Archive for January 15th, 2011

January 15, 2011

Best restaurants in Florida, my selection.

To complement the shopping in Florida, will give out my best selection of restaurants in the areas that I lived, 18 years in Florida USA.

The restaurants have usually  hours that start with lunch around 11am and continue straight to dinners open until about 23h. You have cafes, and restaurant that do the same thing, and then bars, the tipping is not included. Some restaurant come up to me already figuring the tip at 15%;18%;and 20% on the bill. The pay is low, so tipping is expected, but not obligatory. I tip if the service warranted it, and if I am a regular client I tip a bit more than just a casual passer-by. Again the choice is yours, and if you are visiting the State than tip if the service is beyond the call of duty.

Some of my favorites were/are:

Columbia restaurant, the oldest Spanish restaurant in the USA. I have visited the properties in Saint Augustine and the original from 1907 in Tampa. 98 St. George Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084 . Tel +001 904 824 3341. And , the original in the Ybor city area of Tampa at 2117 East 7th Avenue ,Tampa, FL 33605. Tel +001 813 248 4961. Fantastic Spanish cuisine with flamenco performers at nights in a quaint Spanish hacienda setting, very romantic and cozy. The best of Spain. webpage http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/

TGIFriday’s chain of restaurant is fabolous for its spared ribs a la jack daniels, simply great and couple with great cocktails. The setting is Americana with lots of objects hanging out and frame to its wall of yesteryear. I have taste the ones in Ormond Beach (ocean shore blvd) , Sunrise (13350 w sunrise blvd) , Orlando( international drive) , Miami (s dixie and dolphin mall) , and Tampa(fowler ) the webpage is http://www.tgifridays.com/home/welcome.aspx

Applebee’s, a chain where the the ambiance is more towards sports decorated walls, location been to Sunrise and Miami. I have gone for the trios and seafood platters with plenty of beers. webpage http://www.applebees.com/default.aspx

Quiznos, a great sandwich chain, with succulent big sizes and great prices ,wonderful for lunch and on the go eating. the taste is definitively great and fast service; to eat on site or take home.  Its a chain and even with international locations, my favorite location is near old home at Pembroke Pines, Miramar, and Sunrise. webpage http://www.quiznos.com/index1.html

Barnacles’ seafood at Ormond Beach, a great place with fresh product perfectly made all the time and right on the Atlantic Ocean. One of my all time favorite, and keep coming back when in the State. Fish and Chips, Schooner sampler or just a nicely made fish, great ambiance like a fisherman village. webpage http://www.barnaclesonline.com/

Julian’s, for the best steaks in the area, many times recognise by the leading ranking houses. You just come for those juicy steaks in a upscale ambiance of old New York. IN Ormond Beach since 1967, now with new owners since 2005 but still all is good I am told. webpage http://www.julianslandmark.com/

Aunt’s Catfish, on the river intracoastal at Port Orange, just south of Daytona Beach, an institution in the area, you can have a better fish resto with southern hospitality. Try the blue crabs!!! webpage http://www.auntcatfishontheriver.com/menu.htm

The Oyster Pub, a tradition of mine since college days, still going strong, the IN place to be in Daytona Beach. oysters of course and plenty of good beer and good cheers, with great sports TV screen , the place to be and to be seen. Families ok for lunch. webpage http://www.oysterpub.com/

Razzles, if you want to party late and have fun while a block from the Atlantic ocean come here, another area institution visited since my college days. Great ambiance to please until late hours.  Dance, Drink, and be happy here. webpage http://www.razzlesnightclub.com/

Maison & Jardin is no longer a restaurant but it was French back in my days in the State, and now its an event planning place for all your business or weddings, etc needs, worth checking it out, you never know if you need a place like this and its sentimental neighborhood for me (same owners thus). At Altamonte Springs, alond I4 goings towards Disney and before reaching Orlando. webpage tells you more , http://www.maisonjardin.com/

La Crepe en Haut, Ormond Beach, the ultimate French restaurant in my old town, a place to practice my French while dreaming of visiting France again, you will be in France, French owners; webpage http://lacrepeenhaut.net/

Mr Wich deli, is without a web, tuck away in a tree laden place in Ormond Beach, the best place for lunch in the area, and the best pastrami south of 45 st NYC ! sandwiches are huge, try the combo with chips and drink. 21 N Nova Rd Ste A,  Ormond Beach, FL 32174; tel +001 386 677 1106. just go from I95 direction Ormond Beach on the SR40 or Granada Blvd, same road, when reaching Nova Rd turn left and the deli is right on your right hand side.

New York pizza, the ultimate NY pizza in my times done ably by wonderful Marie of NY. Still going strong after so many years for good cause. You wont eat a better pizza in the area. Now at new location than on my days but taste it good in 2009, 725 E International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32118. tel +001 386  257-2050.now web of course.

Alfies restaurant in Ormond by the Sea next to the ocean, an institution near one of my old hangouts, indeed the best breakfast in the area, and a great opportunity to catch the latest in the world with the regular customers of many years. webpage http://www.alfiesrestaurant.com/

Mr Dunderbaks, the German sausages and beer place, an institution still going strong after so many years and again for good cause. Inside the Volusia Mall, 1700 W. International Speeway Blvd.tel +001 386-258-1600.webpage http://www.dunderbaksdaytona.com/

Inlet Harbor Restaurant and Marina, an institution in the south Peninsula, south of Daytona Beach, just great catch of the day straight from the fishing boats.  A great complex, webpage http://www.inletharbor.com/

Hemingways inside the Hyatt Grand Cypress hotel, a wonderful time past of old Florida conch ambiance and great raffine seafood cuisine by the best in Orlando ,http://grandcypress.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/entertainment/restaurants/index.jsp

Bill Wongs Super Buffet,Chinese perfection at great prices in Orlando, 5668 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. tel +001 407 352 5373.  No web near Disney off I4.

Wolfgang Pub  Cafe, 1482 East Buena Vista Drive,Downtown Disney, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. tel +001 407-938-9653. Great exotic cuisine with an American/Japanese twist. A renown chef in a wonderful ambiance. webpage http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/

Bongos Cuban Cafe, 1498 East Buena Vista Drive,Downtown Disney,Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. tel +001 407-828-0999. the best Cuban resto in the central Florida area, a resto own by Gloria Estefan ,famous American singer of Cuban origins(Miami sound machine). The latest in mojitos and daiquiris with modern succulent cuisine avant garde. This was the original location now at South Beach Miami and others too. Webpage http://www.bongoscubancafe.com/

Pacino’s Italian Ristorante, a great Italian with wonderful decorations and ambiance, mamma mia in Kissimmee, near Disney . 5795 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Highway 192, Kissimmee, FL 34746 tel +001 407-239-4141.  webpage http://www.pacinos.com/

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament , an event to have dinner without utensils as in middle times with horse shows of lancers. A great family time, always remember well.  4510 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL 34746. Tel +001 407-396-1518. webpage http://www.medievaltimes.com/

Shells seafood ,in Tampa, seafood with hollywood history, it has been reorganised lately so need to verify the decoration, but it was a great family time there. 202 S Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL 33609 tel +001 813 875 3467.  webpage http://www.shellsseafood.com/

Bennigan’s, an Irish resto experience, popular locations my initial contact was in Tampa around the Univ of South Florida and then continues to Miami locations.  The monte cristo sandwich is huge and yummy with a nice beer alongside, Guinness blue bacon hamburger is awesome. IN Miami it is near the airport on Le Jeune Rd. webpage http://www.bennigans.com/

Croissan’time, a French institution in Ft lauderdale area, and our little piece of FRance there, the owners are from Avignon. You can have a bistro type setting next door and a delicatessen store next with all the goodies to take home from France or made by French in America. Sunrise Square, 1201 North Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale,  Florida 33304, Tel +001 954-565-8555    webpage http://www.croissantime.com/

Joe’s Stone Crab, a miami institution of greater culinary sensation. One of my favorites and should be yours too…. 11 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139 . tel +001 305-673-0365. You guess it stone crabs and lobster the finest, webpage http://www.joesstonecrab.com/

Joe Allen, was in Miami and we met again in Paris, great American steaks, burgers,and Americana deco. In Miami Beach at 1787 Purdy Avenue, Miami Beach FL 33139. Tel +001 305-531-7007. webpage http://joeallenrestaurant.com/Joe_Allen/Miami_Beach_home.html

News Cafe, the ultimate gathering place for talk coffee and know it all be seen and see in Miami Beach.Open 24 hrs !!!  800 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139. tel +001 305-538-6397. webpage http://www.newscafe.com/

Restaurant St Michel, yes refine and French, excellent cuisine in a old world ambiance. In hotel St Michel same refinements. 162 Alcazar Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134. tel + 001 305-444-1666. webpage http://www.hotelstmichel.com/

Los Ranchos, for Miami best steaks Latin style, come here its an institution with several locations. My favorite was at Sweetwater(Miami) the original. webpage http://www.beststeakinmiami.com/

La Carreta, the best Cuban original and typical, the real thing if you are looking for that. A family tradition try again in 2009 on my visit back home. the Platters combinations are sublime. My best is at 106633 NW 12 street, next to International Mall, webpage http://www.lacarreta.com/

Hooters, in Coconut Grove at CocoWalk, the Americana sexy in you, for an American bar with burgers and nice girls.  3015 Grand Avenue,Suite 330
Miami, FL 33133. tel +001 305-442-6004. webpage http://www.hootersflorida.com/

The Rusty Pelican,steaks but best seafood on Key Biscayne overlooking the bay of Miami, best views in Miami. Lovely evenings with locals, and the fishterman,yatchmens of the area and beyond. 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149. tel +001 305-361-3818.   webpage  http://miami.therustypelican.com/

Latin American Cuban Cuisine, at Bayside Marketplace downtown city center Miami by the port of Miami, Great sandwiches and vaca frita, the Cuban staples. 401 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132. tel +001 305-381-7774. webpage http://www.baysidemarketplace.com/dining-entertainment/latin-american-cafeteria

P.F. Changs, Mary Brickell Village, 901 S Miami Ave., Suite 104, Downtown Miami, FL 33131. tel +001 305 358 0732.  In the former fire dept house and previous Fire House four cigar bistro, there is the chinese cuisine par excellence. This is a chain, and the setting and ambiance here is special at least here. webpage http://www.pfchangs.com/index.aspx

Little Havana Restaurant, 12727 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami, FL 33161. tel +001 305-899-9069. The best Cuban in the north of the county, really nice setting with fish tanks and inner patio. The food is well done and authentic. Try the stuffed fish dishes or the ropa vieja dish. webpage http://www.littlehavanarestaurant.com/

Red Lobster, a chain of seafood restaurants but very good, my favorite in the area was at 1750 West 49th Street (Palm Springs Mile shopping road that is NW 103 St for Miami), Hialeah, FL 33012. tel +001 305-557-3088. webpage http://www.redlobster.com/

Chili’s Grill & Bar, tex mex at its best with a great selection of cocktails, my gathering place at lunch whle at work in the area. Still meet old friends there when visiting like in 2009. 8696 NW 13th Terrace, Miami, FL 33126. tel +001 305-471-8187. The Beacon Center park, webpage http://www.chilis.com/EN/Pages/home.aspx

Flanagan’s Seafood Bar & Grill, another hangout about a block from the above place at NW 12 street, this is seafood, and buffalo wings, Spare ribs with great beers and sports screen all over. Best at nights, when the action is hot and fast.  webpage http://www.flanigans.net/nw_12th_street_miami_map.html

94th Aero Squadron Restaurant, the old hangout for Eastern airlines employees and locals, now the best view of the airport landing fields at MIA/while listening on earphone of the air traffic control tower . You have great drinks and burgers, steaks, and the ambiance is aviation. 1395 NW 57th Avenue Miami, FL 33126. tel +001 305 261-4220. webpage http://www.94thmiami.com/

Le Bouchon du Grove, real French guy from Lyon will transport you to the bouchons of Lyon France. Exquisite cuisine in a wonderful village like setting. 3430 Main Highway – Coconut Grove FL (Miami) Tel +001 305  448 6060. webpage http://www.lebouchondugrove.com/

Cafe la Bonne Crepe, another wonderful French ,this one in Las Olas blvd of Ft Lauderdale, fine expert cuisine from the best in the area; 815 E. Las Olas Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. tel +001 954 761 1515. You missed those crêpes from France well here they do it as identical as can be. webpage http://www.labonnecrepe.com/

Olive Garden, italian and greatly made dishes , it was near us so we took many partakes here and never disappointed. In the Pembroke Lakes Mall property outside, but locations everywhere in FL.  11425 Pines Boulevard
Pembroke Pines, FL 33026. tel +001 954-432-5529. webpage http://www.olivegarden.com/default_f.asp

The Hurricane, at St Pete’s beach on the west coast just west of Tampa. A wonderful laidback Florida lifestyle ambiance with great seafood sandwiches and beer to go along your trip on the west coast. 807 Gulf  Way,St. Pete Beach, FL 33706. tel +001 727-360-9558. webpage
http://www.thehurricane.com/

Quarterdeck Seafood Bar & Grill, an exquisite extention of great seafood fingers, drinks, sports bar, and great local ambiance you will love in your stay in Florida. This one was after an indoor soccer/football match,and it was great memories indeed. 12370 West Sunrise Blvd, Plantation 33323. tel +001 954-423-4197. webpage http://quarterdeckrestaurants.com/v2/

The Globe, great bar and ambiance, sophisticated,business casual , evening dress to kill. The IN place in Coral Gables and sooo many years at the top. Cant missed it if in the area. 377 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables Fl 33134. tel +001 305 445 3555. The mojitos, daiquiris and classic Champagne cocktails are wonderful to go with Spanish chorizos and manchego quesadillas. webpage http://theglobecafe.com/

Churchill’s, the British in south Florida, great drinks and great sports venue. My favorite soccer/football matches were always here to go alone with a great pint ::) 5501 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137. tel +001 305 757 1807.webpage http://www.churchillspub.com/

Piccolo Pizza, a great pizza place and more run by folks from Nice,France. On your way to North Miami Beach,   2104 Northeast 123rd Street, North Miami, FL 33180. tel +001 305 893-9550. webpage http://www.piccolo-pizza.com/

Versailles, THE Cuban resto in Miami Little Havana neighborhood, the in and out of the city and all the political, economic ,arts discussions you can handle. You know it first here. The food is authentic and the ambiance very latin.  Name in all travel guides to the city as a must stop. 3555  SW 8th St Miami, FL 33135. tel +001 305 444-0240. No web but the whole world knows where it is.

The Royal French Bakery, was run by Christian from Lyon, so it was heavens, not verify if still there but if they are, you need to go right away. We had our buche de Nôel always done here. 7370 SW 57th Ave, South Miami, FL 33143. tel +001 305 665-6631. no web just off Sunset Ave or nw 72 st. No web

Le Provençal, French and from Provence, you cant go wrong here, exquisite refine cuisine with a mediterranean flair. One of our stops while living there, and keeping in touch with France. 266 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134. tel +001 305 448 8984. webpage http://www.leprovencalrestaurant.com/

Casa Juancho, when my tastebugs switch to Spain ,this is as genuine as it can get over the ocean. Great Spanish cuisines in a fabulous deco and ambiance.  Codfish, shrimps, and tapas with great Spanish wine as well, all originally done by Spaniards. 2436 S.W. 8th Street, Miami, FL 33135. tel +001 305 642-2452. webpage http://www.casajuancho.com/

Well these are the ones that comes to mind, of course they are not all, just what gives me memory to be my most memorable moments eating in Florida. Photos are hard to come by as was not in the habit of taking photos at restaurants back then, but have some anyway to share. Hope you enjoy them too when in the Sunshine State. Bon appétit, Buen Provecho.

 

%d bloggers like this: