With a year-round tropical climate, Florida provides the perfect environment for producing fresh fruit and vegetables, used in dishes across the state. From beachfront dining to cultural meals served in historical locales, here are 10 restaurants in the Sunshine State not to be missed.
The District Miami, Courtesy of District Miami
The District Miami
The District Miami is located in the up-and-coming Buena Vista ‘restaurant row’ within the Design District. Partner and Executive Chef Horacio Rivadero, named one of the Best New Chefs in the Gulf Region by Food and Wine Magazine, created the menu by combining Pan-American flavors with local ingredients. When dining at The District Miami, start with their freshly baked cheese bread, before proceeding to signatures like tuna tartar and lobster malanga tacos, or cobia and corvina ceviches, which include octopus, calamari and crab. The creative side dishes offered are a sweet honey truffle yucca mash, a chipotle mayo yellow sweet corn and seasonal okra with pickled peaches. Not only delicious, but with great offers throughout the week, this dining establishment really is a must-visit.
Sunday brunch is a remarkable event at The Circle, located inside Palm Beach Island’s most exclusive hotel, The Breakers. With an extensive buffet of hot and cold items, an à la carte menu, endless mimosas and Bloody Marys from 11.00am to 1.00pm, The Circle is wonderfully indulgent. Offering stunning ocean views, a 30-foot frescoed ceiling and eight oval murals that depict Renaissance landscapes, including the Villa Medici in Florence and Tivoli Gardens in Rome, diners enjoy their food in style. Live classical music fills the air, while buffet tables showcase lamb chops, carved beef and ham, roasted chicken, and a bounty of crab, shrimp and lobster.
St. Augustine’s locals describe The Floridian as a restaurant serving regionally authentic cuisine for lunch and dinner. The Floridian uses fresh-from-the-source ingredients: a mixture of Southern comfort entrees mixed with lighter, healthier dishes. The restaurant also offers plenty of vegetarian options and prides itself on the use of local and sustainably produced products and produce. The restaurant does not take reservations, except around the holidays. If you drop by, say yes to the pickled pepper shrimps, fried green tomato bruschetta, and shrimp and sausage pilau.
Beyond the Tampa area, Columbia restaurant has been given the title of an All-American icon. With roots dating back to 1905, the restaurant was founded by Casimiro Hernandez and is currently run by the fourth and fifth generation of his family. Columbia is Florida’s oldest restaurant and the world’s largest Spanish restaurant. Century-old Spanish recipes such as Valencia paella, Alicante snapper and filet mignon, are accompanied by a nightly flamenco dance performance. In the restaurant’s gift store, guests can purchase hand-rolled Cuban cigars, coffee and sangria mix.
Gettin Crabby, Stuart | Ragtime Tavern, Courtesy of Restaurant
A little out of the way, Gettin’ Crabby At The Stern House offers a laid-back atmosphere with live music on Thursday and Friday night. This unpretentious crab shack offers copious amounts of crab legs that are cracked and ingested as soon as they’re served. Paper cloth lines tables with shared tin buckets placed in the middle for the shell remains. From the menu, try the crabby platter, which consists of snow crab and Alaskan king crabs. Also, the grouper cheeks, cracked conch, soft shell crab sandwich all go well with the white sangria. Be sure to make a reservation, as this is a very popular local spot.
River City Brewing Company | Courtesy River City Brewing Co.
Ragtime Tavern is located in the heart of Atlantic Beach, featuring an open-air patio and late-night menu selection with a live bar and music, in addition to its Cajun, fresh seafood, chicken and pasta dinner menu items. Ragtime Tavern has spent over 25 years perfecting its drafts of Dolphin’s Breath Lager and Red Brick Ale for beer connoisseurs. Meanwhile the creative and fresh menu features a spicy and buttery Louisiana crawfish boil, tuna gyro, and New York strip steak. The restaurant prides itself on serving only the freshest and in-season ingredients.
Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine, 3555 Southwest 8th Street | Toa Toa Chinese Restaurant, Courtesy of the restaurant
Versailles opened its doors to a growing Cuban community in 1971, where it quickly became one of Miami’s premier Latin restaurants. Located in the heart of Little Havana on Calle Ocho, Versailles is said to be the first stop for politicians attempting to parlay a message to Miami’s Cuban population. Filled with locals and tourists, Versailles is an iconic establishment still tethered to its Cuban roots. The menu consists of treats such as vaca fritta, chicken fricasse, cuban sandwiches and cortadito coffees.
Toa Toa Chinese Restaurant opened in 1989 by owner and Dim Sum master, Chef Wong. Toa Toa Chinese Restaurant offers Dim Sum all day, unlike traditional Dim Sum, which is only served at breakfast and lunch. Toa Toa is dedicated to serving fresh, high-quality Dim Sum and Chinese cuisines, which is why Chef Wong is so well known throughout South Florida. Toa Toa’s Dim Sum is made-to-order so it’s super fresh all day.
Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, American, Caribbean, Seafood, $$$
Versailles Restaurant | Courtesy of Versailles
The Conch Republic Seafood Company sits on a historical dock in The Key West Bight district. once the epicentre of sponge commerce, the restaurant alludes to its sponging history by keeping some of the processing plant parts in its décor. Inside the restaurant features saltwater aquariums filled with native Florida invertebrates, which can be found just offshore. The menu serves fresh produce in signature dishes such as conch fritters and fried calamari (patrons can recreate these at home if they publish some of the restaurant’s recipes on the website). Must-try menu items included the tempura-battered cracked conch, stuffed shrimp and the lobster tail.
This restaurant is the highest-rated restaurant in Panama City Beach. The reason being, in a tourist-driven city, HogNose Snapper offers restaurant goers a great surf-and-turf menu with a casual atmosphere that even the locals enjoy. The bright restaurant with mismatched colorful chairs seats 150 people within cozy walls exuding a Southern charm. From the menu, choose the Southern-style grouper sandwich, fried green tomatoes and cheese grits. And for dessert, the key lime pie, of course.
Looks like it's closedHours or services may be impacted due to Covid-19