Welcome to Florida! Known as the Sunshine State, Florida isn't just famous for its sun-soaked beaches and vibrant nightlife—it's also a culinary paradise waiting to be explored.
Each region offers its own unique flavors, from the multicultural influences of Miami to the fresh seafood from the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Ocean.
Whether you're a foodie on the hunt for your next favorite dish or a casual traveler looking to taste the local cuisine, Florida's rich gastronomic scene has something for everyone.
The state’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its culture and history, promising an adventure that your taste buds won't forget.
Now, it's time to get to the heart—or rather the stomach—of this food journey.
We’re dishing up the food to try in Florida. Let's get munching!
#1 Food To Try In Florida: Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie is a popular dessert in Florida, particularly in the Florida Keys.
It's made from key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks, all baked together in a pie crust, often a graham cracker crust.
The pie is known for its creamy, tangy flavor, which comes from the key limes.
These limes are quite tart and almost bitter if you eat them alone, but they truly shine as the superstar ingredient for Florida’s most beloved pie.
The pie is not just a popular dessert within the state, but it's also a demand at food shows around the country where people specifically ask for a Key Lime Pie from Florida.
Best Places to Enjoy
Key Lime Pie is best enjoyed in the following locations in Florida:
Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe, Key West
Rated as serving the best key lime pie by the Today Show, Food Network, and National Geographic.
Blue Heaven, Key West
Known for its key lime pie piled high with meringue topping.
The Florida Key Lime Pie Company, Cocoa Beach
Known for serving their creamy, tangy dessert by the slice or by the pie. In 2018, they served one with a 12.25-foot diameter, which is the world’s largest key lime pie.
#2 Food To Try In Florida: Stone Crab
Stone Crab is a delicacy that Florida is widely known for.
This seafood treat is characterized by its sweet, delicate, and succulent meat which is often served with a side of mustard sauce for dipping.
The unique flavor profile of the Stone Crab is what truly sets it apart - it carries a subtle sweetness that is balanced with a slight saltiness from the sea.
Florida's Stone Crab industry is a significant contributor to the state's economy. In fact, most of the Stone Crab consumed in the United States comes from Florida.
The harvesting season for Stone Crabs runs from October 15 to May 15, ensuring a fresh and steady supply of these delicacies for most of the year.
Best Places to Enjoy
Now, where can one best enjoy this Floridian delicacy?
Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach
An iconic eatery that opened as a tiny lunch counter in 1913.
It has grown significantly since then, but its commitment to excellent food and friendly service remains the same.
Along with its famous stone crab claws, you can also enjoy an unforgettable slice of Key lime pie here.
Graham's Stone Crab in Everglades City
This family-owned and operated seafood market has been in business since the 1970s. They offer both take-out and mail-order services, allowing you to enjoy fresh stone crab no matter where you are.
Frenchy's Seafood Company in Clearwater
Frenchy's operates its own fleet of fishing boats, ensuring that the stone crab claws they serve are fresh and of high quality.
The claws here are served with the traditional mustard sauce, which perfectly complements the sweet meat.
#3 Food To Try In Florida: Cuban Sandwich
The Cuban Sandwich, or Cubano, is a quintessential Florida delicacy that you must savor.
In its simplest form, a Cubano is a grilled sandwich made on Cuban bread and filled with delicious layers of Swiss cheese, tender roasted pork, ham, pickles, and mustard.
Yet, the nuances of this sandwich go beyond the initial delectable bites.
It's the tender crispness of the bread, the savory layers of meat, the tangy punch of the pickles, and the warmth of the melted cheese that create a symphony of flavors in your mouth.
In Florida, the Cuban Sandwich is more than just a sandwich.
It's a symbol of the state's rich cultural heritage, a testament to its culinary diversity, and a staple of its food industry.
It's a dish that brings together communities, sparks conversations, and fuels the state's vibrant food scene.
Best Places to Enjoy
Here are five must-visit locations in Florida to relish this mouthwatering sandwich:
La Segunda Bakery (Tampa)
A Tampa institution since 1915, this bakery in historic Ybor City is renowned for its Cuban bread and its destination-worthy Cubano that features a unique blend of mojo-seasoned roast pork, smoked ham, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, and dill pickles.
A special sauce made of mustard and mayonnaise adds an extra tang to the sandwich.
The Columbia (Tampa)
This Spanish restaurant, also located in Ybor City, is the oldest restaurant in Florida and is acclaimed for its Cuban sandwich that regularly receives "Best Cuban in Florida" designations.
The sandwich is celebrated for its hearty portions and the extra-crispy texture of the bread, which is brushed with butter and pressed in a panini grill.
Enriquetas Sandwich Shop (Miami)
Located in Miami's trendy Wynwood neighborhood, Enriquetas is known for serving up hearty, flavorful, and reasonably-priced meals.
Their Cuban Sandwich, especially the "El Especial," which includes housemade croquetas, is a must-try.
#4 Food To Try In Florida: Grouper Sandwich
The Grouper Sandwich is the quintessential Floridian culinary delight that is not just a sandwich but an experience.
Imagine a perfectly seasoned and expertly cooked slab of grouper nestled between two pieces of fresh bread.
The mild flavor of the fish, enhanced by the crunch of the bread, creates a combination that is simply irresistible.
The grouper sandwich is more than just a meal; it's an industry in Florida.
The Sunshine State is renowned for its fishing industry, with grouper being one of its most popular catches.
From the moment it is pulled from the clear Floridian waters to the time it is served on your plate, the grouper is treated with the utmost care to maintain its freshness and flavor.
Best Places to Enjoy
So where are the top places in Florida to enjoy this local delicacy?
Fish Shack in Lighthouse Point
A modest establishment, the Fish Shack is a hidden gem in South Florida.
Don't let the simple exterior fool you; this place serves some of the best seafood in the region.
Their grouper sandwiches are a standout, capturing the essence of Florida's bountiful marine life in every bite.
Big Ray's Fish Camp in Tampa
Their legendary blackened grouper sandwiches are a must-try. The blackening process adds a depth of flavor to the fish that is hard to resist.
They also serve a grouper reuben for those looking for an adventurous twist on the classic sandwich.
And, if you have room for sides, don't miss their homemade onion rings.
Big Water Fish Market in Siesta Key
If you find yourself in the Sarasota/Siesta Key area, the Big Water Fish Market should be at the top of your list.
Here, the grouper sandwiches get a creative spin, such as the grouper BLT. This establishment proves that everything is indeed better with bacon.
And if you're a fan of fish tacos, theirs are reportedly insanely delicious.
#5 Food To Try In Florida: Conch Fritters
Conch fritters, a beloved staple of South Florida, offer a unique seafood flavor that is simply irresistible.
These bite-sized delicacies are crafted from conch meat and bread crumbs, fried into small patties, and usually served hot, often accompanied by a hot sauce or ketchup.
They are typically enjoyed as an appetizer before a meal.
Pair them with something bright and citrusy like an IPA or even sangria, especially on warm summer days when these snacks truly shine.
The conch industry in Florida is vibrant, with conch fritters being a popular dish not just in Miami, but also in other parts of the Caribbean.
Best Places to Enjoy
Here are the top three places in Florida where you can best enjoy this dish:
The Conch Shack in Key West
Nestled in the heart of Key West, The Conch Shack is famous for serving some of the best Conch Fritters in Florida.
With its laid-back atmosphere and a prime location near the water, this spot is perfect for savoring fresh Conch Fritters while taking in the island vibes.
Alabama Jack's in Key Largo
Located on the way to Key Largo, Alabama Jack's is a legendary spot among both locals and tourists.
This old-school waterfront restaurant, with its classic Floridian charm, serves up Conch Fritters that are crispy on the outside and deliciously tender inside.
Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West
A historic bar that once served as a favorite haunt for Ernest Hemingway, Sloppy Joe's Bar is not only steeped in history but also renowned for its Conch Fritters.
Paired with a cold beverage, the Conch Fritters here provide an experience that is quintessentially Key West.
Let's Savor the Flavors of Florida!
From the tangy zest of Key Lime Pie to the hearty warmth of a Cuban Sandwich, these five dishes offer a taste of Florida's culinary richness.
But remember, they are just a starting point—Florida's food scene is a sprawling buffet of flavors waiting to be discovered.
So, on your next Florida vacation, don't be afraid to venture off the beaten path and create your own culinary adventure.
We hope you leave with a full belly and a deeper appreciation for the Sunshine State's gastronomic delights.
Taste the world one bite at a time and discover more foodies below!.