There are thousands of restaurants and even more dishes to choose from in Florida, but they are not all equal. We’ve selected a few dishes that deserve a place on every Floridian’s bucket list. From long-standing, iconic restaurants to modest local favorites, these are the gatekeepers of great grub:
1. Key lime pie at Blue Heaven
This iconic cafe in Key West is known for its laid-back atmosphere, complete with cats and chickens roaming the grounds. Don't leave Key West without a trip to Blue Heaven, and don't leave Blue Heaven without a slice of Key lime pie.
2. Steak at Bern’s Steak House
This Tampa landmark has been around for almost 60 years, and stepping inside is a little like walking into scene from Mad Men. The steaks are perfect, the wine list is insane, and guests love touring the kitchen and cellar after dinner.
3. Chicken and Waffles at Metro Diner
This breakfast joint started in this unassuming little building in Jacksonville and has now expanded all over North Florida. (Pictured is perfectly fried chicken next to a fluffy waffle topped with strawberry butter.)
This historic restaurant in Miami Beach was the first to serve Florida stone crab, which has become one of our state's most famous delicacies. After all these years, Joe's Stone Crab is still the best place to try it.
5. Salad (and pizza) at Satchel’s
Satchel's is a much-loved and very funky restaurant in Gainesville. The atmosphere is fun, and the pizza is delicious, but the salad steals the show. Luckily, their homemade dressing can be purchased on site.
6. Conch Fritters at Alabama Jack’s
Alabama Jack's in Key Largo is a slice of Old Florida charm. This waterfront bar is relaxed, casual dining at its best. This is the place to try conch fritters, whether for the first time or the millionth time.
7. The Sirloinburger at Le Tub
Le Tub Saloon in Hollywood is famous for three things: its weirdly wonderful vibe, long wait times, and this incredible burger. Bring some good company and expect to wait a while. It's worth it.
8. BBQ Sandwiches at Yellow Dog Eats
Yellow Dog Eats is located in the little town of Gotha in Central Florida. This fun and funky spot serves up some of the best and most creative sandwiches in the state.
9. Grouper Sandwich at Frenchy’s
No trip to Clearwater Beach is complete without a grouper sandwich from this iconic cafe.
10. Ice Cream at Jaxson’s
This long-standing ice cream parlor is a Dania Beach landmark. The lines are long, but the ice cream dishes are some of the best (and biggest) you'll ever have.
11. Oysters at Boss Oyster
There is no better place to get oysters than Apalachicola, and Boss Oyster harvests their own, for the freshest and tastiest oysters anywhere.
12. Fried Shrimp at O’Steen’s Restaurant
You might think all fried foods are pretty much the same, but this restaurant in St. Augustine is famous for having the best fried shrimp around. The perfect batter, seasonings and sauces have made this place popular with locals and visitors alike.
Yoder's Restaurant and Amish Village in Sarasota is a good bet for some homemade comfort food, but the real star here is the award-winning pie, made from scratch daily.
14. Smoked Fish (and dip) at Ted Peters
St. Petersburg has a lot of great restaurants, but Ted Peters is a must-try. You have to at least sample the smoked fish, but guests rave about pretty much everything on the menu here.