Many of Florida’s best restaurants and most delicious foods aren’t found along the interstate. You’ve got to explore its off-the-beaten-path roads and drive into its small towns to discover its mom-and-pop restaurants, hideaway cafes, and locally owned favorites that serve up some of the state’s tastiest fare. Here are seven of the dining scene’s best-hidden gems worth digging into during your next visit to Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches. It’s time to eat like a local.
Osteria Rustica Italian Restaurant
Sit back, relax and enjoy dinner and a show at Osteria Rustica, TripAdvisor’s top-ranked restaurant in Bunnell. Florio, the Italian restaurant’s chef, and the owner enjoy preparing food in front of his guests, whether he’s filleting a fish or flambéing a bananas foster. Make sure to save room for Osteria Rustica’s cheese wheel and its pasta made in-house.
Bring an appetite to Southern Table, another one of Bunnell’s favorite restaurants specializing in Southern comfort food from morning until evening. Feast on all-day breakfast staples like country-fried steak and eggs with a side of grits, or stop by for a supper of Southern Fried Chicken served with collard greens, a baked sweet potato, and macaroni and cheese. You won’t leave here hungry when you eat like a local here!
Yes, the Southern-themed menu at this Bunnell institution that first opened in 1956 is extraordinary, but make sure to save room for dessert too. The Chicken Pantry specializes in out-of-this-world cheesecakes like the “Holy Cannoli,” which is surrounded by more than a dozen of delectable Italian treats. With hearty meals like chicken and waffles also on the menu, you might need to take some of your cheesecake back to your hotel.
Take a trip around the world without leaving Bunnell at World Plate, which features an ever-changing, internationally inspired menu serving everything from schnitzel and sauerbraten to Mongolian chicken and seafood fettuccine. Plan ahead and make a reservation; World Plate’s main dinner hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. Eat like a local while you are sampling world cuisine.
If you’re going to order one menu item at Bantam Chef, make it the famous fish sandwich. Bantam Chef’s signature sandwich has evolved into a regional favorite over the decades, with its fried Alaskan pollock piled high, made to order, and topped with housemade tartar sauce. This is one crispy, perfectly fried creation you won’t want to miss!
Bull Creek Fish Camp
Come for the lakeside dining and sunsets over the water at Bull Creek Fish Camp; stay for the incredible food. From gator tails and fried pickle chips to low country boils, complete with crab clusters, shrimp, clams, mussels, crawfish, andouille sausage, and corn on the cob, the delicious menu options, and the beautiful surroundings will leave you with lasting memories long after your last bite.
Crab Shack 386
Seafood lovers rejoice at Crab Shack 386, which offers guests the opportunity to build their own boil bag complete with options like scallops, lobster tail, crawfish, oysters, and clams. Or chow down on a variety of shrimp and crab combination platters complete with sides like potatoes, sausage, and corn. You can’t go wrong at the Crab Shack!