(UPDATED OCTOBER 2022) Daytona Beach, on Florida’s East Coast, has an impressive food scene with fresh seafood, live music, and outdoor dining that won’t break the bank. From locally-owned restaurants, ranging from seafood to farm-to-table, ethnic eats to classic steakhouse finds, you will have no trouble finding something wonderful to feed your family. Here are the best restaurants in or around Daytona Beach, FL, that I recommend visiting, plus what is tried-and-true good.
You do not need to “put on the dog” to have a delicious meal at these local eateries, including a few in Ormond Beach and ones that the locals love. Just pull up a chair and dig right in!
This article was originally published in early 2019 and currently updated in its entirety.
Racing’s North Turn
Racing’s North Turn is a historical landmark where the racers would make a drastic horseshoe turn from the beach to the street during the race. Fatalities were not uncommon. Racing relocated in 1958 when the Daytona International Speedway opened for business.
Racing’s North Turn Restaurant has many cool things to look at to see how racing has changed over the years. It provides guests with a good dose of nostalgic history and the best service in town. If you can, sit alongside the Atlantic Ocean on the ocean deck and order a tasty Bushwacker (dark rum, Kahlua, ice cream mix) that comes in an adorable souvenir pirate coconut shell or a good, cold beer. The Baked Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, loaded with crab meat and cream cheese filling, are a great appetizer.
For dinner, try the Blackened Grouper, with a delicate shrimp creole cream sauce. I switched up the sides of mine to include seasonal veggies and the bacon cabbage, a specialty side at Racing’s North Turn. OMG, it was incredible! I 10/10 recommend this meal.
My husband and I enjoyed a lovely dinner while watching the sunset at Caribbean Jack’s on the inlet waterfront at the Daytona Marina. The popular eatery has indoor and outdoor seating with a busy bar area and is a great place for live music. Our service was attentive and all of the workers were truly hustling and providing excellent service to the overcrowded patio and dining room.
I ordered the Peel & Eat Shrimp Platter (steamed, hot) with Calypso rice and coleslaw, which was perfectly done. He had Jack’s Caribbean Jerk Chicken Tacos. I couldn’t hold two meals, but next time I’m holding out for the Caribbean Chicken Salad, served in a pineapple wedge with mango poppy seed dressing.
My husband was fond of Caribbean Jack’s daily drink specials, which can be served in a souvenir glass. Though we were too full for dessert, Fosters Spiced Rum Cake with ice cream looked and sounded amazing.
Sessions at the Hard Rock
The Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach is where you will find the best happy hour. Sessions, the oceanfront beach bar and restaurant, offers discounted prices on drinks (bottled beer, red and white wine, a few cocktails) and appetizers during this time.
For food choices, the Caesar Salad with banana croutons are awesome! Another tasty option are the Tots drizzled with balsamic and topped with a blue cheese fondue sauce.
You can also eat here for breakfast, which I did while staying at the hotel. I enjoyed really good food at affordable prices and had little or no wait time for my meal to be delivered. Kudos, Hard Rock.
Delight your taste buds in a scratch made meal from a place a little off the beaten path. Millie’s (closed Tuesdays) is a cozy little spot in Daytona Beach Shores that serves “river-to-table” and “ocean-to-table”eats and a handful of Southern dishes.
My husband tried Millie’s Shrimp and Grits, different than those we are used to, with a smoked tomato vinaigrette. The ingredients worked well together and the taste was delicious.
As for me, I went with a heavy option, the Filet & Shrimp Fondue. This 7 oz. Fl CattleRanchers filet sat atop a bed of rustic mashed potatoes and was topped with a creamy white shrimp fondue. Seasonal veggies helped cut the richness of the dish, and I would definitely order it again. Dining at Millie’s was a great experience for all of us.
The Oyster Pub
Even though I was squeamish about trying oysters, I love to watch people eat them because there is such an art to it. During my visit to The Oyster Pub Sports Bar and Grill, our party of six ordered a round of Chargrilled oysters, a house specialty. The oysters were topped with the Pub’s secret sauce.
Since I was Snapchatted this meal, I found this to be the perfect time to try my first oyster. I was shocked at how wonderful they were! The oysters were very addictive and smooth like a buttery pillow of heaven. The owner saw how quickly we polished them off and brought another platter to the table with the receipt showing that they were precisely one day old.
Aside from the epic oysters, the Oyster Pub offered us attentive service and the freshest seafood available. I ate the Blackened Mahi-Mahi Platter with rice, coleslaw, and hush puppies. A friend ordered the Oysters Rockefeller, which looked terrific. I will say that I was incredibly shocked by how stellar the food was, especially considering how relaxed the setting was. The Oyster Pub is obviously a Daytona Beach staple.
Crabby Joe’s sits on a historic wooden pier on Florida’s East Coast that offers fishing and a seat for the perfect sunrise and outdoor dining. Picnic-style tables on the deck allow for excellent beach and ocean views. Do not worry about getting sunburned because each table has its own optional umbrella.
Note: This restaurant and pier were damaged by Hurricane Ian in October 2022. Watch for it to be rebuilt in the future.
For breakfast, I chose my favorite Eggs Benedict from Crabby Joe’s. The cheesy grits made a perfect side dish and didn’t even require salt, a hard task for this Southern grain. The Eggs B was delicious! A friend chose a Crabby Joe’s specialty, the French Toast Delight, fried in a different cornflake crust.
During breakfast, we were entertained by surfers and paddleboarders. The waves rolling in added the perfect soundtrack for our meal.
The Perfect Spot
This breakfast and lunch hotspot around is Skydive DeLand, a world-class skydiving facility in Volusia County that hosts international and local chutists (Tandem and AFF) almost every day. It is only a short drive away from Daytona Beach.
Though you are not guaranteed to see jumpers, my friends and I got lucky and saw about fifty of them. The thrill was exhilarating on the ground as we watched and cheered for them while we shot epic photos.
We dined outside at the Perfect Spot, where I had a perfectly prepared omelet, served with fruit and pressed potato pancakes, even more tasty with sour cream. The prep and cook time is rather slow, but we had plenty of entertainment with the sky-diving. And, our meals were worth the wait.
For more tasty options in DeLand, check out this article.
4 Rivers Smokehouse
Enjoy delicious bbq meats, as well as lip-smackin’ good side dishes from 4 Rivers Smokehouse at the beautiful One Daytona complex. This bbq chain was started in 2009 and now has 13 locations. I can’t say enough about how good the signature Angus brisket is, but the pulled chicken and pulled pork are equally as yummy. 4 Rivers has burnt ends, a really popular bbq lovers item, as well as plant based “burnt ends beyond”, perfect for vegans.
Homestyle sides include smokehouse corn, Mac & cheese, green beans, collard greens, and bbq baked beans, all my favorites. The best thing about my meal at 4 Rivers Smokehouse was the Texas cornbread with jalapeños and Cheddar cheese.
4 Rivers has outdoor seating and a great atmosphere indoors and out. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the Crispy Cream Bread Pudding, scratch-made with doughnuts, raisins, and a sweet glaze. This is a sweet treat you can’t say no to.
The Grille at Riverview
Outdoor tables at The Grille at Riverview gave us the perfect place to lap up the scenery in nearby New Smyrna Beach. This casual dining restaurant is on the scenic Intracoastal Waterway, with impressive boats docked all around and a cool drawbridge to watch, too. It is also the perfect place to see dolphins splashing around in the water.
If you are there in the early morning, you may even see a manatee or two. Steaks, seafood, salads, and pasta dishes at The Grille at Riverview are all raved about per the online reviews.
Excellent starters at The Grille at Riverview are the Bruschetta Pomodoro (a mix of flavorful tomatoes, garlic, basil, and parmesan cheese) and Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna. The tuna is sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds and tastes great. The Thai ginger soy drizzle added so much flavor.
For lunch, I had a BLT with avocado; everyone else’s meals looked far more appealing than mine. The strawberry and baby brie salad was the one I wish I had ordered, and that my friends raved about.
Northerners, take note….Beef on Weck is on the menu!
Bacon might be at the top of your food chain like it is ours. Since we stumbled upon a yummy breakfast joint that had superb bacon, Mike’s Galley had to make our list. This no-frills diner in Daytona Beach Shores has a classic breakfast menu and serves amazing crispy bacon. The biscuits and gravy are tasty, and the eggs came out cooked just how I like them.
We could not have asked for better service from our waitress at Mike’s Galley, a great compliment to their business. If you want a quick breakfast at a sit-down establishment with reasonable prices and excellent food, Mike’s Galley should be your choice.
Ormond Beach is home to a hipster foodie restaurant, Rose Villa Southern Table and Bar. The house has been renovated to showcase its Prohibition-era history, which was at one time a speakeasy. The colorful wallpaper with busy patterns is to be admired, adding a lot of character to the rooms. Artwork by Perego, a local artist, adorn them.
Rose Villa has great food! From the Cauliflower Soup (great texture and consistency) to the complimentary bread, each bite was a delight. I had the Lobster Macaroni & Cheese for dinner, gooey and creamy with a buttery mouthfeel. Another tasty choice (and my fave) is the Fried Green Tomato stack nestled with fresh crab.
Our specialty Moscow Mules and Sazerac cocktails were the best part of the evening. Save room for the fruit cobbler—a perfect sweet treat—it’s amazing!
McK’s Tavern is in the heart of town on busy and historic Beach Street. As an Irish tavern and brewery, they have quite the list of beer and classic Irish eats. The burgers and flatbreads get a lot of compliments, but I went for the Bavarian Pretzels with beer cheese dipping sauce. Mmm, mmm, good.
McK’s has happy hour Monday through Friday 4 PM to 7 PM and on Saturdays from 11 AM to 7 PM with two for one well drinks, $1 off select beers, and $3.50 house wine. Check out the website to see the daily specials.
When you think of Daytona Beach and the surrounding area, you probably don’t think international fare or specifically Latin-American-Caribbean and Honduran food. You’ll find Caribbean-inspired fusion like no other at Chucherias Restaurant in nearby Holly Hill, one of my favorite places for ethnic eats in all of Florida.
Taste the deliciousness prepared by Chef Mayra Rodriguez like the Green Plantains (with cilantro and habanero sauces), Pupusa with grilled octopus, and pan-seared Chicken Breast with Chimol sauce. Of course, the meal must have traditional rice and black beans, cooked perfectly at Chucherias.
Don’t miss the sampler of fresh juices (pineapple, passionfruit, Mora (wild berries), guava, and tamarind) and the ultimate ending to a superb meal: Sticky Toffee Cake. Don’t miss Chucherias’ extensive wine list and specialty coffee drinks.
Red Bud Cafe
Hands down, the tastiest lunch award goes to Red Bud Cafe in downtown Daytona Beach. While showcasing the many recipes and dishes learned from extensively living abroad, this cafe will amaze you with the culinary creations they have to offer. I don’t know whether you will be more in awe of the beautiful and enormous Instagram-worthy presentations or the taste of the prepared items. I was equally torn between both.
Two things I recommend at the Red Bud Cafe are the Greek Chicken crêpe, or any crêpe for that matter, and the Two Dips platter that comes with tzatziki and hummus, amazing homemade bread and fat olives. The crêpe was sensational, maybe the most delicious one I’ve ever had, stuffed with tantalizing ingredients that married well together. Orzo pasta accompanied the dish.
While you are here, consider a coffee or tea, or one of the international dessert items. You can also buy beautiful artwork directly off of the walls. It is easy to see why Red Bud Cafe is one of the best restaurants in Daytona Beach and why the locals recommend it.
31 Supper Club
You may think you’ve just stepped into Hollywood, circa 1931, with the swanky decor of 31 Supper Club, a trendy spot in nearby Ormond Beach. The setting is fantastic and a real shocker when you get to the hidden back patio that is reminiscent of Havana, Cuba. Inside, a dazzling animal-print restaurant scene (that I would envision The Cotton Club looking like) sets the tone that you are in for a memorable dining experience.
On my visit, my husband and I stopped on the patio for craft cocktails and appetizers. The 31 Roasted Ciabatta Bread, with garlic butter and smoked gouda fondue, is a must. I loved how the bread was cut into logs and stacked for a pretty plated presentation. We also had Caesar salads with a delicious dressing and homemade herb croutons. You can add chicken for $5 more.
For more tasty options in Ormond Beach, we’ve got a few!
The Cracked Egg Diner
Imagine my surprise when I walked into The Cracked Egg Diner, someone held the door open for me, called all of the locals by name, checked on every table, and made sure the food in the window was getting out timely. This someone was Kevin Purucker, one of the owners, who set an exemplary model for his workers that seemed to be following suit.
I situated myself at the bar of this classic diner, complete with 1950’s music playing on the jukebox, and watched the kitchen pump out dozens of breakfasts at a time. My waitress was incredibly friendly, kept my sweet tea refilled, made small talk, and smiled at each guest.
My breakfast was the Country Benedict, a split biscuit with sausage patties, poached eggs, and homemade sausage gravy. It was so good. The eggs were perfectly poached, so all of that yolk spilled out to make for tasty dipping. The Cracked Egg Diner is an excellent option for breakfast or lunch with impeccable service and really great food.
Sweet Marlay’s Coffee
Sweet Marlays’ Coffee is where you will find an arsenal of impressive drink selections ranging from teas and coffees to smoothies and cold brew. They also have a decent variety of baked goods, quiche, and breakfast items, with salads, soup, and sandwiches are on the menu for lunch. The Crème Brûlée Latte is pleasing as well as the iced Chai.
The ambiance at Sweet Marlays’ is friendly and welcoming, a great place to read a book, chat with a friend, or just enjoy a change of scenery in downtown Daytona Beach. Take home a cookie, biscotti, or cupcake for later, you know you’ll want it. Gluten-free options are available.
Daytona Beach: Dishes to Make Your Mouth Water
As you can see, there are so many choices for dining (and drinking) in Daytona Beach and surrounding area. We hope this guide will help you make the best choices based on your culinary desires.
Next time I’m heading to Dancing Avocado Kitchen and Don Vito’s Italian Restaurant. What else did I miss?
Thanks to the Daytona Beach CVB for hosting my travels to the area. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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