Last Updated April 26, 2023
While Florida may not be the top destination on many travelers’ food tourism lists, the state’s culinary offering may surprise you. Believe it or not, there are three Florida cities on best foodie city lists: Orlando, Miami, and Tampa.
But you can find great food in more than just Florida’s big cities. We’ve rounded up the top 15 foodie towns in the Sunshine State, AKA where you can find the best food in Florida!
We’re going to start our Florida foodie list way up in the Florida Panhandle, where we’ll be visiting the northern towns of Apalachicola, Tallahassee, and Santa Rosa Beach.
There’s no better place to begin than what is perhaps the most famous oyster town in Florida: Apalachicola. Historically, Apalachicola has produced 90% of Florida’s oysters. Locales like Up the Creek Raw Bar and The Station Raw Bar are great spots to get your oyster fix.
However, there are plenty of options for the members of your crew who prefer other types of seafood. Check out The Owl Cafe, Hole in the Wall Seafood, and Apalachicola Seafood Grill for local classics like crab cakes, shrimp, and key lime pie. And if you need a morning pick-me-up, head to Apalacichola Chocolate & Coffee Company for homemade pastries or Cafe Con Leche to try Venezuelan coffee and arepas.
Santa Rosa Beach
The lovely town of Santa Rosa Beach is another panhandle spot teeming with great food. There are, of course, plenty of great seafood joints, like Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar, Fish Out of Water, and Vue on 30A. The Perfect Pig offers an excellent mix of seafood and southern cuisine.
And if you’re looking for a scenic seaside setting for your dining experience, check out The Beach House or Sunset Bay Cafe. Finally, you can’t leave Santa Rosa Beach without trying some of its spectacular local ice cream. We recommend Pecan Jacks, Blue Mountain Beach Creamery, and Sunrise Ice Cream & Candy Co.
Believe it or not, this college town (and the state’s capital city) has a number of great eateries. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale in Tallahassee, head to Savour or Sage. There are also a number of good restaurants offering southern cuisine, like Table 23 and Lucilla.
The Edison is a great go-to eatery offering both indoor and outdoor seating options and classic, yet quality, appetizers and entrees. Along the same lines, we recommend Backwoods Crossing if you’re looking for innovative New American cuisine made with local ingredients.
Let’s shoot across the state to the Atlantic Coast to visit Amelia Island, Jacksonville, and St. Augustine!
You can find a wide variety on the ever-so-charming Amelia Island. If you’re in the mood for Asian food, head over to Wicked Bao in Fernandina Beach for ramen, kimchi fried rice, and more. For a more upscale dining experience, you can head right down the street to enjoy exquisite French cuisine at Le Clos, while David’s Restaurant & Lounge is another high-end eatery where you can find exceptional seafood and steak.
Also in the area is España Restaurant, which specializes in paella and general Spanish and Portuguese fare. But if you’re in the mood for casual seafood, check out Timoti’s Seafood Shak for fish tacos or lobster rolls.
There is no shortage of delicious seafood in the self-proclaimed shrimp capital of Florida! Some of the best seafood joints in the city include Blue Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar, The Fish Company, and Julington Creek Fish Camp.
But while plenty of Jacksonville restaurants serve local seafood, you can also find a wide variety of other types of food. In fact, there are a number of locales serving varied Asian cuisines, like Kazu Japanese Restaurant (sushi), Kim’s Korean BBQ Restaurant, and Green Papaya (Thai cuisine). Be sure to check out Blue Bamboo for a unique fusion of Cantonese dishes and Southern comfort food.
St. Augustine is teeming with diverse cuisine and interesting restaurants. Adventurous eaters will want to check out places like Llama Restaurant (Peruvian cuisine), Conch House Restaurant (Caribbean-inspired dishes), and Columbia Restaurant (Spanish and Columbian food). Another unique eatery is Prohibition Kitchen, which offers farm-to-table dishes and hand-spun milkshakes.
If you’re in the mood for something a little bit more mainstream, we recommend Sunset Grille for casual, local fare, as well as Raintree Restaurant, where you can find great steak and seafood. Collage Restaurant is another great choice if you’re looking for an offering of global cuisine and great wine. Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Schooner’s Seafood House, a St. Augustine stable that specializes in seafood platters.
Let’s head a bit farther down south to Central Florida, where you’ll find some of the best foodie towns in the Sunshine State.
Located just over 30 miles from Orlando you will find the quaint town of Mt. Dora. And believe it or not, there are plenty of outstanding restaurants packed into this Central Florida city. Goblin Market is the one place you truly can’t miss if you are in town. Its unique aesthetic and consistently good food are perfect for a family dinner, anniversary celebration, or really any occasion.
Cheese lovers (and who doesn’t love cheese?) will gawk over Cheese to Share, which specializes in cheese boards and fondue. Finally, you’ll get one of the most scenic dining experiences in town at Pisces Rising, where you can enjoy seafood, steak, and Caribbean-inspired dishes. Be sure to make your reservation around sunset!
Orlando has certainly made a name for itself on the Florida food scene. In 2021, it was named the No. 1 best foodie city for couples, something that comes as no surprise to us. Orlando is teeming with chic restaurants that are suitable for couples, singles, families, or really any type of diner.
One of our top picks is Soco, where you will find creative twists on classic Southern cuisine in a warm yet sophisticated setting. But no matter the type of food you may be craving, you’re sure to find it in Orlando. Check out Domu for outstanding ramen, Capa for Spanish cuisine, Kabooki Sushi for Japanese fare, or Enzo’s on the Lake for Italian classics.
Tampa also earned a spot on the previously mentioned “best foodie towns for couples” list. Ringing in at No. 4, Tampa’s food scene is diverse and exciting, and you can find just about any type of food you can imagine. We recommend that you try the Native American and Florida cuisine fusion served at Ulele. If you have something to celebrate (or if you just need a drink), order a sangria pitcher at one of the biggest Spanish restaurants in the world, Columbia Restaurant.
For high-quality New American fusion, check out Rooster & the Till, where you can try various inventive small plates on their tasting menu. Another interesting spot is Noble Crust, where you’ll find a combination of what are arguably two of the world’s best cuisines: Italian and Southern.
This Central Florida city, which is often overshadowed by nearby Orlando, has an impressive selection of great eateries. If you’re in the mood for Mexican, you have a number of delicious options, including Hunger Street Tacos and Agave Azul. Umi is a great spot for Japanese fusion, and if you are a fan of Asian cuisine, we also recommend checking out Thai Place.
Believe it or not, Winter Park is an excellent destination for vegans and vegetarians. Winter Park Biscuit Company serves up biscuits and sandwiches that you simply won’t believe are vegan. You also have to check out Ethos Vegan Kitchen, where you’ll find plant-based (and delicious) brunch options, sandwiches, entrees, and more.
Time to venture down to Southern Florida for our next three foodie towns: Jupiter, Miami, and Naples!
Depending on what type of food you are in the mood for, you have a number of options available to you in Jupiter. You may have heard of The Woods, the upscale sports bar owned by Tiger Woods. This is a great place to grab a happy hour drink, enjoy a delicious dinner, or have Sunday brunch.
Seafood lovers should check out Little Moi’s Food Shack. Don’t be thrown off by its casual setting, because the Food Shack has some of the best fresh catch seafood in Jupiter. But if you’re looking for a more refined setting (and food that’s equally as delicious), check out The Beacon. This waterfront restaurant is located at the Jupiter Inlet and provides beautiful views of the Jupiter Lighthouse, as well as delicious steak, seafood, and more.
It should come as no surprise that you’ll find some of the best food in Florida in Miami. In fact, Miami has landed itself a No. 3 spot on a list ranking the best foodie towns in the entire country. And we have to start by mentioning one of Miami’s most emblematic locales: Joe’s Stone Crab. You must, of course, order crab, but save room for dessert, as their key lime pie is outstanding.
If you’re itching to try some of Miami’s famous Cuban food, be sure to make a reservation at Versailles. While they offer plenty of quality entrees, they are perhaps best known for their sandwiches. Finally, Miami offers plenty of quality international cuisine. Some stand-out restaurants include Ghee (Indian), La Mar (Peruvian), Mandolin Aegean Bistro (Greek), Makoto (Japanese), and Quinto La Huella (Uruguayan).
Now let’s head over to the Gulf Coast to explore the best restaurants in Naples. You can find a wide variety of restaurant options in this coastal town. Try high-quality French cuisine at Bleu Provence or delicious Peruvian fare at Lima Restaurant (don’t leave before trying one of their signature pisco sours).
Other restaurants with a variety of international foods include Van Van Cuban Cafe, Mediterrano, and Lamoraga. If you’re looking to get your seafood fix, check out Sea Salt for delicious and modern seafood dishes, And when it comes to surf and turf, we recommend trying T-Michaels.
We couldn’t finish our list without mentioning some of the best food in the Florida keys!
It’s no surprise that you’ll find some of Florida’s best seafood down in the Keys. Key Largo is packed with excellent seafood joints like The Fish House, Key Largo Conch House, and Key Largo Fisheries Backyard Cafe.
The Lazy Lobster Seafood Restaurant has a lovely outdoor dining area, and Hobo’s Cafe is one of the most authentic seafood restaurants on the island. If you’d like to change it up from seafood, grab a pizza at C&C Wood Fire Eats, or treat yourself to a slice of key lime pie at Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory.
If you make the trek all the way down to Key West, you will find that delicious restaurants abound. You will certainly be able to sense the island’s proximity to Cuba at places like Cuban Coffee Queen and 5 Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop.
If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, Little Pearl offers outstanding local seafood, as well as an impressive wine list. Finally, beer lovers should check out First Flight Island Restaurant and Brewery (take advantage of their daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.).
As you can see, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in a big city like Miami, visiting a small town like Apalachicola, or on an island like Key West. Regardless of what part of the Sunshine State you find yourself in, you’re probably just a stone’s throw away from some of the best food in Florida. So what are you waiting for? Head out and explore some of the best foodie towns in the state on your next Florida vacation!