Stay up to date with South Florida dining news:Big in Japan, Boca RatonFormerly named Mr. Goode's Chinese Takeout, this rebranded eatery from chef Eric Baker (Rebel House) and chef-partner David Bouhadana (Sushi By Bou) replaces its Americanized Chinese concept with something way more ubiquitous in Boca: sushi handrolls. Its 18 classic and signature handrolls include barbecue eel, Wagyu beef tartar, bacon and quail egg, and crab cake with yuzu kosho aioli.
For the sushi-averse, Big in Japan's kitchen serves hot fried chicken tossed in yuzu ranch, honey miso and togarashi (a red pepper spice blend); hibachi fried rice with Wagyu beef, soft poached egg and yum yum sauce; and spare ribs in yuzu, sesame and lime. Baker also operates a nearby Japanese izakaya, AlleyCat, with Bouhadana. 1159 S.
Federal Highway, Boca Raton; 561-931-2131; ToastTab.comDa Gianni, Oakland ParkCucina Caruso, the longtime pizzeria and Italian bakery owned by Domenico Caruso and Ana Cordoves, has been sold to new owner Agnes Evangelista, who rebranded the restaurant in early December as Da Gianni. Much of the menu remains the same: Italian cold-cut subs, pizza including Sicilian and Grandma styles, chicken wings, calzones (and smaller, sauce-filled panzerotti), strombolis and main courses such as veal shank over saffron risotto. 4165 N.
Dixie Highway, Oakland Park; 954-765-6496; DaGianniMenu.comTaki Omakase, Delray BeachThis omakase experience, which charges $150 for 17 to 18 courses, debuted in mid-December on the ever-bustling Atlantic Avenue drag a block east of Federal Highway, replacing the former Boru Poke & Boba. The chef's choice sushi counter, which is registered to four owners, prepares a changing menu of seafood and meat plates on the spot (crab, unagi, Wagyu) using ingredients sourced from Japan and New Zealand. A sister Taki sushi counter is expected to open in 2023 at 1658 N.
Federal Highway in Boca Raton. 632 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 561-759-7362; TakiOmakase.com Benny's on the Beach, Lake Worth BeachYes, you're seeing double: Viva La Playa is out and a second Benny's on the Beach is in at the sandy Lake Worth Casino Building and Beach Complex.
Benny's on the Beach – Oceanwalk, a virtual clone of the first Benny's about 0.2 miles south at the Lake Worth Pier, debuted on Dec. 16 with a near-identical menu of brunch, fresh Florida seafood and comfort fare. Like the original, Benny's No.
2 comes from owner Lee Lipton with partner-chef Jeremy Hanlon (Food Network's 'Chopped,' 'Beat Bobby Flay'), and Lipton's sons Max and Dylan. The restaurant draws as many regulars as it does celebrities, with singer Bon Jovi, late comedian Bob Saget, TV host Dr. Oz, tennis great Serana Williams and chef Gordon Ramsay passing through in recent years.
There are a few menu differences at the new location, including handmade empanadas, a beef brisket sandwich soaked in au jus and queso on crunchy garlic bread, chimichurri steak frites, tuna tacos and a bacon-avocado burger. There are also seafood bakes Mondays through Fridays and paella on Sunday evenings. 10 S.
Ocean Blvd., Lake Worth Beach; 561-582-9001; BennysontheBeach.comThe Pizza Guys Express, DavieThe storefront that once housed revered staple Pizza Loft (which relocated there in 2017) now has a N.Y.-style slice shop, which debuted in early December inside Davie's Tower Shops plaza. The restaurant, registered to Joseph Castello, serves by-the-slice pizza along with subs and wraps made with Boar's Head meat, four salads, lasagna, spaghetti and meatball. There are seven styles of pie topped with a Grande whole-milk cheese blend.
2060 S. University Drive, Davie; 954-476-9336; ThePizzaGuysExpress.comAl Natour Middle Eastern Restaurant, Boca RatonIn mid-December, owner Mahammad Natour expanded his 12-year-old Plantation flagship and opened a second location in Boca Raton, on the corner of Yamato Road and Interstate 95, in the plaza that includes the Tri-Rail station. Both of his namesake Mediterranean restaurants serve an identical menu, which includes smoky baba ghanoush; chicken, lamb and beef shawarma; lamb chops and shanks; mujadara (a blend of rice and lentils topped with fried onion); and makanik (Lebanese spiced sausages).
690 W. Yamato Road, Boca Raton; 561-998-7787; AlNatourRestaurant.comIsla & Co., West Palm BeachAn all-day cafe from New York's Parched Hospitality Group, this 140-seater had a soft opening in early December next door to Grandview Public Market in West Palm Beach's growing Warehouse District. On the menu are brunch and dinner dishes from 'down under' — a nod to co-owners Barry Dry and and Tom Rowse's Australian roots and the country's melting pot of cultures, including flavors from England, the Mediterranean and southeast Asia.
The two culinary pals also own The Sentry, Daintree, Ghost Burger and the Hole in The Wall restaurant concepts, in addition to the Isla & Co brand with locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as in Dallas, Atlanta and Fairfield, Conn. There are plans to open a second South Florida location of Isla & Co. in Miami Beach in 2023.
1401 Clare Ave., West Palm Beach; 323-304-6992; Isla-Co.comRob's Family BBQ, PlantationRob Scruby, the former owner of longtime pit stop Scruby's BBQ, is now smoking meats at Rob's Family BBQ, and opened his second location on Dec. 7 inside Plantation's Vizcaya Square. The Plantation Rob's, at 2,100 square feet, mostly caters to carryout crowds and features 14-hour, slow-smoked brisket sandwiches, along with pulled chicken, smoked turkey and sides that include sweet corn nuggets, crispy breaded okra and fresh cornbread.
837 N. Nob Hill Road, Plantation; RobsFamilyBBQ.comFleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Fort LauderdaleThis snazzy steak-and-seafood chain run by Bloomin' Brands (Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill) took over the primo Las Olas space formerly occupied by Tuscan Prime on Dec. 7, on the ground floor of the Bank of America building.
The 7,800-square-foot steakhouse, from Will Reynolds and chef-partner Joseph Mora, seats 223 with an extra 82 patio seats, and boasts a menu decidedly more turf than surf. Along with chilled seafood towers and beef carpaccio for starters, there are prime dry-aged ribeyes and tomahawks, seared pork belly with fig demiglace, truffle-poached lobster with béarnaise sauce and caviar, and barbecue Scottish salmon fillets topped with mushrooms. Sides include chipotle cheddar mac and cheese, cauliflower mash and baked potatoes.
This is Fleming's third South Florida outpost after Brickell and Coral Gables. 401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-233-3327; FlemingsSteakhouse.comHoly Cow Ice Cream Lounge, MargateThis sweets parlor, perhaps aptly named for its menu of carnivalesque funnel cakes and Hot Cheeto-infused ice cream, debuted in early December on State Road 7, just north of Atlantic Boulevard.
It comes from restaurateur Efrem Knight Jr. (who also operates Holy Hog BBQ in Coral Springs), the brother of former NBA star Brandon Knight (Dallas Mavericks), and partner Thomas Brooks. The menu features fried Oreos, waffle sundaes, alcohol-infused Italian ice, gelato and other desserts such as milkshakes and floats.
There's even pizza. As if all this weren't enough, the storefront also touts Friday night karaoke, hookah nights, Xbox and PS5 gaming stations and prize machines. 1049 State Road 7, Margate; 954-247-9516Fiorello's, Fort LauderdaleThis Italian-Mediterranean restaurant had a soft opening on Nov.
27 next door to Primanti Bros. on State Road A1A, against a sumptuous backdrop of swaying beach palms and sunsets. The namesake of owner Alexis Fiorello, the eatery features entrees such as fish and chips and steak frites, as well as pasta dishes including lobster ravioli and linguine with clams.
There are also meatball parmesan, Sicilian chicken club and cheesesteak sandwiches, and tiramisu for dessert. 905 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 754-200-5146; Fiorellos-Fort-Lauderdale.Business.SiteWonder Sweets Bakery, WellingtonWonder Sweets Bakery opened last month at The Mall at Wellington Green.
Owned by Careli Bello —a Venezuelan architect who has turned her love of baking into a business — the 688-square-foot eatery has sweet offerings such as cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, pavlovas, mille-feuilles, brazos de gitano ('gypsy arm' rolls), cinnamon rolls, macarons, mousses, profiteroles, and Venezuelan specialties like marquesas and golfeados. 10300 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 256, Wellington; 941-421-2958; WonderSweetsBakery.comFushimi Sushi Seafood & Bar, Deerfield BeachThis sushi buffet spot in the Aldi plaza across the street from the Deerfield Mall debuted in early December and is registered to owner Mingtong Zhang.
The sushi bar features hand rolls — from eel avocado and yellowtail scallion to spicy crunchy scallop and sweet potato — along with sashimi, soba noodles, chicken and vegetable tempura, fried rice, bento boxes, gyoza appetizers and several hibachi-style entrees. 3887 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach; 754-752-3888; FushimiFL.comVicky Bakery, Coral SpringsThis Miami-based bakery (with a sizable section of the menu offering breakfast dishes, pastelitos and lunchtime sandwiches) debuted its latest location in Coral Springs on Dec.
- The bakery has been marking its 50th anniversary with aggressive expansion plans northward that will include Pembroke Pines, Plantation and Boca Raton. 2528 N.
University Drive, Coral Springs; 954-507-1201; VickyBakery.comCarrot Express, Pembroke PinesThis fast-casual, veggie-centric chain opened its newest storefront on Dec. 9 inside the Shops at Pembroke Gardens, joining outposts in Boca Raton, Coconut Creek, Weston and several others in Miami-Dade County. The restaurant serves up turkey bacon and Scottish salmon wraps, a California 'eggwich,' huevos rancheros burritos, avocado toast, and vegan picadillo bowls, among other specialties.
There are also salads and desserts (including carrot cake, of course!). Founded inside an Alton Road gas station in 1993, Mario Laufer's chain is having a growth spurt, with future locations heading to Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas, as well as Plantation and Hollywood. 14538 SW Fifth St., Pembroke Pines; EatCarrotExpress.comGelato & Co., Delray BeachThis sweet-treat brand has a just-opened franchise on East Atlantic Avenue in the downtown dining-drinking-entertainment district.
The handcrafted gelato is made fresh daily and uses ingredients sourced from farms locally (sfluch as seasonal fruits) and in Italy (such as Sicilian pistachios and Piemonte hazelnuts). This shop is owned by Italy native Giancarlo Triulzi — unlike the Fort Lauderdale/Las Olas location, which another franchisee opened in March. Triulzi, originally from Milan, says, 'I have always been fascinated by the United States since I was a young child.
Living here has always been a dream of mine as I viewed this country with high regards. Now being part of an amazing group, which delivers a top-quality Italian product to the United States is something of which I am extremely proud.' Gelato & Co. also sells Italian pastries, custom cakes and coffee beverages.
418 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; Florida.gelatoeco.comGreat American Cookies, Oakland ParkThe newest location in this Atlanta-headquartered confectionary chain hosted its soft opening on Nov. 10 in the Northridge Shopping Plaza, and features cookie cakes, decadent brownies and Double Doozies (its lingo for ice-cream cookie sandwiches).
The chain, which launched in 1977, has 290 U.S. locations, many of them inside shopping malls. Great American Cookies runs another outpost at the Mall at Wellington Green, with another location heading to Doral in early 2023.
5073 N. Dixie Highway, Oakland Park; 954-990-8297; GreatAmericanCookies.comPelican's SnoBalls, Coral SpringsSouth Floridians won't encounter snow this winter but they can, apparently, see SnoBalls. This North Carolina-spun, shaved-ice franchise touting 100-plus flavors quietly opened in late November in the Magnolia Shoppes plaza.
Don't confuse these treats with snow cones: These are New Orleans-style sno-balls, a regional confection that's finely shaved and fluffier than the crunchy and coarse, sugar syrup-coated balls of ice often seen at carnivals. Flavors include carrot cake and cream soda, pomegranate and pink champagne, strawberry cheesecake and butterscotch. This will be Pelican's first South Florida location after a Deerfield Beach outpost opened pre-pandemic but closed in early 2022.
9641 Westview Drive, Coral Springs; PelicansSnoballs.comCrema Gourmet Espresso Bar, Fort LauderdaleThis all-day breakfast coffeehouse debuted Nov. 21 on Las Olas Boulevard, shuffling into the space once occupied by Offerdahl's Off-The-Grill. As with its sister cafes, Crema slings egg sandwiches on baguettes and croissants, avocado toast, acai bowls, oatmeal, chocolate-chip pancakes and 21 styles of coffee and tea.
The Miami-based chain has been in rapid franchising mode since 2021, adding a flurry of locations to Hallandale Beach, Davie and Miami Beach, with future spots destined for Boca Raton, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Dania Beach (inside Dania Pointe). 401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Suite 190, Fort Lauderdale; CremaGourmet.comAmar Bakery & Market, Delray BeachThe second location of Amar Bakery & Market has opened in downtown Delray Beach.
Like the first one in Boynton Beach, this shop features European and Middle Eastern pastries, sweets, cakes, artisanal bread, shakes, teas, wines, craft beers and Pumphouse Coffee Roasters. On the