Favorite Florida Eateries

 

Blackwater Inn     55716 Front Street  Astor, FL 32102

Situated on the St. Johns River with riverside window seating and an outside bar and patio as well, this is a lovely location to enjoy a meal by the water.  The staff is down home friendly, and eager to please. The Grilled Quail with Raspberry sauce looks and smells amazing and must be fabulous to taste, but the Prime Rib is outstandingly tender, juicy and rare when it’s rare you want.  A side order of mushrooms stuffed with crab and mozzarella is the perfect complement to this carnivores feast.

 

Shephards      601-619 S Gulfview Blvd, Shephard’s Beach Resort, Clearwater FL 33767

One thing alone brought me to and kept me at Shepards—the ‘all you can eat’ seafood buffet for under $25!  Simply out of this world variety of non-stop fresh seafood, with a staggeringly beautiful western view the ocean from the patio.  Perfect place to sip on a Mojito and watch the sunset!

 

Whiskey Joe’s      Bar & Grill 7720 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway,  Tampa, FL 33607

This bar and restaurant has a super fun and dog friendly outside deck area right on the water.  Reasonably priced selection of apps, burgers and meals. They offer a healthy ¾ lb serving of peel and eat shrimp that has a little fire bite to it, indeed.  Steak Rockets are a wonderful treat—juicy steak bites marinated in a garlic herb glaze with caramelized onions and peppers, cheddar jack and avocado ranch.  Oh so good!

 

Crabby Bills     37 Causeway Boulevard, Clearwater Beach, FL 33763

For a New Year Celebration on the beach, nothings better than enjoying a pile of Florida Aligator Bites–gator tail chunks, dusted in seasoned flour and flash fried; Conch Fritters—lightly spiced Caribbean Conch deep fried, dipped in honey mustard; and the tender and lightly breaded Crabby Calamari dipped in a warm Marinara sauce– all hands down delicious!

 

Bon Appetit     148 Marina Plaza Dunedin, FL 34698

For those who enjoy the finer things in life.  Even on the brink of rain and wind, they button down the hatches and continue to rock outside on the patio.  The staff is helpful and engaging, the food is well prepared and the atmosphere is casual sheik. They make amazing lobster rolls!

 

Beanies     2002 US Highway 41 South, Ruskin, FL 33570

Hit it and get it at this simple sports bar that draws a gi-nor-mous crowd! Their Ruben plate is the best in town,  nummy and filling, for under $10  and Beanie’s Famous loaded chips are home made, and dumped with mounds of shredded cheese, scallions, tomatoes, bacon chunks and bleu cheese or ranch.  They taste just like a loaded baked potato!  The Birdie is a perfectly prepared chicken sandwich basket that can be served blackened, buffalo, char-grilled or fried—with their home made chips this is one heck of a big meal for around $8. 

 

Ybor Grill     105 Shell Point Road, Ruskin FL 33570

Yum, yum, yum!  This is the place to go for amazing scratch cooked entrees Cuban style. They serve up the best deviled crab in the bay area. The Primavera Del Mar is to die for, with the sundried tomato basil cream sauce on top of a mound of pasta and blackened shrimp and scallops!  They make an amazing Cuban Roasted Pork, marinated in garlic and oranges, (mojo) slow cooked until it’s tender enough to shred with a fork.

 

Fat Boys Bar-B-Q     4132 NE Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala FL 34470

Totally amazingly seasoned all you can eat Ribs all day long.  I could live there and eat ribs until I passed out. What more is there to say?

 

Dee Dee’s Diner     533 NE 1st Street, Ocala FL 34470

This tiny little diner is located in the Historic Ocala Train Station, and is famous for their hot dog selections:  For less than $4.00 you got your Coney dog, Jamaican dog, Chili Cheese dog, New York dog, Philly Cheese dog, Slaw dog, Grilled Shroom dog, Kraut dog, Reuben dog, and Hell dog…..but their Monte Cristo sandwich is just as delish, and for less than $6.00!

 

Incognito     131 Harbor Village Lane, Apollo Beach FL  33572

There’s a new, upscale, tapas lounge, dressed up with sleek lines, smoked glass, and featuring Live Jazz.  What could be better than a Cosmopolitan, Portobello Stuffed Ravioli and live Saxophone?  Very cool setting to get out of the heat.  Their signature Incognito Pizza is a tasty combination of chicken, artichokes, mushrooms, garlic, alfredo sauce with mozzarella and goat cheese on top.  Yum!

 

The Dog House     204 W Shell Point Road, Ruskin, FL 33570

Just look for the trailer in the grass….and follow the crowd.  This roadside diner is an award winning scratch kitchen serving up the best seafood and dogs in the area. The owners are from the north east coast so they make sure their seafood is nothing but the best.  Their Grouper sandwich is melt in your mouth perfect, the Lobster Roll is heavenly, without a doubt they make the best clam chowder in the world, and wow, the Clam Strip dinner with hush puppies is sooooo good!

 

Old Castle Restaurant     3830 Sun City Center Blvd, Sun City, FL 33573

How exciting to discover authentic German cuisine so close to camp.   Home cooked old world favorites are what you’ll find here.  They make an amazing Kartoffelsalat (a warm, potato salad with oil, vinegar and bacon) and their Jager Schnitzel is a creamy and dreamy plate of pan fried pork tenderloins served on a bed of Spatzle and creamy mushroom sauce.   Their Nuernberg is a show stopper—a brat, a pile of kraut in a luscious dark beer sauce, and two potato pancakes. Zehr Gut! Danke Shone!

 

Romano’s and Morenos     906 W Robertson St. Brandon, FL 33511

These two establishments are side by side on the back side of a retail area.  One would never guess they were there…..but oh my…

Romanos Greek and Italian Cuisine is by far the most incredible food I’ve tasted in Florida.  Their Chicken Riganati is baked in garlic and lemon, and oregano, served with pasta on the side and fresh veggies.  The Moussaka is a flawless layered square of potato, eggplant, and seasoned beef in a cheese sauce.  They serve family style portions, so even a lunch item lasts me two meals! 

Morenos is a fabulous bakery and deli, right next door.  Oh, oh my, sweet treat central!  The dessert selection there is simply ridiculous!  Doughnuts, cakes, pies, and all sorts of exotic cookies and pastries. Everything is baked from scratch, right there.  One of everything, please? Not a good place for a sweet freak to visit, or is it?   And they make the all-time best Cuban sandwiches ever.  Wow.  The combination of these two places could be dangerous to live close to!\

 

Al Madina Grocery and Middle Eastern Deli   1536 W Brandon Blvd, Brandon FL 33511

The only place around to find yellow lentils, which I cook with a lot!  The store carries all of the classic Middle Eastern staple items for the kitchen and a great selection of Turkish Coffees.  Their deli serves up the all-time best Beef Shawarma and Falafel.

 

The Fish House     1902 W Shell Point Road, Ruskin, FL 33570

A cooking shack, and an old pavilion roof with picnic tables under it, specializing in fresh caught seafood and fish.  Literally, the food you are served was caught that day or the day before.  They are only open Thursday through Saturday.  The rest of the week is spent fishing for their menu. The food is excellent, and very reasonably priced.  One favorite is the Fish House Fish Dinner. A delicious flakey white fish (the Basa) that’s boneless, and one of the meals The Fish House is known for. Their oysters are also fabulous.  And the shrimp.  And for sure the scallops.  The crab. Well, everything is, extremely tasty, really.

 

The Boat In The Moat at Solomon’s Castle     4533 Solomon Road, Ona, FL 33865

Enjoy a meal surrounded by fairy tales, pirates and princes, in one of the ships rooms, or in the flower garden patio. Their menu may be short and sweet, but the food is well prepared and homemade.  The Corned Beef on Rye with a Yuengling is the perfect lunch combo.  Their Old Style Meatloaf looked amazing, and smelled great going by, too! 

 

Old Salty Dog     5023 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota FL 34242

Great place to take the four legged family for outdoor dining pleasure.  They are famous for their “Salty Dog, a ¼ lb hot dog dipped in Beer Batter and deep—fried.  YUM!  You may have seen one of these “loaded” on the Travel Channels “Man VS Food” show? In addition, their Mango Mahi Wrap is fantastic served in a warm flour tortilla with mango salsa and a passion fruit-mango dressing.  Can’t go wrong with the peel and eat shrimp, either.  The best surprise is their “special” of twin lobster tails for under $25.00  which is not shown on the menu.  Seriously nummy, especially with an Island Lemonade!

 

Little Harbor’s Sunset Grill and Tiki Bar     611 Destiny Drive, Ruskin, FL 33570

Truly one of the best kept secrets in the area, this is a 5 star eating destination for sure. Meals become a work of art whether it’s a lunchtime Citrus Mango Chicken sandwich-a chicken breast glazed with a citrus sauce, topped with slice mango, onion straws, lettuce and tomato, a citrus mayo and swiss cheese on top.  Simply beautiful.. or a full Entrée like Coconut Cashew Curried Shrimp—jumbo shrimp sautéed with fresh pineapple then simmered in an island coconut curry sauce. Oh so good on top of a bed of rice, with flaky coconut, cashews, and crisp onion straws, plus a side of snap peas and mango salsa…Oh my!

 

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