Is Dada the best restaurant in Delray Beach?

Many in the hive suggest it’s among the best, if not THE best.  It’s definitely an entertaining experience with its quirky atmosphere and some inspired dishes and cocktails

Among the most frequently asked dining questions I’ve seen on social media is “What’s the best restaurant in Delray Beach?” And, invariably, among the hive’s top answer is Dada.

Despite almost a half dozen years of regularly visiting and living in Delray Beach, I’d never been there. What was I missing? Taking advantage of a offer for Dada, I recently visited this eclectically decorated eatery and tried its moderately expensive American, albeit limited, menu. I’m glad I did.

One of the dining rooms

Owned by the Sub-Culture Restaurant Group, which operates a dozen restaurants from Jupiter to South Beach, including Honey and Subculture Coffee in Delray Beach, Dada has been located since 2000 on the fringe of Downtown Delray. It occupies a historic, oversized house on Swinton Avenue. It’s a gaily lit affair in the evening with lanterns suspended from trees, strings of bright white lights running up and down trees, and rocking horses and hobby horses decorating the grounds. The bar area is filled sofas and cocktail tables and each dining room is themed differently. It’s a loud place,  however. Music and conversation combine to make it noisy inside —and out — with my phone’s decibel meter app reaching 80 db inside. That, I suppose, makes it attractive to young, hip diners.

Dada, by the way, is French for hobby horse. Dada or Dadaism also was a European avant-garde art movement in the early Twentieth Century popularized by such artists as Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Salvador Dali and Tristan Tzara, among others.  They are recalled as cocktails at Dada and immortalized on the black T-shirts worn by the young, friendly and efficient servers.

Until late last year, executive chef Bruce Feingold ran the kitchen. Now, the top toque is Jessie Steele, who previously manned the stoves at Death & Glory. Our server told us he’s already begun tweaking the menu, a limited carte with just eight small plates, 11 entrees and four desserts. Among the changes, we were told, were a switch to truffle butter from garlic butter with the grilled brie, the addition of a roasted-beet salad and a switch to all-lump-meat crab cakes.

Max Ernst cocktail in mini bathtub

Despite my predilection for wine — Dada’s wine list is diverse — I opted to try one of the restaurant’s artist-inspired cocktails, the Max Ernst. Oddly presented in a mini bathtub with a pair of tiny black cocktail straws, it’s a blend of Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin, sloe gin, hopped grapefruit bitters, Fever Tree tonic, thyme and star anise. It had an almost neon orange hue and was extraordinary dry. Our server offered to replace it, but it became more palatable as the ice melted. 

Grilled brie with truffle butter

We started our dinner with the earthy, grilled brie with truffle honey butter, toasted ciabatta and sliced Granny Smith apples and red grapes, an interesting and pleasing array of flavors.

The almost filler-free whole-lump meat crab cakes, served with a vibrant creole mustard aioli and a just-off-the cob corn and pequillo pepper salsa, were sweet and airy and their accoutrement was a perfect foil. 

Duck breast a l’orange was served well done, as ordered, though a tad dry, and arrived with a side of pureed turnips (left untouched by my spouse, who has an aversion to vegetables). The intense honey-blood orange sauce, however, wowed.

Lump crab cakes

Duck breast al’orange

Warm banana bread dessert

Warm banana bread topped with warm banana slices and Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce, made for a fine, if uninspiring finale.

Is Dada the best restaurant in Delray Beach? I I can’t say that with certainty,  but it’s definitely special and the dining experience unique — fine food in a quirky atmosphere. Even so, an evening there was an enjoyable and it made even better by free valet parking in the lot next door.



52 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, FL


Don’t forget to share this via , Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Buffer, , Tumblr, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, WhatsApp, Line and Naver.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About delraydines_editor

%d bloggers like this: