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.
- Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami Beach
- Blue Heaven, Key West
- 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!
- The Le Tub Saloon, Hollywood
- McGuire’s Irish Pub, Pensacola
- 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.)
- Frenchy’s Cafe, Clearwater
- 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?
- T-Ray’s Burger Station, Fernandina Beach
- 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.
- 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.
- Yoder’s Restaurant & Amish Village, Sarasota
- Teak Neighborhood Grill, Orlando
- 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.)
- 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).
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.
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.
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.