If people can have bucket lists for things they want to see or do, why can’t we have bucket lists specifically for places we want to dine? Of course, everyone’s list would vary a little with personal taste, but we think these 14 places (listed in no particular order) are a good start:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Joe's Stone Crab, Miami Beach
I know we talk a lot about this place, but there's no way we could make a restaurant bucket list without Joe's. This legendary establishment has been around in some form since 1913 and serving Florida stone crab since 1921. Joe's was the first place to attempt to serve this dish, which has become a beloved Florida delicacy.
2. Blue Heaven, Key West
Blue Heaven is an iconic beacon of Key West culture. It has a whimsical atmosphere with folk art, live music, lush foliage and cats and chickens roaming free. They also lay claim to the best Key lime pie on the planet.
3. Bern's Steak House, Tampa
Bern's is probably the most famous steakhouse in Florida, and for good reason. With a strong emphasis on tradition, Bern's has kept its classic decor and focus on perfectly aged steaks for nearly 60 years. Bern's also has a cellar with nearly half a million bottles of wine, the largest private collection in the world. Guests can even tour the cellar and kitchen after dinner.
4. The Le Tub Saloon, Hollywood
This waterfront dive is a Florida icon, claiming to have the best burger in the country. While some people can't take the long lines and get a little "hangry," we believe that's a surefire sign of a good place to eat.
5. McGuire's Irish Pub, Pensacola
McGuire's not only serves up a mean steak in a unique atmosphere; they also make their own beer and boast one of the largest restaurant wine cellars in the world. Oh, and if you're looking for a place to be on St. Patrick's Day, this is it.
6. Satchel's Pizza, Gainesville
Not only is the food amazing (everything, not just the pizza), the decor has a funky junk art vibe. It gets bonus points for having its own store (Lightnin' Salvage) chock-full of weird and fun little knickknacks and gifts.
7. Frenchy's Cafe, Clearwater
Two words: Super Grouper. There is absolutely no excuse for any good Floridian with salt water in their veins to never have eaten at Frenchy's.
8. Versailles, Miami
We can't possibly have a bucket list like this without some top-notch Cuban fare. Versailles combines all of our favorite things: Good portions, good prices and good food, all in a lovely setting. It doesn't hurt that they've been a Miami landmark for more than 40 years, either.
9. T-Ray's Burger Station, Fernandina Beach
You've definitely never had food this good from a gas station before. T-Ray's is a converted gas station with classic diner food and a silly slogan, "Eat here and get gas." Try literally any burger here, and you will not be disappointed.
10. The Old Spanish Sugar Mill, De Leon Springs
This place is already pretty cool because it's located inside of a state park, but what makes it even cooler is that every table has a griddle for guests to make their own pancakes. As long as you can flip a flapjack, you're in for a real treat.
11. Columbia Restaurant, Ybor City, Tampa
This list would not be complete without Florida's oldest continuously operating restaurant. Columbia Restaurant in the historic neighborhood of Ybor City has been serving succulent Spanish and Cuban dishes since 1905. It has since branched out to Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach and Orlando, but nothing can replace a visit to the original.
12. Yoder's Restaurant & Amish Village, Sarasota
Yoder's is an Amish restaurant that serves up all of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some of the world's best homemade pies. Yoder's has earned its place as a Sarasota landmark.
13. Teak Neighborhood Grill, Orlando
Teak uses fresh, local and organic ingredients as often as possible. Featured here is the Drunken Monk, a half-pound angus beef burger topped with Angry Orchard onion jam, roasted cherry tomatoes, smoked bacon, herb mayo, provolone cheese and chips topped with melted white cheddar cheese served on a pretzel bun. If that doesn't make your stomach growl, you're probably dead inside.
14. 4 Rivers Smokehouse
Florida hasn't always been as well known for its barbecue as other Southern states, but 4 Rivers just might change that. This place has been rapidly taking over Florida in the past few years, expanding from one man with a brisket obsession to several locations across the state.
15. TacoLu, Jacksonville Beach
TacoLu isn't as old as some of the other restaurants on this list, but every North Florida foodie worth his salt would recommend it in a heartbeat. Not only is the food to die for, the place itself is really cool. The only problem is its popularity, so plan your visit wisely.
Have you been to any of these restaurants? Which Florida restaurant do you think everyone must visit before they die? Let us know in the comments below!