Florida — Food and Restaurants
Two foods that shouldn’t be missed in Florida: seafood and citrus fruits. From conch chowder and stone crabs to amberjack and snapper, Florida seafood is fresh and readily available in everything from fine dining venues to casual beachfront shacks. For the most part, eating out is very affordable, as is the drinking unless you’re in South Beach or another posh oasis of exclusivity like Key West. There are plenty of five-star meal options, but overall Florida is an economical travel destination.
Bars and Pubbing in Florida
Florida nightlife simply doesn’t get any hotter than along Miami’s South Beach. Despite the hype, this Art Deco strip of slick clubs still attracts heavyweight celebrities and hosts some of the country’s top parties. Between Mansion (1235 Washington Avenue, Miami), SET (320 Lincoln Road, Miami), and Prive, you’re likely to see a famous face any night – if you can get past the rope. A cooler, more underground drinking scene is emerging in Miami’s Design and Meatpacking District joints like The Room (100 Collins Avenue, Miami). With no mandated closing times, many clubs stay open until 5:00 a.m. throughout Florida.
Orlando’s CityWalk (6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando) brings a hodgepodge of entertainment, dining, and drinking to a pleasant 12-acre venue in the heart of the city. Live music and a range of restaurants make this a popular place to go after dark on a trip to Disney. In Pensacola, the Seville Quarter is a charismatic historic district with equally charming bars. It has the feel of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, and its bars have cute old-timey names like End ‘o the Alley Bar (Seville Quarter, Pensacola) and Lili Marlene’s Aviator’s Pub (130 East Government Street, Pensacola).
If you make it all the way south to Key West, the prime place to drink is along Duval Street. This strip is party central, with loads of fun Florida bars and an atmosphere to boot. There is a thriving gay scene in the Keys, but the nightlife is fun for all as the clubs are raucous, bohemian, and unpretentious. The 801 Bourbon Bar (801 Duval Street, Key West) and One Saloon (514 Petronia Street, Key West) are two legends of the gay party and dance world.
Dining and Cuisine in Florida
Seafood rules supreme in Florida, even off the coast. From Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant (11 Washington Ave, Miami) to Marker 88 (88000 Overseas Highway, Islamorada Key), many restaurants specialize in one or two particular sea creatures such as stone crabs and conch. Florida seafood can be five-star like Todd English’s bluezoo (1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd, Buena Vista) or beachfront institutions like the Back Porch (1740 Scenic Highway 98, Destin) shack.
But there’s plenty more than fish on the menu in Florida. You can’t leave Miami without a meal or two at Little Havana. Try Versailles (3555 SW 8th Street, Miami) for a classic Cuban diner experience or Taverna Opa (9101 International Drive, Orlando) for authentic plate-smashing Greek fare right on the Intercoastal Waterway.
Miami alone has more than 6,000 restaurants, making it a foodie haven. Coconut Grove and South Beach have wonderful café scenes where creative chefs are pushing the boundaries with ‘Floribbean’ cuisine, a fusion of Caribbean and South American entrees. Try to dine at the incredibly eclectic Azul (500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami) if you can.