Warning: May cause serious drooling.
Tallahassee is becoming increasingly popular for its thriving culinary scene and we can see why. The city is taking it up a notch and it didn’t take long for us to notice while spending a few days exploring the capital. From delectable gourmet cuisine to comfort food at its finest, there is something for everyone.
Here are seven Tallahassee restaurants and dining experiences you must have when you visit.
1. Blow your Mind with Dinner at Cypress Restaurant
Update: Unfortunately, after two decades Cypress Restaurant closed its doors permanently.
Where: 320 East Tennessee Street, (850) 513-1100
Hands down, one of the best meals we have ever had the pleasure of consuming. A consistent favorite of the Golden Spoon Awards, this husband and wife tag team at Cypress Restaurant has all the right ingredients for an unforgettable fine dining experience.
Expect a classy space with local art adorning the walls and creative daily specials like iron-seared duck breast served with spinach and artichoke puree paired with crafty cocktails.
Order blue crab cakes with ginger spiked sauce to start, grilled steak surrounded by creamy mushroom gravy, or grilled lamb chops with a pepper feta sauce and end with the dessert sampler so you can try mini versions of their best desserts. No matter what you get, my guess is you will not be disappointed.
2. Go Bananas for Breakfast at Lofty Pursuits
Where: 1355 Market Street A11, (850) 521-0091
From a former juggler turned restaurant owner to the 26-scoop ice cream extravaganza served in a kitchen sink, Lofty Pursuits screams quirky.
Sometimes these one-of-a-kind experiences equate to a one-time-only experience, but this couldn’t be further from the truth here. At the very least, you’ll want to visit once a week for a year to sample the 52 sundaes on the menu!
You’ll find an entire section dedicated to local ingredients such as bacon, sausage, honey, granola, coffee, grits, and bread and I can’t forget to mention the delicious freshly squeezed orange juice. From the push-you-down-and-steal-your-food-worthy bananas foster waffles to the I-don’t-want-to-get-to-the-bottom-of-this-plate shrimp & grits, you’ll want to keep coming back for more.
3. Light it up for Lunch at The Edison
Where: 470 Suwannee Street, (850) 765-9771
Whether you are outside overlooking the beautiful Cascades Park or inside admiring the contemporary design atop the exposed brick of the former 1920’s power plant, lunch at The Edison is a treat.
If you have the taste for fresh seafood take your pick between the grouper Reuben, lobster roll, or fish tacos. At this time of year, the reasonably priced selections come with grilled corn, a choice of a side with options like orzo salad, mac and cheese, sweet potato waffle fries, or Greek potato salad, and a non-alcoholic beverage.
RELATED: 5 REASONS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH TALLY
4. Treat Yourself at Food Glorious Food
Where: 1950 Thomasville Road, (850) 224-9974
Have I died and gone to a foodie’s heaven? Welcome to Food Glorious Food where they will take you on a celestial journey with large plates such as the pan-fried Gulf grouper with sauteed rapini and mushrooms, blistered grape tomatoes, roasted garlic, and asparagus in a balsamic reduction.
Like spicy? Try the jerked Mahi served on a bed of black beans and rice with salsa fresca. I didn’t want to share even one bite with my husband! Make sure to save room for one of the many scrumptious desserts like the turtle truffle tort or the hummingbird cake.
5. Enjoy a Breakfast of Champions at Merv’s Melt Shop
Update: Unfortunately, Merv’s is permanently closed.
Where: 825 Railroad Avenue, (850) 765-5222
Located in an old auto shop decked out with colorful murals, you’ll want to take a few minutes to look around the parking lot before heading inside.
It all started with a love affair for the classic grilled cheese sandwich and spiraled from there. Merv’s Melt Shop is a favorite among locals and college students for hearty breakfast sandwiches like the Surfers Melt that is stacked with scrambled eggs, avocado, heirloom tomato, crispy bacon, chipotle mayo, cheddar, and swiss cheese.
The menu gets even more interesting with sides like drunken tots, truffle tots, and west coast tots.
6. Eat Local and Fresh at Backwoods Crossing
Where: 6725 Mahan Drive, (850) 765-3753
It’s one thing to notice a garden in front of a restaurant, but then to see a greenhouse with aromatic herbs attached once you enter is a game-changer.
The quips kept coming, “Now that’s fresh!” and “Talk about a short distance from farm-to-table!” In all seriousness, Backwoods Crossing takes the idea of locally sourced to a whole new level with an ever-changing menu inspired by seasonal vegetables and produce. It is one of the best casual restaurants in Tallahassee.
We love their creative twist on an otherwise boring salad option. The shrimp with spirit salad is layered with warm brie, grilled shrimp, caramelized apples, fresh jalapenos, and toasted almonds, drizzled with a blueberry-jalapeno reduction. The crab trap has garden kale and arugula with roasted red peppers, fire-roasted corn, shiitakes, onion slivers, and aged parmesan topped with a big ol’ crab cake.
7. Experience a Delightful Dinner at Sage Restaurant
Where: 3534 Maclay Blvd S, (850) 270-9396
With a combination of over-the-top friendly service and gastronomical delights, Sage Restaurant is the place to be.
The crowd, which begins early on the weekends, is a testament to the divine food and posh but warm atmosphere.
Expect to find Southern-infused seafood like Gulf shrimp and sea scallops with blue crab scallion hush puppies, stewed okra and tomatoes with slaw glazed in remoulade sauce and meat-and-potatoes with a twist like fire-grilled filet with fingerling potatoes, brussels sprouts with bacon hash, and blue cheese fondue in a cabernet sauce on the menu.
And don’t forget the fresh oysters! Almost every table is adorned with a tray.
What are your favorite Tallahassee restaurants? If you haven’t been before, which restaurant would you try? Tell us in the comments below!
Like it? Save it for Later!