New York chef Daniel Boulud packs for a Florida visit like the rest of us do: slipping in a bathing suit and flip-flops, along with his chef's whites.
"I love to go after work at night with a bottle of champagne and sit down by the moon and watch the ocean at night. It's beautiful," says the ex-pat Frenchman who travels to Palm Beach a half-dozen times a year.
Boulud has restaurants in Singapore, London and Toronto and, of course, his New York mainstays Daniel, Café Boulud and five other Manhattan properties. Each blends his contemporary French style with local variables. His restaurant in Palm Beach's boutique Brazilian Court hotel is no different.
"It's more Provençal, much less rustic French," he says of the menu's lighter touch.
Here, Boulud shares five favourite Palm Beach stops.
"The chef Marcello Fiorentino, he's a long-time friend. His father had this restaurant before; it's a family-style Italian restaurant. But very honest, very good and very busy all the time. I like the branzino, grilled sea bass. He makes wonderful pasta with clams. We have a competition – we both go in the kitchen and we each make steak tartare. I do it French style. He does it Italian style. His is delicious." (6316 S. Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, lasirenaonline.com)
"This is a new place, a young chef. It's upscale casual. More casual than Café Boulud with a lot of grill food. It's good, very fun. The chef is American, Clay Conley. There is a little bit of farm to table, which in Florida is sometimes a stretch, but we have very good vegetable farms." (350 South Country Rd., buccanpalmbeach.com)
"When they built 4th Avenue in the Twenties, they built Renato's with it. It's an old-fashioned Palm Beach restaurant. That place brings you back. It's fine dining, but the dishes are quite classic: Italian, spaghetti, salads. It has a beautiful courtyard." (87 Via Mizner, renatospalmbeach.com)
The Breakers Palm Beach
"The Breakers is the old lady of Palm Beach hotels, but they have this very cool bar and a new restaurant, HMF, where people like to hang out. Adam Tihany redid the entire lobby. There is modern furniture and these stations – a great sushi bar, great cocktails and the restaurant. So it's a little bit of a hip kind of place." (One South County Rd., thebreakers.com)
"It's near the Breakers. It's mostly a market for fresh food, but also prepared food: salads and sandwiches and dessert. If you want to buy a picnic and go sit on the beach, it's a good place to go." (155 North Country Rd., myamicimarket.com)
This interview has been edited and condensed.