Florida Lifestyle: Shopping, Dining and Art in Palm Beach

Worth Avenue, a shopping and dining district in Palm Beach, is witnessing ongoing upgrades to keep guests coming back.(Getty Images/Sean Pavone)

A winter playground for the well-to-do since the gilded 1920s, Palm Beach’s historic hotels, majestic seaside mansions and iconic Worth Avenue remain gorgeous as ever thanks to ongoing upgrades and additions to keep discerning Palm Beach locals coming back. Here’s our round-up of the best of what’s new this season.

The most exciting news coming out of Palm Beach is the splashy reopening of The Royal Poinciana Plaza, located in the heart of Palm Beach and within walking distance to The Breakers. Designed in the late 1950s by renowned architect John Volk, who is famous for building homes for the Vanderbilts, the DuPonts, the Fords and the Pulitzers, The Royal Poinciana Plaza became sleepy over time with just a local theater and a few restaurants. Now, a three-year facelift has created an open-air “lifestyle” destination, with 180,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and boutiques built around two lush courtyards with fountains.

Royal Poinciana Way is set to tingle taste buds with upcoming eateries.

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The restaurants are a cool mix of Palm Beach classics and new eats, with some favorites from Manhattan opening for the first time in Florida

There’s Sant Ambroeus, the upmarket Italian restaurant from New York and Hamptons; the new Honor Bar, a walk-ins-only off-shoot of the always-booked Palm Beach Grill; TooJays, a Palm Beach classic and probably South Florida’s best Jewish deli; and Coyo Taco, a sexy Mexican street food and taco bar from Miami.

For retail, Royal Poinciana’s major coup — they’ve managed to pull Hermés from Worth Avenue, and the new boutique is gorgeous — attracts new retailers from around the world. We loved the women’s wear in Italian cashmere and fur at Rani Arabella, and were equally smitten with the gorgeous throws and pillows. There’s also London’s posh men’s swim trunks at the Orlebar Brown boutique, French men’s sportswear shop Cremieux from St. Tropez, and BEACH, a cool, new clothing and swimwear concept from Everything But Water, whose other shops are in New York and Beverly Hills. We were also impressed by the chic homewares from San Francisco’s St. Frank, and Assouline (their second U.S. boutique), the fashion crowd’s favorite luxury bookseller, which is offering the perfect tomes for stylish coffee tables plus other decorative accessories.

Sant Ambroeus, an upmarket Italian restaurant, is popular for its delectable sweet treats.

Royal Poinciana is rounded out with a few salons and fitness options — Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa from New York, Palm Beach’s Edward Fleming Salon, Haute Yoga and Squeeze Pilates. There was even a Soul Cycle pop-up over the Christmas holidays. With all this, needless to say, The Royal Poinciana Plaza is Palm Beach’s most buzz-worthy destination. 

In fact, The Royal Poinciana Plaza is lifting the entire area. Just a bit further along, new restaurants have opened and are in the works for nearby Royal Poinciana Way. Cucina, a reboot of the favorite Italian Cucina dell’Arte, is sleek and sexy with a long bar and authentic Italian menu. One of the partners of this new venture is Rick Aurigemma of New York’s hip 310 Bowery Bar. Another nearby newbie that opened in January is Maven, a collaboration between Nantucket restaurateur David Silva and Chef W. Scott Osif, in the former Nick & Johnnie’s spot. The menu will serve Nantucket scallops and Maine Lobsters; the restaurant itself will have a raw bar and an upscale fish market vibe.

The Royal Poinciana Plaza, has transformed into a lifestyle destination. 

Contemporary art is the big news on the popular Worth Avenue, which formerly only had galleries with safe, sedate art works by well-known artists. The Contessa Gallery, which opened at 247 Worth Avenue at the end of 2017, brings to Palm Beach urban, graffiti-style art, like works by Mr. Brainwash and Hijack. Gallery owner Steve Hartman, who’s president of the Fine Art Dealers Association, says, “Street art is really the genre of our time.” Contessa joins the Gavlak Gallery, located at 249 Worth Avenue, which also promotes modern artists, and is currently showcasing Brooklyn Andrew Brischler’s “Lonely Planet” in conjunction with their sister gallery in Los Angeles. For those who prefer something more traditional, there is another new gallery, Provident Fine Art at 125 Worth Avenue, which features works from the 19th- and 20th-century French and American Impressionism, Post Impressionism, Modernism and Contemporary art. The gallery is a first for owners Provident Jewelry, which operates seven jewelry shops and the annual Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show, held in February at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach. 

Restoration Hardware is a home-furnishing shop with a rooftop bar and restaurant, which has a classic American menu and views of City Place.

Just along Royal Palm Way over the Intracoastal Waterway is City Place, a vibrant area for shopping, restaurants, movies and the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, which gets all the traveling Broadway shows, well-known operas and top musical acts — Tony Bennett, violinist Itzhak Perlman and Michael Feinstein will perform this season, plus comedians Bill Maher and Dennis Miller are scheduled to take the stage. The biggest news for this area is the massive 80,000-square-foot Restoration Hardware, a luxury home-furnishing shop with rooftop bar and restaurant, which has a classic American menu and comfy outdoor seating with lovely views of City Place.

Another relative newcomer to West Palm Beach is Kitchen, owned by husband-and-wife team, Matthew and Aliza Byrne. Matthew Byrne was most recently the private chef for golfer Tiger Woods, before opening Kitchen, which offers sophisticated American cuisine using local and seasonal ingredients in a small dining room that is designed to feel like a home. He only has two seatings per evening; so bookings are essential. Call 561-249-2281, or book online at www.kitchenpb.com.  

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