- Jeremy Feb 26, 2005 12:50 AM
My girlfriend and I live in NY but she just got transferred to Tallahassee for 4 months and she's dying to find some great places to eat. We like seafood a lot but any style of food is fine. Any reccomndations?
Jeremy (and Samantha)
Thank you for suggesting Z-Bardhi. Based on your post, we had dinner there Friday night. Nice small Italian restaurant set in a small cottage with outdoor patio. It was just a bit too cold for outdoor dining that night. There were four at our table. As a first course, three had the house salad and hubby ordered 1/2 Greek salad. Next visit, I would order the half portion of the Greek salad. The field greens on the house salad were very limp and it was hard to detect the house dressing. For a $5.00 salad, I was underwhelmed.
Hubby loved his lasagne, my chicken picata was perfect with a veggie and sample of the ravioli of the day served on the side. The veal ala (something) looked good. The highest priase seemed to go to the nightly special of lasagne with shrimp and scallops. We will return.
We moved to Tallahassee last year and have found the restaurant reviewer for the Tallahassee Democrat, Ashby Stiff, to be consistant and have made a point to try his top rated 4 1/2 and 5 "hat" spots. The link is posted below.
Albert's Provance is the top of my list for seafood. It is a small bistro set in a strip mall complex (many of the area restaurants are found in strip malls it seems). The owner/chef is a local legend. They offer several nightly seafood specials along with a divine menu. My standards tend to be their grouper, coc au vin or osso bucco with the gargonzola salad.
Angelo's Seafood, on the coast, is worth the drive. We have a small beach house nearby and have been regulars for years. Great fresh seafood and greek salads. Sadly, many of the mom and pop restaurants along the coast have recently sold out to developers. The sleepy fishing villages along the panhandle are changing.
Chez Pierre offers fine food in an elegant southern plantation style home. Try dining on the patio if the weather permits. They have regular entertainment along with wine tasting menus.
I have found two good fresh seafood markets. Southern Seafood is located across the parking lot from Albert's Provance. Mike's Seafood and Oriental Market is worth checking out as well.
Mon Pere et Moi is a cozy place for lunch. It is a french chocolatiere serving quiche, sandwiches, salads and soup. They have recently started serving dinner on Saturday.
While you are in the area make a point to visit Thomasville, GA and Appalachacola, FL. Two short nice drives. Ashby has a few recs in his "out of town" list.
coming from a fellow NY'er who lived in Tallahassee a couple years ago...Ashby Stiff (the newspaper food reviewer) is absolutely clueless.
you can get mediocre French food at Chez Pierre...lots of local seafood (almost always fried) anywhere....your best bet is Grapes and Grain (wine store that doubles as a restaurant)...it's about the only decent dining in the area.
decent wine list at a place they call Les Divorcee...I forget what it's actually called....Les Cabaret maybe.
"Grapes and Grain"
I believe the poster is referring to the small import grocery-wine bar-restaurant called Cluster & Hops. A good place for a bite to eat, either light starters and a drink before a show or a full dinner. Good wine selection and knowledgeable staff. They also have a very nice billards table in the upstairs room.
Not fancy but I get a kick our of Good Time Charlies, kinda cajun, very informal,cheap,funky little place
As former New Yorkers who followed Times restaurant critics from Claiborne to Reichl, my wife and I (inveterate diners out) have found evaluations by Tallahassee critic Ashby Stiff to be equally knowledgeable,informative and wryly entertaining.
Some of Stiff's finds that we enjoy:
Albert's Provence for French flavored food. Nino's, Z. Bardhi and the little Riccardo's for Italian. Carlos'Cuban Cafe for both classic and creative. Cafe Cabernet for its excellent wine cellar. Angelo's on Kerry Forest and the no-frills Seineyard in Woodville for seafood. La Fiesta and La Tapatio for Mexican. Samrat for East Indian. Manna for its deli and dependable meals. Lucy Ho's for sushi and Oriental dishes. Reangthai for Thai.
We only wish that Destin were closer. Some very excellent restaurants there.
I'm always astounded that anyone finds anything of value in the reviews of Ashby Stiff. It's almost as if he doesn't look at anything beyond the mediocre food that is on his plate.
Cafe Cabernet's "excellent" wine cellar is only excellent if you enjoy paying 400 percent markup on a rather limited selection; there isn't a restaurant with a decent cellar in town, not one.
Kool Beans has gone into the toilet, and every entree is identical, a protein smothered in an overwhelming and greasy sauce, some sauteed vegetables overwhelmed by what should be a component ingredient, and a starch that takes up about 75 percent of the plate.
If the Democrat had any balls at all, they'd hire a restaurant critic with legitimate training in either cooking, front of house management, or journalism. Giving three hats plus to places like Gordo's and Reang Thai (perhaps the filthiest kitchen I've ever seen) proves that Mr. Stiff is none of the above.
I went to Barnacle Bill's last time I was there. Not bad.
There used to be a little place out on Adams (or perhaps Gaines?) that was converted from a very old gas station to an oyster bar. Long gone, I suppose.
When I was at FSU, I stayed one summer and worked at an oyster house in Carrabelle. Didn't pay much, but at the end of the week, I could buy a half sack of oysters, 5 lbs of spot shrimp and some fresh roe mullet for $15. I ate like a king the rest of the week.
Is that smoked mullet joint still there?
There is a decent Middle Eastern place called the Sahara which occasionally has belly dancing. I always like the New Leaf Market too. It has a vegetarian deli that's pretty good. I agree with other posters that Decent Pizza is really good, maybe the best place in the city.
I wouldn't pay Ashby Stiff any mind... as a native Tallahassean I have learned to blow off his restaurant reviews. He tends to like places with really ritzy, upscale atmospheres that completely fail to deliver in the Genuinely Good Food Department.
Trust me, I've lived here for 20 years!
Here you go:
- Au Peche Mignon: Genuine French pastries on Timberlane Road. You won't find anything heavy or over-sweetened here.
- Catfish Pad: The best fried catfish in Tallahassee, hands down, on Magnolia Street.
- Mori: I am a huge fan of sushi, and I was shocked and surprised when Mori, a hibachi restaurant, turned out to have not only an amazing selection, but very high-quality fish, right off of N. Monroe.
- Samrat: Amazing Indian food on Apalachee Parkway.
- Cabo's: They've got seafood which they say is their "specialty", but I'd stick with the burritos, they're awesome! Great homemade salsa and chips, bean dip, comfy atmosphere.
- Reang Thai: Real Thai food on Capital Circle.
- International House of Food: On Monroe, the eggplant special is one of my favorite dishes in the world.
- Masa: Good sushi on Monroe.
- Kitcho's: On Timberlane, good sushi but also great Japanese dishes that don't involve raw fish. More upscale atmosphere, a great place for a date.
- Hopkin's Eatery: On of my favorite places for lunch, one on Monroe and one on Market Street. The turkey guac sandwich is the best.
If I think of any others I will post them!
While we travel frequently, we're Tallahassee based. We've followed Ashby Stiff's reviews for more than 20 years and found them to be consistently in agreement with our experiences. I only wish Tallahassee had more "ritzy, upscale" restaurants for him to review and us to enjoy.
Thanks for the Catfish Pad recommendation. I'm here for work, love catfish and am so glad I went. Awesome. You can taste that elsuive handmade-ness. Juicy, not-greasy at all cornmeal dredged catfish fingers and crunchy fresh coleslaw.
My other Tallahassee note- great coffee at All Saints. Avoid the Tally Starbucks like the plague. They thoroughly ruined my Wednesday morning!
All Saints Cafe
903 Railroad Ave, Tallahassee, FL 32310
Here here for a revival!
I am surprised that no one has mentioned "Latin Cuisine" aka Las Brasas. It's on Appalachee Parkway, in the smallish shopping center across from Samrat Indian. Read the definitions carefully, as there are some interesting combinations! Specials are always on the board as you enter. I always order the fried yucca with extra green sauce!
Note: it's not upscale at all, but the food is a good value and they also have a small dry goods/grocery if you're missing some authenticity in your local Publix.
Also, we've found Giorgio's to be delightful for coffee, desserts and other great adult after dinner drinks.
The Main Ingredient has become a weekly or bi-weekly occurrence as well. Besides having multiple Sweetwater beer options and yummy appetizers, you can customize your meal to your exact tastes given the wide variety of "base ingredients", flavor combinations and plating accompaniments.
I second Las Brasas. Their calamari is great, the Lomo Saltado is wonderful, the specials are authentic and the chilled out staff have recommended dishes for me not found on the menu. Also, their prices can not be beat.
The Main Ingredient, on the other hand, seems to have trouble deciding exactly what kind of restaurant it wants to be -- a funky hippie spot with tons of ingredients and sauces, a more upscale venue with a full bar and elaborate specials and live music, or a cheapo college hang out serving glorified heroes and fries. I agree the feta wedge appetizer is tasty, but I always seem to end up spending more than I figured I would at a restaurant of that quality.
I completely disregard Ashby Stiff's reviews. Anyone who smokes and drinks hard liquor with their meal can't have much of a discerning palette. As far as I am concerned, the guy knows nothing about real cuisine.
tonight we are trying Ruby Sky for the first time. I'll post how we like it.
My report on Rubie Sky: Don't bother!
I think the fact that they advertise "fine dining" on their sign but when you drive up they have an outdoor eating area with TVs showing football sums it all up. They are doing a glorified fern bar menu and not very well.
The low point of the meal was the house salad--the standard mixed greens had been plated hours before and refrigerated until they were flat and wilted. Total yuck!
The grouper with "lobster-corn salsa" included a huge serving of corn--probably frozen but well cooked with maybe 2 nuggets of lobster? and very little seasoning. The grouper was a large serving, quite overcooked and dry.
My husband wanted to order the ravioli but they were sold out. We were seated at 6:30 on a Sat night--not too late. With such a limited menu, you would think they would at least add a special if they are out of the only pasta dish. He ordered the snapper which was nicely cooked but with whipped potatoes and sweet potato ribbons--too many starches.
Desserts were nothing special.
We ordered a bottle of wine which they also were out of. Switched to one a bit more expensive. When we wanted a second bottle, guess what? No more. So they offered another at about the same price but we really didn't like it as much.
The waiter drove my husband and our other friend crazy by constantly putting his hand on them while taking the order and checking back with us.
All in all I would give it a 2 out of 10.
If you are from NY then you must try a new place on the noth east side of town Thomasville Rd.and Kerry Forest Pky. called Rummy's the pizza is truly NY style and flavor, we have been several times and never a bad experience. You can check them out on line www.rummyspizza.com hope this helps.
What are where is Andrew's, Cypress, and Z Bardhi's....never heard of these if they are indeed in Tally.
seafood recommendation is Rj's House of Catfish
Take hwy 20 west to Libert/Leon county line. right past the river bridge on the left turn left is rj's. I believe cash only and possibly checks (not sure). But no credit /debit
I generally get the all u can eat shrimp and mullet. or all u can eat shrimp and fried oysters....but with oysters u get one helping not all u can eat. occasionally I get all u can eat catfish/ and shrimp. I believe it's byob I take my own cherry coke, and believe I have observed beer carried in. Last few times, they have been getting busier, and seats have been limited, or a slight wait.
Andrews is on Adams right by the Capital. Cypress is on Tenn, just west of Leon High, and Z. Bardhi's is right inside the entrance to Killearn Plantation, off Thomasville Road, and next door to Another Broken Egg. Now if you still don't know where they are, are you sure that you are in Tallahassee Florida??? :)