You don’t have to be cheap to like cheap eats.
After all, everybody likes a good deal. The problem is that “cheap,” “deal” and “value” are thoroughly subjective. What’s inexpensive to Bill Gates might be out-of-this-world pricy to those not born with a black Amex card in their cribs.
As we live in one of the most worldly and affluent areas in the country, what constitutes cheap eats here gets pretty complicated too. Most of us aren’t likely to revisit the kinds of restaurants that got us through college. Nor are we likely to be happy with a steady diet of discount burritos, pizza and burgers.
That’s where we come in. Boca Raton has turned the local dining scene upside down, shaken it and come up with a list of restaurants that meet our exacting but affordable standards. Think high-quality dishes that provide the best bang for your culinary buck—and in a variety of categories.
You can’t put a price tag on that.
1. “Onion Soup” Dumplings
Where: Burt & Max's, 9089 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561/638-6380
What: A whimsical riff on the classic French onion soup, this light but savory dish features plump little pastry pouches filled with Gruyere and caramel-ized onions floating in a golden, brandy-spiked veal broth, delivering all the traditional onion soup flavors without the heft.
2. Ollie Burger
Where: Flashback Diner, 1450 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, 561/750-2120
What: This half-pound disc of mozzarella-topped certified Angus beef re-creates the famed burger developed by Miami Beach resident Oliver Glei-chenhaus—who spent almost four decades assembling a recipe that includes 23 herbs and seasonings—resulting in a burger that tastes like no other.
3.BBQ Pork Belly
Where: 13 American Table, 451 E. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, 561/409-2061
What: The lusciously fatty belly of pig is trendier than Instagram, and here it’s worth every wicked calorie. Roasted crisp-molten in the exotic Josper oven, it’s gilded with a piquant barbecue sauce and vinegary slaw that both cut and enhance its richness.
4. “Og” Fried Chicken
Where: Rebel House, 297 E. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, 561/353-5888
What: This funky-artsy joint fries chicken as well as any spot in town—crunchy and golden on the outside, moist and tender within. Of course, the accompanying cheddar-jalapeño biscuit and candied bacon syrup don’t hurt either.
5. Olivia’s Cazuelita
Where: Papa’s Tapas, 259 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach, 561/266-0599
What: What could possibly improve a bowl full of fresh, tender shrimp, scallops, calamari, chorizo and mushrooms? White wine, good olive oil and prodigious amounts of garlic, that’s what. This hearty stew/soup is a Spanish classic for reasons obvious at first bite.