By Mary Thurwachter
We appreciate restaurants with scrumptious food, good service and a pleasing ambience. But if a dining spot comes with an ocean view, we’re really cooking! Fortunately for us, our islands are blessed with several such gems, where we can share good food and conversation while taking in beautiful ocean views. They range from elegant and pricey dining rooms to casual flip-flop friendly cafes.
Check out these eight seashore treasures. A1A will lead the way.
The Seafood Bar at The Breakers
You don’t have to be a guest at this historic five-star Flagler hotel to enjoy its many restaurants, including one of our favorites,The Seafood Bar. The bar itself is an aquarium, so you can watch the tropical fish swimming about as you toast the day with glass of wine. The ocean view here is spectacular and since the restaurant is enclosed, there’s no need to worry about the wind blowing your hair into your face while you’re munching on the calamari. The menu, inspired by the sea, includes fresh fish, clams, oysters, lobster, shrimp and yummy chowders. Vaulted, open, beamed ceilings, plantation shutters, and elegant furnishings help make this bar a cool spot for dining or drinks. Diners can dress casually, but no torn jeans, cut-offs or tank tops.
Phone: (561) 655-66611.
Address: 1 South County Road, Palm Beach.
Atlantic Bar & Grille at The Four Seasons
While The Restaurant at the Four Seasons can always be counted on for fine dining and innovative cocktails, it’s the Atlantic Bar & Grille by the pool that offers diners the best sea view between 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. every day. This is a great place for munching stone crabs, jumbo shrimp and perhaps even a New England lobster roll. Burgers and salads are available, too. And if you’re a grown-up (well, at least if you’re drinking age) be sure to order an organic cucumber martini, the resort’s signature cocktail. And always save room for dessert at the Four Seasons. We’re especially fond of the strawberry shortcake.
Phone: (561) 582-2800.
Address: 2800 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach.
Michelle Bernstein’s at The Omphoy
Palm Beach’s newest resort comes with a stunning restaurant named after its celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein (you may have seen her on the Food Network). Bernstein is known for her Latin and New World flair, but the menu focuses on seafood. Guests rave about the white gazpacho with almonds and grapes and Michy’s fried chicken.
Dark woods, royal blues and plush chairs are in keeping with the rest of the hotel’s décor. The restaurant, located on the third floor, offers dramatic floor to ceiling views of the Atlantic. You can see out of the windows in late afternoon (the upstairs restaurant is only open for dinner) but at night the glass takes on a whole knew allure as a sea of blackness. For breakfast and lunch, diners can enjoy Bernstein’s culinary creations downstairs in the MP Terrace, which also has ocean views. Phone: (561) 540-6444.
Address: 2842 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach.
Benny’s on the Beach
You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner in your bathing suit here, if that’s what you want. Benny’s is, as its moniker says, “on the beach.” More precisely, it’s on the Lake Worth pier. Chow down on a stuffed croissant, juicy hamburger or maybe the Captain’s fried platter. Arrive early enough in the day and you can watch the sunrise. After eating, you can always burn off the calories by walking the beach, going for a swim, or strolling out on the 488-foot William O. Lockhart Municipal Pier. Phone: (561) 582-9001.
Address: 10 S. Ocean Blvd., Lake Worth.
Tides Bar & Grille at Palm Beach Oceanfront Inn
South Palm Beach
The popular dish here is lobster ravioli, but there are many other choices, including surf and turf and mahi mahi. At the indoor Martini Bar, one of the favorite libations is the piña colada martini topped with toasted coconut. And outside beside the pool and tiki bar, there’s often an upbeat band keeping spirits bright. But even brighter than those spirits is the great view at the Tides, where guests say they feel like they’re on a cruise ship. That’s how close the ocean is! Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served inside or outside by the pool or even upstairs on the sun deck. If you can’t see the ocean here, you’re just not looking!
Phone: (561) 582-5631.
Address: 3550 S. Ocean Blvd., South Palm Beach.
You never know who you’ll run into at the Dune Deck. It’s next door to the Ritz-Carlton and attracts some of its guests, like the Who’s frontman, Roger Daltrey, who was in the area for a Super Bowl halftime performance. Mostly, though, it’s everyday folks, tourists and natives who come to this place for the good food and the great ocean view. It’s like being in the Greek Isles or the French Riviera. From most tables, you’re almost eye level with the lifeguard, whose stand is just yards away. Fish sandwiches and burgers are always good here, but one of the house specialties is a giant Greek salad with grilled pita bread. Casual dress is just fine. Note, however, this is a cash-only place: no credit cards.
Phone: (561) 582-0472.
Address: 100 N. Ocean Blvd., Lantana
Temple Orange at The Ritz-Carlton
For great food and pretty ocean views from inside or out, Temple Orange is a good choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Italian/Mediterranean influenced menu includes a yummy seafood minestrone, seafood risotto with scallops and shrimp, and seared Florida snapper.
Desserts are standouts, from the vanilla crème brule with mango salsa and almond biscotti, to Temple Orange tart. Order a raspberry mojito for starters. This is a bright and cheery citrus-inspired restaurant, with candles flickering at night and sun streaming in during the day. At night, guests gather around a fire pit outside to toast the day and watch the stars.
Phone: (561) 533-6000.
Address: 100 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan.
The Upper Deck at Boston’s
Boston’s and it’s neighbors Caffé Luna Rosa and Surf Sliders are all fun beach-side spots to dine, but for the best ocean view you have to go to The Upper Deck at Boston’s. A spacious veranda provides lots of tables for diners to eat, take in the breeze and watch the waves roll in. They can also see surfers riding the waves at the south end of the beach, sailboats cruising by, and beach-goers swimming and sunbathing on the sandy shores below. More formal in décor than Boston’s first floor, inside tables are covered with white clothes and high-top tables permit the same great ocean views you get outside. The menu features lots of seafood, but you can get Boston’s famous New England style lobster salad, Ipswich steamers, fried clams, live Maine lobsters, sandwiches, burgers and salads, too. A sleek bar comes with all the libations you’d expect at this Delray Beach hotspot.
Phone: (561) 278-3364.
Address: 40 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach. Mary Thurwachter writes about Florida B&Bs and other small inns at www.InnsideFlorida.com.