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Dining scene: From Cedar-plank baked salmon to grilled octopus with squash

3030 Ocean

Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, 3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale, 954-765-3030,

Paula DaSilva is back after three years, this time as executive chef after the August departure of high-profile chef Dean Max, who reigned for 14 years at this acclaimed restaurant overlooking the Atlantic.

DaSilva, who helmed 1500 Degrees at Eden Roc Miami Beach after nine years at 3030 Ocean, has overhauled 80 percent of the menu and frequently adds selections based on seasonal ingredients in her style of "comfort food with a touch of elegance . . . with simplicity instead of complexity," she says.

A renovation and name change to shift from a seafood emphasis is expected in late summer of next year. "We want to go to a more casual feel and away from the upscale fine dining," DaSilva says.

Until then, you'll find dishes such as her intense grilled octopus with squash, fennel arugula pesto and feta ($15), white water clams in beer broth ($15), spicy seafood paella ($34) and branzino en papillote ($34).

Wahoo ceviche ($15) pairs perfectly with the house-infused pineapple rum and ginger beer in the refreshing Finn's Ale ($14), one of the many new cocktails designed to complement the food instead of overwhelm it. Look for five house infusions and seasonal drinks such as pumpkin pie (all $14).

DaSilva also has her hand in the all-new dessert list, such as the addictive s'mores in a jar ($12).

Buca di Beppo

Coral Square Mall, 9469 W. Atlantic Blvd., Coral Springs, 954-755-5550,

This casual international chain, which translates to Joe's Basement and is owned by Planet Hollywood International, has opened its 11th Florida outpost near the mall's food-court entrance.

"With its strong foot traffic and a diverse demographic audience, we feel the Coral Square Mall is a great fit for the ongoing growth of the Buca di Beppo brand," John Thall, executive vice president of development, New Concepts & Special Projects, said in a press release.

And this one does not lack the usual quirky, kitschy decor with offbeat photos, multi-colored string lights, red-and-white checkered tablecloths, cardinal table and rooms themed to wine and Frank Sinatra. A Pope room is filled with souvenirs from the Vatican, a bust and photos of various Popes.

Family-style portions of traditional Northern and Southern are served for lunch and dinner daily, organized by appetizers, salads, pizza, entrees and 25 pastas. Wine and signature cocktails, including white and red sangria ($6.50, glass; $22, carafe), complement bestsellers such as lasagna ($19.99, $29.99), spaghetti with half-pound meatballs ($19.99, $29.99) and veal saltimbocca with lemon-butter sauce ($25.99, $35.99).

Chatham House

4331 N. Ocean Drive, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, 954-351-0310,

New executive chef and director of operations Stephen Clark is instilling changes in this New England-inspired seaside setting.

"My goal is to be recognized as one of South Florida's premier seafood restaurants. We've added a variety of fresh local seafood entrees and Angus steaks, along with distinctive offerings such as our new sunset menu and social hour," says Clark, who worked for Rapoport's Restaurant Group. "These specials, which both begin at 4:30 p.m., cater to our guests who want to stop in on their way home from work, coming off a day at the beach, or prior to a night out on the town."

The weekday social hour to 7 p.m. features $5 specials: select cocktails and wines and the Surfy Turfy trio of filet mignon, shrimp and a scallop. In addition, six kinds of pizza are available at the bar all evening ($12-$17).

The three-course sunset menu until 7 p.m. nightly offers soup or salad, coffee or tea, a choice of four entrees and a choice of three desserts for $19.95. Entrees include cedar-plank baked salmon with a citrus mustard glaze and sauteed panko-crusted chicken breasts with basil white sauce. Dessert includes pistachio pound cake and tiramisu.

Fall cocktails ($11) are caramel appletini and almond soytini, a rum take on an Almond Joy bar.

Pinon Grill

Town Center at Boca Raton mall, 6000 Glades Road, Boca Raton, 561-391-7770,

This eye-popping restaurant and lounge serving New American cuisine has split its former all-day menu into lunch and dinner and introduced new specialties.

New items for lunch are salad with choice of soup, such as chicken tortilla ($12), smoked salmon BLT on grill-marked multigrain bread ($14) and grilled rainbow trout with green beans ($23).

For lunch and dinner, chilled kale salad incorporates red pepper flakes, garlic, Parmesan and crushed croutons ($6), and the smoked salmon with toast points and Southwestern remoulade is cured and smoked in house ($13).

"When you make it from scratch, it's a totally different world," says general manager Manfred Gessa.

Sticky rice with mint and cilantro is paired with Asian-style Chilean sea bass resting on spinach ($34). "I think that sea bass is one of the most flavorful fishes out there," says Andy Fox, director of operations for the ownership group. "We wanted to highlight the sea bass and add only a light soy glaze so the dish isn't overcrowded by other flavors."

Fox's year in New Orleans inspired NOLA's barbecue jumbo shrimp in a Worcestershire reduction with Creole seasoning, which is served dramatically in an iron skillet for dinner ($28).

Five cocktails ($12), which ran as summer specials, have joined the menu to highlight house infusions such as the Basilito Mojito with rum and strawberry-infused vodka and The Ultimate Refresher with watermelon and cucumber-infused vodka.

End with moist carrot cake ($8).

Email news to or send to John Tanasychuk, Sun Sentinel, 500 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 900, 9th floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394.

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