I HAVE BEEN COMING TO DAYTONA FOR 39 YEARS, AND THE LAST 12 I HAVE STAYED THE WHOLE MONTH OF JULY. THERE ARE WONDERFUL RESTAURANTS HERE. I HAVE TO SAY I HAVE A PREFERENCE FOR THE OCEAN, PONCE INLET, AND THE INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY. JB' IN NEW SMYRNA IS ALWAYS MY TRADITIONAL 4TH OF JULY JOINT. NOT MUCH TO LOOK AT, BUT THE "AMBIENCE" IS 75% OF IT. ALWAYS GET THE SPICED SHRIMP WITH THEIR JUNGLE JUICE, THEN THE ONION RINGS. IF YOU WANT TO GET MESSY GET THEIR WHOLE SPICY CRABS. ON THE WAY STOP AT BOSTON'S FISH HOUSE AND (I USUALLY) A BOX OF IPSHWICH WHOLE BELLY FRIED CLAMS. YUM!!! ALL OF THEIR FISH IS FRESH AND FLOWN IN..ALSO ON THE WAY IS CHASE'S - THE DECK, THE BEACH, AND A SWIMMING POOL!! I ALSO HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT THE SPANISH RIVER GRILL IS GOOD, BUT I ALWAYS GO TO THE COLUMBIA IN ST AUGUSTINE FOR MY SPANISH FOOD.
OK, DAYTONA. OUR DECK DOWN UNDER IS GREAT BUT I DON'T REALLY RECOMMEND JUST ONE THING. THEY USED TO HAVE THE VERY BEST GROUPER BUT NOW IT'S BASA. I STILL GO, AND ALSO TO DJ'S DECK, AND BOTH OF THEIR FOODS AND VIEWS ARE GOOD. DOWN S ATLANTIC 1ST YOU HAVE TO TURN RIGHT, GO A COUPLE OF BLOCKS TO THE BOONDOCKS (ON THE WATER BY A MARINA). THE ZUPPA DI CLAMS IS TO DIE FOR! BE SURE TO GET SOME GARLIC BREAD TO SOP UP THE SAUCE. BACK TO S ATLANTIC HEAD SOUTH. RACING'S NORTH TURN IS ON YOUR LEFT. LOTS OF RACING MEMORABILIA AND SPICY STEAMED SHRIMP ON THEIR DECK ON THE OCEAN - FANTASTIC!! GO SOUTH AGAIN AND TURN RIGHT,GO A FEW BLOCKS AND FOLLOW THE SIGNS TO INLET HARBOR. EAT OUTSIDE, IT'S CHEAPER - AND THE MUSIC AND VIEWS ARE AS GREAT AS THE "BAR" FOOD. TURN AROUND,GO BACK TO PENINSULA,TURN RIGHT AND FOLLOW THE SIGNS TO DOWN THE HATCH. THE FISH DIP IS WONDERFUL. GO TO LIGHTHOUSE LANDING, TAKE IN PONCE INLET. THIS IS THE LAST REMAINING FISH CAMP ON THIS SIDE OF FLORIDA. WHILE YOU'RE THERE TOUR THE LIGHTHOUSE. NO TRIP TO DAYTONA WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT A TRIP TO AUNT CATFISH OVER THE DUNLAWTON BRIDGE IN PORT ORANGE. A VERY NICE SALAD BAR PLUS CHEESE GRITS, WONDERFUL CATFISH, AND THE VIEW!!! THEIR SUNDAY BRUNCH IS ALSO VERY GREAT AND VERY AFFORDABLE. CALL BEFORE YOU GO OR YOU WILL HAVE A VERY LONG WAIT ALSO ON DUNLAWTON IS JOY LUCK, A CHINESE RESTAURANT - BUT YOU GET THE CHINESE BUFFET PLUS ALL YOU CAN EAT SNOW CRAB LEGS TOO, ALL FOR $10.99. THREE MORE PLACES. GO NORTH ON ATLANTIC AND JUST BEFORE INT'L SPEEDWAY IS A SMALL RESTAURANT ON THE LEFT CALLED SHERRY'S. IT'S A BUFFET BUT IT'S SOUL FOOD AND DELICIOUS -CHEAP TOO. GO NORTH ON ATLANTIC AND A COUPLE OF STREETS OVER TO THE RIGHT IS OCEAN DECK NEAR WHERE THE TINY BOARDWALK IS. IT'S ON THE OCEAN. THEY USUALLY HAVE A VOLLEYBALL NET. THEIR SPECIALTIES ARE MAHI MAHI AND RASTA (SPICY JAMAICAN) FOOD. OK, 2 MORE. ON S ATLANTIC IS THE PORTOFINO (ITALIAN). THEY HAVE THE BEST MARSALA. CAN'T FORGET BUCA DI BEPPO (MY ONE AND ONLY CHAIN) BUT GO WITH A CROWD BECAUSE THEIR DISHES ARE ENORMOUS, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, EXPENSIVE. I AM FROM BOTH GEORGIA AND TEXAS AND I KNOW MY BARBECUE. ALMOST ALL THE BBQ JOINTS USE ROUND FOR THEIR BEEF - WHAT A TRAVESTY!! EVERYONE KNOWS BBQ BEEF IS BRISKET. CALL BEFORE YOU GO.SOME PLACES HAVE BRISKET BUT THEY CHOP, NOT SLICE IT. ORDER THE PORK OR RIBS
Billy's is the best in the area. I describe it as a old goat's Cheers.
The Deck, or somesuch, under the South and East side of the Port Orange/Dunlawton bridge is good, casual fried food.
Betty's A1A, about 3 miles north of SR40, on A1A. in the Ormond area has the best fried onion rings around, and good hamburgers.
Late food, is the First Turn, on US1, about 1 mile south of Port Orange is the place.
re: Ignatious Riley
I had a pretty bad experience at Billy's Tap Room after several enthusiastic recommendations on this board. . .all at least 2 years old. Billy's changed owners last May -- real estate developers who had never owned a restaurant before -- and I think that might have had something to do with it. Horrible service, mediocre food, very overpriced.
The old goats were still there -- habits die hard, especially in Ormond -- but even they seemed a bit annoyed.
Well, from what I understand that Dairy Queen was owned by the same lovely couple for many, many years and employees since once or twice caught a glimpse of an older woman working in the back room. It is a cute little slice of old FL and you just can't go wrong with a DQ cone after a day at the beach or a big, filling Norwoods meal.
Good food can be found but you have to drive South down to Daytona Beach Shores. Try "Down Under" -- a great tiki bar with fresh fish/shrimp...in Daytona Beach beachside, but on the river right underneath the bridge overpass [Dunlawton Bridge]. New Smyrna sports one of my favorite restaurants of all time -- Norwood's Seafood. Great coconut shrimp and conch fritters but also nicer dining with well chosen wine list and lots of non-fried, sit down seafood options. Norwoods is worth the drive to New Smyrna and hey -- you can stop at the haunted Dairy Queen on your way back to Daytona.
I didn't care for Norwood's coconut shrimp, it was different from most others I've had -- it's like it was fried, and THEN coated in coconut, instead of just coconut batter. A chacun son gout -- DH loved them.
I enjoy most of their seafood options. They always give you a lot -- especially with the pasta dishes, it's almost more seafood than pasta. The she-crab soup is absolutely to die for. The good thing about Norwood's is their "midday menu," which I guess it liek th elunch menu, extends to about 6 p.m. even on weekends, so you can make an "early bird" of it and still get most of their favorites.
Service has been consistently bad there, though -- they have this habit of spreading servers' tables VERY far apart, so catching them is a problem.
Our Deck Down Under is very popular -- as you head east over the bridge, make a RIGHT (south) sort of u-turn to get there. There is a different restaurant on the north side that I've heard isn't as good.
IS that Dairy Queen on U.S. 1 haunted? I've wondered. . .you can track the NSB development on U.S. 1, because I-95 was built around there in the late 50s, and you can tell where progress sort of stopped at that point when everyoen started bypassing U.S. 1. . .
I grew up down there and feel your pain. Good food is scarce. tasty high end is out of the question. ambiance is non-existent. I live in nyc now, but go down to visit still, so have scoped out the casual foodie spots, which daytona does best.
Boon Docks in Wilbur By The Sea has great grilled fish sandwiches and grouper reubens and pretty decent conch chowders with some nice italian flavors.
North Turn in Ponce Inlet has decent basic shrimp and seafood too.
The Lighthouse Landing in Ponce Inlet has the best fries (double fried and battered in cornmeal) and depending on the season, great steamed oysters.
Hampton's fried Chicken in Holly Hill has great soul food.
There's a great Thai resty on Ridgewood in south daytona called song kran.
Woody's BBQ in Port Orange isn't bad...real smoky flavors, great baked beans.
Spend a brunch at deleon springs pancake house. it's a great old-style florida cooking spot, with pitchers of buckwheat and buttermilk pancake batter you can make yourself at the table.
I'm a professional chef from NYC living in Daytona for the last 2 1/2 years. It's tough out there!!! But there are some options.
Leahns- Chines-Vietnamese-Thai- on Beville just east of Ridgewood- It's the best I have had down here and I use to go to New York Noodletime all the time.
Spanish River Grill- Contemp. Latino-Spanish- New Smyrna Beach- consistently very good food. go early because they don't take reservations and it fills up fast.
Frappes- Ormond- Decent Food- Good Burger- Not so consistent- Three different chefs in past year. We will see what happens
That's all I got. Sorry
Tarafuku at Clyde Morris & Beville has decent sushi and a limited non-sushi menu. The Indian place on A1A is not bad. Martini's on Bay St. and its sister restaurant, Chops on US1, are both good; the Chart House is a little overpriced but worth a visit on Sundays when most everything else is closed. Songkran, the Thai restaurant south on US1, has an extensive vegetarian menu as well as seafood and meat options - short on ambience, but the food's decent. Avoid Baleen like the plague. Like Baleen, Rain is SERIOUSLY overpriced for the area and I avoid it for that reason only, but the one time I ate there the food was pretty good.
I noticed Scott Joseph of the Sentinel didn't like Baleen either.
Turns out I've been to Giuseppe's again since my last post, and my family really likes the pizza. I don't care for the end crust -- too dry -- but it's very cheesy, and if you like cheese you'll be in heaven. Careful, the "large" actually only feeds about 2.5 people.
Sounds like overkill, but I got their fried veggies appetizer (mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli and i forget what else) and it was devoured instantly.
For Mexican I love La Fiesta, Dunlawton and Nova Road in Port Orange. Very juicy margaritas, outstanding service every time I go. For wings, Houligans in Ormond, Granada and Clyde Morris. Do not under any circumstances go to Billy's Tap Room -- everyone on this board loves it, but notice all those posts are at least 2 to 5 years old, and they changed owners last May. It's AWFUL.
I've heard good Chinese can be found at Royal Dynasty? on West Granada near Publix in Ormond -- that's the Jewish part of town, so it makes sense. Haven't gotten to try it yet.
re: Covert Ops
I am cracking up about Royal Dynasty being in the Jewish part of town. The food there isn't very good anymore. They have changed owners and it just is not what it used to be.
Houligans has the best wings. Pete's and Pagano's both have great pizza. Ronin is the best sushi.
For a good steakhouse - drive to Orlando.
Curious if anyone else has been to Baleen. We were thinking of driving down to Daytona one day in the spring and trying it.
And I don't think your criticism is valid (assuming the food is good - which you said it was). I have lived in the Jacksonville area for over a decade now. It wasn't until we got a criticial mass of people here who weren't only interested in "cheap eats" that we started to get some decent restaurants that served food other than fried chicken and ribs. Food costs what it costs. And lots of good things to eat don't cost less in Daytona Beach or Jacksonville than they do in Miami. In fact - they may cost more (because of shipping costs).
We try to patronize as many of the better restaurants in our area as we can. Use 'em or lose 'em. Robyn
FYI, Baleen is the only Volusia County restaurant listed on Opentable.com, if you use that service.
There are certainly fine-dining options in Volusia -- the restaurant in Pelican Bay whose name escapes me, Chops, a few others -- but Daytona is a throwback-Florida type of town. I've lived in lots of different places in Florida, and Daytona is a lot more middle-class than Miami or even Jacksonville, which has been trying very hard (especially bc of the Super Bowl) to add more fine dining, as well as the businesses that attract upper class residents who will eat there regularly.
Daytona's a service-industry town, and not for the type of tourists you see on South Beach. That's why chicken, ribs, BBQ, burgers and other down-home fare are more popular here. Don't get me wrong, NASCAR fans have tons of money -- have you seen their RVs? -- but their tastes tend to veer toward the more familiar.
re: Covert Ops
BALEEN HAS CHANGED NAMES AND IS NOW "AZURE". MOST OF THE RESTAURANTS AROUND THE "RENOVATED" BOARDWALK ARE EXTREMELY OVERPRICED. I PAID $33 FOR DOC BALE'S IN THE HILTON FOR THEIR SATURDAY NIGHT SEAFOOD BUFFET, AND FRANKLY IT WAS NOT WORTH IT. THE ONLY STANDOUT WAS THE SEAFOOD CHOWDER. I HAVE A NEW PLACE ON RIDGEWOOD CALLED US1. I THINK IT USES TO BE A BIKER BAR BUT NOW A REAL CHEF OWNS IT. I WE T FOR THE FRI NIGHT ALL YOU CAN EAT FISH FRY BUT WAS VERY DUBIOUS BECAUSE THEY SAID THE NEW FISH THEY USE INSTEAD OF GROUPER IS BASA. I WENT FOR IT ANYWAY, ALTHOUGH EVERYONE ELSE ORDERED THE 16 OZ RIBEYE FOR $13.95. I WAS ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED WHEN MY FISH SHOWED UP - PERFECTLY DONE AND ENOUGH FOR 4. NEEDLESS TO SAY I DIDN'T ORDER MORE. EVERYONE RAVED ABOUT THE RIBEYE (IT HAD BEEN RECENTLY REVIEWED) AND SAID THE SHRIMP WAS THE BEST THEY'VE EVER HAD. THE OWNER PLANS TO EXPAND AND SPRUCE UP THE PLACE. I WISH HIM WELL OH, I HEAR THAT CARIBBEAN JACK'S HAS A FRIDAY NIGHT CLAMBAKE/FISH FRY,ETC.
I hear ya, Daytona can be tricky. But there ARE good places, they just hide 'em a little better.
As Bob said, scroll down -- I posted a plea for help sometime in December when I moved here and got some good replies.
Apparently there's good chow in New Smyrna, but I haven't been down there yet.
In Ormond, lots of people rave about Billy's Tap Room -- when I shlep up there I'll tell ya.
BEST BEST pizza, hands down, is Pete's on Beville and Nova, in the shopping center with the closed Winn-Dixie. Awesome slices, calzone, subs, cannolis. . .*sigh* Boys from Staten Island, family-type place, very small but big takeout biz.
Love the wings at Booth's Bowery, Herbert and Nova, big blue awning. Slow service, especially during special events, but family friendly. Lots of people I know also like Giuseppe's across the street from them, but I had a bad experience (cold calzone, lousy service, literally painful decor) and haven't been back.
Buca di Beppo by the Speedway (in plaza w/Michael's and Old Navy) is a chain, but it's fantastic-- you must get the chicken saltimbocca, you'll lick the plate. Family-style dining: If there's two of you, get two small plates and you'll have leftovers for two. Avoid the tiramisu, they soak it in espresso AND rum, and it'll make you woozy. :-)
Heard there's good Cuban food at the newly renovated Pirate's Cove, at the east end of the Dunlawton Bridge. Or make a right U-turn after you get off the bridge and you'll find Our Deck (I think that's what it's called) which has been raved about on this board. I know some kids who cook there and they love it, of course, but haven't eaten there yet. Casual fried seafood, raw bar, etc.
That's all my poor brain can deliver for now. Do some searches on the board, check out some places and please let us know! :-)
re: Covert Ops
I copied this from yesterday New Smyrna request.
I recall a great slightly divvy fried fish place that is located right next to a bridge on the water. It has been several years, Spring 2004. I was sent there by the hotel clerk. I had 4 dinners in a row there. Great fried oysters. I did some research in my financial software, but it was cash only. Mrs. Doc remembered part of the name and using yahoo yellow pages came up with it. I haven't had fried oysters this good since. I am relying on you for a full report for my vicarious fried oyster experience. If i am ever in New Smyrna it will be my first destination. The motel was very pleasant too Palm Plaza on the water.
Our Deck Down Under
78 Dunlawton Ave, Port Orange, FL 32127