A Foodie’s Guide to Florida: Best Places to Hang Out

By  //  January 26, 2024

Florida is known for its beaches, theme parks, and warm weather, but did you know that it’s also a foodie’s paradise? 

From fresh seafood to Cuban sandwiches, there are endless options for delicious meals in the Sunshine State. 

In this guide, we’ll take you on a culinary journey through Florida and highlight some of the best places to hang out and satisfy your taste buds.

Wynwood, Miami

Miami’s art district offers all sorts of food and drink spots dotted amongst the mural-adorned warehouses. 

Sip on a small-batch cold brew beneath the shade of an impressive tree at Panther Coffee and plan your visit. 

This area boasts Michelin-recommended restaurants at both ends of the price spectrum, from Zak the Baker’s babka, challah bread, and pastries to Greek dishes in al fresco taverna Mandolin Aegean Bistro, and swanky Michelin-starred tasting menus at Hiden and Le Jardinier.

If you’re looking for a bolthole in this trendy part of the city then try Arlo Wynwood, complete with a mural-clad staircase leading to a funky tropical cocktail bar and terrace. 

The rooftop pool is the place to relax for classic Miami vibes; wiggle along to tunes on your sun lounger and sip refreshing mezcal cocktails or tuck into tuna poke bowls beneath candy-striped parasols. 

Not far from there, you can find Casino Miami where you can try your luck at slot machines and try to make a Jackpot.

St. Augustine

Pineapple salsa

St. Augustine is America’s oldest city and is steeped in history, but it also has some fantastic foodie spots that are worth checking out. 

Start your day with a delicious breakfast at the Blue Hen Cafe or the Maple Street Biscuit Company, known for its flaky biscuits and southern-style toppings. 

For lunch, head to The Floridian for fresh seafood dishes like shrimp and grits or blackened fish sandwiches with pineapple salsa. 

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocolate Turtle Fudge Factory, where you can watch fudge being made right in front of you and then sample some for yourself. 

For dinner, try the upscale Spanish cuisine at Michael’s Tasting Room or indulge in Southern comfort food at The Ice Plant.

Round out your evening with a nightcap at Stogies Jazz Club & Listening Room, where you can enjoy live jazz music while sipping on handcrafted cocktails. 

St. Augustine also has a thriving craft beer scene, so be sure to stop by Bog Brewing Company or Ancient City Brewing for a taste of local brews. 

Little Havana, Miami


Vibrant Little Havana beats to its own Cafecito and mojito-fuelled drum, with live music floating out of bustling bars and dynamic Cuban-American culture on every corner. 

Casual must-eats include pressed sandwiches at Sanguich de Miami, iconic patties and shoestring fries in old-school diner El Rey De Las Fritas, and no-frills seafood lunches at fish market turned canteen, La Camaronera. 

Classic Cuban cocktails, live music, and a slice of Cuban cantinero culture are to be found at lively, internationally award-winning bar, Café La Trova. 

Or Olds does a brilliant mojito and ropa vieja stew with live music. Non-Cuban spots include dinky, popular Lung Yai Thai Tapas, whose fiery, fragrant northern Thai plates have bagged it a Michelin Bib Gourmand badge.

Ybor City, Tampa

Cuban sandwich

This atmospheric neighborhood of Tampa is rich in history and legend. Built in the 1880s by the thriving cigar industry, it became a hub for immigrant workers from Cuba, Spain, Italy, Germany, and beyond.

Still at Ybor City’s heart is Columbia, Florida’s oldest Spanish restaurant. Menu stalwarts include the 1905 salad, pollo Manchego (juicy crumbed chicken topped with sun-dried tomatoes on paella-style rice), and white chocolate bread and butter pudding.

The 1,000-seater original restaurant is a mansion of eclectically adorned rooms that pay homage to the cultures that influenced it.

Ybor City bills itself as the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich (though this is hotly contested by Miami). 

If you have a Cubano anywhere in Tampa, the bread is likely to have come from La Segunda, a bakery that’s still going strong in its original location since 1915, close to JC Newman (Tampa’s only remaining cigar factory – it’s well worth a visit to learn how the industry shaped the neighborhood’s culture and cuisine).

Bite into a crisp, layered Cubano, or try the guava turnover for a sweet, flaky accompaniment to a café con leche. 

For something stronger, small-batch brewery, Cigar City, works homegrown ingredients such as habanero peppers into its award-winning beers.

Final Words

Both Little Havana, Miami, and Ybor City, Tampa, capture the vibrant spirit and rich cultural heritage of Florida’s Cuban influence. 

These neighborhoods offer an immersive gastronomic experience, from traditional Cuban masterpieces to innovative fusion plates, all in environments that echo the history and culture of their origins. 

Whether you’re sampling a Cubano sandwich, exploring the historic cigar factories, or simply soaking in the lively atmosphere, these neighborhoods offer a taste of Cuba without ever needing to leave Florida.