Florida’s Palm Beach is one of the most outrageously opulent enclaves in the country. The grand town on the ocean proudly claims 30 homeowners on Forbes’ ranking of the world’s richest people, not to mention a sitting president. You can drop several Benjamins on lavish meals at plenty of places — Buccan, Cafe Boulud, everywhere at the Breakers. But there are a few options in the area that won’t totally break the bank, all while still making you feel like you’ve stepped into an episode of “The Real Housewives.”
Load up on a bountiful breakfast at the Surfside Diner (surfsidediner.com; 1-561-659-7495). With a white tin-tile ceiling and traditional counter seating, this quaint spot a few blocks from the sand serves up behemoth cups of endless coffee ($2.95) and an inventive menu that forgoes old-school classics such as waffles and hash browns. There’s an array of hollandaise-laden Benedicts: among them, one topped with grilled tomato and spinach ($11.95), and another featuring an ample slab of smoked salmon ($13.95). The best value on the menu is the chicken burrito wrap ($8.95), dotted with black beans and stuffed with chunks of meat, Mexican cheese and fluffy scrambled eggs.
Palm Beach County doesn’t boast an abundance of beachfront dining. That makes lunch at the al fresco Breeze Ocean Kitchen at the chic Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa (eaupalmbeach.com; 1-888-306-4894) in Manalapan a must-do. You can’t go wrong with a seat at the Riviera-style terrace overlooking the Atlantic, or at the bar with Jonathan Adler-designed sculptures. The delightfully light poke bowl ($26) is full of ahi tuna, cucumber, scallion, wakame, sprouts and avocado on a bed of sticky rice. The craft burger and beer special ($21) comes with a double brisket beef burger, crispy island chips and a local beer. If you dare to combine booze with dessert, Breeze Ocean Kitchen offers a trio of beer floats. The blood orange ($12) fantastically marries with a citrusy sorbet.
If you still wanna be like Mike, travel to 1,000 North (1000north.com; 1-561-570-1000) in Jupiter. The NBA champion is among the investors; patrons have spotted him in the dimly lit dining room, where chef Lee Morris delivers slam-dunk modern American fare. Start with seafood. The bourbon and hay-roasted oysters ($25) have an unadulterated smokiness, while the Thai shrimp with hearts of palm and watermelon radish ($22) will cool you down. For dinner, pick the petit filet mignon ($45), served with one of four housemade butters. Stop at the bar for a great view of the Jupiter Lighthouse and quirky takes on classic cocktails. The view is even better in the upstairs private club, but membership is by invitation only and costs $3,500, plus $3,500 in dues. Hey, at least you can eat like Mike.