallagher’s, and another branch of Meat Market are both opening in Boca Raton, across the street from each other, while the owners of Okeechobee have unveiled Lewis Steakhouse in Jupiter.

These meat palaces can always be counted on to serve up aged prime cuts, but even those who avoid red meat know that a good steakhouse uses top quality ingredients and specializes in grilling or roasting them to perfection, so a purist or pescatarian can enjoy a perfect meal. Below, some of our favorites.

Chops Lobster Bar is a great date spot in Boca Raton and one of the great steakhouses
Chops Lobster Bar is a great date spot in Boca RatonCourtesy Chops

Palm Beach County Area Steakhouses

New York Prime: One of the most fun and upbeat dining spots in Palm Beach County, this uber popular place has a hopping bar scene, and guests are known to sing along with the pianist. From the colossal lump crab cocktail, to the porterhouse, everything is jaw-dropping.

The sliced edge of ribeye or salmon that comes topped with portobellos are good value, and the chocolate cake studded with dark chips is absolutely crave worthy.

Chops: Located in Royal Palm Place, the space has two distinct personalities — a clubbish, comfy area perfect for a romantic steak dinner, and a lighter lobster and raw bar with music.

Among the standout dishes are a lightly fried Nova Scotia lobster tail; ahi tartare with avocado and tapioca crisp; black Angus filet; and triple cut porterhouse lamb chops.

Okeechobee Steakhouse: There are 10 different cuts of beef alone available at the oldest steakhouse in Florida, and lots of topping options including horseradish crust, bone marrow butter and the Oscar combo of crab, asparagus and Béarnaise.

Lobster, daily catch and crab-stuffed shrimp are alternatives for fish lovers, and don’t miss sides like charred asparagus; lobster mac ’n’ cheese; or incredibly indulgent roasted Brussels sprouts with bleu cheese, candied bacon and chili vinaigrette.

954: One of the few waterfront steakhouses, this stylish choice from restaurant impresario Stephen Starr in Ft. Lauderdale’s W Hotel has views of the beach and an aquarium with live jellyfish.

Beluga Imperial Hybrid or Russian Ossetra Royal Amber are caviar options to kick off a celebratory meal, and a chopped salad with romaine, radicchio, frisée and market vegetables is an herbivore’s dream in this setting.

Try a wagyu slider or wagyu cheesesteak (Starr is from Philadelphia after all), and move on to rack of lamb with red wine date jus and rosemary; or a “drunken ribeye.” Branzino and local snapper are among the fish choices.

Thasos lamb chops
Thasos lamb chopsCourtesy Thasos

NYY Steak: Action begins when you walk through the Seminole casino at this Coconut Creek steer mecca that is a joint venture between the Hard Rock Café and New York Yankees. Watch the chefs grill up dishes like “double play” — filet mignon and shrimp; A5 Wagyu NY Strip; Duroc pork chop and Sandman Porterhouse for two. Sea bass with braised baby bok choy is a tasty fish selection. Fans will enjoy the diamond shaped dishes, players’ signatures on the walls and Legends Lounge.

Gallagher’s: A glass-enclosed meat locker will mirror the New York flagship, but there will be a Palm Beach 1920s vibe when this spot is unveiled at 2006 NW Executive Center Circle in Boca Raton this spring, with inside seating for 200 and an additional 100 seats outside.

If you crave Greek food, which has become enormously popular, it’s worth a drive to Thasos, which serves up pristine fresh seafood and Hellenic favorites with a modern twist, in a spectacular room. Start with green chickpea hummus, spicy whipped feta, grilled wild tiger prawns or meatballs with yogurt sauce, and move on to whole Mediterranean fish, lobster pasta, lamb chops, grilled veal chop with truffle sauce or moussaka. Leave room for baklava!

A delicious dish from Acqua Café
A delicious dish from Acqua CaféCourtesy Acqua Cafe

The owners of Worth Avenue favorite Renato’s also own and operate several other fantastic restaurants, including Acqua Café, which is a real find.

Located just off the beach on South Ocean, a short walk from the Four Seasons Palm Beach, it’s a little oasis with expertly prepared seafood including a thick cut of local grouper, cooked to perfection, mustard-glazed baked salmon, and in case you can’t decide which fish you are in the mood for, there is a skewered mix of chargrilled branzino, swordfish, jumbo shrimp and diver scallops.

Carnivores will be equally happy with short ribs braised in red wine and served on soft polenta; veal scaloppine; or grilled filet mignon; and pizza lovers can choose from six different pies, including one with mozzarella, fresh figs and spicy honey.

Le Colonial's savory ribs
Le Colonial’s savory ribsCourtesy Le Colonial

The opening of the season so far was Le Colonial in Delray, which is ideal for an intimate dinner or fun group. A super chic updated version of the longtime Manhattan favorite, it serves incredibly flavorful dishes including a chilled vegetable roll; sesame beef ravioli; chicken curry; galangal cured halibut in a heady lime broth with saffron poached fennel; and branzino with coconut risotto. Organic tapioca pudding or flambeed warm chocolate cake make a perfect finish.

If you are looking for a luxe Caribbean style escape, but want to stay in the state of Florida, Isla Bella in Marathon is a great option. Surrounded by the gulf waters, it has a beachy tranquility equal to the islands, without ever leaving U.S. soil, and the rooms are elegantly appointed.

There is also a jewel box of a spa and a restaurant, Mahina, that abuts the beach and features Hawaiian regional cuisine prepared with many fresh local ingredients.

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