Palm Beach has emerged as a second home for Big Apple restaurants
It’s always been a Food March from one island to another.
The fact that Manhattan and Palm Beach are 1,200 miles apart wasn’t an issue. But during pandemic year 2020, odds were good that the march would slow or stop. Instead, in the time it takes to open a tin of caviar, more New York restaurants opened local offshoots than ever before.
It was first noticeable in 1992, when Bice opened on Palm Beach as an upscale, offshoot little sister beckoning to the seasonal Palm Beach crowd. That was when population throughout the county decreased dramatically off-season, not just on the island. Still, Bice prospered, even opening a second SoFla location in Delray that didn’t last (Orlando and Naples are still operating).
But in just the past year alone, New York stalwarts Almond, La Goulue and Le Bilboquet have thrown Southern doors open to The Island sun and fun, with desperate NYC customers fleeing bad weather and virus vacancies.
They join Café Boulud (opened in 2003), Sant Ambroeus (2016) and Swifty’s at the Colony (2019) in making Worth Avenue feel a lot like Park Avenue. For most, it’s the only location outside the Big Apple as they follow the Big Money.
The prices certainly have a New York tag. A Salade Nicoise at La Goulue or Le Bilboquet is $34. Le Wagyu Burger ($37) at Bilboquet goes up against Le Cheeseburger Maison A Cheval ($23) at Goulue, and at Swifty’s the cheeseburger is $26.
That said, the menus have a SoFla flavor with lots of citrus accents, Florida seafood, plus greens and veggies purchased from local farmers.
People-watching is just as lively as it is in the New York locations. This year, the dining room and bar scenes seem to be a bit noisier, a bit more boisterous, as social butterflies flutter around their NY-home-away-from-home venues. Non-snowbird residents will have better luck trying Tartine a l’Avocat (avocado toast) this summer, if the restaurants stay open yearround, too.
245 Worth Ave., Palm Beach; 561/812-2363; lebilboquetpb.com
288 S. County Road, Palm Beach; 561/284-6292; lagouluepalmbeach.com
340 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach; 561/285-7990; santambroeus.com
313 Worth Ave., Palm Beach; 561/835-1600; www.bice-palmbeach.com/
207 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach; 561/355-5080; almondrestaurant.com
301 Australian Ave., Palm Beach; 561/655-6060; cafeboulud.com/palmbeach
SWIFTY’S AT THE COLONY
155 Hammon Ave., Palm Beach; 561/655-5430; thecolonypalmbeach.com