It lures you in with a quiet beauty, with softly flowing waterfalls, a perfectly raked gravel garden, an enticing bridge. There’s a deep serenity that almost radiates from the cicadas that make the Morikami gardens their home.
But there’s another reason to visit the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens: it’s a magical and tranquil spot to have lunch while enjoying sweeping, panoramic views of the gardens.
No stop at the Morikami is complete until you try the Cornell Café, and hang onto that peace for just an hour or two longer.
Many of us have only experienced the Cornell Café at the bigger Morikami events such as Hatsume or Sushi and Stroll. These may offer a taste of the café.
But there’s more to the menu than a taste. From light salads and cold sushi to more substantial entrees such as Asian eggplant, mahi mahi, eggplant chicken or mild curry chicken, there are enough choices to please the pickiest little (or big) eaters of the group. Beer and wine are served as well as a variety of desserts — so budget your stomach space accordingly.
Our food appeared almost instantly — a generously portioned bento box ($13.95), two succulent pieces of tuna sashimi ($4.25) and a refreshing bean thread noodle dish that was stir-fried with eggs, shiitake mushrooms, onions, carrots and layered with fresh cabbage.
The tables around us were filled for the good two hours of our visit (and it’s been a while since I’ve been surrounded by such relaxed diners). Nearby, a table of vivacious ladies in bright prints and dark sunglasses celebrated each other, life and a birthday all at once. A family instilled proper manners on a respectful, young gentlemen and more than a few groups came and went, intent on exploring the gardens.
It was a day of discovery, and a lunch to be savored.
- Located inside the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, 4000 Morikami Park Rd., Delray Beach; 561-495-0233; Morikami.org
- Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Admission to the gardens is required to dine at the café. Admission fee is $13 for persons 18 and older, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $8 for children ages 6 to 17, $8 for students with valid ID. Kids younger than 6 and Morikami members get free admission.