Restaurants + Bars

Dining scene: From a melted brie burger to bibeleskaes

Cafe Med

Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, 2096 NE Second St., Deerfield Beach, 954-596-5840, CafeMedDeerfield.com

This oceanfront spot has been reincarnated after a three-month renovation, dropping Bice in its name and breaking a short-lived affiliation with the international chain. The move was spurred by the hotel assuming ownership and converting the bar/lounge to Burger Craze.

"Before, Cafe Med offered a variety of cuisines under the Mediterranean umbrella. Now Cafe Med's menu is focused on authentic Italian cuisine," says Cheryl Chase, principal of Deerfield 21, the owner of the hotel. "The menu is more value oriented as well."

Executive chef Tulio Castilla Jr. is still here, and he's expanded the menu with a traditional turn, priced by individual and family portions with signatures such as a meat-lover's pizza called Cafe Med ($15.99), egg-wash snapper in lemon-butter sauce ($17.99/$29.99) and seafood linguine fra diavolo ($19.99/$29.99). Don't miss his dissolve-in-your-mouth gnocchi in pistachio-Gouda sauce ($14.99/$23.99) or sautéed calamari swimming in a tequila-spiked balsamic reduction to top on bread ($14.99/$21.99).

The walls were knocked out to bring in the beach view, and a central bar was installed, along with a herringbone ceramic "wood" floor. Awnings and umbrellas cover wraparound patio seating. An Italian singer roves several nights a week.

Twenty-four flavors from the hotel's new Vaniglia E Cioccolato Gelateria can be served, such as intense pineapple. Pair with a dip of the flaky coconut for a piña colada punch.

Cafe Med serves dinner daily with breakfast on the way.

Burger Craze

Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, 2096 NE Second St., Deerfield Beach, 954-596-5949, Burger-Craze.com

Carved from the bar/lounge space of Cafe Med, it's Burger Craze is ultimate in gourmand classic comfort food.

"The additional restaurant concept means we can offer an exciting variety of fun and great quality dining options almost around the clock," says Cheryl Chase, principal of Deerfield 21, the owner of the hotel.

The lineup of main players is short, but varieties overflow: six kinds of wings ($9), such as sriracha lime and even duck; six renditions of fries ($2.75-$4.50), such as Cajun or chili cheese; seven hot dogs ($3.75), such as The Coney Island; and 19 burgers ($5.50-$11), such as Over the Top with foie-gras pâté, truffle oil and raspberry jam and The Caliente with chorizo, pepper jack and guacamole.

The choices drill down even further to pork/beef, beef, veggie, andouille or kielbasa for the hot dogs and Angus or Kobe-style beef, chicken, turkey, salmon or veggie chipotle black bean for the burgers. Salads offer a healthy option ($8-$12). Libations include craft beer drafts ($4.50-$6.50) and spiked milkshakes ($9).

The narrow layout still lines up high tops beside a long bar, but now sand and sea colors create a fun beach vibe with coconut wall tiles, light rattan chairs, and aqua brightening the bar's tiled front, walls and recessed semicircular ceiling. The walls were knocked out to mirror the new outdoor feel of Cafe Med, and an awning shelters patio seating.

Lunch, along with live music, and dinner are served daily.

Bistro Gastronomie

9101 Lakeridge Blvd., west of Boca Raton, 561-883-2002, BistroGastronomie.com

The white lace curtains and topiaries flanking the door hint at what awaits. But even that doesn't prepare for the shock of how the former Backstreet Grille was rebuilt in the tiny, nondescript Yamato Village Center.

Sports bar no more, this modern French-American haven whisks you to an elegant night in Paris, an experience particularly surprising for this western suburb.

French satellite music complements the cream leather tufted banquettes, intricate molding, wide-fluted dome ceiling, chic opaque hanging globes and opulent chandeliers. The striking ambiance extends to the lounge with metallic gold bar chairs and plush semicircular booths.

The meal kicks off with addictive garlic toast and the creamy cheese mixture known as bibeleskaes, followed by more house-made breads with roasted garlic and olives. A four-course prix fixe, centering around the price of the entrée, is available.

"Our raison d'être is artistic cuisine with the greatest depth of flavor and health-conscious execution using the finest olive oils and less butter," says executive chef and co-owner William Walden, who hails from the Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Middleburg, Va.

Yes, the classics are here, such as foie gras duo ($18), Dover sole ($39) and crusted rack of lamb ($45), but so are Asian twists, such as crispy Peking duck rolls ($14) and Chilean sea bass with wakame and sake sauce ($37). Finish with a chocolate, raspberry or Grand Marnier soufflé ($18).

Dinner is served nightly, except Tuesdays. Sunday brunch is à la carte or three courses with a cocktail for $27.

Ristorante Santucci

610 Clematis St., Suite 1,¿West Palm Beach, 561-337-2532

After 25 years of running a restaurant in Brussels, Italian native Emilio Santucci has debuted another family operation here with his son and daughter.

"The dining experience we're trying to create here is inspired by contemporary and stylish Italian culture and lifestyle," he says. "Our goal is to provide our customers with delicate preparations from every region in Italy."

Lunch and dinner are served daily amid white-washed mod decor, along with covered patio seating.

"We have customized and thoroughly put thought into each piece and aspect of our restaurant to give our customers a real Italian ambiance and feel as if they were in the heart of Italy."

A seasonal menu supplements a regular one with highlights such as octopus carpaccio ($18), tagliatelle with pistachio sauce ($24) and chicken stuffed with smoked salmon and zucchini flambéed with limoncello sauce ($25).

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

Copyright © 2015, South Florida
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