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Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach--no good food?

  • t

Every post I've seen regarding these areas says there is nothing but bad chain food. This is not good. My main reason for going on beach vacations with my wife is the seafood. Please tell me there is good seafood to be found (that I don't have to catch and cook). I like it all--it just needs to be fresh.

If this area is so bad, how far would one have to drive? I'm willing to go an hour or so (there will be a 3 month old with us...this will take some work) but I assume we could make it up to Flagler (or possibly Crescent, where I'm more familar). Is there anything south or west?

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  1. Ok - I'm the biggest critic of food in this neck of the woods. We are hounds who moved from Ft. Lauderdale 8 months ago - We love living in Ormond Beach, but are dying for some independent, ethnic restaurants.

    Last week we did find a decent and reasonable place on AIA - Betty's AIA in Ormond-By-The-Sea - nothing fancy - is it going to be good when you try it? Who knows.

    Want a decent place near New Smyrna? Billy's is good -not great, but good. Hey, watch out for the sharks - seriously!!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chuck

      We hit JB's just south of NSB (near the park). It was good for steamers and oysters and rock shrimp. Actually their chowder was really good. I'd give it a recommendation if you are in the area. Decent gin and tonic, but I'd stick with beer next time.

      Had a Sat night meal at Norwood's in NSB. Supposed to be the best place there. Overpriced wine shop (and cheese) attached. It was ok, with overcooked fish for all. The fried platter looked ok. Would not recommend.

      1. re: Tater
        t
        Tyler In Pensa

        I second the motion for J.B.'s Fishcamp. Every time that my wife and I are in the area we stop in for a pound of Rock Shrimp. Your fingers smell like Rock Shrimp for about a week, but its worth it... Not a fancy place, but when I go there that's not what I'm looking for.

        1. re: Tyler In Pensa

          Spent a lot of late nights at JB's. Gotta love crabs!

    2. Greetings Challenged Chowhound!

      Indeed, finding taste treats and good eats along the Space Coast can be as challenging as the riptide! We moved to Daytona Beach from New York City and found ourselves in an epicurian wasteland!

      BUT..through the help of other challenged chowhounds...we have found several gems among the tides.

      For casual yet excellent fish right off the boat...check out "The Deck Down Under" beneath the Dunlawton Bridge on the intracoastal in South Daytona...the same woman who owns "High Tides at Snack Jacks" in Flagler Beach also runs this place. Excellent Grilled Southwest Tuna Sanwich, crab cakes, clams and steamers. Nothing fancy...but a super view, great service, very local scene, and incredibly inexpensive. We eat there at least twice a week!

      Incidentally, if you are doing any cooking yourself, check out Hull's Seafood in Ormond Beach...family run, with just about the best selection of beautiful fresh fish I've seen anywhere! Great softshell crabs right now!

      Hungarian Village in Daytona is old school but very tasty..family run for 25 years.

      For a more upscale experience, try Le Crepe en Haute in Ormond...very pricey, but fine French dining!

      Also, Karling's in Deland is well worth the drive...the best crispy duck and local red snapper we've ever tasted. Again, pricey, but super. Order the rhubarb tart with fresh cream for desert!

      While we generally avoid chain restaurants,try Stonewood (local fish and a delectable chocolate bread pudding)and the Chart House (great red snapper)in Daytona. Both are very good.

      Of course, head further North to St. Augustine for...Sweetwaters, La Parisiene, Caps on the Water, and Gypsy Cab.

      If you enjoy Mideastern nosh, definately try Pasha's on ISB in Daytona for a shawarma and baklava. Informal but fantastic family run place with excellent dishes. His wife bakes all the bread and deserts.

      Finally, Manny's Pizza in Port Orange is exquisite. Almost though I was back in NYC!

      Hope this helps, and please let us know if you discover something on your own!

      1 Reply
      1. re: johann

        Here are a few gems I have come across in Daytona Beach:

        Earl Street Grill - Earl Street and A1A (across from the Adams Mark). You have to park in the stupid parking garage (validated) but the seafood is superb.

        Ocean Deck - great seafood here, but dont go there too late - they play band music every night and the place gets very noisy.

        Link: http://chefmoz.org/United_States/FL/D...

      2. My father, who lives there, just tried Bostons Fish House in New Smyrna Beach and said it was great.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Cathy Elton

          Cathy and Joeann - Thanks for the effort -

          A few comments - Hull's is terrific - we live in Ormond Beach and found that one out pretty quick.

          Heard La Crepe was good but $$$ and not a place I am interested in trying

          I heard Manny's Pizza was good - We're there asap! Without this possibility, its Bizzarros in Melborne!

          Will try Bostons -

          Did not like the Deck Down Under at all

          Heard The Stonewood Inn was good - We're there asap!
          We love the Gypsy Cab Company
          Heard La Parisiene is good - We're there next time we get to St. Augustine

          Karlings sounds interesting but its a long drive for us from Ormond Beach

          Only one possibility for you - Betty's on AIA up near Flagler and SR 100 - just south of 100. Fairly new - the best part is you are eating on the ocean so to speak - get their fish from Hulls, too. Very reasonable - been there once and it was very good.

          1. re: Chuck

            Chuck-
            Have you tried or heard of La Pentola in St. Augustine? We ate there a year ago and had a great, great meal prepared by a couple who really care about food. I've posted about it here with absolutley no response. Just curious if somehow I was fooled and it's not that good and no one wants to hurt my feelings...

            Thanks for your help.
            Gregg

            1. re: Tater

              Greg - Never heard of Pentola not that means anything -
              Is it Italian? If its Cuban, we wouldn't be there - Had our fill of that stuff 25 years in So Florida - hate it.

              We moved to Ormond Beach (45 minutes south of St. Augustine) 8 months ago - only been to St. Augustine two times - both times we ate at Gypsy Cab, which is pretty good, but its not worth a 45 minute ride.

              They have to blow up Daytona and start all over - this town is the absolute pits - Ormond is great place to live, but the lack of restauerants is a problem and we're too far from Orlando.

              1. re: Chuck

                It is Italian. It's in a strip mall and run by a couple--she runs the front, he the back. Only 10 or so tables, so get a reservation. Cute Russian waitresses. They really care about the food.

                1. re: Tater

                  Flagler Beach is really nice because there are virtually no chain restaurants beachside which is so wonderful! My faves are the Flagler Fish Co, great food, tasty side dishes, like seaweed salad and asiago potatoes... a bit pricey but worth it.
                  For breakfast, the Java Joint is great (yummy french toast), and you can get a decent cup of coffee.
                  Overall, Snack Jacks is my all time favorite, the Fish Tacos are the best! (That sauce they serve with it is delicious!) and they have such a great atmosphere, the employees seem to really love their jobs which is refreshing to see plus it makes for great service.
                  If you make it to St Augustine, you gotta go to the Manatee Cafe (on Rt 16) Fantastic! For pricier digs, go to 95 Cordova, it's in the Casa Monica hotel, simply decadent.

              2. re: Tater

                If you are going to St. Augustine the Columbia restaurant used to be very good as well as the Monks vineyard.

                1. re: Docsknotinn

                  The Columbia is still good. Monks Vineyard closed a few years ago.

                  JB's Fish Camp is good. So are Boston Fish House and Spanish River Grill in New Smyrna. Norwood's used to be good but not so much now - just mediocre.

                  Daytona is kind of a hard case when it comes to good food. Try the Angell & Phelps Cafe on Beach Street. We like Stonewood Tavern in Port Orange and Fish Bones in Ormond.

                  1. re: PDeveaux

                    On my last visit a local told me about a new Thai restaurant in Daytona Beach, Thai Spice. We liked our dinner so much we wound up going back our last night in town. Good food, decor and friendly staff. We enjoyed our breakfasts at Avacado Kitchen that was a rec from a fellow chowhound.

                    1. re: Windsor

                      Agree with you about Avocado Kitchen. I've only been there 1 time but the breakfast I had was very good.

              3. re: Chuck

                Chuck,

                Next time you're in the Melbourne area, suggest you try the pizza at Brooklyn Pizza & Pasta ( http://brooklynpizzapasta.com/ ). I think they make a better pie than any I've had at any of the Bizzarros, including the one at A1A & Rt. 192.

                an ex-NYer

            2. There are some new places in Ormond Beach. Cuvee is a very good tapas restaurant on Granada( rt 40) near the intersection with A1A in Ormond Beach. Also Caffeine on Granada in Ormond Beach, very good new restaurant with excellent chef. I agree about Stonewood. La Crepe in Ormond is over rated but is the most expensive restaurant in the county, I think. Peach Valley( also on Granada in Ormond near intersection with A1A) is good for breakfast/lunch- very fresh good( same owners as Stonewood). Many like Billys on Granada - it is usually full. I have not been impressed by it personally. Frappes North on Granada was very good but the chef left; not sure now it is now. By the way , in Daytona, the Cellar is excellent- Italian and run by a couple who are careful about quality. e.d. mann

              1. La Fiesta in Port Orange, great Mexican. Also Zen Bistro in Daytona Beach near City island is very good Thai. There's a chocolate place just down the street that has good chocolates and decent but, for me anyway, overpriced for the value food.

                1 Reply
                1. re: crewsweeper

                  Near Las Bistro is Caffeine- a new very good restaurant on Granada about 2 blocks form the bridge on the north side.

                  Also there is a new Thai restaurant on Nova south of Granada that I hear is very good.