From Coast to Cuisine: Where to Find the Best Food in Florida

Close-up of a Florida map highlighting Tampa.

From Coast to Cuisine: Where to Find the Best Food in Florida

From the northern panhandle to the southernmost Keys, Florida is a state that offers a wide range of culinary delights. Whether craving fresh seafood, tangy citrus, or a sweet treat, the Sunshine State has something to satisfy every palate.

Florida’s cuisine is as diverse as its population, with influences from various Caribbean, Latin American, and Southern cultures. The state’s proximity to the ocean also means that seafood is a staple in many dishes.

If you’re a food lover planning a trip to the Sunshine State, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll take you on a virtual food journey, exploring the best food in Florida and highlighting some must-try dishes in different state regions.

1. North Florida

Our food journey begins in North Florida, where you’ll find a mix of Southern comfort food and coastal cuisine. The region is known for its delicious seafood, particularly oysters and shrimp. One popular dish you can’t miss is the Florida Cracker Clam Chowder, a creamy and comforting soup made with fresh clams.

Aside from seafood, North Florida is also famous for its mouthwatering barbecue. Be sure to try the tender and smoky ribs from Mojo Bar-B-Que in Jacksonville, which are slow-cooked to perfection.

2. Central Florida

Central Florida, home to the world-famous theme parks, is a playground for thrill-seekers and a haven for food enthusiasts. When you’re in this part of the state, make time to indulge in two iconic dishes: Key Lime Pie and Floribbean cuisine.

Made from the juice of key limes, which are native to Florida, every bite of a Key Lime Pie is tangy and refreshing. For the best Key Lime Pie experience, head to Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe in Key West, where you can savor this sweet and tart treat in its birthplace.

On the other hand, Floribbean cuisine is a fusion of Caribbean and Florida flavors. It’s known for using tropical fruits, spices, and fresh seafood. One of the pioneers of this cuisine is Norman Van Aken, whose restaurant, Norman’s, in Orlando, is a must-visit for foodies.

3. South Florida

As we make our way down to South Florida, prepare to embark on a culinary adventure influenced by Latin American and Caribbean flavors. This region is famous for its vibrant and diverse food scene, but if one dish stands out, it’s the Conch Fritters.

Conch fritters are a beloved local specialty made from tenderized and seasoned conch meat, deep-fried to golden perfection. For an authentic taste of South Florida, head to The Conch Shack in Key West, where you can savor these crispy delights.

South Florida is also home to the iconic Cuban sandwich, a mouthwatering combination of roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard pressed to perfection. For the best Cuban sandwich in town, stop at Versailles Restaurant in Miami, a local favorite.

4. Gulf Coast

Now, let’s hop over to the Gulf Coast, where you’ll find some of the freshest seafood in the state. In this region, one dish you must try is the Grouper Sandwich. This signature seafood sandwich features a tender and flaky grouper fillet, usually grilled or blackened, add lettuce, tomato on a bun and a tangy sauce.

Head to The Fish House in Pensacola for a taste of Gulf Coast history. The home of delicious seafood dishes since 1998. It is renowned for its mouthwatering Grits a Ya Ya, a creamy Southern dish made with smoked Gouda cheese, spinach, and tender Gulf shrimp.

5. Southwest Florida

Our food journey is complete with a stop in Southwest Florida, where you can savor the flavors of the Everglades. This region is known for its unique ‘Glades’ cuisine, which features local ingredients like frog legs, alligator, and turtle.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try the alligator bites at City Seafood in Everglades City. These crispy and tender morsels will give you an authentic taste of the region.

Southwest Florida is also famous for its upscale dining, and one place that stands out is The Veranda in Fort Myers. This charming restaurant, set in a historic Victorian home, offers a refined menu with classic dishes like Florida pompano, prepared with a modern flair.

6. The Treasure Coast

Our penultimate stop takes us to the Treasure Coast, where you’ll find beautiful beaches and delectable seafood. This region is known for its stone crab claws, a valid Florida delicacy.

Stone crab claws are harvested from the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean and they’re best enjoyed cold and served with mustard sauce. For a memorable seafood feast, go to Crab E Bill’s in Vero Beach, where you can crack into these succulent claws.

7. The Gold Coast

Our food journey comes to a flavorful end on the Gold Coast, where you’ll discover a diverse culinary scene influenced by cultures worldwide. When you’re in this region, one dish you can’t miss is the Blackened Mahi-Mahi.

Blackened Mahi-Mahi is a mouthwatering seafood specialty, typically seasoned with spices and seared to perfection. For a memorable dining experience, head to Charley’s Crab in Palm Beach, a waterfront restaurant known for its elegant ambiance and fresh seafood.


Florida is a true food lover’s paradise, offering many dishes that celebrate its diverse cultural influences and bountiful natural resources. From the savory flavors of North Florida to the tropical tastes of the Keys, the Sunshine State has something to satisfy every palate.

So, if you’re seeking a culinary adventure, pack your bags and travel to explore the best food in Florida. Good food is always better when shared, so remember to bring along some good company to make your foodie experience even more memorable!

The Best of Florida’s Cuisine at Copeland’s of New Orleans

If you want to experience a taste of the best restaurant in Jacksonville, FL, look no further than Copeland’s of New Orleans. Our restaurant in Jacksonville, FL, combines NOLA flavors and Florida favorites, creating a unique and mouthwatering dining experience. So, if you’re craving good food and a lively atmosphere, make a reservation at Copeland’s of New Orleans.

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