Paul Castronovo's The Ten: Favorite South Florida Restaurants

Joe's Stone Crab


  • Anthony’s Runway 84. Quintessential Italian, Ft. LAUDERDALE. I’ve been eating at this place since I got out of college and started my radio career. Over the years, we’ve held many family special occasion dinners here and I’ve developed a lifelong friendship with Anthony Bruno, the owner. It’s old school Italian food, and the food is consistently over the top, good old fashioned Southern Italian. Have the hot and cold antipasto platter and the Sunday feast, you should be good. Vincenzo is the maitre’d that looks like Dracula. Pros tip: tip Vinnie on the way out.
  • Joe’s Stone Crab. Miami Beach. The first time I ever walked into the legendary Joe’s, I was in line behind Luther Campbell, (yes, Uncle Luke). He was seated immediately and I was relegated to the bar to wait. When they finally called my name, Uncle Luke was finished with dinner and walking out...a few hours later, and I was hammered. That was in the mid 80’s. I’ve been there a “few” times since, and you just can’t beat it. Have the Stone Crabs of course, but here’s a pros tip: don’t discount the Alaskan King Crab Killer claws. Best Key Lime pie on earth.
  • Chef Michael’s (Islamorada). What a discovery. When the local fishing captains in the Keys tell you they have the best fish anywhere, you listen. We like going in as a big group, letting Dave favorite bartender and wine guru pick out great bottles of vino...we order family style, trying whatever fresh fish they have that night, cooked multiple ways. Pros tip: if it’s just you and the spouse, sit at the bar...Kramer is a riot and don’t leave without the carrot cake, beer and wine only.
  • Casa D’Angelo (Boca). One of the things I like about a joint is being treated like family. I met Chef Ricky Piper a bunch of years ago while dining at this location, and he turned me onto his pear raviolini...tiny pasta purses filled with pear and Gorgonzola cheese. We ended up serving them at an event we cohosted at the South Beach Wine and food festival, and a friendship was born. It’s my go to place in Boca, and there’s always a bunch of people at the bar. Pros tip: we go every Christmas Eve, but it's slammed! Come in late... ps..the flagship restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale with Chef Angelo is equally good, but I spend more time in Boca these days.
  • Cafe Maxx: (Pompano, American) I spent the better part of 20 years in Pompano Beach and Lightouse Point, and when the kids were young, had a standing Friday night double date at Cafe Maxx in Pompano. Chef Oliver Saucey created the sashimi Tuna pizza and caviar pie, and to this day, he’s still The Godfather of Broward food. Pro’s tip: this may be the best Sunday brunch in the area...oh, and they make their own donuts.
  • Casa Maya Grill (Deerfield Beach): the real deal, Mexican. My friend (and everybody else who walks into the restaurants best friend) Emilio is from Merida, Mexico and routinely goes back and forth to his home town, bringing back authentic Mexican spices like Mole’ that you just can’t get here. This isn’t a big plate of tacos and refried beans covered in cheese. This is clean, Mexican food the way they do it in the Yucatán. Grilled octopus, fresh ceviche, Mexican Street corn and the best tequila menu this side of the wall.
  • Silver Pond Chinese restaurant, Plantation . A few years ago, we decided that there wasn’t any great Chinese restaurants down here. I mean, go to NY, San Francisco, and you’ll get world class authentic Chinese, then one day our friend Anthony (Runway 84) took myself, Kim Bokamper, Dave Lamont and a few others to Silver Pond and our eyes were opened. They serve huge platters, family style, they have a live tank with fish in it that they serve, and the best reason to go: the place is packed with Chinese people eating. Need I say more? 4201 N St rd 7 Lauderdale Lakes. They don’t even have a website. The steamed lobster with garlic is crazy good.
  • Prime 112, Steak House, Miami Beach. I don’t get there enough but when I do, I always leave happy. I warm up at the bar with a perfect martini, and instead of mixed, salted nuts at the bar for snacks, they serve perfectly cooked bacon. Oh yes. It’s the best place to go if someone else is paying, and I really don’t have any juice or tips on how to get in and beat the crowds, but however you get in, it will be worth it. Every time I have ever been there, by the way...I have seen a celebrity. Pros tip: they have a hotel upstairs that I’ve stayed in, and there’s nothing better than only having to Stumble over to the elevator to get home. Have the Double Wedge and the bone in NY Strip...medium.
  • Latitudes, Key West. You can only get there by boat...they have a ferry, you must have reservations, you have to be there at Sunset. Conde Naste, Open Table, Food and Wine etc have all awarded it the “most romantic restaurant in the US”. It’s is the best restaurant in the Keys, you can stay on Sunset Key, but a more reasonable idea is to stay at Margaritaville Resort, and take the ferry over. I could recommend a dish, but allow me this: have fish, you’re in Key West for cryin’ out loud! Pros tip: wait until it cools off a bit, and get a table outside in the sand. Seriously.
  • Naked Taco. 1111 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach. If I didn’t put Chef Ralph Pagano’s flagship on my list, let’s just say...a certain local DJ would just disappear one day. The last time I was in, was after a particularly great fishing day, and I brought in a bag of tuna, some fresh cobia and my Son and his pals. Chef was in all his glory, holding court and having a was everyone else in the joint. It’s just fun. It’s not traditional Mexican, it’s chef inspired blackened octopus taco, a guacamole bar, and a bbq chipotle brisket burrito. Plus the “Some Like it Hot” Margarita.

BIG 105.9 · South Florida's Classic Rock!
Listen Now on iHeartRadio