Boca Raton Versus Fort Lauderdale: Pick Your Favorite Dining Scene

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Clean Plate Charlie is pitting our eight best dining areas against one another in a March Madness-style bracket. Later this month, we'll crown a winner -- an undisputed champion city that can boast to have the best food scene in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Below, read up on No. 4 seeded Western Broward versus No. 8 Hollywood and then vote below on which city should go on to our semi-final round.

Boca Raton Moves Beyond the Brisket and Lox for Some Serious Eats

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Kapow! signals a change in the Boca dining scene.
Go on. Scoff all you want at Boca Raton. This city has heard it all before. It's a bunch of "gray hairs." "Boca Babes." No one willing to venture outside of the brisket and bagel box. If that's the case, why are so many culinary adventurers willing to dream big in the Rat's Mouth? Take, for instance the gutsy opening of Kapow! Noodle Bar in late 2011 in Mizner Park and the soon-to-be debut of the Rebel House, a locally sourced restaurant from the masterminds behind Charm City Burgers and El Jefe Luchador. These are the forward-thinking culinary stars who recognize that the scene in Boca Raton is far more diverse -- and poised for change -- than the naysayers would have you believe.

What else does the city have going for it aside from easy parking, ballsy restaurateurs, and an uncanny number of above-average Mediterranean joints? Not for nothing, but there's a reason that Boca is referred to as the sixth borough. Not unlike a certain cousin to the north, this city ain't afraid to chew anyone up and spit them back out. Diners can be notoriously hard to please, which means a simple smile and a polite "How's it going?" can net you some of the most conciliatory service you're gonna find in a three-county radius. Okay, and yes, like NYC, there are a shitload of bagel shops, Jewish delis, and pizzerias in this town: we're gonna go ahead and count that as a plus. What? You haven't bitten into the blistered crust of a Tucci's pie fresh out of the coal oven? What the hell are you waiting for?

So what if Boca Raton is an underdog in this battle? You know who else was an underdog? A little fighter named Rocky. And you know who has been known to hit up one of Boca's most popular snack spots like Sonny's Gelato Café? That's right, Sylvester Stallone. Yep. It looks like this Raton has some fight in him yet. - Tricia Woolfenden

Forget Spring Break Fort Lauderdale: Now It's Famous Chefs and Waterfront Old Florida

Fort Lauderdale. Girls in bikinis driving vintage convertibles on their way to the local clam shack for a milkshake and a stolen kiss. Okay, now that we had our "Where The Boys Are" flashback, let's move back to the 21st century.

Fort Lauderdale has undergone many renaissances, the latest giving us much to love in the way of food. Literally whatever you're into can be found here -- from grouper caught right off our shores at Market 17 to gourmet vegan food for a cause at Sublime.

Tucked down one of the canals, there's the Bimini bread from Bimini Boatyard. In downtown, there's the oven-baked pancakes from the Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House. Yes, Fort Lauderdale offers a lot for carb lovers.

Florida's answer to Venice pays to old-school Florida style at the somewhat seedy bar at Rustic Inn behind the docks off Griffin Road. Somehow a big pot of garlic crabs, a beer and a wooden mallet make the cares of the day melt away. If the weather is nice (which, let's be honest, it usually is), 15th Street Fisheries is the place for just a fresh grouper sandwich and a chilled pinot grigio.

Sure, there are fancy foods and famous chefs here too. From a Steve Martorano meatball, to Timpano's mussels, to some insanely fresh swordfish from 3030 Ocean's kitchen, we clean up well for a good white tablecloth meal.

But when all is said and done, Fort Lauderdale is a beach town. So as the sun sets, you'll find us scarfing down fish dip and lobster rolls at Coconuts after a long day of tanning.

Not bad for one little town that was once only known for Spring Break.

And remember -- this is Florida. Vote early and vote often for Fort Lauderdale. Because Frankie and Annette would want it that way. - Laine Doss




Click here for a full list of cities in our Food Town Throwdown.
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4 comments
Fat Hand
Fat Hand

If we lose to Boca I am going to punch my computer in the face.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

Got nothing but love for the great people of Boca Raton. But seriously, vote Fort Lauderdale or this computer gets it.

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