The restaurants in Lake Worth Beach that we love aren’t all fancy or even brick-and-mortar establishments, but they are delicious, diverse, and reflective of the cultural community in Southeast Florida.
Lake Worth Beach may be located in Palm Beach County, on southeast Florida’s coast, but it never quite achieved the name recognition of its neighbor cities to the north, Palm Beach and West Palm Beach. And that’s not a bad thing—particularly on the food front. You might go to West Palm to shop, but you’d do well to eat in Lake Worth.
This under-the-radar city (which was just known as “Lake Worth” before 2019) is about an hour’s drive north of Miami, but it’s worth exploring on its own thanks to all the great Mexican, Caribbean, Central American, Haitian, Indian, and Floridian restaurants and local breweries we’ve come to know and love from our annual visits over the years.
The restaurant scene can be overwhelming, however, in a whole different way than a big city is overwhelming. In Lake Worth, there are a lot of strip malls. So. Many. Strip. Malls. And lots of them conceal great eats. It definitely helps to know where to go.
Here’s a guide to some of our favorite restaurants and breweries in and around Lake Worth Beach.
This unassuming mornings-only downtown diner, located a mile from the beach, is probably my favorite restaurant in Lake Worth Beach. It’s not just any old diner. The Pelican Restaurant is best-loved for its Indian food and East-West fusion breakfasts, a not-so-secret menu developed years ago by chef-owner Tara Sami, who was born and raised in Karachi and lived in Delhi prior to emigrating to Florida in 1985. Think aloo gobi and lamb keema omelets, bowls of dal with your eggs, and a terrific dish called eggs Nissa, a spicy scramble with curry, tomato, chiles, feta, and ginger.
While we think the idea of combining eggs and curries is brilliant (and uncommon in India, by the way), our favorite dish at the Pelican is the more traditional nihari, a meaty “morning curry” popular in both India and Pakistan. Slow-cooked beef shank or boneless chicken are typically available, served in a rich, spicy, spectacularly delicious curry alongside naan, home fries, and two eggs cooked to order. (This is still a diner, after all.) Do not miss this special place! Cash only; 610 Lake Ave., map
Delicias Cuban Bakery
Lake Worth Beach may be 60-plus miles north of Little Havana, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good Cuban eats around here—even in the most unexpected of places. Established in 2003, Delicias Cuban Bakery is located inside an Exxon Mobil gas station convenience store on Lake Worth Rd. (there are two other branches, too, in Lake Worth and West Palm Beach).
Along one wall you’ll find all manner of pastries (try the guava and cheese), empanadas, and croquetas; the fuller menu includes sandwiches on toasted Cuban bread, omelettes, and salads, plus a few meat dishes. Do not miss the coffee—a foamy cortadito or café con leche is a must. 9890 Lake Worth Rd., map
This Trinidadian restaurant, tucked into a strip mall just across the border of Lake Worth Beach and neighboring Greenacres, has become a favorite stop of ours going to or coming from the Palm Beach International Airport, as it’s about 15-20 minutes directly south of there. At Curry Tabanca you can get your fix of doubles or bake and shark (weekends only), but pay close attention to the daily specials. On a recent visit, we absolutely loved the Thursday special, pictured above: dhal puri plus a trio of veggies (spinach, potato, and pumpkin).
Other specials might be Trini Chinese (fried rice or lo mein with pepper shrimp) or stewed chicken with macaroni pie, but we have our sights set on the Saturday dish: (blue) crab and dumpling with cassava in coconut milk. Don’t miss the sweets on offer too, including from-scratch currant rolls. Cash only; 4657 Lake Worth Rd., Greenacres; map
Note: Farther north in West Palm Beach, we also love Island’s Roti Delight for Trinidadian food, 1480 South Military Tr., map.
Honduran food is one of the few cuisines not easily found in New York City, so we were excited to see Los Catrachos in the very same strip mall as Curry Tabanca, above. We liked the snacks available, such as the tamal de elote—simple and full of sweet corn flavor—and baleada, a flour tortilla folded around refried beans, cheese, crema, and your protein of choice (we had egg). But there are bigger entrees on the menu too, as well as a few fun snack bags at the register. Zambos plantain chips with chile, lime, and salt made for a good plane snack! 4663 Lake Worth Rd., Greenacres, map
Mathews Brewing Company
Located on a quiet side street in downtown Lake Worth Beach, it’s easy to miss Mathews Brewing Co. But any beer lover should have it on their radar. It’s a very cool indoor-outdoor space that finally brought independently crafted beer to this city back in 2016. There’s something for everyone on the wide-ranging menu, from porters and brown ales to hazy IPAs and Belgian witbiers. We especially loved the spacious outdoor beer garden, where there’s live music most weekends. 130 S. H St., map
This one is special to us—Sushi Fella was born in 2020 in none other than our Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights! As I’ve written elsewhere on this site, when sushi chef Maciek Malinowski (who’s Polish and also goes by Macia San) found himself, after seven years of working at very traditional, high-end sushi spots around Manhattan, out of work early in the pandemic, he started making sushi in his apartment for fun. The business took off, and by the time Macia San moved to Florida in late 2021, he had many Queens-based fans who lamented the loss of his excellent sushi platters. (Fortunately, before he left we were featured together in this piece on NY1 news.)
Imagine our great surprise to learn that Macia San has settled and reopened shop in the very city we visit annually in the Sunshine State: Lake Worth. Sushi Fella is still a home-based, weekends-only kitchen, and you should still order according to how many people are eating (and let him take care of the rest—including the beautiful, flower-adorned presentation). There’s a double set ($52), which is a basic platter of sushi rolls for two; nigiri and sashimi sets for $40 apiece (great for serious raw fish lovers!); and the terrific fiesta set ($85; 3-4 people), which includes a mix of everything: rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. There’s also a new extra-special “killer” set for two, priced at $100.
Find Sushi Fella on Instagram, and place your order for the weekend by Thursday night. He offers pickup and delivery (free for a six-mile radius), and is happy to help you choose off his menu. 7848 Sonoma Springs Circle, map
Benny’s on the Beach
If you specifically want a restaurant on the water in Lake Worth Beach, look no further than Benny’s. This is where you go when you really want to feel like you’re in coastal Florida. Grab an outdoor table on the pier-like deck that extends down the beach, and sip on a tropical drink in front of the deep blue Atlantic, the hot sun on your skin. You’re officially on vacation!
The lengthy menu reflects its beachy surrounds: locally sourced garlic steamed crabs, peel ‘n’ eat shrimp, fish tacos, crab cake sandwiches, acai bowls, lots of salads and burgers, and much more. It’s especially popular for breakfast and brunch, though we usually end up there later in the day. An afternoon cocktail at Benny’s is a must whenever we are in town. 10 S. Ocean Blvd., map
Seafood Platter Girl
Like Sushi Fella, this is another home-based kitchen we accidentally stumbled on during our last visit to Lake Worth Beach. Christelle Senat, who is from Haiti and fell in love with cooking as a young girl, works out of her home near Lantana and Jog Roads, offering a simple menu that features $25 Creole-style seafood boils. The boils, which you can order mild, medium, or spicy, are generously portioned (definitely shareable for two people) and include snow crab legs, shrimp, corn on the cob, andouille sausage, potatoes, and a boiled egg; mussels are also sometimes available by request. She offers a few other dishes as well—various soups, cheesy pastas, salads, beef stew with rice or fried fish with plantain—but you’ll have to ask about those when you call.
Senat started her home business in December 2019 because she noticed restaurant seafood boils always tasted too salty and had too much seasoning, causing her stomach discomfort. She knew she could make boils using fresh, often organic ingredients and homemade seasonings (typically that means a simple mix of scallion, garlic, parsley, and oil, or Old Bay). Her food is available for pickup or delivery on Saturdays only, 1pm-midnight. Call 561-541-1735 to order. 5947 Deerfield Pl., map
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Rustico Italiano Ristorante
In downtown Lake Worth Beach, we like this quaint, 20-year-old corner Italian restaurant, which specializes in some dishes from the chef’s hometown of Capri, Italy. Don’t miss the creamy burrata and handmade pastas on the menu—it’s always a good sign to see so many homemade options—as well as the seafood dishes, from fried calamari to squid ink linguine, risotto nero, and zuppa di pesce. Veal Caprese and salsiccia cacciatore (with homemade sausages) are among the popular main courses at Rustico, but interestingly the chef also has an interest in game meats, so elk, boar, and bison often figure in the menu too. Go ahead and get a glass of icy limoncello at meal’s end. Closed Mon-Tues, 701 Lucerne Ave., map
Long a family favorite of ours, Riggins is in Lantana, just south of Lake Worth Beach, and it is, unsurprisingly, where you go for your crab fix. When in season, you can find Florida stone crabs here, but more often than not, we go to get down and dirty with some East Coast blue crabs, steamed and cooked in garlic. (The shrimp diablo in spicy red crab sauce over linguine is another popular order among our family.) More Florida-centric items on the menu include gator bites with scampi sauce, smoked fish dip (always a must for us!), the blackened mahi sandwich, frog legs, Florida lobster tail, and of course, key lime pie for dessert. Closed Mon-Tues; 607 Ridge Rd., map
El Rey Del Taco
Where Lake Worth Road meets South Military Trail, you’ll find the El Rey del Taco truck, which has lots of outdoor seating, and less than a mile down Lake Worth Road you’ll find a brick-and-mortar El Rey del Taco. Both menus cover all the tacos, tortas, burritos, quesadillas, elote, alambres y más that you could want.
The outdoor parking-lot dining scene at the truck is fun and festive, fueled by the availability of while-you-wait beers, micheladas, and margaritas. Over at the restaurant, of course, you can find a bigger menu, including pozole, a few types of mole, seafood cocteles, and one of our favorite Mexican soups, caldo Tlalpeño. Try them both and see which you prefer! El Rey del Taco, 4040 S. Military Trail and 5283 Lake Worth Rd., map
Thanks to the many Haitians in the region, the Lake Worth area is a great place to familiarize yourself with the food of Haiti. Geechah Café, which began life in 2018 as a family catering business, is one of several good bets for griot (fried pork), tasso cabrit (fried goat), oxtail, or stewed chicken and much more alongside rice, beans, plantains, and perhaps some Creole-style baked macaroni and cheese. Portions are generous here! Be sure to ask for some pikliz, the beloved Haitian condiment of pickled cabbage, carrots, and Scotch bonnet peppers, on the side. 7102 South Military Trail, map
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Jamaican food is another good bet in this Caribbean-heavy area, and there have been times we’ve beelined for a jerk chicken truck straight out of the airport. In nearby Greenacres, Reggae Jerk has more options, including daily soups, okra and saltfish breakfasts, curry goat, stewed pork, oxtails, patties, and lots of salads (also a jerk chicken pasta my kids would love). I love seeing breakfast porridges on Jamaican menus, and this place has those too. My bet’s on the Friday-morning peanut porridge. 2178 Jog Rd, Greenacres, map