Eating Our Way Through Florida

As we travel, we’re always looking for new dining experiences. We seem to be especially attracted to dives, places with outside seating, burger joints and seafood shacks. So when John sent me a message titled “15 Restaurants You Have To Visit In Florida Before You Die”, I knew we’d use this list as a reference as we travel throughout the state.

When I looked at the list by Victoria Winkler from a site called Only in Your State, I was surprised to see that we had already eaten (not just visited as the title of the article states) at six of the restaurants, and we added a seventh, Taco Lu’s, a couple of weeks ago.

  1. Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami Beach
  2. Blue Heaven, Key West
  3. Bern’s Steak House, Tampa – We went here last June for a retirement celebration dinner. Delicious food. We’ll be back for another celebratory event. Don’t miss the dessert room!
  4. The Le Tub Saloon, Hollywood
  5. McGuire’s Irish Pub, Pensacola
  6. Satchel’s Pizza, Gainesville – The most unique pizza place I’ve ever eaten. Good pizza, homemade soda and funky decor. (I’ll have to write about this food adventure.)
  7. Frenchy’s Cafe, Clearwater
  8. Versailles, Miami – Cuban food, extraordinaire, a fixture in Miami for over 40 years in Little Havana. Delicious food, inexpensive, a strolling Mariachi band, all on Calle Ocho. What more could you ask for?
  9. T-Ray’s Burger Station, Fernandina Beach
  10. The Old Spanish Sugar Mill, De Leon Springs – The Grill and Griddlehouse at DeLeon Springs State Park is a fun place to eat since diners cook their own pancakes at the table. Beautiful park and a one of a kind dining experience.
  11. Columbia Restaurant, Ybor City – The Columbia is where we celebrated our 35th anniversary, but to be honest this is a great excuse to go to Ybor City. We’ve even offered to pick up items at IKEA just so we can eat lunch here.
  12. Yoder’s Restaurant & Amish Village, Sarasota
  13. Teak Neighborhood Grill, Orlando
  14. 4 Rivers Smokehouse – We were at 4 Rivers Smokehouse with our daughters and their husbands several years ago before the name 4 Rivers could be seen throughout the state. Good BBQ and delicious offerings at the Sweet Shop, but with over a dozen locations, I’m not sure it should be on this list. (We recently tried their new endeavor, The Coop, which I’ll be writing about soon.)
  15. Taco Lu, Jacksonville Beach – Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, we ate lunch here after a visit to Fort Caroline National Monument a couple of weeks ago.

Located on Atlantic Boulevard heading toward Jacksonville Beach, Taco Lu makes a statement with its brightly painted building, old VW bus and sign featuring cleaveras de azucar (that green skull looking thing which symbolizes death…but in a positive manner).

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Any restaurant that brings chips and salsa before taking our order is already a hit, and to be honest, I could have just made a meal on this and the queso we ordered. But since tacos are their specialty, we opened the menu.

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The list of $2.99 tacos: Bangin’ Shrimp, Deb’s Verde, Baja Fish, Spicy Bird, Brisket, Carnitas, and Cheeseburger??? John went with the Bangin’ Shrimp and the Brisket (top photo) while I ordered Deb’s Verde (chicken with Deb’s salsa) and a Carnitas. Can’t think of a time I’ve had better tacos.

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I hear the wait time at Taco Lu’s can be lengthy, but we solved that problem by eating lunch on a Friday afternoon at 2:30. I can honestly say, I’d be willing to wait for these tacos!

That makes seven restaurants on the must visit list. Since I haven’t been disappointed yet, I keep the others in mind as we eat our way through Florida.

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