With over 1,350 miles of coastline, Florida offers an abundance of beautiful beaches to explore. But a day at the beach is about more than just sun, sand, and swimming. Florida’s beach towns also boast a thriving culinary scene spanning from casual seaside shacks to upscale oceanfront eateries.
For foodies seeking to indulge while taking in stunning coastal views, certain communities stand out for their exceptional dining options. This comprehensive guide to the best beaches for foodies in Florida covers the top beaches in the Sunshine State for devouring gourmet cuisine against a breathtaking waterfront backdrop.
Best Beach Communities in Florida for Foodies
St. Augustine Beach
Conveniently located on Anastasia Island just south of the charming city of St. Augustine, this beach community charms visitors with its laidback vibes, powdery sands, and wealth of dining choices. Beachfront restaurants like Oasis Grand offer locally sourced seafood and farm-to-table dishes under shaded outdoor seating overlooking the ocean. More casual fare can be found at relaxed spots like Dog Rose Brewing Co. with its house-brewed beers and eclectic menu of tacos, shareable plates and burgers.
Don’t miss Salt Life Food Shack for beachside tacos, fish sandwiches and burgers. Or check out Sunset Grille, a St. Augustine favorite for steaks and seafood on a breezy deck. If you have your dog along, hit up the Beachcomber where your furry friend can join you on the patio.
Delray Beach courts food lovers with its beachside eateries spanning sleek hotel restaurants to hole-in-the-wall joints. Start your culinary journey at landmark restaurant Sundy House, occupying a converted turn-of-the-century home and tropical gardens. Their seasonal New World cuisine bursts with fresh Florida ingredients. For fine beachfront dining, make reservations at Seagate Hotel & Spa’s oceanview restaurant featuring seafood and prime steaks.
More casual spots in Delray Beach include Sandoway House Nature Center’s The Green Owl Cafe with organic salads and sandwiches. At Boston’s on the Beach, indulge in pasta, seafood and steaks while listening to live music. And Dune Deck Cafe provides the perfect stop for beachside breakfast.
World-renowned as a trendy beach destination, Miami Beach dazzles with its vibrant dining scene from quick service cafes to exclusive celebrity hotspots. Must-visits include Joe’s Stone Crab for legendary seafood and Steve’s Pizza in South Beach dishing up generously-sized NY-style pies. You’ll also find Cuban cuisine and hip brunch spots like The Sarsaparilla Club just steps from the sand.
Miami Beach also houses some of the country’s top chefs and trendiest restaurants. Make reservations at Estiatorio Milos from acclaimed chef Costas Spiliadis to enjoy Mediterranean seafood mezedes. The elegant restaurant at The Setai Hotel provides Asian fusion plates by chef Vijayudu Veena. And you can find James Beard award winner Michael Schwartz’s sandwiches and locally-sourced comfort food at Genuine Pizza in the Aventura neighborhood.
New Smyrna Beach
While its beaches captivate with some of Florida’s best surfing, New Smyrna Beach also impresses foodies with beachfront restaurants like PAttiCakes sandwich cafe, serving creations like blackened shrimp tacos and chicken pesto paninis. Also not to miss is Flagler Tavern known for expertly prepared seafood, steaks and cocktails. Their oceanview deck provides the perfect backdrop.
In addition, don’t overlook restaurants in New Smyrna’s lively Flagler Avenue district. Sample creative small plates and craft cocktails at Pasha’s One, or go for Greek and Italian dishes at Stuart’s on the Ave. Beachside Bar & Grill wins raves for its fried seafood baskets. And Columbos Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria serves homemade pastas and Neapolitan-style pizza in a cozy setting.
Other Notable Beach Communities:
- Fernandina Beach – Cafe Karibo, Merge Restaurant, 29 South
- Fort Lauderdale Beach – Casablanca Cafe, Lona, American Social, El Vez Mexican, Ocean2000 Restaurant & Lounge
- Gulf Shores – The Gulf Restaurant, Southern Fresh Bistro, Pink Pony Pub
- Crescent Beach – Crescent Beach Grill, Sunset Grille, North Beach Fish Camp
- Siesta Key Beach – Tiki Hut Bar & Grill, Ophelia’s On The Bay, Siesta Key Oyster Bar
- Jacksonville Beach – TacoLu Baja Mexicana, One Ocean Resort & Spa, European Street Cafe
- Hollywood Beach – Chiringo Hollywood, B Ocean Resort Sea Level Restaurant & Ocean Bar, Le Tub Saloon
- Santa Rosa Beach – La Botana, The Bay, George’s at Alys Beach, Caliza Pool Bar
- Panama City Beach – Runaway Island, Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant, Schooners
- Fort Myers Beach – Junkanoo Beach Bar, Nervous Nellie’s Fat Point Brewing, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille
- Clearwater Beach – Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill, Columbia Restaurant, Jimmy’s Fish House & Iguana Bar
- Pensacola Beach – Native Cafe, Flounder’s Chowder House, Peg Leg Pete’s Beach Bar
- Sanibel Island- Lexington Inn Grill, Sweet Melissa’s Cafe, Il Cielo, Island Cow on the Beach
- St. Pete Beach – Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill, Toasted Monkey Grill, Castile Restaurant
- Ormond Beach – Ohana Poké Bar, Beach Shack, Down the Hatch Seafood Restaurant & Market
Beachfront Restaurants in Florida with Spectacular Views
Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill, Flagler Beach
Located right on the sand in charming Flagler Beach, Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill consistently delights visitors with its laidback surf vibe, live music, and satisfying American cuisine staring baskets of crispy chicken tenders, juicy burgers, fish sandwiches and seafood pasta dishes. Every table and seat at this outdoor eatery provides a front-row view overlooking the ocean, and spectacular sunsets provide the ideal backdrop for an evening meal. Reasonable prices make it a top choice for a breezy beachfront meal.
- Salt 7, Delray Beach – Upscale American fare on an open-air oceanfront deck.
- JB’s Fish Camp, New Smyrna Beach – Fried seafood and raw bar overlooking the ocean.
- Havana Beach Bar & Grill, Jensen Beach – Cuban specialties served oceanside.
- Sunset Grille, Bradenton Beach – Casual beachfront restaurant with Tiki bar.
- Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, Longboat Key – Seafood, burgers and cocktails on the bay.
- Whiskey Joe’s, Tampa Beach – Caribbean barbecue plates on a sprawling deck.
- Sharky’s on the Pier, Venice Beach – Seafood, tacos and drinks literally on the pier.
- Doc’s Beach House, Siesta Key – Fried seafood plates with beach views.
- Pearl Raw Bar, Panama City Beach – Oysters, shrimp, crab claws and tropical cocktails.
- Sunset Grille, Flagler Beach – Seafood, burgers and pasta on an outdoor deck.
Must-Visit Restaurants in Popular Florida Beaches
As an international hub, Miami Beach offers exceptional culinary diversity. For fresh seafood ceviche and Peruvian dishes, CVI.CHE105 fits the bill, while Pubbelly Sushi adds Japanese flavors into the mix. Luigi’s Genuine serves up wood-fired pizzas, homemade pastas and Italian small plates. You’ll also find plenty of Cuban restaurants like Puerto Sagua dishing up roast pork and other classics. For breakfast, the 11th Street Diner is a local staple.
Trendy eateries run throughout South Beach and north along the coastal strip. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, conceived by chef Michael Schwartz, highlights local and seasonal ingredients in creative dishes. For glitzy vibes with Mediterranean cuisine, check our Myles Chefetz’s Prime 112 and Prime Italian restaurants. You can also find hip Australian coffee shops like Panther Coffee buzzing with locals.
Consistently named one of Florida’s top beaches, Clearwater Beach dazzles with its sparkling Gulf waters and string of lively restaurants. Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill provides beachfront causal dining and tropical cocktails on its deck. Meanwhile, upscale fresh seafood shines at Columbia Restaurant in historic St. Armands Circle. For Mexican flavors, try Coconuts on the Beach and their fajitas and margaritas.
Clearwater Beach also impresses with its array of dockside and waterside restaurants. Stop at Island Way Grill for island-inspired dishes on its palm-lined deck with marina views. Hooter’s provides a fun, lively atmosphere to enjoy beachy fare and drinks right on the sand. And The Pub offers an enormous selection of craft beers paired with their famous grouper sandwiches.
The “Birthplace of Speed” has a surprisingly diverse food scene spanning its touristy beach road and downtown areas. Start your food adventures at Cinematique Theater & Beachside Lounge for duck fat fries, burgers and grill-fired pizzas with craft beers. Then graduate to upscale seafood and prime steaks at Ocean Deck Restaurant & Beach Club. You’ll also find Greek and Italian influences at restaurants like Santorini Cafe and Sicily Ristorante Pizzeria.
Don’t overlook Daytona’s mainland restaurants either, many within walking distance from the beach. Houligan’s sports bar provides plenty of indoor and outdoor seating for wings, sandwiches and drinks. Mardi Gras Fun Center on the mainland delights families with its arcade games and satisfying American fare. Locals also rave about the fresh-squeezed orange juice, lunch plates, and desserts at Sunrise Cafe.
Other Standout Destinations:
- Santa Rosa Beach – Brooks Burgers, La Botana Mexican Grill, Nick’s Slice of Heaven
- St. Pete Beach – Dolce Vita Italian Cafe, Bella Brava New American Food, Undertow Beach Bar & Grill
- Jacksonville Beach – One Ocean Resort & Spa, Lemon Bar Seafood Restaurant, Cruisers Beachside Bar & Grill
- Fernandina Beach – 29 South, Pepper’s Mexican Grill & Cantina, Sliders Seafood Grille & Oyster Bar
- Sandestin Beach – Four Winds II Steakhouse, Tarpon Tale Marina Grill, Another Broken Egg Cafe
- Destin Beach – The Crab Trap, 560 on the Beach, Harry T’s, Floyd’s Shrimp House
- Cocoa Beach – Four Points by Sheraton Cocoa Beach Pier, Simply Delicious Cafe & Bakery, Florida Key Lime Pie Company
Hidden Gems: Secret Beaches with Great Food Options
While Florida’s expansive coastline means even lesser-known beaches often attract visitors, a few under-the-radar destinations truly feel like local secrets. But their low-key vibes don’t mean sacrificing delicious dining options with waterfront views.
Located on a barrier island near St. Pete’s Beach, Pass-a-Grille Beach delights with its serene shorelines, small-town appeal, and eateries housed in charming historic cottages. Visitors rave about Paradise Grille and their beachfront deck serving mesquite-grilled grouper sandwiches, coconut shrimp, salads, and more. You can also indulge seafood cravings at SeaBean Cafe and other local favorites.
Some other excellent dining choices in Pass-a-Grille include The Black Marlin with its selection of fresh local catches, pastas, and steaks. The Seahorse Restaurant provides lovely waterfront views paired with seafood dishes and tropical drinks. And Shore Acre Cafe charms diners with its intimate historic home setting and menu of salads, sandwiches and daily specials.
Other Hidden Gems:
- Sebastian Inlet State Park – J.J. Manning’s, Capt Hiram’s Resort, Long Point Grille
- Calusa Beach, Florida Keys – No Name Pub, SoGood Island Eats, Boondocks Grille & Draft House
- Lover’s Key State Park – Island Pines Cafe, Matanzas Inn Bayfront Restaurant, Casa Ybel Resort’s Thistle Lodge Beachfront Restaurant
- Navarre Beach – East River Smokehouse, Cocodrie Maritime LLC, South Pointe Grill
- Gasparilla Island – The Alpine Steakhouse, Mad River Bar & Grille, The Grey Moss Inn
- Longboat Key – Dry Dock Waterfront Grille, Barefoot Children Beach Cafe, Beach House Restaurant
- Grayton Beach – Red Bar, Chiringo Restaurant & Bar, Fish Out of Water
Unique Dining Experiences at Beachfront Bars
While Florida’s beaches certainly have no shortage of sit-down restaurants, some of the most fun and lively culinary experiences happen at local beach bars. Here the toes-in-the-sand dining and tropical cocktails reign supreme.
Schooners, Panama City Beach
This sprawling beach club has been a Panama City Beach staple since 1978. Locals and tourists flock here for the nightly live music, potent rum drinks, and satisfying bar food ranging from beach tacos to fried shrimp baskets and grilled mahi sandwiches. The atmosphere is casual and spirited, with tables spilling out onto the sugar-white sand. It’s the perfect place to unwind while snacking on bar bites and taking in Gulf views.
- Flora-Bama Lounge & Package, Perdido Key – Oysters, gumbo, bushwackers and live music daily.
- Sandbar Restaurant, Sandestin Beach – Beachside tiki bar with seafood baskets, burgers and frozen cocktails.
- Crabby Joe’s Deck & Grill, Indian Shores – Crab cakes, shrimp scampi, coconut fried shrimp and daily drink specials.
- Hammerhead Fred’s, Fort Walton Beach – Wings, seafood, drinks right on the beach.
- Lu Lu’s, Destin Beach – Fried seafood, oysters, live bands and breathtaking views.
- Catalina Beach Club, Hollywood Beach – Wings, cheeseburgers, margaritas and bands at this storied dive bar.
Catering to Dietary Needs: True Food Kitchen West Palm Beach
While fried seafood and indulgent cocktails define Florida’s quintessential beach dining, destinations like True Food Kitchen in West Palm Beach prove you can also eat healthy with an ocean view. This chain puts a flavorful spin on seasonal dishes made from scratch using wholesome ingredients. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options abound. Dishes like Thai crab cakes, ancient grains bowls, fish tacos, and kale and avocado salads satisfaction without sacrificing taste. With its relaxed vibe and emphasis on conscious eating, True Food Kitchen is a refreshing find.
For those seeking out plant-based fare, more restaurants in beach towns like Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami Beach offer dedicated vegan menus. Farmhouse Kitchen in Delray Beach offers a 100% plant-based menu of sandwiches, bowls, and share plates in a modern farmhouse setting. In artsy Pineapple Grove, Darbster Kitchen impresses vegetarians with eggs benedict, superfood salads, and vegan desserts. Even upscale Italian restaurant Chops Lobster Bar in Fort Lauderdale added a separate vegan tasting menu.
So whether avoiding specific ingredients or looking to eat greener, Florida beaches dish out plenty of options for conscious diners through their diverse culinary landscapes.
Start Planning Your Beachfront Foodie Adventure
From local dives to upscale eateries, the diversity of dining experiences available right on Florida’s stunning shores makes any beach day so much tastier. Whether seeking hidden gems or iconic establishments, foodies have no shortage of prime spots to indulge their appetites amidst beautiful seascapes.
As you plan your Florida beach escape, don’t forget to sample the vibrant local food scenes flavored by fresh seafood and regional specialties. Try a Cubano sandwich in Miami or authentic Southern shrimp and grits in Fort Lauderdale. Let the Gulf’s daily catch tempt your taste buds in Naples and Tampa Bay. And save room for classic Florida Key lime pie no matter where your waterfront dining adventures take you.
Just don’t forget to work in plenty of time lounging on the sand between delicious meals. Now start mapping out your foodie-focused beach vacation to savor Florida’s combined talents for sun, surf, and incredible cuisine.