This is Why Cafe Maxx is the best Pompano Beach Restaurant
I hadn’t been on a USA road trip for years. Needless to say when the opportunity to head south to Florida came up, I was chuffed to revisit my nostalgic memories of funny billboards, budget hotels, and convenient roadside eateries catering to the red-eyed drivers craving a cuppa coffee with a side of breakfast. But I also was excited to try gastronomic gems and was happy to stumble on what we believe to be the Best Pompano Beach Restaurant – Cafe Maxx.
Ambiance of the Best Pompano Beach Restaurant
When we arrived at Cafe Maxx we were welcomed with that personal feel we were looking for. Tables adorning white tablecloths each with that quintessential bread basket awaiting guests, coupled with the aroma of freshly made meals filled your senses as the owner greeted you.
Darrel, co-owner of the restaurant, was very accommodating when we arrived. He seated us in a beautiful corner table with panoramic views of the entire dining room. Each table had equal appeal; I would say each had that touch of privacy guests want when enjoying a meal, yet, still that cozy atmosphere enjoyed when out with friends, family, or even on our own.
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As you can see, each table is beautifully set with wine glasses, condiments, cloth napkins and place settings. It was a perfect blend of casual and dressy, seasoned with a touch of upscale quality. Guests felt cozy toasting glasses and buttering bread without feeling out of place if wearing a pair of shorts. I mean, there have been times I have set foot into a posh establishment and felt completely gauche in my maxi dress as I selected my cocktail from an iPad….
Menus were placed at each place setting daintily awaiting discovery. As we skimmed the menu to make our choices, we enjoyed the array of breads in the complimentary basket. In many restaurants guests receive a complimentary loaf of bread or dinner rolls accompanied by butters, olive oils, and in some occasions, herb garnishes. Here at Cafe Maxx, the bread was truly impressive. Each table receives an assortment of flavoured breads including sundried tomato loaf, raisin bread, and crisp bread chips. We were truly impressed by not only the presentation and taste, but also the quantity! There was ample for our group and refills were also available. I highly recommend the raisin loaf. It really was the perfect start to our meal. Pair these breads with a glass of wine, and you will be set for your next course.
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The Wine List
When I first researched this restaurant to include in my vacation, what stood out and made this best Pompano Beach restaurant was that Cafe Maxx boasted an extensive wine selection.
They did not exaggerate.
I could not believe the selection of wines from all corners of the world to choose from! Over 300 labels to be exact! After careful consideration, we chose an Australian Shiraz, Shingleback, that paired beautifully with our meals.
Be sure when you go to skim the 8+ pages of wine choices and ask the staff for their pairing recommendations. As the menu changes daily, they will be able to guide you based on the daily creations. And as a side note, I highly recommend Shingleback, a wonderful full-bodied Shiraz which was the perfect pairing to our selected meats and seafood mains.
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Farm to Fork Philosophy in Full Force
One detail I noticed while skimming the menu to make my selections was that Cafe Maxx is a Farm to Fork restaurant.
Now what does that mean exactly? Well, it means that the meat is top grade and inspected at the highest levels before being delivered to the restaurant. As the menu changes daily, this practice is definitely one that sets them above so many.
In speaking with Darrel, co-owner of the restaurant, I got some insight on this practice which is very important and impacts the taste and quality of their food.
FMP: We noticed on the menu that you practice the Farm to Fork process. Can you elaborate on this?
Darrel: Yes- to start, we have a gentleman who gets up at 3 am each day and heads to the market for our produce. For our seafood, we call each night to make our requests for the next day. The monger will tell us what has arrived that day to choose from. We try to run out each day of the seafood so nobody has anything more than a day old.
For our meats, we deal with one purveyor and do all our own butchering and filleting everyday. It isn’t the most profitable way to run a business, but it is the most fun way! And healthier too. We also know where our meat comes from in Colorado and Iowa.
I don’t think of myself as a big eater; however, I do enjoy an appetizer prior to my main course to get my taste buds warmed up. Cafe Maxx was able to do just that with its fusion of flavours within each of its starter offerings. My parents opted to share a Caesar salad with garlic croutons and boar bacon and my hubby and I decided to try the caviar pie. Yep, that’s right. CAVIAR PIE. I know Right!?
Well, I have never had anything like it! It had to be one of the tastiest appetizers I have ever eaten. It was a generous slice of heaven starting with a layer of onion, then hard-boiled eggs, then a large layer of sour cream and herbs, then topped with orange and black caviar. Unbelievable!
I know what you must be thinking – how can you still be hungry after enjoying such a generous appetizer!? I must admit, it was a filling piece of caviar pie, but I was still looking forward to my main course of classic Duck & Smoked Mozzarella Ravioli.
Deemed one of the signature dishes of the restaurant just like the caviar pie, I was chuffed to try this classic dish that only raves gastronomic excellence.
After eating my meal, I cannot express more how delicious it was. The brown butter sauce was perfect adding a subtle tastes to the noodles, allowing the duck and cheese flavours to infuse the pasta. Just incredible!
My Hubby ordered the Pear & Zinfandel Glazed Prime Pork Chop. A classic from the grill, this pork chop screamed a tantalizing delight with its tender meat and beautiful combination of herbs and spices. Served with poached pears and brussell sprouts, while sitting upon mashed potatoes, this meal, though quite large, was a satisfying dream.
Next, my parents opted for the Cranberry Grand Marnier Twin Duck Breasts and the Sweet Onion Crusted Snapper.
As seafood and duck lovers, both my parents were in awe at the portion size, presentation and taste of their meals. Each came presented atop their potato of choice and accompanied vegetables. The grand marnier combined with the cranberries proved delicious, and the snapper crusted with onions made for a truly memorable experience on the palate.
I know it is hard to believe after eating the caviar pie, ravioli, and a selection of breads that I would have room for dessert. Well, I thought to myself, how can I not try dessert at the best Pompano Beach restaurant? And, I could not resist the Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlee….
And oh what a treat! This freshly made dessert infused with real vanilla bean flavouring just melts in your mouth! My family are self-proclaimed Crème Brûlee connoisseurs and this one was definitely memorable and A1. I loved the presentation especially as it was brought in an edible almond cup as opposed to an oven-safe ramekin. I had never seen this before! What a truly delightful sweet ending to an incredible meal and experience.
Then I met the Chef…
After enjoying such an incredible meal at what seriously I believe is the best Pompano Beach restaurant, I just had to speak with the chef not only to commend his efforts in creating such delicious dishes, but also to learn more about his passion, background, and skills.
FMP: After reading about how you lived in the Black Forest area of Germany with your Dad who was an executive Chef, what drove you to become one yourself?
Oliver: My Dad was a teacher at at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park USA. He was my teacher until I came to Florida. He taught me everything I know. My son is also going where my dad taught as well.
FMP: What we really liked was the name Cafe Maxx – a Cafe, but with the elegance of white tablecloths, wine glasses on the table etc.
Oliver: This is still a neighbourhood place in a big city. Everything is elegant, but still a neighbourhood place where you will have people in suits and you will have people in shorts sitting right next to each other!
FMP: When you create your recipes, were you inspired by your Dad’s teachings?
Oliver: Well, we live here in Florida so people expect tropical things in Cuban and South American flavours. If you make everything in fruits and citrus flavours with chilies it takes the red wine drinker right away. Across the bay is Texas and Mexico so we always have some Southwestern offerings. You don’t need to go far to get that Southern comfort of Northern Florida in creoles so we have this available, and for me personally, I am intrigued with Asian cuisine which works well with Florida fish and tropical fruits; plus, they look great on a plate. It’s healthy, it’s popular, and I am self-taught in that.
At the end of the day, you can’t put it together without the French and Mediterranean roots we were all taught and grew up with! You can change the ingredients in the food, but you cannot change the cooking methods! You can’t mess with the cooking methods!
FMP: I saw the schnitzel on the menu, was that inspired by your time in Germany?
Oliver: Yes that is my Grandmother’s recipe from Germany.
FMP: That Caviar Pie was unbelievable!
Oliver: Yes, the caviar pie has been on the menu forever; it is a classic and one of those things we don’t change on our menu.
Overall we had a wonderful experience at Cafe Maxx. The food was delicious with generous portion sizes, the wine choice of over 300 labels was quite impressive, making it easy to find the right pairing, the ambiance neighbourly with a touch of elegance, and staff approachable and friendly. I would not hesitate recommending this local eatery to anyone travelling in the area. From a Canadian’s perspective, it definitely ticked all the fine-dining boxes.
Should you wish to dine at Cafe Maxx, be sure to make a reservation as tables fill up quickly which is totally understandable being the best Pompano Beach restaurant! To see the full menu of daily selections, do visit the Cafe Maxx website.
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Disclaimers: We were guests of Cafe Maxx while in Pompano Beach Florida. All views and opinions are ours and were not influenced in any way.