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By Jessica Tzikas
Delray is a hotspot for many visiting South Florida. Not only does it have great beaches and nightlife, but it is also home to some of the best restaurants in the area. And while you can pop into pretty much any spot in and around Atlantic Avenue, there are a few gems that stand out above the rest. Whether you are looking for a new favorite place to eat or a spot to frequent when you come in the winter, these are the restaurants locals return to again and again.
If you are looking for fresh ingredients, craft cocktails, and a chic yet comfortable vibe, look no further than Brule. Delray locals flock to Brule for their handcrafted menu items that pair perfectly with their innovative drinks. Plus, the menu is constantly changing to match the ingredients of the season, so no matter how many times you visit, you can try something brand new. Start with a Lemongrass Twist for a refreshing drink followed by an order of grilled broccoli and the Dayboat Swordfish for your main. And don’t even think about leaving before trying the Pistachio Crème Brûlée. People may flock to Brule during dinner time but snag a quieter seat during their lunch hours where you can enjoy the same great food (plus some delicious breakfast options like the Brule omelet) without the crowds.
200 NE 2nd Ave, Delray Beach
3rd & 3rd
The tagline at 3rd & 3rd is “a piece of Delray locals” and it’s for a good reason. If there was one spot in Delray that you will find an entire crowd of locals, it’s here. The restaurant is known for its cool vibe and great food, but it is also a place you have to know about to get to. The restaurant has no signage and is actually quite hard to find, but once you spot it, you’ll be glad you did. If you’re with a group, consider ordering a bunch of starters like the feta salad, charred octopus, and pork katsu. For the main, you can’t go wrong with brisket sandwich, which is house smoked and topped with tangy mustard and arugula. If you are having trouble finding 3rd & 3rd, pay attention to the name. It is at the corner of NE Third Street and Third Avenue and the building is bright teal.
301 NE 3rd Ave, Delray Beach
If we are talking about actual buildings, the Falcon is as local as it gets. First built in the 1920’s to be used as a residential dwelling for the Falcon family, it was eventually converted into the restaurant we see today. Now, locals flock here for the weekly specials and their namesake wings made with coconut sriracha. The menu is small, but you can’t go wrong with anything you choose. Start with an order of the smokey bleu chips and the crispy scallion pancakes followed by shrimp and grits with a side of skinny fries. Weeknights are where it’s at for this local spot. Come in on a Tuesday for a cocktail class or a Thursday for half off oysters and 2 for 1 martinis.
116 NE 6th Ave, Delray Beach
Dada is part of the uber-popular Subculture Group, which owns a ton of restaurants in Palm Beach County. But even with a big company behind them, and a long wait in peak season, Dada still feels like home for many locals. You may be tempted to try something out-of-the-box and order the pork schnitzel or jalapeno-agave glazed salmon, but if you want to eat like a true local, order the Dada burger which comes on a challah bun and is slathered with their secret sauce. And don’t forget to start your entree with their famous Dada dates. Driving by, you’ll see the gorgeous exterior of Dada, but don’t skimp on dining inside if you are able. They switch out their artwork regularly making it a place to dine and view some incredible art.
52 N Swinton Ave, Delray Beach
El Camino has become so popular, they are about to open their fourth location in South Florida. But the Delray Beach spot is still a local favorite. Everything is made in-house and all ingredients are sourced locally, making it a must for all Delray-loving patrons. Take your chips and salsa up a notch by ordering the chorizo queso to start, followed by the chile rub carne asada. And don’t forget to drink up: El Camino is the ultimate spot for a spicy avocado margarita. Nothing screams local like getting there early and snagging a seat at the bar. If you do like to dine at a table, plan for a wait. The restaurant is popular and small and they do not currently accept reservations.
15 NE 2nd Ave, Delray Beach
The Gringo may be new to Delray Beach, but locals have quickly made it a staple. Owned by a native Argentian, this spot is known for creating one of the most delicious empanadas around. You can’t come here without trying an empanada. Get a little wild with the lobster mac and cheese version or keep things simple with the Cubano style one. Pair it with a smoothie for the ultimate mid-day snack. The Gringo may be a great place for lunch, but they also have a small, yet delicious breakfast menu. They even offer two different happy hours, one weekdays from 4pm-7pm and one on Sunday afternoon.
916 SE 5th Ave, Delray Beach