Daytona Beach may not be top of mind for culinary exploits but we'll tell you why it should be. Through several new city-wide innovations, Daytona Beach is re-imagining itself not only as Florida's premiere beach town, but as Florida's finest food town. Some of the biggest up-and-coming chefs have set up shop in sunny Daytona Beach, and locals have also been throwing open their doors to share flavourful family recipes and new ideas all their own. So what's hot for foodies in Daytona Beach?
The Cellar Restaurant
Leah Dubois Photography, courtesy of The Cellar, Facebook
This high-end restaurant, located in the basement of President Warren G. Harding's former home, is the perfect example of Daytona Beach's burgeoning culinary scene. Do not let 'basement restaurant' disillusion you. The Cellar's dining room is cozy and intimate, akin to dining in a lavish private wine cellar. Owner Lena and Sam Moggio, who work as wine steward and head chef respectively, have worked tirelessly to make The Cellar Restaurant a culinary destination that foodies will treasure. Through their professional technique and strong attention to detail, they have carved out the perfect date night destination with flavourful and sensual foods. Among the favorites is the tender lamb shank, served coated in a rich wine-based sauce. Further, the Cellar's extensive list of creative desserts is nothing short of impressive.
Dancing Avocado Kitchen
For those looking for something a little more fun and funky, the Dancing Avocado Kitchen, as its name suggests, delivers just that. The interior of this quirky restaurant reflects the colourful fun of the 1960s while the kitchen staff serve up fresh and modern plates. There's nothing pretentious about their menu. Locals flock to the Dancing Avocado for hearty and home style cuisine. One of their specialties is the Florida favorite of fried and caramelized plantains. However, diners will notice that most of the dishes feature the noble avocado, and the restaurant does an outstanding job of showcasing how versatile the green super food can be. Stuffed to the gills with massive shrimp and large chunks of creamy avocado, may we recommend the shrimp and avocado omelette?
Our Deck Down Under
Although it may not be the easiest place to locate, Our Deck Down Under serves up the freshest seafood in town, prepared in that good old-fashioned way. Customers can expect the likes of peel n' eat shrimp, oysters served and steamed on the half shell, and a variety of grilled fish sandwiches. Diners will surely enjoy the laid back ambiance of the private deck that overlooks the banks of the Halifax. After all, the view attracts crowds itself, but is made all the better with good company and tasty plates. Our Deck Down Under is located at Dunlawton Avenue, right next to the Halifax River.
Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
There is no foodie alive that can resist a hip restaurant that serves terrific fare using only local and organic ingredients. Martini's Chophouse has made it their specialty. Baked-fresh-in-house bread make burgers and sandwiches menu favorites, but the Chophouse offers other options for both hardcore carnivores and herbivores. Their tomato basil soup is creamy with a bold tomato flavour, their salads are served with an artful array of fresh greens accented by exciting colour combinations, and their grilled salmon is served up fresh with floral jasmine rice. Diners should be excited by a varying menu that features culinary concoctions of seasonal produce.
The growing culinary scene of Daytona Beach is even attracting some big names outside of the culinary world. Vince Carter's, the high-end sports bar and restaurant owned by eponymous pro basketball player Vince Carter is proof enough of that. Although Vince Carter's has all the glitz and glamour of a high end establishment, it still keeps its sports bar trappings with tasteful sport memorabilia and the sports bar staple of massive flat-screen televisions on the walls. The menu hosts hand-crafted burgers, fish sandwiches and other good sports bar fare, but the menu also hosts an eclectic selection of Florida classics done in an exciting new way. One of the most fascinating examples of this creativity is the traditional shrimp and grits. However, Vince Carter's version has large shrimp bathed in a rich cream sauce and slathered over grit cakes instead of shrimp stirred into grits with a dab of butter, as is the usual presentation.
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