Going out to restaurants in Florida will never become routine or boring. The restaurant scene in this city is like a colorful tapestry, with dishes and flavors from all over the world. The cuisine at Florida’s restaurants is as varied, inventive, and always intriguing as the state itself. These restaurants range from cozy establishments that have been around for years to sprawling establishments where you can observe the expert preparation of your meal from a counter seat.
It is easy to forget about the individuals who cook for and serve us at restaurants, although being taken care of in a restaurant is a true pleasure. In light of this, we have compiled a list of the best restaurants in Florida to honor the hospitality business in the state’s capital and draw attention to it.
1. Columbia Restaurant, Ybor City
Ybor City is home to the first Columbia Restaurant, which opened its doors in 1905 and has since become a Florida institution with other branches across the state. However, genuine fans know the restaurant’s roots are in Ybor City. This restaurant serves traditional Cuban fare such as Cuban coffee, black bean soup, and Cuban sandwiches. The 1905 salad, tossed at your table and filled with Columbia’s unique garlic dressing, is not to be missed. Don’t overlook the importance of ordering a pitcher of sangria produced in-house for the table. Since then, it has expanded to Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and Orlando, but a trip to the first location is still the best way to experience the brand.
2. Blue Heaven, Key West
The Blue Heaven bar is an essential cultural landmark in Key West. There is a sense of whimsy present because of the presence of folk art, live music, lush foliage, and free-roaming cats and chickens. According to their website, they also boast the world’s best key lime pie. There is a wide variety of places to eat in Key West, ranging from upscale restaurants to roadside shacks, and Blue Heaven can be found somewhere in the middle. But don’t be fooled by the eccentric atmosphere of the al fresco dining area; the restaurant has among the best food on the island. The menu is not updated frequently, but we don’t mind it. When we visit Key West, we want to be able to order the Caribbean barbecue shrimp, which consists of blackened Key West shrimp that has been deglazed with Caribbean Red Stripe beer. We want this dish to be available at all times.
3. TacoLu, Jacksonville Beach
Although TacoLu hasn’t been around for as long as some of the other restaurants on this list, any North Florida foodie worth his salt would recommend it in a second without hesitation. Not only is the cuisine absolutely excellent, but the restaurant’s atmosphere is quite trendy. The only issue is how popular it is, so make sure to schedule your trip carefully.
4. Versailles, Miami
At Versailles in Miami, we cannot reasonably have a bucket list of this nature without including some of the finest cuisines Cuba offers. The portions are generous, the pricing is reasonable, and the food is delicious, all complemented by the restaurant’s beautiful ambiance. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they’ve been a Miami institution for the better four decades, either.
5. Oxford Exchange, Tampa
The Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida, is a hybrid establishment that includes a restaurant, a bookstore, and a shopping boutique, all of which have a very European flavor. This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and brunch on the weekends in a space decorated with stunning artwork and features an open kitchen. No matter which option you choose, you can rest assured that it will be worthy of a place on your Instagram account and taste just as wonderful as it looks. At Oxford Exchange, afternoon tea is served every Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m., and guests can select the type of tea they would like to pair with the chef’s selection of finger sandwiches, cakes, scones, and other accompaniments.
6. Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami Beach
We are aware that we speak very frequently about this location, yet, it is inconceivable for us to compile a list of restaurants without including Joe’s Stone Crab. This world-famous restaurant has been serving stone crab from Florida since 1921 and has been operating in some capacity since 1913. Joe’s Stone Crab was the pioneer restaurant in Florida to attempt serving this meal, which has since become a well-known and much-loved specialty in the state.
7. Teak Neighborhood Grill, Orlando
When available, Teak employs only the freshest, most locally sourced, and organic ingredients. The Drunken Monk is a half-pound Angus beef burger served on a pretzel bun. It is covered with Angry Orchard onion jam, roasted cherry tomatoes, smoky beef, provolone cheese, herb mayo, and chips topped with melted white cheddar cheese. If the sound of that doesn’t make your stomach rumble, there is definitely something wrong with you.
8. The Cellar Restaurant, Daytona Beach
Since 2003, The Cellar Restaurant has been perfecting the art of great dining while providing Daytona Beach and the surrounding area with some of the finest Italian cuisine available within miles of the city. The menu features a variety of imported meats and cheeses, as well as handcrafted pasta and gnocchi. These ingredients are combined in dishes such as bucatini carbonara, which consists of spaghetti-like pasta that has been hollowed out and topped with three different kinds of cured meats, onion, and cream before being finished with an egg and Parmigiano cheese.
9. Collage, St. Augustine
Although there are several restaurants in the picturesque and historic town of St. Augustine, none have the same level of renown as Collage. Since it only serves evening, the intimate restaurant has been catering to visitors for more than a decade with the same high-quality dining experience and excellent dishes they have come to appreciate. Collage gets as much of its fish and shellfish from local fishermen and as much of its produce as possible from nearby farms. Do not leave without first trying the homemade burrata cheese, which begins its life as a ball of mozzarella and is then stuffed with a goat cheese mousse to create a unique spin on the typical burrata. Do not go without first eating the homemade burrata cheese.
10. Komodo, Miami
In the rapidly developing Brickell district of Miami, you’ll find the restaurant Komodo. The restaurant and lounge span three stories and are known for their excellent Southeast Asian cuisine and distinct Miami nightlife atmosphere. Take a walk around the restaurant to help you select where you want to sit in one of the floating seats designed to look like birds’ nests. Peking duck, citrus miso black cod, and precisely sliced sashimi and nigiri are some of the unique items that can be found on the menu at this Asian restaurant.
11. The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park
There is a good reason why The Ravenous Pig is often ranked as one of the most talked about restaurants in Florida. The James Beard Foundation has included owners and chefs James and Julie Petrakis on the list of semi-finalists for an unprecedented four years in a row. The restaurant prepares several of the items on the menu with regionally sourced and seasonally appropriate ingredients. These include the house-cured meats on the charcuterie and cheese plate and the luscious mushroom and gruyere beignets. After your dinner, head next door to Ravenous Pig Brewing Co. for a refreshing beer and some freshly produced sweet and spicy caramel corn to enjoy while you drink it.
12. The Old Spanish Sugar Mill, De Leon Springs
The Old Spanish Sugar Mill is unique because it is situated within a state park; the fact that each table has its own grill, making this establishment that much more hip; guests can make pancakes straight at their tables. You’re in for a delicious surprise as long as you know how to make a flapjack.
13. Edison Food and Drink Lab, Tampa
Chef Pierola, nominated for the James Beard Foundation Semifinals an impressive five times, presides over the kitchen at the Edison Food and Drink Lab. The restaurant survives from innovative interpretations of American classics like beef wellington, where the cooks employ stewed beef belly for a few bites of hog ecstasy. This is just one example of how the restaurant reimagines American cuisine. The cocktail list is equally breathtaking, with beverages like the Edison Manhattan. This drink is made with bourbon, bitters, and a house blend of sweet vermouth, resulting in a flawlessly balanced drink.
14. Union Public House, Pensacola
The Union Public House is a gastropub in the style of the American South that serves traditional pub fare with a contemporary spin. Take, for instance, the Scotch Egg, which replaces breadcrumbs with cracklins in place of traditionally used breading. All cocktails are made by hand and, whenever possible, feature locally sourced ingredients; on top of that, they are practically works of art. The charcuterie is cured in-house, and each cocktail is a unique creation.
15. Restaurant Orsay, Jacksonville
The menu at Restaurant Orsay is influenced by Southern cuisine, but it has a decidedly French twist. The menu is updated periodically and changed to reflect the produce that is currently available; however, some items remain consistent, such as the duck breast that is seared and served with French green lentils, Eden Farms bacon, carrot puree, and roasted duck jus, and crispy carrots. The beef wellington, which is not on the menu, is another highlight and can quickly satisfy two to three customers at once. It is essential to be aware that you must place your order for the wellington at least 24 hours in advance, but the wait is well worth it when the dish is served table side and is cooked to a perfect medium rare in the center.
16. Ice Plant Bar, St. Augustine
The Ice Plant Bar is a restaurant that serves farm-to-table cuisine and is located in a building that once housed an ice plant and dated back to 1927. To help customers with the freshest food possible, the restaurant gets its seafood from St. Augustine and the surrounding areas whenever it can, and it gets its produce from farms in the surrounding area. The bartenders take great pride in the craft cocktail list, which features drinks prepared using house-pressed juices and syrups that have been specially crafted. Datil peppers are a particularly fiery variety of pepper that are indigenous to St. Augustine. These peppers can be found in a few of the dishes that are available on the menu, which will excite people who enjoy a good kick.
17. Hunger Street Tacos, Winter Park, and Winter Garden
Corn is even nixtamalized in-house using heirloom corn, which often results in beautifully colored tortillas ranging from blue to green to creamy yellow. Authentic regional-style tacos are always served at Hunger Street and begin with corn tortillas made from scratch at the restaurant. It is to be expected that both of its locations will be extremely busy on the weekends; therefore, you should make sure to arrive there as early as possible if you want to have your pick of the menu items before the restaurant closes for the day.