Liz recommends: Best restaurants in Jupiter, Gardens, Juno Beach, North Palm Beach


These are the restaurants Palm Beach Post Food Editor Liz Balmaseda recommends in North Palm Beach County. In the list below, click on the restaurant’s address to open the location in Google Maps.

Calaveras Cantina

Beneath vibrantly colored Mexican lanterns, hipster servers mash guacamole tableside, crispy empanadas are stuffed with delicious duck confit, and dessert means hot, fresh churros served with caramel (cajeta) dipping sauce. Both the empanadas and churros are must-haves at this waterfront cantina, which offers an extensive range of cocktails and terrific happy hour deals. 

DINING GUIDE: Harbourside Restaurants

 Calaveras Cantina125 Dockside Circle, Jupiter; 561-320-9661.


Christopher’s Kitchen

I'm wild about macadamia nut "ricotta," particularly when it dresses one of the addictive pizzas at this popular Midtown eatery. Proprietor and chef Christopher Slawson has established a niche here for inspired, plant-based cuisine. His fresh-pressed juices, salads, hot soups and pizza draw a fit, stylish crowd. 

PALM BEACH POST EATS: Check our full searchable list of dining reviews

They're on to something: Healthy tastes delicious here. And if you don't believe me, try CK's salted caramel "ice cream," an insanely good, creamy treat made of coconut milk, cashew cream and a few other nutritious yet sinfully good ingredients. 

 Christopher's Kitchen4783 PGA Blvd. (at Midtown plaza), Palm Beach Gardens; 561-318-6191.


Cod & Capers Café

The launch of stone crab season (which runs from Oct. 15 to May 15) is always a good reason to visit this café, which is located inside the family-owned Cod & Capers seafood market. But it’s not the only reason to visit. Just peruse the display case at the market and you’ll find plenty of reasons in the form of fresh fish and seafood. 

Start your meal with a steaming bowl of lobster bisque – it’s outstanding. (As are the crab cakes and lobster rolls.) 

 Cod & Capers: 1201 U.S. 1, North Palm Beach; 561-622-0994.


Food Shack

Chef/restaurateur Mike Moir takes the ocean-to-table concept seriously at his wildly popular, strip-mall eatery. The fish is some of the freshest in town, and it's deliciously prepared. No wonder there's usually a wait outside the door. Don't let that stop you -- the eclectic menu and ambiance here are worth the wait. 

 Little Moir's Food Shack103 S. U.S. 1 (in the Publix plaza), Jupiter; 561-741-3626.


Fresh Nation

Wander into Fresh Nation, the new health-conscious café tucked next to a gym in Juno Beach, and expect to be pleasantly surprised. 

This is not your standard smoothie-and-salad spot. It does not inflict acai on your breakfast or pre-workout meal. Sure, there are smoothies, salads and acai bowls, but these items share the menu with other, more complex and tempting dishes. This spot also makes its own sparkling sodas from cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, as well as fresh almond milk. 

FIRST LOOK: Fresh Nation in Juno Beach

Fresh Nation’s logline is “Delicious with a Purpose,” but don’t let the “purpose” part of the phrase throw you. The focus here is on the delicious. 

Fresh Nation891 Donald Ross Rd. (Plaza La Mer), Juno Beach; 561-318-5371 


Juno Beach Café

When it comes to brunch spots, this is not the most pizzazzy. There’s no Bloody Mary or Mimosa bar. There’s no ocean view or lush garden. Still, there’s a line that stretches into the parking lot as the sun glints on passing traffic along U.S. 1. 

LOCAL TREAT: Juno Beach’s guitar-fueled Sunday brunch

The attention-grabbing stars here are the “UEPs,” the stacks of “Uncle Eddie’s Pancakes,” which are some of the most popular items on the extensive breakfast menu. The pancakes join the heaps of French toast, eggs, meats, breakfast skillets and other morning dishes spirited from the café’s kitchen. 

Juno Beach Café13967 U.S. Highway 1 (at Donald Ross Road), Juno Beach; 561-622-1533.


Leftovers Café

It's hard to resist the signature dishes that make Little Moir's restaurants (Food Shack, Leftovers) so popular. Always a great choice: the crusted fish served over greens that are tossed in spicy, fruity, chunky salsa. Leftovers in Jupiter not only serves some of the best fish dishes in town, it offers an eclectic craft-beer menu with terrific pairing choices. 

 Leftovers451 University Blvd., Jupiter; 561-627-6030.


Portobello

North county diners flock to this family-owned Italian restaurant in Jupiter for delicious pasta dishes, fresh seafood and expertly prepared classics. If you want to join them, make sure you have a reservation. The place offers indoor and outdoor seating, as well as spots along the cozy bar for cocktails and dinner. 

 Portobello351 U.S. 1, Jupiter; 561-748-3224.


Sara’s Kitchen

Whenever I'm nostalgic for a real-deal diner, one where the food is fresh, excellent and generously portioned, I drive over to Sara's. Located in a professional plaza at U.S. 1 and PGA Boulevard, it's easy to miss as you blur by. But if you do make it here for breakfast or lunch (the place opens from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday), you'll be rewarded with delicious, home-cooked comfort dishes. I'm partial to the Benedict dishes for brunch and any one of the "Sensational Salads" for lunch. 

 Sara's Kitchen: 2000 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-540-2822.


Spoto’s Oyster Bar

This welcoming eatery is a mainstay on the PGA Boulevard dining corridor. Come for the oysters -- the Bluepoints from Long Island Sound, the Duxbury and Wellfleet oysters from Cape Cod, and the sinful, umami-rich oyster shooters -- but stay for a menu that's well varied and well executed. Seafood lovers will find ample options here, from the delicious lobster risotto to the shrimp jambalaya to the lobster fettuccine, to the grilled or roasted fresh black grouper, salmon and mahi mahi. (Yes, there are chicken, pork and beef dishes, if meat is your preference.) 

The service is solid, and the seating options are plenty in the dining room, on the patio or at the busy bar. 

 Spoto's Oyster Bar4560 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-776-9448 (In Stuart, at 131 SW Flagler Ave.).


Talay Thai

Beware of the Panang curry curse -- once you've tasted this sauce on the fork-tender short ribs or plump scallops, you'll become a regular at chef Charlie Soo's family-owned Thai eatery. The place is popular with golfers and the PGA National set, so reservations are encouraged. 

 Talay Thai7100 Fairway Drive (in the LA Fitness Plaza), Palm Beach Gardens; 561-691-5662 


The Parched Pig

Coolinary Café’s logo piglet didn’t have to waddle far to quench his thirst. His new namesake bar was just down the plaza. Nearly five years after the café took north county by storm, owners Tim and Jenny Lipman gave their mascot its own watering hole: a bar they called The Parched Pig. 

A POPULAR PIGLET: The secret of success at The Parched Pig bar

The bar was an instant hit in an area thirsty for an inspired gastro pub. What began as a small menu of oysters and other easy bites – the place has no real kitchen – has evolved into a menu that offers house-made charcuterie and entrée-worthy dishes. To drink, the Lipmans keep an adventurous rotation of craft beers and select, interesting wines. 

The Parched Pig4650 Donald Ross Rd. (Donald Ross Village plaza), Suite 100; 561-360-3063 


 

U-Tiki Beach

Behold the best view in Jupiter: the iconic lighthouse and shimmering inlet waters. It's all yours at U-Tiki, sister eatery to Jetty's (next door). Grab a cocktail and find a seat on the deck below, and enjoy your well-deserved moment of north county Zen. The food is decent, but that's not the main attraction here: Come for the view. 

 U-Tiki Beach1095 A1A, Jupiter; 561-406-2210.


Chubby Salmon

I followed a weeknight whim to Chubby Salmon, a sushi and hibachi spot that’s tucked into a Jupiter strip plaza. My intention was to have a miso soup, a sushi roll and a glass of wine. My reality was far more interesting. A gyoza soup brought plump pork dumplings in a clear but sturdy broth swimming with mushrooms and scallions. As an appetizer, we shared a mound of raw, chopped, sushi-grade tuna served poke-style in a spicy dressing. 

If you can’t decide on a main course, try the bento tray laden with pan-fried dumplings, a small California roll, three pieces of sushi (tuna, salmon, shrimp), a small salmon fillet served over stir-fried veggies and a heap of tempura-battered bites. And if the daily special is ramen, it’s your lucky day. A deep, rich broth serves as a satisfying base for thinly sliced, tender pork, vibrant veggies and a jammy egg. Delicious.

Chubby Salmon Hibachi and Sushi Bar: 103 S. U.S. Highway 1 (in the Publix-anchored plaza), Jupiter; 561-743-0033.


Want to eat like a food critic? Search our new dining guide which includes our dining reviews and recommendations of restaurants around the county:

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