A guide to dining at and around South Florida's cultural arts centers

The past year has seen restaurants open in three of South Florida's cultural arts centers.

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts offers a pre-show menu at its Marti's New River Bistro. The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum brought in a pedigreed chef to oversee its new Tavern at the Wick. And the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami welcomed well-known chef Allen Susser at the Books and Books Café.

In car-centric South Florida, being able to eat and see a show in one venue offers a kind of windfall, especially if you're looking to eat a heavy pre-show meal. The restaurants at the Broward Center and the Wick require guests to pay the tab for three courses.

That's not true at every arts venue. For more than a dozen years, Bistro Teatro at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach has been serving sandwiches and salads for 90 minutes prior to showtime.

If you prefer eating before a show at a standalone restaurant, we offer several recommendations.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-660-6333, BrowardCenter.org/Visit/Dining/Martis

Last October, the center began service at its on-site Marti's New River Bistro. It's open 10 a.m-2 p.m. for Sunday brunch and 2 1/2 hours prior to curtain for shows in the Au-Rene Theater and select shows in the Amaturo Theater. For non-show goers, the restaurant offers an a la carte menu after 8 p.m. Items on the $39.50 pre-fixe menu might include such appetizers as bison-and-beef-barley soup with heirloom carrots and polenta crouton, and panko-and-pretzel-crusted salmon cake with lemon-dill yogurt and fried caper berries. Entrees might include tea-brined Cornish hen, saffron basmati rice and heirloom carrot medley and pappardelle pasta with wild mushroom ragù and pistachio mascarpone.

Outside the venue

Tacocraft Tacqueria and Tequila Bar

204 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-463-2003, Tacocraft.com

While Tacocraft's vibe is very much in keeping with the booziness of Southwest Second Street, it also happens to serve some very good tacos. Most nights before a show, the drinking crowd hasn't arrived to Tacocraft. Standout tacos include crispy shredded pork with adobo-chili rub, cotija cheese, charred pineapple, salsa verde and crema. Vegetarians will like kale and potato with braised kale, roasted potato hash, refried beans, avocado and cilantro lime crema.

Norton Museum of Art

1451 S. Olive Ave, West Palm Beach, 561-832-5196, Norton.org

Miami-based Fratelli-Lyon runs the very popular café inside the museum. Since reopening in September , the restaurant is now called Café Norton and a more classic American menu has replaced what was a mostly Italian selection. In May, the café will close as the entire space is being renovated.

Outside the venue

Kitchen

319 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, 561-249-2281, KitchenPB.com

You'd never guess the stylish and sophisticated Kitchen would be housed in the corner of this strip plaza on the corner of Dixie Highway and Belvedere Road. But open the door, and the black-and-white room becomes the perfect setting for chef Matthew Byrne's ingredient-driven menu. Consider some dishes from a recent menu: seared diver scallops with kale, corn and white-bean succotash or eggplant-portobello lasagna. Pay attention to the vegetable side dishes, which may include Brussels sprouts and grape tomatoes or quinoa-and-corn-tomato salad. Byrne's wife, Aliza, keeps things running smoothly in the front of the house.

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, 561-832-7469, Kravis.org

Bistro Teatro (561-651-4444) opens 90 minutes before every show in Dreyfoos Hall. Menu items include a handful of salads, soup and several sandwiches: turkey, brie and apple; grilled chicken Caprese and Palm Beach chicken salad. Even though the no-reservations Bistro Teatro is operated by the Breakers, think of it as an amenity more than a dining destination.

Outside the venue

Brio Tuscan Grille

550 S. Rosemary Ave., CityPlace, West Palm Beach, 561-835-1511, BrioItalian.com/CityPlace

Sometimes, the dependability of a chain is just what you want before a show. At Brio, that dependability comes with a smartly uniformed wait staff, a surprisingly elegant interior and a menu that includes all kinds of pasta and grilled meat dishes: pork chops, beef medallions and Gorgonzola-crusted lamb chops. Among the house specialties are lasagna Bolognese and interesting sweet-potato-and-chicken risotto.

The Wick Theater and Costume Museum

7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, 561-995-2333, TheWick.org

The Tavern at the Wick opened in June with chef William Walden at the helm. Walden, of the now-shuttered Bistro Gastronomie in West Boca, creates prix-fixe dinners themed to each musical. During "Dames at Sea," for instance, he offered Ruby's Crab Cakes named after a character in the production. The Tinker Bell Chicken Roulade was available during the run of "Peter Pan." Hours depend on showtimes. The restaurant is, in part, an homage to the original Tavern on the Green in New York's Central Park. The chandelier came from Tavern on the Green, as did many of the service settings. The restaurant is also open to those not seeing a show.

Outside the venue

Fah Asian Bistro

7401 N. Federal Highway, Boca Valley Plaza, Boca Raton, 561-241-0400, FahAsianBistro.com

Boca has no shortage of restaurants, but for quick pre-theater eats, I'd head to Fah Asian Bistro, where the menu dips into several Asian traditions. There are Chinese-style pot stickers, Thai spring rolls and, of course, Japanese sushi. Several noodle dishes — lobster pad thai, spicy shrimp noodle, Thai chicken peanut sauce — are perfect dinner in a bowl. You can eat as light or heavy as you want. Fah's sleek and stylish interior features white walls, white furniture and a sushi bar set with stools.

NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale

1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-5500, NSUArtMuseum.org

The Museum Café in the lobby of the museum features a menu of sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts, along with Illy coffee, wine and beer. The café also offers menu items themed to exhibits that started with pasteles and flan during the run of an exhibit of Cuban artists. Through Feb. 4, there's smoked salmon and Scandinavian sweets to go along with "War Horses: Helhesten and the Danish Avant-Garde During World War II." Coming next to the museum is an exhibit on the early days of TV titled "Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television." The café will feature classic American diner foods such as Waldorf salad, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and root beer floats.

Outside the venue

Big City Tavern

609 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, 954-727-0307, BigTimeRestaurants.com

It's a short walk to Big City, which is owned by the same group that operates City Cellar in West Palm Beach, City Oyster in Delray Beach and all the Rocco's Tacos locations. Big City's menu includes lots of pasta and pizza, as well as burgers and salads. They also offer a late-night menu, which on Friday and Saturday goes until 1 a.m. Look for chicken wings, the Big City burger and french fries, as well as fresh fried calamari with spicy San Marzano sauce. Open since 2003, Big City does a good job of always changing up its menu.

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

1300 Biscayne Blvd., 786-468-2000 Miami, ArshtCenter.org

The Arsht offers two on-site dining options. Brava! (305-949-6722) is the center's more formal option, with a $49 per person prix fixe menu, which might start with an empanada pescada or avocado tomato salad. Entrée selections on a recent menu included short ribs and pan-seared snapper. There's also a weekend brunch buffet. Last December , a new Café at Books and Books (786-405-1745) opened on the ground floor of the center's Carnival Tower, once home to a Sears store. Overseen by chef Allen Susser, fresh ingredients shine in such dishes as grilled mushroom and fennel stir fry and old-school mahi-mahi sandwich. A pre-show pre-fixe menu is also available for $34 per person.

Outside the venue

Blue Collar

6730 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-756 0366, BlueCollarMiami.com

Part diner, part chef-driven, the menu runs from pork and beans to shrimp and grits. You have to love a restaurant that serves Chanukah latkes year-round. Standout dinner entrees include crispy-skin snapper with rock shrimp, vegetable fried rice and red curry, and ragout of pork and veal shoulder, brisket and San Marzano tomatoes served with pappardelle. The $6-each vegetable chalkboard includes such items as roasted beets and goat cheese, tomato and mozzarella salads, roasted artichoke hearts and grilled corn on the cob with butter. While parking can be a problem since the restaurant is set inside an old motel, you can park after-hours in the bank parking lot just one block north.

Perez Art Museum Miami

1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-375-3000, PAMM.org

With Verde's folding director's chairs and stripped-down minimalist décor, the restaurant's best visuals are out the windows toward Biscayne Bay. Attention to local ingredients can be found in such dishes as wahoo ceviche and tuna tartare. There are several pizzas, including squash blossom with zucchini, goat cheese, tomato sugo and roasted-garlic olive oil. There's a cheeseburger and chicken under a brick for bigger eaters. Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, Verde only serves dinner on Thursdays, when they keep the doors open until 9 p.m. Beer and wine are also available.

Outside the venue

Ceviche 105

105 NE Third Ave., Miami, 305-577-3454, Ceviche105.com

Fans of ceviche and tiraditos love not just the fresh fish used here, but also the moderate prices and simple, sleek décor. Few of the seafood entrees cost more than $20. There are also plenty of nonseafood options from the Peruvian culinary canon, including lomo saltado and a linguine dish with spinach and Peruvian Paria cheese sauce accompanied by grilled churrasco steak. It's a bit of a hike from the PAMM to Ceviche 105, so you might want to use Uber.

Miramar Cultural Arts Center

2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar, 954-602-4500, MiramarCulturalCenter.org

There aren't any restaurants inside the center, but there are several spots nearby for a quick bite before a show.

Outside the venue

La Famiglia

11655 Red Road, 954-862-7499, Facebook.com/La-Famiglia-Italian-Restaurant

Stick-to-your ribs garlic rolls, pizza and pasta is the name of the game at this family-run Italian restaurant. The same family started local favorite Antonio's Pizzeria, and here the menu has expanded to include such Italian restaurant favorites as chicken Parmesan, veal Marsala and shrimp scampi. Baked ziti and lasagna are among the restaurant's biggest sellers. Best of all, La Famiglia is across the parking lot from the center.

Brimstone Woodfire Grill

14575 SW Fifth St., the Shops at Pembroke Gardens, 954-430-2333 Pembroke Pines, BrimstoneWoodFireGrill.com

About four miles from the center is this American eatery with sister restaurants in Fort Lauderdale (Grille 401) and Boca Raton (Piñon Grill). At Brimstone, the emphasis is on such American classics as steak, lobster, ribs and burgers. But many diners come here for lighter fare: sushi, salads and such flatbreads topped with everything from barbecue chicken to pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes.

Copyright © 2017, South Florida