When Sascha Bennemann planned to open a restaurant with his wife, Danielle Bennemann, he made two things a priority: the cuisine and the location. Instead of choosing one particular country to hone in on, flavors of the Mediterranean are combined in an assortment of offerings. Sascha chose some of his favorite childhood dishes from vacations in the south of Spain, Italy, Morocco, northern Africa, Turkey, Greece and more.
As for location, the coveted spot on Worth Avenue is tucked away among high-end retailers and is a block away from the street’s iconic clock tower. But Sascha also shares a personal connection to the location.
“When my family arrived from Germany over 30 years ago, we enjoyed our first lunch in America at the former Café L’Europe, now Costa Palm Beach,” he says. “We would frequent the location on a weekly basis. … I have nothing but fond memories at this location.”
The restaurant’s vibe is coastal chic and upbeat, with the design incorporating shades of blue and an airy main dining room, a private dining area, plus a wine cellar for additional seating and special gatherings. But what’s most impressive are the plates that chef David Valencia serves up. All foods are made in-house, including the spice blends.
“What we try to do at Costa is take coastal Mediterranean cuisine and put a modern twist on it,” Valencia says. “There are flavor profiles, cooking techniques and different presentations from all over the Mediterranean.”
For those who think they’ve had amazing hummus, they haven’t tasted the dishes whipped up here. One bite lets guests experience the many flavors of pine nuts, feta cheese, pomegranates and more. Plus, it comes served with homemade grilled naan bread and veggies.
The Hamachi Crudo is sliced and glazed in citrus, seasoned with sumac and garnished with avocado mousse dollops and mouth-popping finger limes. Or there are the roasted artichoke hearts. It’ll be hard to just eat one. Large pieces of the hearts are tossed with Parmesan and laid over a harissa cilantro aioli.
The varieties of food served at Costa are endless. Valencia recommends The Pulpo, a Spanish octopus that has been cooked sous vide to “perfect tenderness” and then charred to give it a smoky, crispy texture.
And there’s no forgetting the salt-baked branzino that’s marinated in herbs and spices. It’s the “most flavorful piece of fish you’ve ever had,” Valencia says. “People who’ve had the branzino here have said it’s so life-changing that they’ve had it in the Mediterranean before but ‘never like this.’ I’ll take their word for it.”
And after the main meal, enjoy the evening atmosphere where the laid-back attitude of Costa Palm Beach mixes pleasantly with a plate of red velvet lava cake.
Costa Palm Beach, 150 Worth Ave., Ste. 234, Palm Beach / 561.429.8456 / costapb.business.site/