217 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-450-7557, BuddhaSkyBar.com
Buddha Sky Bar, the year-old pan-Asian fusion hideaway on the third floor next to the railroad tracks amid Atlantic's pageantry, has vertically expanded into the downstairs floors of the former SpoonFed as Buddha Garden.
The same red, gold and chocolate colors unite the two entities, Sky and Garden. But the first floor is more spacious and elaborate even though it retains an intimate feel. Guests may feel transported to Asia in the front-entrance mini lounge with red couches and a grand, serene Buddha fountain centered in a wall of lush plants.
A walk past the wine cellar reveals a graceful cherry-blossom tree in the middle of the dining room that matches the dishware. Mezzanine seating overlooks this area anchored by four red semi-circular booths under an alcove of arches and a LED wall screen displaying scurrying koi. An indoor/outdoor bar with a lighted floor in the dining room bridges to sidewalk seating.
"We've worked hard to train our staff, many of whom have been here from the very beginning," co-owner Chris Licata says. "It's a true family, and we want everyone who visits us to feel like they are a part of that."
Also debuting: an expanded wine list, beers on tap and four new cocktails such as tropical Thai basil margarita ($12). Favorites, such as scallops baked in the shell with blue crab ($14) and black cod miso skewers ($22), are still here.
Dinner is served nightly, and a DJ enhances a lounge vibe until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. The second floor is reserved for private parties.
52 N. Swinton Ave, Delray Beach, 561-330-3232, Sub-Culture.org/Dada
This quaint historic house with a front-yard oasis is running seasonal dishes until April.
Feeling whimsical? Dip a pork-belly waffle dog into spiced raspberry maple syrup ($9.50) for a kick. Or, start with gazpacho ($5) and kale Caesar salad ($9), perhaps accompanied by three new mojitos: grapefruit, ginger and the razzmatazz with raspberries and Chambord ($10).
Back by popular demand are gruyère fondue with pretzel bread, fruit and veggies ($13), grass-fed filet mignon with surprisingly sweet sautéed kale with shallots and crusty-top potato au gratin ($29.50), and the Chicken Del Rio with avocado, provolone, barbecue black beans and yellow rice ($19).
"We had several pleas to put them back over the year, so we brought them back to the season menu," co-owner Scott Frielich says.
Other seasonal entrées are Sunray Venus clams and pappardelle with basil-sage brown butter ($22) and vegetable flatbread with walnut spread and blue cheese ($15).
Finish with chocolate truffle shuffle or mango streusel cake (both $6).
Some versions of these items are available on the gluten-free menu.
2364 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, 954-565-3392, dba2z.com
This 60-seat wine bar and bistro with brick walls, tin ceiling and rustic touches has moved into the former Café Jamm in the Union Planters Plaza.
Photos of New York City reflect the hometown of the owners and Executive Chef Steve Zobel, who most recently headed the East End Brasserie at The Atlantic Resort & Spa.
"We're just trying to be a local neighborhood place. This area is lacking it," co-owner Tom Moynihan says.
Their slogan, "Food for the wandering palate," points to the global and Euro-centric cuisine for dinner and casual American for lunch, such as hamburgers, pastas and wings — with organic hot sauce that will be bottled for sale at a later date.
Seasonal ingredients will drive the frequently changing selections, and full or half portions encourage sharing. Examples of what you might find: grilled chorizo, cranberry beans, roasted tomato, spicy salsa verde and fried egg ($9), ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce ($11, half; $19, full) and apricot-glazed duck confit, acorn squash crepe and brussels sprouts ($15, half; $27, full).
Lunch is served Tuesday through Friday, brunch on Sunday, and dinner nightly, except Mondays, with plans for outdoor seating and live music.
3049 Alhambra St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-764-3500, CasablancaCafeOnline.com
Noah Ffrench, the third executive chef of this 17-year-old beachfront landmark, has been infusing Caribbean/Floridian flavors into the Mediterranean cuisine since he was lured away this summer from the Grateful Palate.
He has changed about half the menu but has retained the signatures served in this charming 1927 historic house. Next on the agenda: enlivening the desserts.
His mark shows in the grilled mahi mahi tacos ($12.95) for lunch, Florida-style ceviche of the day ($10-$12) for lunch and dinner, and grilled Atlantic swordfish with plantain mash and black-bean vinaigrette ($29.95) for dinner.
"Generally I've been trying to feature fresh local fish that you normally don't see on the menu at other restaurants like sheepshead, grunt, Spanish mackerel," Ffrench says. "I like the idea of the customer dining in front of the ocean and eating a fish that is found literally in the waters in front of them."
Other latest additions are bacon-wrapped dates with gorgonzola cream ($7.95), pear and four-cheese fiocchi with prosciutto and macadamia nuts ($9.95), semi-boneless whole grilled rainbow trout with cucumber salsa ($24.95) and braised boneless short ribs with pesto mash and baby carrots ($28.95).