About Delray Dines


Welcome to Delray Dines, a new blog devoted to exploring the exploding dining scene in Delray Beach, Fla., and its environs, from Miami to Palm Beach.

I’m a relative newcomer to Delray Beach. I purchased a condo a little more than four years ago. But as soon as I got here, I began exploring restaurants, searching for the best places to eat. There’s a plethora of restaurants in Delray Beach. Some are worthy dining spots; others, are not. I can’t help but wonder how some of them survive by offering what I deem mediocre food. Perhaps, it’s because they are long catered to an older generation of retirees fond of early-bird specials. I’ve often told friends that it seems that restaurants here cater to people who no longer have taste buds and have depression-era mentalities about spending.

That’s changing, New eateries seemingly are opening every week, offering a promise of high levels of culinary experiences. That’s a welcome change. You can see it happening along Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Delray Beach, in Mizner Park, and along Dixie Highway’s Antique Row in West Palm Beach. My guess is that the phenomenon follows the arrival of well-heeled baby boomers from the North with their more sophisticated and demanding palates and an interest in fine dining.

To be sure, there are major newspaper critics who cover our region and do a pretty good job of restaurant criticism. I don’t always agree with their opinions and they rarely spend stray far from their printing plants in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach when picking eateries to review. I do like Sun-Sentinel critic, Mike Mayo, perhaps in part because, like me he is an ex-Brooklyn boy and fellow alum of New York’s Stuyvesant High School. Sure, there are magazines, other blogs and social media devoted to food and dining in this area. Some of them, IMHO, are more promotional in nature, ready to publish a gratuitous picture and unlikely to utter a critical word (I’m not naming names) for fear of not getting invited to the next free meal. I don’t plan to pull my punches, and if I have a stellar experience, I’ll let you know. That said, I promise to be fair. I’ll be dining anonymously, when possible, and I’ll be paying for what I eat and drink, just like any other restaurant patron.

Delray Dines won’t be a comprehensive dining guide.  Rather, it will focus on accounts of my dining experiences in the eateries and other food-related establishments, such as wine stores, breweries, and food shops that I visit. Dining, of course, is a personal experience, so you’ll be getting my vibes on a particular eatery. Yours may be different. Let’s agree to disagree.

About me: I’m an ex-New Yorker, an award-winning former journalist who has spent decades writing about food, wine, beer and spirits – among other things – for a major metropolitan daily newspaper, magazines and online media.  I’m a home chef, home brewer, certified beer judge, member of the Wine Media Guild of New York and a former board member of the North American Beer Writers Guild.

Yes, I will be bringing my snobby New York sensibilities to this task. Sorry, if you’re a long-time local and think of me as intruder – this has happened in a social media group focused on Delray Beach.  I never expected to face such a harsh attack for making negative comments about the poor dining experiences that I posted. Those attackers complained that a negative review isn’t fair to the hard-working folks who own or work in our area restaurants. I’m sorry, people want to know where to spend their hard-earned bucks and should know which eateries deliver a good experience, decent food and good value. Opening your door for business means you’re ready for customers – and their praise or complaints. I understand it’s a tough business, but like many patrons I’ve worked hard for money and I want to spend it wisely.  Many people want to know what to expect when they dine out.  Recommendations are sought almost daily on social media. A restaurateur, who doesn’t deliver a good experience, is fair game for criticism.  On the other hand, I’ll be happy to dole out praise when and where it’s due.

I love most cuisines: French, Italian, New American, steakhouse, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and other Asian styles, New York style deli, seafood and barbecue, and, yes, sometimes a juicy hamburger or a terrific sandwich. I have to admit I am not a huge fan of offal (liver and sweetbreads excepted), steak tartare, and sea cucumbers (which have all the texture of a garden hose). I enjoy good wine, red, white and rose – mostly European appellations – and I enjoy a well-balanced, flavorful craft beer, particularly British and Belgian ales and German and Czech lagers.

I hope you’ll follow my adventures here and on Facebook.  I’ll scribble as often as my schedule permits. I welcome your comments and suggestions. You can also comment on the Delray Dines Facebook page or reach out to me at editor(at)DelrayDines(dot)com.