Must-Go Food and Drink Spots: Florida

We wouldn't hesitate to revisit any of the places on this list!

May 10th, 2018

After spending a few months exploring our way through Florida, we put together a list of some of our favorite places to eat or grab a drink. We enjoy finding places that are delicious, authentic, and visited by locals. Not all these places fit that bill exactly, but these are the ones we would say you shouldn’t miss if you’re in these areas!

    Here's a list with links to the section describing each place:
  1. Yardie Spice (Homestead, FL)
  2. Robert Is Here Fruit Stand (Homestead, FL)
  3. Los Potosinos Taqueria (Homestead, FL)
  4. Everglades Gator Grill (Homestead, FL)
  5. Safe Harbor Seafood Market (Atlantic Beach, FL)
  6. Poe's Tavern (Atlantic Beach, FL)
  7. Steamers (Cedar Key, FL)
  8. Island Hotel Restaurant & Bar (Cedar Key, FL)
  9. Low Key Hideaway (Cedar Key, FL)
  10. The Oar House (Cedar Key, FL)
  11. 1842 Daily Grind & Mercantile (Cedar Key, FL)
  12. Shrimp Boat (Valrico, FL)
  13. Schooner Wharf Bar (Key West, FL)
  14. Morita's Cuban Cafe, (Cudjoe Key, FL)
  15. Caribbean Club (Key Largo, FL)

1. Yardie Spice (Homestead, FL)

Yardie Spice stands out because it is has the most unassuming exterior with some of the best service and food you can get. It’s right off the street and it looks closed since it has really tinted windows. It is owned by a husband and wife, one of which is from Haiti and the other from Jamaica. The result is authentic, quality food that merges flavors and cooking styles from both countries and it is AMAZING. They have fresh juices that vary each week - don’t skip out on these, even if you don’t typically drink juices! The owner is very personable and will help you decide what to order. Just check out the glowing reviews on Yelp, that’s how we found out about them! They even made it on Yelp’s list of top 100 places to eat in 2018.

Front of Yardie Spice (Homestead, FL) Yardie Spice in Homestead, FL | The front looks very un-assuming. Don't be fooled! Sign of Yardie Spice (Homestead, FL) Not the best picture, but here's the sign on the building.

2. Robert Is Here Fruit Stand (Homestead, FL)

Right down the road from the Everglades is this unique gem. From the road, it looks like a large (and almost always busy) fruit stand. Once you walk in however, you realize it is much more than that! Behind the stand you can find an eclectic array of animals, old tractors, parts of crashed planes, and more. The stand itself is quite impressive, with exotic fruits claiming to taste like anything from chocolate pudding to cotton candy. You can get a chilled coconut to drink coconut water from, but what you shouldn’t leave without having is one of their milkshakes made from these various exotic fruits - although not cheap at $7 a pop, they are so delicious!

3. Los Potosinos Taqueria (Homestead, FL)

This is a taco truck we stumbled upon when we were planning to drive a bit further out from the Everglades for dinner. It’s permanently parked with picnic tables and a large outdoor covered area. It is super authentic food and seems to be very busy regularly. I would recommend the tacos over the other dishes though, as it seemed some of those were just frozen and heated up or fried.

Los Potosinos Taco Truck (Homestead, FL) Los Potosinos Taco Truck (Homestead, FL)

4. Everglades Gator Grill (Homestead, FL)

We had only had gator one other time before visiting this place, and the gator bites we had that time were fried. These were grilled, and were really good! They have outdoor seating out of the small restaurant area, and it’s super casual. We were only able to go once, but I wanted to go back and try some of the other dishes. They have gator sandwiches, gator tacos, gator bites, gator kebabs…. Etc. If you’re interested in trying gator, or trying a new spin on gator then it’s definitely worth a stop.

Gator Grill Outdoor Dining Area (Homestead, FL) Outdoor Dining Area at Gator Grill (Homestead, FL) Gator Grill Tacos and Gator Bites (Homestead, FL) Gator Bites and Gator Tacos at Gator Grill (Homestead, FL)

5. Safe Harbor Seafood Market (Atlantic Beach, FL)

Nick and I both love seafood, and this place makes my mouth water just thinking about it. It’s a casual seafood restaurant that’s great for either lunch or dinner. They have a screened in porch area that overlooks the water where the fishing boats come in. The front of the building is the market where you can buy fresh seafood directly from them, and behind that is the restaurant. You could tell it was fresh! We came back for dinner after eating here once for lunch. Highly recommend this place if you’re looking for seafood.

Safe Harbor Seafood Market and Restaurant (Atlantic Beach, FL) Safe Harbor Seafood Market and Restaurant (Atlantic Beach, FL) Safe Harbor Seafood Market and Restaurant (Atlantic Beach, FL) View from the rear, waterfront side of the restaurant Safe Harbor Seafood Market and Restaurant (Atlantic Beach, FL) We walked around after lunch to look at the ships in the harbor.

6. Poe’s Tavern (Atlantic Beach, FL)

We ate at Poe’s while staying in Jacksonville. It was such an interesting place! We didn’t expect for it to be so strongly themed with Edgar Allan Poe, but it was right down to the details. Instead of music playing in the bathrooms, you heard Poe’s writings over the speakers and the walls were filled with his words too. It’s mainly a burger joint, but they have many different unique burgers and you can order any of them as a chicken or veggie burger as well. Not to mention they have a great beer menu, and it was here I first tried my new favorite beer, Jai Alai from a brewery in Tampa, FL!

7. Steamers (Cedar Key, FL)

Speaking of seafood, Cedar Key is a part of the Big Bend Shellfish Trail and is one of the few stretches of coast in Florida that is dominated by tidal creeks and salt marshes instead of beaches. The water is also very clean, making it the perfect place for clam and oyster farming. If you go to Steamers and order any of their clam or oyster items on the menu, you won’t be disappointed. We also recommend the Gator bites!

8. Island Hotel & Restaurant/ Island Hotel Bar

The Restaurant

If you want the best-tasting food in Cedar Key, this is your place. It’s also the only white table cloth restaurant in the area so is perfect for a fancier date night. The food isn’t cheap, but it’s not crazy expensive either. You can find a range of prices and all the food is delicious.

The Island Hotel Exterior (Cedar Key, FL) The Island Hotel view from outside at night (Cedar Key, FL) The Island Hotel Food (Cedar Key, FL) Our food at The Island Hotel

The Bar

You can order the same food items you’d get at the restaurant at the bar as well! But in a much more laid-back atmosphere often with incredible live music. They also have some more affordable food options here that are daily specials which aren’t offered at the fancier restaurant. We came here twice before we left Cedar Key! Random Fact: There’s a cool painting above the bar which has a couple bullet holes in it apparently from a man in the 1960s who had a few too many drinks.

Live Music at the Bar at The Island Hotel (Cedar Key, FL) Live music at the Island Hotel Bar in Cedar Key, FL. Mural behind the bar with gun shot holes at the Island Hotel Bar (Cedar Key, FL) Mural behind the bar with gun shot holes at the Island Hotel Bar in Cedar Key, FL.

9. Low Key Hideaway (Cedar Key, FL)

Low Key Hideaway is the perfect place to have a drink and watch the sunset, talk to visitors and locals alike, and just relax. It is a part of the Low Key Hideway motel and RV park, and is one of the more popular places to visit while in Cedar Key. Everyone talks about this place! It’s funky, quirky, creative, and they often have great live music.

Low Key Hideaway view from the dock (Cedar Key, FL) The view of Low Key Hideaway from the dock. Entrance to Low Key Hideaway Tiki Bar. Entrance to Low Key Hideaway Tiki Bar. Sunset at Low Key Hideaway. Sunset at Low Key Hideaway. Awesome live music at the Tiki Bar. Awesome live music at the Tiki Bar.

10. The Oar House (Cedar Key, FL)

During our month-long stay in Cedar Key, The Oar House opened as the new restaurant at Sunset Isle RV Park (where we were staying). The owners had moved to Cedar Key after deciding the typical 9 to 5 rat race corporate environment wasn’t for them. The restaurant was only serving breakfast and lunch while we were there since they were newly open but have since expanded to a dinner menu as well that sounds amazing! We went for breakfast multiple times and really enjoyed it. If they have the bacon hash (they have a different hash of the day), we highly recommend that one because that was the best breakfast either of us have ever had!!

Our favorite breakfast at The Oar House - Bacon Hash. Our favorite breakfast at The Oar House - Bacon Hash. The Oar House Omelette. The omelette was good too!

11. 1842 Daily Grind & Mercantile (Cedar Key, FL)

This was the cutest coffee shop and lunch place! It was brightly decorated and had the nicest people working there. It can be a bit tough to catch it on an open day and time, but that's the nature of places in Cedar Key. Once we finally made it we really enjoyed the creative dishes they served out of the small kitchen and barista area. We were impressed! A nice touch was the old school record player as well, which workers would periodically have to flip over or switch out for a new record to keep the background tunes going.

Daily 1842 Grind Front of Store (Cedar Key, FL) 1842 Daily Grind Coffee Shop and Lunch Spot in Cedar Key, FL Inside 1842 Daily Grind Inside they have a cute chalkboard sign and a few tables for seating. Ordering window in 1842 Daily Grind It's amazing what they generate out of the tiny kitchen in this place behind the counter. I have no clue what that creepy monkey is in the top right corner either... Lunch at 1842 Grind in Cedar Key Lunch was delicious! This was mine, Nick got a delicous curry meal I didn't have time to take a picture of before it disappeared haha :)

12. Shrimp Boat (Valrico, FL)

This is a solid place for a laid back date night. It has a great atmosphere, great food, and great drinks. They have seafood that’s definitely not just fried and piled on your plate. They have creative dishes such as shanghai tuna over fried rice and ceviche as well as some more classic dishes. They have good portions and the food is plated pretty too which is a plus :) The prices are also reasonable!

13. Schooner Wharf Bar (Key West, FL)

I would dare to say this was our favorite place in Florida. They had a solid drink menu, great live music, a laid back outdoor atmosphere with great lighting, and it was the only touch of what people call “Old Key West” we could find left in the city. It’s right on the marina so you can walk around and see various yachts, charter fishing boats, and sail boats after you’ve stuffed yourself with their food. It’s served on disposable plates, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the food isn’t worthy of fancy dinnerware! We both got a ton of food and were raving about it. We would certainly go back and bring friends here when we came back to the Keys :)

Schooner Wharf Bar Front Sign (Key West, FL) Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West, FL Live music at the Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West, FL They had awesome live music here. This lady could convincingly sing both male and female parts of the song. Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West, FL Main dining area is all outdoor seating. Such a cool spot!

14. Morita's Cuban Cafe (Cudjoe Key, FL)

We ate here after a morning of SCUBA diving so we were starving! It came highly recommended, but we should have gotten there earlier because the daily special apparently disappears almost as soon as it begins being served. It’s a family-owned little restaurant that is best for take-out because it consists of a kitchen area and a couple of outdoor picnic tables. We mixed and matched some tacos and stuffed ourselves a little too full. They were authentic, delicious, and really rich. If we had been here longer, we’d have tried to go back and get one of her daily specials before it ran out!

Morita's Cuban Cafe Tacos (Cudjoe Key, FL) The daily special had sold out, but the tacos were amazing here too!

15. Caribbean Club (Key Largo, FL)

We stumbled on this place while looking for somewhere, anywhere, to watch the sunset in Key Largo. We were driving back up to the Everglades where the Airstream was parked and realized the sun would start setting soon. Thinking we’d find a little spot on the West coast of the Keys, we realized there were very few public spots like that! So we came into this place for a couple of beers and ended up staying and watching the boats come in from the dock for hours! It was relaxing and mesmerizing watching the sky change with the setting sun as boats pulled in to park for the night. Be forewarned though, this is a cash-only spot!

Caribbean Club Key Largo, FL View of the water from the outdoor hangout area at Caribbean Club in the Keys. Caribbean Club Key Largo, FL Bar area inside - only cash is accepted here! Caribbean Club Key Largo, FL Looking outside from the bar area inside. Caribbean Club Key Largo, FL Sitting on the dock, this is the view to the left! So beautiful.

So there you have it. These are all the places we would go back to if we found ourselves in these areas again. And now my stomach is grumbling and my mouth is watering and I’m miles from any of these spots! So I’m gonna wrap this up and grab some ice cream from the freezer. Let us know if you have any other food or drink spots you love in Florida!