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Chef’s Kiss: A Foodie’s Guide to Opal’s Best Bites and Sips

At Opal Collection hotels and resorts across the Sunshine State, the restaurant concepts each tell a story. At the Latitudes and Drift concepts, the first chapter begins in the bar/lounge, where mixologists are the main characters. The next chapter would be the chef’s galley, where guests can gather around small-plate offerings and watch as chefs prep ingredients, tend to the stone oven’s fire, assemble charcuterie boards, and steam seafood. Subsequent chapters might include a sweeping outdoor terrace with panoramic ocean views, a convivial main dining area or intimate private dining enclaves. Together, they create the narrative arc of a meticulously curated culinary experience.

And as any good author would do, the Opal team is showing, not telling. They’re bringing that culinary piece from the front to the back. While most establishments store their spirits in the back, at Opal Collection restaurants, you’ll see them out on full display. Chefs prep and cook everything right there in front of you. When you walk into Latitudes, you smell and see the seafood. And at Drift, you’re greeted with a waft of smoke from the stone ovens, which are right there in the middle of it all. At Beach Market Cafe, everything is being made to order – right there in front of you. Ready to experience it for yourself? Here, Opal’s culinary masterminds walk us through three of the dining concepts you’ll find at Opal Collection hotels and resorts in the Sunshine State.


Latitudes got its sea legs in Sunset Key, so it’s no surprise that its name feels plucked out of a Jimmy Buffett song. And while Latitudes restaurants are indeed beachy, and while, in some cases, you can get your toes in the sand (like in Sunset Key!), they provide an elevated, elegant experience. Each restaurant transports you to a nautical oasis where briny seashore breezes mingle with aromas of freshly steamed seafood and expertly seared Florida snapper, grouper, mahi, and more.

In designing the menu, though, Opal Collection’s team of chefs didn’t forget about the land-lovers. It may be seafood towers, Caribbean lobster, and fresh-shucked oysters that you first spot in the chef’s galley, but Wagyu skirt steaks, center-cut tenderloins, braised short ribs, and perfectly pan-roasted chicken await on the menu. If you’re lingering to catch the sunset — or just lingering because it’s vacation, thank you very much — be sure to order a dessert or three, or maybe a handcrafted cocktail. At Latitudes, as is the case at all of Opal Collection’s restaurants, the bar menu is just as meticulously thought out as the others.

What to Order

We’ll be honest: It’ll be hard to pass up a taste of the goods on display in the seafood galley — jalapeno hamachi, tuna poke, oysters, and crab legs (in season), to name a few — but the seafood-averse won’t mind starting with an artisan cheese plate or a crisp, shareable salad. When it’s time to choose an entree, you’ve got options: double-down with the fresh seafood, or watch the chefs work their magic on tried-and-true steaks and pasta dishes, elevating each with nautically inspired flavors.

Where You’ll Find It


Imagine a ship, set adrift, eventually reaching far-flung shores and returning with tales of new experiences, new horizons, new tastes. That’s where the culinary team at Drift seeks their inspiration – it’s that four-quarters-of-the-world idea. This allowed for an eclectic menu, pulling flavors from the ports of the world in its modern American offerings. Map-spanning ingredients like preserved lemon, tapenade, truffle, and romesco play on the plate with proteins pulled locally from both sea and land. There’s a focus on conviviality, too: shareable plates, charcuterie boards, and stone-fired flatbreads are designed to be split up and enjoyed in a cool-yet-comfortable setting inspired by Drift’s oceanfront location and the team’s love for sailing.

What to Order

If you’re sitting in the chef’s galley, you’ll be able to watch the chefs prep the ingredients — stone fruit mostardas, housemade pickles, fig-almond bread, imported European meats, small-batch cheeses — in front of you. Be sure to start with the fan favorites: skillet focaccia and spicy Moroccan hummus. Order stone-fired flatbreads to share, and then save room for the Drift spin on fresher-than-fresh Florida fish or an unforgettable steak. Feeling more casual? The Drift Burger is not to be missed — think wild mushrooms, red onion marmalade, smoked mozzarella, truffle aioli, and crispy shallots.

Where You’ll Find It


Think of the Beach Market as your one-stop-shop neighborhood cafe, even if it’s only in your “neighborhood” for the length of your vacation. You’ll notice that the corner of Atlantic and Ocean avenues in Delray Beach is a busy one. People on bikes, people making their way to the beach, tourists out for a stroll, runners out for a jog, families pushing strollers. So, the Opal Collection team had to think: What would entice these people to come in?

Turns out, a lot of things. For one, they could serve really good coffee. And great smoothies and power bowls. And a knockout blueberry muffin. They thought through all the scenarios. Those people heading to the beach? Maybe they need picnic fixings or a bottle of wine. The joggers? They might have worked up the appetite for a grab-and-go sandwich. Families? Gelato. The common thread to it all is a fixation on freshness — and on friendliness.

What to Order

Freshly brewed Illy coffee, for starters. If it’s morning and you’re after something light, ask for a smoothie and watch them make it in front of you: juicy mangoes, fresh-squeezed juices, a tangle of spinach. Need something more substantial? There’s plenty on offer for you, too, like a bagel sandwich or avocado toast, piled high with smoked salmon, tangy labneh, cured egg yolk, and pickled shallots. Your beach picnic will quickly come together from the grab-and-go section, or you can order a few warm sandwiches to go. Don’t forget the bottle of wine — and be sure to come back for a cup of creamy gelato on your way back from the beach.

Where You’ll Find It


It’s not only the restaurants in Florida that deserve a closer look. Keep an eye out for these top-shelf Sunshine State bar concepts.


Looking for rummy delights, hand-muddled mojitos, light bites and more? At Sandbar, that’s exactly what’s on tap. Try the newest outpost at Treasure Island – the perfect place to sip on something fruity and frothy while staring into the cerulean expanse of the sea. Sandbar’s thatched roof and beachfront setting make it a prime spot for a sand-in-your-toes happy hour.

Monkey Bar

This trendy, tropics-tinged cocktail bar is the perfect place for all kinds of monkey business. Sip on a Smoking Banana at the Monkey Bar at Opal Grand before heading out on Delray Beach’s Atlantic Avenue.

McKee’s Tiki Bar

This beachside oasis at The Capitana is everything you want in a Key West cocktail bar — and nothing you don’t. Enjoy a Rum Runner on the Rocks with a side of spicy plantain chips or conch fritters. Just be sure to save room for a slice of key lime pie.


Even the name sounds soothing. At Cascades at Zota Beach, you can follow up a soothing swim with a Killer Colada or Spicy Chile Margarita.

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