Florida’s year-round tropical climate is ideal for growing fresh fruits and vegetables, which are used in recipes all around the state. Here are ten restaurants in Florida you should not miss, ranging from seaside dining to cultural dinners served in historical settings.
1. The District of Miami
The District Miami is located in the Design District’s up-and-coming Buena Vista’restaurant row.’ Horacio Rivadero, a partner and executive chef who was designated one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs in the Gulf Region, devised the cuisine by mixing Pan-American flavors with local products. Start with the freshly baked cheese bread at The District Miami before moving on to specialty dishes like tuna tartar and lobster malanga tacos or cobia and Corvina ceviches with octopus, calamari, and crab. A sweet honey truffle yucca mash, chipotle mayo, yellow sweet corn, and seasonal okra with pickled peaches are among the inventive side dishes on offer. This dining place is fantastic, but it also has great deals throughout the week.
2. The Circle at The Breakers
The Circle, housed inside Palm Beach Island’s most premium hotel, The Breakers, hosts a spectacular Sunday brunch. The Circle is luxurious, with a massive buffet of hot and cold foods and an à la carte menu. Unlimited mimosas and Bloody Marys from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Diners can enjoy their meals in grandeur with beautiful ocean views, a 30-foot frescoed ceiling, and eight oval paintings depicting Renaissance landscapes such as the Villa Medici in Florence and Tivoli Gardens in Rome. Live classical music fills the air as lamb chops, cut beef and ham, roasted chicken, crab, shrimp, and lobster are served at buffet tables.
3. The Floridian
The Floridian is a restaurant in St. Augustine that serves regionally genuine cuisine for lunch and dinner. The Floridian employs locally sourced products to create a menu that combines Southern comfort food with lighter, healthier options. The restaurant also has several vegetarian alternatives and prides itself on using items and food that are produced locally and sustainably. Besides the holidays, the restaurant does not accept bookings. Say, of course, to the pickled pepper shrimps, fried green tomato bruschetta, and shrimp and sausage pilau if you stop by.
Columbia eatery has been dubbed an All-American landmark outside of the Tampa area. The restaurant, which dates back to 1905, was started by Casimiro Hernandez and is now run by his family’s fourth and fifth generations. Columbia is the world’s largest Spanish restaurant and Florida’s oldest restaurant. A nightly flamenco dancing performance complements century-old Spanish cuisine, including Valencia paella, Alicante snapper, and filet mignon. Guests can buy hand-rolled Cuban cigars, coffee, and sangria mix in the restaurant’s gift shop.
5. Gettin’ Crabby At The Stern House
Gettin’ Crabby At The Stern House, a little out of the way, offers a laid-back ambiance with live music on Thursday and Friday nights. This simple crab shack serves many crab legs, which are immediately broken and consumed. Tables are covered in paper cloth, with communal tin buckets in the center for the shell leftovers. Try the crabby plate, including snow crab and Alaskan king crabs, from the menu. Also, the white sangria goes excellent with the grouper cheeks, cracked conch, and soft shell crab sandwich. Make a reservation in advance, as this is a popular neighborhood hangout.
6. Ragtime Tavern
In combination with its Cajun, fresh seafood, chicken, and pasta dinner menu items, Ragtime Tavern is in Atlantic Beach. It offers an open-air patio and late-night menu with a lively bar and music. Ragtime Tavern has spent over 25 years honing its drafts of Dolphin’s Breath Lager and Red Brick Ale for beer lovers. Meanwhile, a spicy and buttery Louisiana crawfish boil, tuna gyro, and New York strip steak are among the inventive and fresh menu items. Just the freshest and in-season ingredients are served at the restaurant.
7. Versailles Cuban Restaurant
In 1971, Versailles opened its doors to a rising Cuban community, quickly becoming one of Miami’s most popular Latin restaurants. Versailles, located on Calle Ocho in the center of Little Havana, is reputed to be the first destination for politicians wanting to communicate with Miami’s Cuban population. Versailles is a historic restaurant still tied to its Cuban heritage, filled with locals and tourists. Vaca frittata, chicken fricassee, Cuban sandwiches, and cortadito coffees are all on the menu.
8. Toa Toa Chinese Restaurant
Chef Wong, the proprietor, and Dim Sum maestro, launched Toa Toa Chinese Restaurant in 1989. Unlike conventional Dim Sum, which is exclusively offered at breakfast and lunch, Toa Toa Chinese Restaurant serves Dim Sum all day. Chef Wong is well-known throughout South Florida because Toa Toa is dedicated to providing fresh, high-quality Dim Sum and Chinese cuisines. Toa’s Dim Sum is cooked to order, always hot and fresh.
9. The Conch Republic Seafood Company
The Conch Republic Seafood Company is located on a historic wharf in the Bight district of Key West. The restaurant pays homage to its sponging origins by displaying a few of the processing plant elements in its décor. You can locate saltwater aquariums packed with native Florida invertebrates just offshore within the restaurant. Signature foods on the menu include conch fritters and fried calamari (which guests can make at home if they post part of the restaurant’s recipes on the website). The must-try menu items were all tempura-battered cracked conch, stuffed shrimp, and lobster tail.
10. HogNose Snapper
The highest-rated restaurant in Panama City Beach is this one. In a tourist-heavy city, HogNose Snapper serves up a fantastic surf-and-turf menu in a relaxed ambiance that even locals appreciate. The cheerful restaurant, which seats 150 people and has mismatched colorful chairs, exudes Southern charm. Pick the Southern-style grouper sandwich, fried green tomatoes, and cheddar grits from the menu. Of course, there’s a key lime pie for dessert.