Aaron Buchbinder has his finger on the pulse of Boca Raton–the area native has built his booming real estate career on decades of neighborhood knowledge and connections. Spanning country club communities to waterfront mansions, the top producer has helped families find the same paradise he’s loved his whole life. For a locals-only guide to the best of Boca, check out his top picks for dining, golfing, living, and more.
My go-to for coffee is The Seed and I love getting breakfast at Saquella Cafe in Royal Palm Place, their steak and eggs are the perfect way to kick off the day. For lunch, cash-only local favorite Tin Muffin Cafe has a phenomenal egg frittata, and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at Max’s Grille in Mizner Park. Nothing beats a great drink on the water, and my favorite spot is Waterstone Resort for a cocktail to boat watch on Lake Boca. When it comes to dinner, I have several favorites, depending on what I’m in the mood for. For Asian cuisine, I love the Panang Curry at Lemongrass Asian Bistro or the Sexy Lady signature roll at Yakitori Sake House. My favorites for Italian are Matteo’s of Boca Raton and Trattoria Romana. I get the Spicy Rigatoni at Matteo’s, and the Ossobuco at Trattoria Romana. Chops Lobster Bar has an amazing Bone-In Filet that I get with lobster tail on the side, and if I want French cuisine, I go to La Nouvelle Maison. “Restaurant Row” adjacent to Town Center at Boca Raton is an exciting new destination for phenomenal dining, with outposts including El Camino Mezcal and Tequila Bar, Pubbelly Sushi, and Fiolina Pasta House, the new Italian concept from Chef Fabio Trabocchi, opening in summer 2023.
There is a wide range of culturally enriching activities, sporting events, and entertainment destinations. For starters, there is Mizner Park, the luxury shopping, residential, and entertainment mecca in downtown. Shop seemingly endless store options at Town Center at Boca Raton and The Shops at Boca Center, which have designer boutiques like Cartier and Louis Vuitton, department stores including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, and more. Various art shows and farmers markets are always happening, along with parades. In what will become a new cultural hub for Boca Raton, The Center for Arts & Innovation is a highly anticipated project that will extend from Mizner Park’s existing amphitheater. It will encompass the Boca Raton Museum of Art, a performing arts center, event lawn and more–sure to become a beloved destination. Sporting events are readily available, as Boca Raton is home to Florida Atlantic University, which means Division I football, basketball, and baseball games, among the school’s other premier programs.
The Boca Raton
In a category of its own, The Boca Raton is the area’s preeminent destination to golf, hit the beach, play sports, dine, relax at the spa, and shop. Reserved for members and hotel guests only, their 18-hole championship course has a signature island-green on the 18th and is perched on the treasured Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. If you prefer racquet sports, visit the Racquet Club’s 20 tennis and pickleball courts with dedicated concierges and two-story clubhouse. Soak up the sun at the private beach with signature service either on the sand or from the new poolside cabanas, and there are water sports including paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkel sailing, boating, and catamaran cruises. Watch the water activities and enjoy the beautiful view from Principessa Ristorante, or grab a drink at The Flamingo Grille–both from the acclaimed Major Food Group. I love the Beef Carpaccio at Principessa, and always go for an Espresso Martini at The Flamingo Grill. Wind down at Spa Palmera, the property’s expansive wellness sanctuary that was just named Florida’s Best Spa by the World Spa Awards.
Golf & Racquet Sports
Rated as one of the top courses in Florida, Osprey Point Golf Course is a revered public course with 27 holes spread among three nine-hole courses. The city’s newest course, the Boca Raton Golf & Racquet Club, is open again with multi-million-dollar upgrades throughout and on the horizon, including pickleball courts.
When it comes to relaxing at the beach, several county parks have beautiful beaches and incredible amenities, like the boardwalk and new recreational snorkel reef at Red Reef Park, and camping and picnicking areas at Spanish River Park.
Spending time outdoors is part of South Florida’s allure, and Boca Raton has endless destinations to visit as a family. If you’re looking for all day kids fun, sprawling Sugar Sand Park is a 132-acre wonderland. It’s home to the Children’s Science Explorium, Willow Theatre for a range of stage productions, and athletics facilities, including a Field House (gymnasium), baseball and softball fields, and in-line hockey rink. A pared down version of Sugar Sand Park is Patch Reef Park, which has a pirate-themed playground with rocks, climbing, and a water adventure splash pad along with sports fields and a tennis center. For a day of attractions and competitive activities, check out Boomers for everything from mini golf and lazer tag, go kart racing and bumper cars. If you want to be on the water, go for a boat day on Lake Boca Raton.
Boca Raton is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of upscale suburban living in Florida. There are countless luxury communities and buildings, like new developments ALINA Residences and the Mandarin Oriental in the works. The best of everything is at your fingertips–shopping, fine dining, beaches, boating, golfing, Grade A public schools, and nationally top-rated private schools. It’s conveniently located to nearby airports, including Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Palm Beach International, and major cities, especially via the Brightline for expeditious travel to West Palm Beach and Miami.
Unsurpassed country club living paired with a unique lifestyle is found at St. Andrews Country Club, Woodfield Country Club, and Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club. For resort-style living, I recommend Boca Bridges, Seven Bridges, The Bridges, and Lotus, and there are quite a few options for estate-style living, including Les Jardins, Long Lake Estates, Fieldbrook Estates, Boniello Acres, Le Lac, and Horseshoe Acres.
For those who want city living, Boca Villas, Boca Riviera, and Por La Mar are walking distance to restaurants and shops at Mizner Park, which bears the name of celebrated developer Addison Mizner. Many of the area’s well-kept historic homes were built by him.
Highly desired waterfront living with ocean access is offered at Golden Harbour and Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, where you can dock a boat and cruise along Lake Boca Raton to the inlet.