HOME > Chowhound > Florida >


Daytona report and wish list (long)

  • c

Hey guys, haven't posted in a while.

I live in Port Orange now, and we've been trying to find the chow-worthy places around Volusia. Here's a partial list of places I've been, places I've heard of and what I'd like to know more about. Any help is greatly appreciated! :-)

WINGS: Booth's Bowery, Herbert St. and Nova Rd., Port Orange. This is one of our favorite places, especially for the wings. And mostly just for the wings. Bad experience with the chicken fajita, which comes already rolled up like a giant enchilada. I asked the server what I should do with the side of lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, and she said, "Just put it on top!" I like to assemble my own fajitas, thanks. :-P But the wings are terrific -- meaty, great sauces, very reliable. I'm all about getting what a place is known for, and sticking to that. But they do have other good selections. Portobello burger with pepper jack cheese is great, as is the meatball sub (but they add chopped up peppers, which I'm not thrilled about). Bruschetta is great, as is the fried zucchini sticks. They also serve escargot, but I'm a little wary of that. ;-) Good place to bring kids.

MEXICAN: La Fiesta, Nova Rd. and Dunlawton in Port Orange; and Cancun Lagoon, near the Speedway, ISB and Airport Road, Daytona. We discovered La Fiesta near our home. Almost entirely Mexican staff, great happy hour margarita specials (the house one is delicious). I liked the assortment of dips with the chips, including a salsa with cilantro and a white dip made with Mexican cheese, sort of a spicy ranchero-type. Jalapeno poppers perfectly cooked and full of cheese (no explosions!). Had a special enchilada with shrimp, lobster and salmon, and it was fabulous. Other dishes seemed common, but well prepared with excellent service. Menu was very large, with lots of seafood options (which I'm not accustomed to seeing). I'd definitely go back.

My husband brought me to Cancun Lagoon because he had enjoyed it years ago. It is still very excellent. I had a similar dish as the other restaurant, but this time the seafood enchilada had some pink sauce that was like a Newburg, with pepper jack cheese melted on top that gave a great bite. Great little side dish was a cornbread crumbles with pieces of corn in it. Amazing fried ice cream dessert (coated in cornflakes), with strawberries, bananas and caramel sauce.

CHINESE: The Chinese takeout I've sampled around here totally sucks. I have a theory, that it's because there are fewer New Yorkers in Daytona than in other places I've lived in Florida. (Everyone here seems to be from Pittsburgh, or the Midwest.) If you can point me toward decent Chinese takeout (the closer to Holly Hill, the better, because us newspeople gotta eat, and I can't STAND China Star) I'd be thrilled.

DINER: Steve's Diner, next door to Office Depot, Nova. Rd. and Beville Rd. Steve's is neither Greek nor Jewish, but it's still a terrific diner. They have this homemade thick bread that makes great (and filling!) French toast. I was disappointed at breakfast because I wanted scrambled egg and cheese on a roll, and they were out of rolls. But at lunch I had awesome chicken soup and the best diner lunch, grilled cheese on rye. (With pickle, of course.) Some Polish specialties on the menu, like stuffed cabbage.

PIZZA: Not feeling good about the pizza search, see earlier comment on lack of New Yorkers. And also, since I got Chuck to drive down from Ormond all the way to Melbourne for pizza. :-P However, a friend told me there's a NY-style pizza place, I think it's Joe's New York Pizza, opening up in a GAS STATION (maybe that's a good sign??) in Ormond, on Granada just west of the I-95 exit/overpass. Was just there recently, but had already eaten, so didn't check it out. Chuck? Anyone? Worth the drive up?

SUSHI: Haven't gone to any around here. . .wait, haven't FOUND any. Heard a rumor of a Japanese steakhouse in Port Orange with a sushi conveyer belt. . .anyone been? Not a big fan of the Benihana-like hijinks, but I would like freshly prepared, reasonably priced sushi if there's any around.

ITALIAN: Don't get me started. Haven't been to a single place around here. But I did get a calzone from Giuseppe's Steel City Pizza (nova rd, across the street from Booth's Bowery) and it was cold in the middle. And they were out of an advertised beer. And it took the server 10 minutes to figure that out and tell me as I sat thirsty. Don't get me started -- I'm nto going back there, and it's not because I'm not a Steelers fan. Wings were decent, but not as good as Booth's across the street. Decor was atrocious (again, unless you're from Pittsburgh). Didn't try the pizza, because putting "steel city" in front of the name threw me off. :-P

BBQ: My husband was happy to find Dustin's, which we went to often when we lived in Melbourne (nto as good as Fat Boy's though). Honestly, I think their meat is too dry, and prefer Sonny's (which isn't saying much). But I heard there's a place called Robinson's (?) on Orange Avenue, west of the police station. But I've been warned by several people to only go there in the daytime, which freaked me out. NC-style Q, with red sauce mixed into the meat.

STEAK: Best so far is Lone Star (Dunlawton and Village Trail), and I say best beacuse the steak is 100% perfectly cooked every time it's ordered medium-rare. You'd be surprised how many steakhouses mess this up! I love the grilled shrimp over rice, very flavorful. And they serve sweet potatoes with a sugar/cinnamon/brown sugar mixture, none of that Country Crock Cinnamon Spread crap Sonny's throws at you. (Note: Dustins also gives straight brown sugar, a plus.) Great rolls and honey butter at Lone Star -- the exact same rolls I fell in love with at the Beverly Hills Cafe down in Dade/Broward, only with melted butter on top. HEAVEN!

OK, so that's where I've been, and here's what else I'm looking for:
-- Casual seafood, possibly raw bar
-- Casual beachside dining
-- Slightly-more-than-casual restaurant, non-ethnic, where we can take my non-chowish parents. (Note: They must serve chicken fingers, and have a bar.) View/location a plus.
-- Other good BBQ that's not a chain and won't get me shot.
-- Better wings than Booth's Bowery, if you know of them.

I also want to try that place in DeLeon Springs where you make your own pancakes, but I'll wait until the stepkids come this summer for that.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. b
    Bruce Johnson

    For chinese and especially vietnamese, try Leannhs on Beville Rd across from the golf course.

    For New York style pizza, try Giangrassos on US 1 in S. Daytona.

    There's a pretty good bbq carry out place on the west side of New Smyrna Beach called the Pig and Whistle.

    For a diner style food, try Rossi's on US 1 in the Daytona area.

    1. Skip the De Leon springs place, unless yer looking for something other than food. Prob a good kiddie entertainment place.

      The best place in Volusia county to eat is Karling's in De Leon Springs. It has european cuisine. Outstanding.

      Try North Turn yet? It is on US 1, south of Port Orange. In 50 visits the wings were not great on one visit. We like out wings sorta well done. It has great hamburgers, a bar, presentable other things, and is open late.

      Seafood. On the East end of the Port Orange bridge, on the south side, pretty much under the bridge, is as good of casual fried seafood as I have had. Warning, on the north side of the bridge is a miserable open air joint, where you eat outside mostly.

      General good food. Billy's tap room, on Granada (SR40) in Ormond. Skip the fish with white sauces, but most everything is good. Bar, reservations advised. Rick the bar keep makes a wonderful Old Fashion. Its kinda a old folks Cheers! Its our fav. You would not feel outta place in a coat and tie, but it suggests a shirt w/ collar.

      Hamburger and a drive, Betty's on A1A in Ormond by the Sea. Best onion rings in 3 states.

      Keep us posted

      1. The sushi with the conveyor belt is on seabresse beach side - not worth the trip - Best Sushi is in ormond on Nova before granada on the east side call Takeya - if it has moved it is scheduled to move to granda west of nova on the north side-. Also decent pizza can be had at Petes pizza on nova off of Belville and also beach side at shrooms -at ISB and grandview - bit of a dive but good pizza

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jay

          Italian: Have you tried Alfredo's on Clyde Morrson Blvd? Excellent! Or Rosario's? They are now located at the Pelican Bay Golf Course (The North Course) off Beville Rd. Excellent! Bring your wallet....My steak Manhatten was about $22. the sauce that came with it was out of this world.

          1. re: Jay

            Italian: Have you tried Alfredo's on Clyde Morrson Blvd? Excellent! Or Rosario's? They are now located at the Pelican Bay Golf Course (The North Course) off Beville Rd. Excellent! Bring your wallet....My steak Manhatten was about $22. the sauce that came with it was out of this world.

            1. re: Jay

              We have discovered Pete's, Jay, and it is our new weekly hangout. Their zeppoli are out of this world too -- reminds me of St. Andrew's carnival back home!

              The sushi place I had heard of was Chi-Ling on Ridgewood just south of Dunlawton -- the place you mention on Seabreeze beachside is Sapporo's. I haven't been inside, my friend says it's not very nice for sit-down, btu she brings me Japanese-style katsu curry all the time and our whole office loves it. So maybe just for takeout.

              Takeya has moved, it's on the east side of Nova just south of Granada, by the fire station. I haven't been inside because it's one of those teppanyaki places, and I prefer my sushi in a more relaxed setting. (i.e. no shrimp flying into people's hats)

              1. re: Covert Ops

                Correction: The sushi/Japanese steakhouse on the east side of Nova south of Granada, next to the fire station, is TOKYO Steakhouse. I have not been there. Takeya's moved to Williamson Blvd, as explained below.

            2. My suggestions are all in / around Ormond as I've just moved to the area and haven't yet gone hounding south of Speedway . . .

              CHINESE -- we have a place way the hell up here on Dixie Hwy called KING, it's in the center with the Publix just east of 95 at the Dixie exit, not the Granda exit. It's pretty good -- it's not BAD, I'm not saying it's great, but it's solid. It's all takeout, you can eat there but it's just a little flourescent room.

              GENERAL -- Billy's Tap Room on Granada and Beach in Ormond is pretty good, mentioned earlier, seafood, steaks, etc . . . this has the feel of a good old neighborhood bar that serves good food, it's old school, and not just bar food, it's a real menu

              BEACH CASUAL -- We've been hitting Kahuna Grill on A1A way up here in Ormond By Sea, the food's OK, it's not great. The service is a dud . . . but this place is beach casual, not fine dining, we like the fish & chips and a couple drinks and we're good -- beer & wine only, I think

              CASUAL SEAFOOOD -- OK, if you want it REALLY CASUAL, try Hull's Seafood Market (& Kitchen) on Granada in Ormond, between Nova and the river. It's mostly a fresh fish counter, but they serve it to a small dining room too, plus a couple outdoor tables that are basically in the parking lot. I've done the oysters as carryout and shucked them myself, they were pretty good and they were REALLY cheap, $3/dozen I think. They probably serve them in the dining room or you could maybe order carry out and eat it outside if you can shuck your own. Beer and wine only, no hard stuff, no byo.

              WINGS --I haven't had them, but I've read here about the wings at a place called Houligan's at Granada & Clyde Morris in Ormond. I read a post where somebody was reallly fired up about them but it sounds to me like these are battered / fried, more like a Hoooter's wing than a regular buffalo wing with sauce. Again, haven't tried it, just mentioning it.

              BBQ -- Forget Woody's, what a waste of time and money, trust me.

              Billy's Tap Room might suit your parents, the menu is not exotic but still good and the drinks are strong. But I like an old-school place and if they're really old-school they may not see the charm in it. Another place you might TRY (or at least do a drive-by) is called River City Grill on Hwy 1 between the 95 and Nova . . . it looks like a tricked-out Friday's and it has a large deck off the back that goes out over the river . . . I've not been there yet, but it might fill the order for a safe-ish place they can feel OK and you might save a trip to The Olive Garden.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jimmyodonnell

                I was probably the one raving about Houligan's. :-) I've never been to Buffalo, but I like these wings. The grilling makes the difference, IMO. (Make sure you order them "Wally" style.)

                The rest of their food is very good -- crisp fries, and their grouper sandwich is outstanding. It's a sports bar, but it has more of a family-friendly feel. I am never uncomfortable bringing my young daughter there.

                I've also heard good things about Hull's. Apparently the small restaurant area is a new thing. Might have to schlep up there since DH still hasn't found oysters he likes.

                Bit of a hike for you, but Norwood's in New Smyrna Beach is very good (except for the service, which is spotty). They do seafood best -- I haven't had a bad dish there yet -- and their she-crab soup is to die for. Huge wine list, apparently they win Wine Spectator awards all the time. My parents love it. :-P

                1. re: Covert Ops

                  THANKS for the Norwood's tip . . . I haven't made it down there yet but will do.

                  NOTE on Hull's -- I don't know if they serve oysters in the dining room, I'm not saying they DON'T, but I've only had them for carryout . . . and the price was right, and I thought they were pretty good although I'm not the most seasoned oyster guy.

                  They have their whole menu on their website, and if you're wondering whether it's worth the trip on a given day you can give them a call and ask them what they've got working that day and you can probably get some indication on whether they have what you want.

              2. In NSB try the Spanish River Grill. Everything I've had has been very good, especially the flatiron steak. IMHO, Karlings is no longer very good. It eas up and down for acouple of years but then was consistently down. Have quit going there.
                In DeLand, at Le Jardin Cafe on Indiana, there is a guest chef cooking a couple of nights a week. This week he is doing North African. He's great with any cuisine, check their web site.

                Le Jardin Café : North African Nights
                Wednesday and Thursday, November 29-30, 2006
                103 W. Indiana Ave, DeLand, FL 32720
                Please Call 386-740-0303

                1. Oh yes, I love the wings at Booth's Bowery. They are delicious, juicy, sauced perfectly and HOT when I order them hot. I haven't any wings in Chicago that compare to the ones at Booth's Bowery. It's not a fancy place, but the staff is nice. The wings are excellent. The seasoned fries are crisp and seasoned well. And they serve sweet tea! Aw, I'm homesick now.

                  One place I wanted to add is Mon Delice French bakery in New Smyrna Beach. They have two locations - the original and another one downtown where they sell pastries from the original. Arrive early for the best selection. They've been around for as long as I can remember. The quality has remained wonderful.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sunnyday1375

                    Hey Sunny, we just went back to Booth's recently for wings. They are nice and big, but we dont' go there very often because the service is just so so terrible. Every single time I go there, I can't get refills, I can't get anyone to take my order, bring me my food, my check, etc. I thought it was just due to turnover during special events, but it's really all the time. I think from now on we'll do takeout -- the wings are still pretty yummy, but I leave the restaurant aggravated, and who needs that?

                    1. re: sunnyday1375

                      Try also La Gourmandise French Bakery in Ormond Beach (north of Daytona Beach). I believe they have a website.

                    2. Second the recc on Spanish River Grill and Norwood's.


                      1. Anna's Trottoria on Seabreeze...lovely Italian, you will be so pleased!X

                        1. We love Chases on the Beach in New Smyrna for casual outside dining - they have it all! 2 open air bars with seating that's under a roof or under the sky! There's a pool, live entertainment, t.v. for sports viewing. They catered a lunch birthday party for my 50-year-old sister and she's still raving about it! The service and staff/chef was wonderful to us! The food is good and the beer selections are awesome!

                          There's a neat breakfast place at the end of the Sunglow Pier in the Shores -open air and just regular breakfasts.

                          In downtown DeLand, try The Artisan. The menu is quite different - service usually excellent. You can almost forget you're in a small town when you go inside.
                          There's also out in DeBary The Swamp House Grille, right on the river and when the weather cooperates, it's open air. Get the catfish special on Friday nights - it's awesome!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: PDeveaux

                            last time i was there, maybe a year ago, chases didn't allow children in their pool.

                            for some, i can see why that would be a good thing. (babies, diaper swimmies, etc) but it's off-putting for those of us who have kids who are not in diapers. i dunno if it's still like that or not.

                          2. Chase's isn't really a place for young children anyhow. It's more of a party place with much more emphasis on the bar than the restaurant. The pool is strictly for bikini-clad twentysomethings. The food is just okay - acceptable, but no better than it needs to be in a place where you can eat right on the beach. Whenever they have live music we can hear it from our house two and a half blocks away, over the ocean's roar (thankfully not loud enough to be annoying from here, but you get the picture). Honestly since I don't have kids, I couldn't tell you a good place in NSB to bring them. Probably Boston's or Teddy's, possibly the Sea Harvest. Or the best option for any age - get takeout from Ocean's and make your own beach picnic.

                            1. I’m from Port Orange and know of the lack of “Good” food in the area. Here are a few of my suggestions for you to try…

                              Seafood: JB’s Fish Camp in New Smyrna Beach. It’s a total hole in the wall but the seafood is really great. Another option is Down the Hatch in Ponce Inlet.

                              Italian: The Cellar in Daytona on Magnolia. The chef is a CIA graduate and studied in Italy for several years. This is a great romantic restaurant, very quaint.

                              Pizza: The best pizza in the area I’ve found is Giuseppe's Steel City Pizza. Delivery is horrible! I would recommend getting take-out. Their White Pizza is also, in my opinion the best in the area.

                              Breakfast: Peach Valley Café in Ormond on Granada. This is owned by the same folks who own Stonewood. The omelets are fabulous and I’ve been told that the French toast is to die for. A trip to Peach Valley isn’t complete unless you have the Apple Fritters.

                              Pat’s Riverfront Café is also very good. Another hole in the wall but, the food is great.

                              Steak: Stonewood in Port Orange. I haven’t had a bad steak or service in Stonewood. We eat there a few times a month.

                              We go to Winter Park a lot and love the café’s on Park Ave. The Wine Room on Park Ave is a must while there.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: daytonalucy

                                Casual- A GREAT lunch place is the Angel and Phelps Cafe on Beach St. They have the absolute best salads, wraps, sandwiches, and soups. If you get anything with dressing try the creamy zucchuni. It is amazing. Even when they are busy they offer great service. They best part is that it is conjoined with the Angel and Phelps chocolate store, where there are free chocolate making tours and a free sample chocolate after your meal.

                                Pizza- Right down the rode to the left is a Starvo's, which at that location is excellent. But to the right is Cousin Vinny's Pizza, which is excellent. You can see the pizza being made in the window.

                              2. For wings - The best I have found is Hooligan’s on the corner of Granada & Clyde Morris...(they beat Booth’s by a mile!)
                                They are not deep fried but grilled and come in a lot of flavors mild, hot, garlic.
                                Order an extra round of blue cheese and celery as they are skimpy on this.
                                Additionally- they have a full bar, interactive trivia, chicken fingers,

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: not_boring

                                  I have been in the P.O since November, coming from Ormond, and Daytona Proper before that. I cannot stand the lack of good places to eat, but I'll throw my hat into the ring and give a few recommendations.

                                  First off, I have only been to Booths Bowry once to eat and a couple of times to drink, and I had a good time. The food was not great, though. However, after reading this thread, I think I'm going to have to try their wings. Houligan's wings ARE really great, though.

                                  As far as casual beachside dining goes, I'm a fan of the Ocean Deck - but it's *very* casual.

                                  SUSHI: I have seen a lot of posts that mentioned Takeyas (sorry for the spelling). I went to the new location a few days ago and it was great - but very 'South Beach.' They had a wine steward and everything! And it's on Williamson. You can actually see it from I95 when you drive up toward Ormond. The house wines aren't all that good, but the bananas tempura were WONDERFUL! I actually like Sapporo's on Seabreeze (and yes, they have a sushi bar where the boats float by), but the main dining room gets hot when two or more tables are in use. The sushi bar side is a better bet.

                                  ITALIAN/PIZZA - I do like Spruce Creek Pizza on Dunlawton, just before I95 (east side) on the left. (next to the Curves). I believe it's run by a greek family, but the food has been wonderful in my opinion. I love calzones and they make a good one! I do intend on trying Alfredo's sometime soon. I have also heard great things about The Garlic in New Smyrna.

                                  CHINEESE: Lehanns was mentioned - on Beville. I haven't eaten there in quite some time (since we are out of that area now, and I'm not too much of a fan of Chineese food), but when I did eat there, it was pretty darned good! The crab rangoons were excellent- light, crisp and not too much cream cheese.

                                  CASUAL SEAFOOD: Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory at the Ocean Walk complex. They are a little pricey, but portions are quite large and their drinks are great (margarita's especially). Personal fave - Bourbon Street Mahi Mahi with the mashed potatoes. YUM! Their fried shrimp is pretty great, too. And they have a lot of choices for kids. It's not far from the beach, either. Though I'm not sure you'd consider it 'beachside.' As far as a raw bar goes, the only place I really know of is the Oyster Pub on Seabreeze. Oysters don't usually agree with me, so I couldn't tell you how they are.

                                  GENERAL: I do want to try North Turn. As far as Billy's Tap Room goes, I love the fish in a bag. The servers have been terriffic, the drinks are pretty well poured, and the atmosphere is comfortable. It's fancy but not stuffy.

                                  STEAK: The best steak I have had so far (coming from one newly initiated into the realm of red meats other than hamburger) has been at a place called the Butcher Shop in Orlando. I *Highly* recommend going there if you are in the area. It's on International in the Mercado complex. Their meats are gorgeous. However, locally, I have been really impressed with the filet mignon at Julian's on A1A in Ormond Beach. Unfortunately, I have been hearing rumors that it's going under - which is a shame. Their menu is phenomenal and their desserts are decadent. It reminds me of being in an old 'Elvis in Hawaii' type movie with the decor and whatnot. Hawaiian without being too flowery and 'Lilo and Stitch.' They also have Early Bird specials between 4 and 6pm. The Port Orange Steakhouse also has a pretty good menu and great seared tuna.

                                  Finally, I'm not sure if anyone has been to Top of Daytona yet, but it's not a bad place to be! They also have early bird specials which aren't too pricey. I'm not sure what times they are available, but the view is great!

                                  MEXICAN: I have yet to try La Fiesta, but I've heard pretty nice things about that, along with Maria Bonita in Daytona. My 'mexican' experience here in the Daytona Area has been limited to Taco Bell, Chili's and Tijuana Flats.

                                  BBQ: I have only been to Dustin's so I can't really be objective on this one. Although I do like their pulled pork.

                                  Well, I think that's about it for my information. I hope it helps!

                                2. The best chinese food that I have EVER had was at Chi-Ling I believe the name is, its in Port Orange just past the intersection of Ridgewood and Dunlawton. If youre going south on Ridgewood its on the left across from Hardees. They have almost like a split dining room, half chinese half japanese. The japanese is so-so but the chinese was absolutely amazing!@

                                  As far as pizza goes...Guiseppies in Port Orange/South Daytona on Nova has the biggest pizza in the world, ok maybe not in the world but its so big that you have to put it in your trunk! Im a college student and any time we want to feed about 4or5 of us and still have leftovers we order pizza from there, it has never failed, delicious.

                                  I would have to agree with Rossis, you get the most bang for the buck there and the food is pretty good. Their muffins are the best. I even went there for dinner once and got a meatloaf dinner with mash potatoes, sooup, salad and bread for 5 dollars! Cant beat that...

                                  1. I FOUND CHEF ROSARIO! Since this seems so be an older post, I will provide update.
                                    He was a Pelican Bay, but moved to beachside in 2007. He sold restaurant and the people closed it after about 6 months or so....it just wasn't the same without his touch.
                                    Anyway...I went into Gaff's Meat Market in Ormond....he is the chef and manager there! I miss the old restaurant, but in this economy it's kind of neat that you can get some really good meat selections (very competetive prices) and take home Rosario's foods, along with some good wine! I think they also cater.

                                    1. For a local place this restaurant is fantastic! Ivy Lane Bistro has a friendly, efficient staff and very fresh and tasty food. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My husband and I ate there for lunch and went back the next day for breakfast. Outstanding pancakes, and very fresh and perfectly cooked bacon. My wrap for lunch was amazing as well. My husband had a chicken salad sandwich for lunch and has eaten a lot of chicken salad and loved it! There seemed to be a steady traffic of locals and tourists and the best was the homeade cherry turnover with fresh frosting! Yum!!! You must try this place as there isn't much of a dining scene in Daytona. Hopefully this place will pave the way for more/better restaurants there.