2014 Best of Tallahassee
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Food & Beverage
Appetizer: Bonefish Grill
Seriously, who can resist the scrumptious Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer at Bonefish? Next time you’re in, give the Ahi Tuna Sashimi or Twisted Edamame Hummus a spin. You’ll be glad you did.
Honorable Mention — 101 Restaurant
Asian Restaurant: Masa
Located in the bustling Midtown neighborhood, Masa is an Asian-inspired seafood and sushi restaurant with a touch of elegance. Perfectly suited for cultured taste buds, Masa’s modern take on Eastern flavors has turned it into a local favorite. A great choice for lunch with co-workers or dinner for two.
Honorable Mention — Azu Lucy Ho’s Restaurant
Bakery: The Cake Shop
Whether you’re in the market for a single dainty cupcake or a towering five-tier wedding cake, the folks at The Cake Shop have you covered. Beloved for their innovative cupcake flavor combinations (like salted caramel, strawberry white chocolate cream and German chocolate), a trip to The Cake Shop is a great way to celebrate all the delicious moments life has to offer.
Honorable Mention — Tasty Pastry Bakery
Bar: Madison Social
In its first year in business, this CollegeTown watering hole became THE place to have a libation. Can’t beat the view of Doak Campbell Stadium and patrons enjoy the rustic/industrial vibe that includes garage doors that are rolled up on pleasant days and ice-filled troughs in the patio picnic tables to keep bottled drinks icy cold.
Honorable Mention — Sidecar Gastrobar
Barbecue: Sonny’s BBQ
If you’re on the hunt for some down-home cuisine, look no further than one of Sonny’s three Tallahassee locations. With a diverse barbecue menu featuring everything from juicy smoked pulled pork to chargrilled chicken, and pit master-crafted spare ribs, there’s no need to travel far to indulge in a taste of true Southern-style dining.
Honorable Mention — Piggy’s BBQ
Breakfast: The Egg Café & Eatery
Indulge in a home-style meal at The Egg. With a selection of hearty entrees (may we recommend one of their numerous omelets, a variation of their tasty Eggs Benedict or a classic bowl of grits) and beautiful baked goods, this casual café is the stuff breakfast dreams are made of.
Honorable Mention — Canopy Road Café
Chicken Salad Chick | Best Casual Dining
Brunch: The Egg Café & Eatery
If the early morning hours have dwindled away, fear not — The Egg also serves up a delicious brunch. Featuring an adaptable menu, patrons can expect the same friendly service and cozy atmosphere, with a burst of flavor. Favorite brunch items include the savory Croque Madam, a slice of homemade quiche or a sizzling skillet entrée.
Honorable Mention — The Front Porch
Cajun Restaurant: Coosh’s Bayou Rouge
Authentically Cajun and perpetually delicious, Coosh’s serves up some of the Bayou state’s most classic dishes. Every day is Mardi Gras with Louisiana favorites such as jambalaya, muffalettas and seafood gumbo. Try a taste of New Orleans with their popular cheesy shrimp and grits layered in a savory cream sauce with a side of perfectly crisp hush puppies.
Honorable Mention — Harry’s Seafood, Bar & Grille
Casual Dining: Chicken Salad Chick
For a relaxed meal that’s served quicky-quick, nothing in town beats the Chick. It’s fun to grab a scoop or a sandwich and settle in to the brightly lit restaurant — now with two Tallahassee locations to catch up with friends. The only hitch is the 15 different varieties of this Southern-style classic to choose from — it may take several visits to find your favorite!
Honorable Mention — Ted’s Montana Grill
Catering: Klassic Katering
Once again, Klassic Katering has nabbed the No. 1 spot as one of Tallahassee’s most beloved catering companies. With a rich history in the region and a lifetime of culinary insight, the masterminds behind the delicious concoctions emerging from the Klassic kitchen will surely cater to whatever needs your event requires.
Honorable Mention — Chicken Salad Chick
Celebration/Special Occasion Restaurant: Cypress Restaurant
Cypress is known around town as the place to go for any special occasion. Embracing a totally divine, farm-to-table take on gourmet, Cypress’ impressive menu and authentic recipes will give you cause to celebrate. And with an intimate and upscale atmosphere, there’s just no going wrong. So, bon appetit!
Honorable Mention — Sage Restaurant
Coffee Shop: Starbucks
Cypress | Best Celebration/Special Occasion Restaurant
Looking for a caffeine pick-me-up? Look no further than Starbucks! From the most decadent java creations (Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino anyone?) to a refreshing iced vanilla latte, this coffee house is world-renowned for its handcrafted, quality beverages. For those of you simple coffee addicts don’t fret; you can still pick up a cup of freshly roasted espresso at anytime throughout the day.
Honorable Mention — RedEye Coffee
While Florida’s own grocery store has a great selection of meats and cheeses in its deli (and now an online preordering service so you don’t have to grab a number and wait), anyone with a nodding acquaintance with social media knows the “Pub Sub” is the Publix deli’s main attraction. Pleasant attendants are at the ready to create a deli-licious sub or sandwich to your exact specifications.
Honorable Mention — Hopkins’ Eatery
Dessert: The Cake Shop
When you’ve finished a delightful meal, the icing on the cake is … well, icing on the cake! The Cake Shop offers a delightful array of gourmet cupcakes, as well as cookies, and other sweet bakery treats, including cakes — sized from little rounds for four to special occasion cakes serving hundreds.
Honorable Mention — Food Glorious Food
Fine Dining Restaurant: Cypress Restaurant
Whether your arranging a romantic dinner for two or an upscale business meeting, Cypress’ quality ingredients and attention to detail puts them into a class all their own. As evidenced by their multiple “Best of” victories for 2014, this gem of an establishment is dedicated to providing their guests with an exceptional culinary experience each and every time.
Honorable Mention — Sage Restaurant
Vertigo Burgers and Fries | Best Hamburger
Hamburger: Vertigo Burgers & Fries
With no fancy signage or decoration, Vertigo simply offers unique and unexpected flavor combinations that result in some amazingly tasty burgers. Take a bite of the wild side and try their Dizzy Duck burger with ground duck meat, blue cheese, arugula and cherry compote. You definitely can’t go wrong with the Tremor burger, a crafty take on the classic American beef patty topped with truffle tremor cheese, applewood bacon, sautéed mushrooms and roasted garlic dijonaisse.
Honorable Mention — BurgerFi
Happy Hour: 101 Restaurant
Whether you like your martini straight up or with a twist, 101 has got you covered. With two happy hour specials, one from 4 to 7 p.m. perfect for a post-work cocktail, and another for the night owls from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., there really is no excuse to not indulge your fixation for a libation. Weekdays or weekends, you can always find a friendly face during 101’s happy hour.
Honorable Mention — Madison Social
Hibachi: Osaka Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar
Japanese fare and entertainment go hand in hand at Osaka. This Hibachi emporium serves up top-quality ingredients with the personalized attention of a chef preparing your meal right before your very eyes. Teppanyaki favorites chicken, shrimp, beef and scallops are paired with a starter salad, soup and a side of rice, noodles and veggies — leaving any guest feeling satisfied. It’s the perfect location for large groups or special occasion meals.
Honorable Mention — Japanica Steakhouse
Italian Restaurant: Bella Bella
Italian classics take on new life at Midtown’s own Bella Bella. A family-owned and operated business, Bella Bella’s creative menu includes eggplant rollatini, Sicilian lasagna and chicken parmesan. With a cozy, fun interior, convenient location and exceptional service, Bella Bella is a sure bet. Just don’t forget to start the meal off with an order of their bubble bread!
Honorable Mention — Riccardo’s Restaurant
Locally Owned Restaurant: Kool Beanz Café
Kool Beanz’s artful flavor combinations, attention to detail and approachable vibe make it the epitome of gourmet in Florida’s capital city. Deliciously eclectic and locally sourced, their selection includes scrumptious creations like the boneless duck breast in a blueberry-demi glace sauce and linguini with crawdad tails and tasso ham.
Honorable Mention — Bella Bella
El Jalisco | Best Mexican/Latin American Restaurant
Lunch: Chicken Salad Chick
This fast-casual eatery is a must-do for the Ladies Who Lunch. While creamy chicken salad is the star of the menu, Chicken Salad Chick offers soups and turkey, roast beef and ham deli sandwiches as well as another Southern staple on bread — pimento cheese. Pick your side, too. We’re partial to the Broccoli Salad.
Honorable Mention — Hopkins’ Eatery
Martini/Cocktail: 101 Restaurant
No one does happy hour quite like 101. Offering patrons an ultra cool atmosphere and an impressive assortment of cocktails to choose from, 101 and the adjacent Mint Martini Lounge are a libation lover’s dream destination. 101 is the ideal spot for unwinding after work or a night out on the town with friends. Cheers!
Honorable Mention — Bonefish Grill
Mexican/Latin American Restaurant: El Jalisco
Although Cinco de Mayo only comes once a year, the folks at El Jalisco give us a reason to celebrate all through the week! With daily two-for-one margarita specials, traditional menu items like the Chile Rellenos, Shrimp Fajitas, and Carnitas with corn tortillas, you don’t have to leave Tallahassee to get a little taste of the Mexican beachside.
Honorable Mention — La Fiesta
The Front Porch | Best Outdoor Dining Restaurant
Outdoor Dining Restaurant: The Front Porch
If dining under twinkling lights and majestic oak trees is part of your M.O., then The Front Porch is the place for you. Located in the heart of Midtown, The Front Porch’s aesthetic components and delicious fare are pleasing in every way. Their Southern twist on seafood dishes combined with their idyllic locale makes them a favorite in the hearts of many.
Honorable Mention — Sage Restaurant
Pizza: Momo’s Pizza & Brew
Whoever said that size doesn’t matter was sadly mistaken — at least when it comes to pizza. Momo’s is the only place where you can devour a “slice as big as your head!” This hole-in-the-wall pizza joint prepares their delicious pies in true New York style pizzeria fashion. The diverse craft beer selection, laid-back atmosphere, and made-from-scratch pizza have made Momo’s a favorite spot of students and locals alike.
Honorable Mention — Brickyard Pizzeria
Seafood Market: Southern Seafood Market
The seafood connoisseurs at Southern Seafood make it easy to find the freshest assortment of fish in town. With new varieties of fish brought in daily, there’s no need to purchase frozen or imported fish. With a great variety of seafood on ice and prices acceptable on any budget, it’s definitely worth a shopping stop.
Honorable Mention — Mike’s Seafood & Oriental Market
Seafood Restaurant: Bonefish Grill
Southern Seafood Market | Best Seafood Market
Bonefish Grill combines family-style dining with delicious food made with top-notch quality seafood. The never frozen, prepared-to-order dishes reflect the freshness of ingredients such as cold water lobster tails, Chilean sea bass, wild Gulf grouper and rainbow trout. All of the market-fresh fish is cooked to perfection and accented with your choice of a complimentary signature sauce.
Honorable Mention — The Seineyard Seafood Restaurant
Sports Bar: Midtown Pass
You won’t miss a single play from your favorite team when you have access to over 20 high-definition televisions and three massive projector screens. Thanks to their extensive selection of more than
80 bottled beers and over a dozen on tap, you will certainly find a beverage to put you in a celebratory mood. Not only does Midtown Pass boast a full liquor selection, they serve up some of the best bar munchies around!
Honorable Mention — Miller’s Ale House
Steakhouse: Marie Livingston’s Steakhouse
Without Marie Livingston’s, life in Tallahassee would be missing something wonderful. It has all the necessary ingredients for a fine evening: upscale, yet comfortable atmosphere, helpful, accommodating staff and quality cuts of beef with a house steak sauce that’s too savory for words.
Honorable Mention — Outback Steakhouse
Marie Livingston’s Steakhouse | Best Steakhouse
For yet another year, Masa has earned honors as the spot for Tallahassee’s top sushi. The proof is in the pudding — or should we say sashimi — when you taste the freshness of every raw or cooked ingredient in their specialty sushi rolls. Try their unique spin on the classic California roll, served with blue crab and mango sauce, or have the best of land and sea with the Surf and Turf roll, consisting of extra-large shrimp, cream cheese and avocado, topped with seared beef tenderloin.
Honorable Mention — Kiku Japanese Fusion
Wine List: The Wine Loft Wine Bar
Selection is paramount at The Wine Loft. Situated in the heart of Midtown, it offers its patrons one of the finest assortments of exquisite wine and tapas in the city, plus a view to match. Sip and swirl your beverage of choice from the second-floor balcony and prepare to relax.
Honorable Mention — Clusters & Hops
Wingstop has the art of chicken wings down pat, with equally delicious wings being served at all three of their Tallahassee locations. All of the juicy and crisp chicken wings are hand tossed and sauced ensuring a flavorful kick with every bite. From Hickory Smoked BBQ to Atomic Hot, these wing experts have a flavor for every palate. Don’t forget to order a side of fries with “extra shake” for additional zest.
Honorable Mention — Buffalo Wild Wings