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Savor the Coastal Flavors in Florida Dining
Feeding off the multi-cultural population, Florida cuisine is one of the most diverse in the country. From Key Lime Pie to the perfect Cuban sandwich, discover the flavors of the Sunshine State and enjoy Florida dining to the fullest. With the freshest seafood on every coast, fun craft breweries, and delectable food festivals in every city, Florida has become a culinary destination worth exploring.
South Florida Dining
Enjoy the fresh flavors of South Florida, from outdoor waterfront cafes to trendy South Beach restaurants on Ocean Drive. With hot new eateries popping up on every corner, let’s not forget about the foods indigenous to Florida and what sets the Sunshine State apart.
There’s no shortage of casual fish shacks throughout the state, but South Florida carries a wide assortment. Authentic seafood eateries have a real relationship with the fishermen, sourcing local catch and raw bar assortments daily. Expect to see people dressed in flip-flops and shorts while pounding down a dozen of clams on the half-shell.
A popular favorite includes Alabama Jack’s in Homestead serving up Old Florida seafood in a former fishing community. Check it out on the weekend and enjoy the live country music over a tasty round of conch fritters, crab cakes, and fried Mahi everything. The Florida Keys are swimming with outdoor seafood spots, one better than the next. Sit at a tiki bar with an icy piña colada or margarita and enjoy the freshest bites straight from the sea. Try the shrimp melt at Blue Heaven in Key West and sample a piece of the signature Key Lime Pie for a little slice of heaven.
When in Miami, it is a must to experience some of the cultural cuisines that make up the ethnic neighborhoods. Head to Little Havana for authentic Cuban dining, or Little Haiti to sample the Haitian and Creole flavors.
South Florida is no stranger to craft beer, hence the nickname Ft. Liquordale. With breweries popping up on every block, there’s one that is bringing crowds in by the groves. Head to the Funky Buddha Brewery and Taproom in Ft. Lauderdale for some distinctive brews that put them on the map. Try the No Crusts, which has all the flavors of a PB&J, Last Snow with notes of chocolate and coconut, and their signature, Maple Bacon Coffee Porter.
Central Florida Dining
From fine dining to fast eateries, Central Florida offers a wide array of restaurants, which cater to every traveler. Whether it’s lakeside dining for fresh seafood, award-winning barbeque, or craft food experiences, feed your soul and sample everything that this region has to offer.
As the farm-to-table philosophy takes over the country, Orlando offers the perfect environment for such movement, which focuses on the preparation of regional cuisine through locally raised plants, seeds, and livestock. Whether you’re a foodie, or just wanting to try a local favorite, visit the Rusty Spoon in downtown Orlando, which serves up locally sourced American Cuisine with a European twist.
For those looking to wash down your meal with tasty beers from the region, head to Tampa’s Coppertail Brewing Company for a unique brewery experience. Sample classic beer styles made with innovative and radical ingredients for one-of-a-kind flavors. Tour the brewery and try all 20 taps of the whole leaf hops.
An epicurean’s dream, visit central Florida for two legendary food festivals not to be missed. The Epcot Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center is a two-month long event showcasing the best cuisine and wine from each participating country. Dine around the world, enjoy food pairings and tastings, and have a blast listening to live music under the stars. The two-day St. Pete Beach Seafood & Music Festival blends delicious seafood creations with live music, to create the perfect recipe for a great time.
North Florida Dining
Drawing from the bordering Alabama and Mississippi influences, north Florida dining offers a little side of southern hospitality to all its dishes. With plenty of dining establishments, wineries and culinary festivals abound, the food & drink scene in the Panhandle area serves up some serious flavor.
For a fun and funky dining experience, head to Jerry’s Drive-In in Pensacola, a local favorite hot spot. Enjoy this all-American classic dive serving up the best burgers, milkshakes, and fries in the Sunshine State. Take a quick tour around to see the covered walls with bumper stickers and posters from the last 80 years.
Fun is brewing in Tallahassee at Proof Brewing Company, located amidst old railway warehouses. Join fellow beer lovers for a tasty beverage while playing a round of bocce ball or cornhole. If grapes are more your style, visit The Chautauqua Winery just south of DeFuniak Springs in the Florida Panhandle. As the largest winery in Florida, sample the local muscadine grapes and pick up a bottle of your favorite to see the custom-made wine labels from local artists.
Our Favorite Food Experiences
Engine 15 Brewing Company
A local brewery rewpub located along Beach Boulevard (US 90), Engine 15 is a fun spot in Jacksonville Beach. Makers of craft ales, their beers can also be found in bars and stores across northeast Florida, the Orlando area, and the Tampa Bay area.
Engine 15 brews five beers on a regular basis and others seasonally – and weekly experimental offerings are also often available.
San Sebastian Winery
Opened since 1996, San Sebastian winery is housed in one of the old East Coast Railway structures built by Henry Flagler. San Sebastian ranks as one of Florida's top wineries, focusing on wines from hybrid and muscadine grapes.
The St. Augustine winery produces over one million bottles’ worth of wine each year, and their products can be found at stores throughout Florida. Complimentary wine tours are available seven days a week, and their “Cellar Upstairs” Wine, Jazz, & Blues Bar offers extended enjoyment.
Chautauqua Vineyard & Winery
The Chautauqua Winery has been producing wines from local muscadine grapes and other berries since 1990. It has since grown into the largest winery in northern Florida. The store – with free wine tastings - is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week; tours are also available.
Watch also for custom-made wine bottles with unique art, including custom art that can salute your favorite college sports team. The vineyards are located just south of DeFuniak Springs. Find your new favorite red or white on your next visit to DeFuniak Springs in the Panhandle of Florida.
Established in 1933, Sloppy Joe's is a historic bar and restaurant set in Key West of the southern Florida Keys. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Sloppy Joes features Joe’s Tap Room, live music, food, and of course, drinks.
Known for neighboring the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, Sloppy Joe’s is famous for hosting the annual Papa Look-Alike Contest – held each July since 1981.