Places To See and Be Seen: An Insider’s Guide to Local Hot Spots

Where the action is...

Where the action is…

Like lots of towns, Boca Raton and Delray Beach have what’s known as “it” places, haunts to see and be seen.

You know the description, restaurants, cafes and other hot spots where the movers and shakers make deals, break bread and toast the future.

Here’s a look at our subjective (with a capital S) list:

Boca Raton

  • The Grille—For years, this spot strategically located near tons of businesses on Congress Avenue near Yamato Road, has been a go-to place for business leaders. It’s so popular—and parking is so limited—that if you don’t get there at 11:45 a.m. you might not get a table for lunch. Who will you run into? Techies, investment bankers and real estate moguls.
  • Max’s Grille—This mainstay remains hugely popular. Located right next to the valet stand at Mizner Park, visitors can feast on good eats, the best crème brule on the planet and watch the steady stream of Bentley’s, Rolls Royce’s and Lexus’ pull up to dine. Who will you run into? Wealthy investors, visiting titans of industry, philanthropists and a smattering of politicians.
  • The Boca Resort & Club—The legendary pink hotel attracts a world class clientele and has hosted presidents and royalty. It also is well-known for its legendary conferences many of them business or finance oriented featuring speakers that range from Fed Chairmen to Fortune 100 CEOs. Who will you run into? Masters of the universe.
  • Abe & Louie’s—This Boston-based steak house attracts a large business crowd for lunch and for dinner. Who will you into? Count on seeing civic and business leaders, big wigs from FAU and and elected officials.
  • J Alexander’s –Located in the hugely popular University Commons, J Alexander’s is a smartly designed restaurant. The lunch crowd draws a lot of civic leaders, academics and business types. After six, the bar scene is lively and chock full of a who’s who of people making it happen in Boca.
  • Seasons 52—Located on the busy Glades corridor, Seasons 52 is busy for lunch and dinner. Who will you run into? Attorneys, bank presidents and people looking to watch their calories but still eat well.
  • Tom Sawyer’s—A breakfast and lunch hot spot for many, many years, Tom Sawyer’s on Second Avenue is non-descript from the outside, but step inside and you are sure to see lots of interesting peeps: Who have we seen there recently? Prominent land use attorneys, city officials, VIP’s from Delray looking to get out of town for a discreet lunch, a former editor of the National Enquirer and FAU coaches. Great food and reasonable prices make this a perennial favorite.
  • Uncle Thai’s—Boca Center is a major gathering spot for VIP’s for lunch and dinner. Uncle Thai’s is a long time institution popular with university figures, elected officials, real estate players and top sales and marketing professionals.
  • Houston’s—Yes, we know it’s a chain. But it is a cool chain and a very popular spot for business meetings. Boca’s tech and financial sector loves the place.
  • Capital Grille—Another chain, but this one is at the venerable Mall at Town Center, located near lots of businesses on bustling Glades Road. Hospital officials, public company CEO’s and investors love the ambience and the food.
  • Rocco’s Taco and Tequila Bar—Another Boca Center gathering spot for Boca’s most influential. Chock full of business visitors from the nearby Marriott and local leaders.
  • Prime Cigar and Wine Bar—Located at 2240 NW 19th Street #916, Prime is…well…a prime spot for business men. This is the place that ad agency principals, restaurateurs, real estate investors, developers, bankers, high powered executives and others come to relax at all hours of the day. It was Mark Twain who said: “Eating and sleeping are the only activities that should be allowed to interrupt a man’s enjoyment of his cigar.” This is the spot for people who believe in that adage.
Tramonti: Ideal for business

Tramonti: Ideal for business


Delray Beach

  • City Oyster—Delray’s business scene is a lot less formal than Boca’s, more board shorts than Bentley’s but don’t let the casual atmosphere fool you. There’s plenty of high commerce happening in the village by the sea. City Oyster is a political hot bed, with rivals eyeing each other to see who’s dining with whom. But aside from the political stuff (which is kind of silly), there’s plenty of business conducted over lunch at this beautifully designed restaurant which opens to the busy Atlantic Avenue.
  • Prime—This “supper” club also does a healthy lunch business with business types enjoying the view of Atlantic Avenue and nearby Worthing Park. Who will you see? Real estate investors, techies, bankers and non-profit execs.
  • Tramonti—Tramonti is busy for dinner and for lunch. Here’s where you’ll see visiting celebrities, high net worth investors, developers and their attorneys. The food is superb and so is the service.
  • Cabana El Rey—Popular with city leaders, local artists, non-profit leaders and creative types Cabana El Rey features a vibrant outdoor dining scene. We have seen Scottie Pippen of the Bulls and Sofia Vergara of Modern Family dining there (not together).
  • Brule Bistro—This smart and eclectic local bistro is a highlight of Pineapple Grove and popular with power players who don’t need to be seen on Atlantic Avenue. Developers, architects, philanthropists and foodies flock to Brule.
  • Caffe Luna Rosa—Busy for all three meals, but especially for breakfast. Popular with business types who need to remind themselves that they live near a beach. The restaurant offers great views of the Atlantic. Located at A1A and Atlantic. And some of the breakfast dishes are named after local figures (the French toast is named after me).
  • Smoke Inn Delray Beach—Popular with business types who like a good cigar. Cozy and cool perfect for good conversations.
  • The Sail Inn—Not an obvious choice, but a good one. This is where you’ll see locals go to blow off steam including ex mayors, former commissioners, city staffers, business types etc. Why? Because it’s a New York Yankee bar and that alone makes it cool.