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With its wall-to-wall sunshine, miles of beautiful coastline, and laid-back vibe, it’s no wonder that more than one thousand people move to the state of Florida every single day. But it’s not just the weather and the scenery that the state has going for it: it’s also home to some truly fabulous restaurants that simply must be tried.
Essential Restaurants to Visit in Florida
Keep reading to find out the big three Florida eateries that need to be on everyone’s bucket list!
A stunning romantic dining experience, DoveCote is one of Florida’s must-visit restaurants. It was recently voted as the area’s most romantic eatery and has won a slew of other awards, including the Diners’ Choice accolade in 2019 and the Golden Spoon Award in the same year.
Harmony is the overarching ethos behind DoveCote’s innovative and creative American-French fusion menu. Guests visiting for dinner can feast on appetizers like freshly shucked oysters and caviar from the Raw Bar before moving onto the mains: dishes featured include Filet Mignon, Diver Scallops, and Locally Harvested Mushroom Risotto. When it comes to desserts, the situation is just as scrumptious: opt for Raspberry Passionfruit Entremet, Vanilla Creme Brulee, or Vegan Banana Ice-Cream.
But it’s not just the food that makes DoveCote so special; there’s a unique ambiance here, that fuses timeless elegance with vibrancy: as well as the hall and the main dining room – in which the restaurant furniture is arranged to give a sense of both intimacy and airiness- there’s also outdoor seating available, too.
The DoveCote Courtyard is an exclusive entertainment venue that can be booked for private events for a dining experience like no other: featuring an outdoor Miami-style garden, ambiance rooms, and VIP pavilions; the focus is on exquisite late-night dining and signature cocktails. This makes for an evening that’s not to be missed!
Bern’s Steak House, Tampa
Bern’s is possibly the most famous steak house in the state, and the self-stated mission of this restaurant, since its opening in 1956, is to make the preparation, cooking, and serving of steak into an art form.
Combining perfectly aged steaks that are cut to order for each individual guest with vegetables that, where possible, have been grown and harvested on the Bern farm and an extensive wine list, the staff at Bern’s, are keen to ensure that every visitor has a holistic dining experience, not just a meal. The awards for excellence that the restaurant has received are a testament to their success in this: Bern’s has been recognized with the James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence, Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, and a Golden Spoon award, among others.
The range of steaks on offer at Bern’s is extensive. As well as Filet Mignon or Chateaubriand, diners could opt for a Porterhouse, T-Bone, or Delmonico – or could request their own size and type of cut. And for those that find it hard to decide, there’s the Luxe Tasting Option; order this from the menu, and you’ll receive three ounces each of Filet Mignon, Dry-Aged Delmonico, and Japanese Wagyu Strips.
The Dessert Room at Bern’s is legendary throughout Florida and beyond. The sweet menu harbors delight such as the Vintage Chocolate Lush Sundae, Banana Cheese Pie, and the Framboise Macadamia Decadence. Diners can relax after the meal with a specialty coffee or – if they have any capacity left – could peruse the cheese menu, which is as impressive as you’d expect given the rest of the restaurant’s fare.
The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park
An American gastro-pub experience, The Ravenous Pig restaurant and brewery has become one of Florida’s most well-known destination restaurants. Run by husband and wife team James and Julie Petrakis, who have extensive experience working in restaurants the length and breadth of the US, the use of sustainably sourced and local ingredients has been of fundamental importance since they opened The Ravenous Pig in 2007 and remains so to this day.
The menu is eclectic, inventive, and utterly tempting; for starters, guests can opt for dishes including Mushroom and Gruyere Beignets, Chilled Crab Salad, or Dry Aged Beef Carpaccio, before moving onto the main course. Choosing one of these mains, though, is a tricky affair; the menu is extensive, with Butcher’s Cuts, Fish, Handhelds, Vegetables, and Pasta and Grains sections. Highlights are the Lane Snapper Tempura, Truffle Whole Chicken, and the 50oz Wagyu Tomahawk. There’s a kids’ menu, too; young diners can opt for, for example, a Bento Board, Macaroni and Cheese, or Burger Slider.
One of the things that makes The Ravenous Pig so special is the on-site brewery that supplies the restaurant with a selection of craft beers, including a rotating range of seasonal offerings. Brewery tours are available so that diners can get an up-close and personal look at the innovative techniques that have gone into the creation of the beverages they’ve enjoyed with their meal.
James and Julie Petrakis have achieved the position of semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef South award for four consecutive years, and The Ravenous Pig has featured in publications including Food and Wine and Southern Living.