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May 1, 2008 12:43 PM

New Tallahassee Thread; Seeking Current Info

Greetings fellow North Floridians!

I hope my starting this new thread doesn't step on anyone's toes, but I keep getting my hopes up about places mentioned in the other two Tallahassee threads only to find that the posts are over two years old and the (few) good places have long closed or gone downhill.

I've recently relocated to the area after 10+ years living in the midwest. My best Tally-insider friend thinks Bonefish is the best thing going, and I learned before I ever moved away not to trust Ashby Stiff's need some good advice!

Most of the good dining experiences I've had since returning have not been in Tallahassee. My family long ago got into the habit of driving for good food, and here are my area picks:

Panacea: Angelo's -- nice rebuilding job, solid job with grilled seafood, tastes like I remember it.
Sumatra (in the National Forest): Family Coastal Restaurant -- zero atmosphere, but clean, with friendly service and excellent fried seafood. The grouper and shrimp are always delicious (crispy but not greasy), and their fried green tomatoes are quite good. My parents report that the one time they managed to get flounder there it was excellent. This is not the place to go if you are seeking grilled (or other preparations) seafood, but for standard Panhandle fried seafood, it's the best I've had (so good I've even eaten it as cold leftovers!).
Middle of Nowhere, South Georgia: The Pond House -- has a Bainbridge address, but I think this place is technically between the fingers of the lake. This is a family place, but it's not crawling with badly-behaved kids. The dining rooms are immaculate, the service is friendly, the prices are very reasonable, and the smoked porkchops (very thick and served with their version of red-eye gravy) are insanely good. The steaks, salads, and sides are pretty standard for a local, casual steakhouse, but the porkchops alone are worth the drive. I don't know if they take reservations, but they're only open weekends, and there's always a wait (but worth it!).

In Tallahassee, I've only had two dining experiences that are worth positive comments:

Ladies' Night at the Melting Pot: I know, it's the Melting Pot, and most of time I wouldn't darken the door. But, if one is a lady and goes on the last Wednesday of the month, cheese, chocolate, and two glasses of wine are only $22, which makes it a decent cheap dinner.
Breakfast at Another Broken Egg: I ate at their Grayton Beach location and loved it, and I've had only good experiences at the Tallahassee location. I'm a benedict fiend, and their various hollandaise-soaked breakfasts have not disappointed. Eggs Blackstone and Crabcakes Cavallo are very good, as is Bryan's Omelette and Bacado Omelette. The blackberry grits (for which they are supposedly famous) were just okay, and their homefries are probably frozen, but it's an excellent place for breakfast/brunch nevertheless.

And the worst meal I've ever eaten in a restaurant, anywhere, in my entire life, period:

Kansas City Strip at Marie Livingston's. Truly, truly awful service, atmosphere, and food. Blech.

So, does any of you know of good places in Tallahassee for...
Brewpub fare?
Moroccan or other North-African Cuisine? (don't laugh if that's shooting too high)
local/slowfood? (I've gotten really mixed reviews about Sage.)

And, what about Carlo's Cuban? Any good? I noticed there wasn't a "lechon" on the menu, they just said, "pork." Is that a sign?

I'm very grateful for any help! Let's get some new Tallahassee info circulating!

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  1. kcbacker,

    I think toward the end of the "LackLuster Tall" thread you'll find some positive reviews, albeit mostly for Avenue of the Sea and Liam's. but you may want to try Masa's, KoolBeanz, Moziak's, Urbane(which may be getting their act together). Mrs Crew and I have always liked FoodGlorious Food (we eat outside or in the older section). I prefer Black Bean over Carlos or the new cuban spot on Mahan. La Hacienda II is about as good as it gets mexican wise with San Miguel running just behind them. But that's not saying that they're the best mexican restaurants ever! Sushilicious on Kerry forest has good sushi. There's suppose to be a new Q spot around Thomasville that is very good, can't remember the name. Just remember that around these parts "chains" are high class and chinese buffets and AYCE places are what locals crave and where the dining $ goes.

    1. I would recommend Clusters and Hops 707 N. Monroe St One of the better restaurants that I visited in Tallahassee. It's in the shopping center right after the light at Brevard. This falls under "hole in the wall" restaurant. It's in the back of a wine shop and fits maybe 15 people tops including the 3 people at the wine bar.

      Cypress 320 E Tennessee St. I would recommend a reservation if you want to sit somewhere other than the small bar area.

      Osaka Japanese Restaurant - 1690 Raymond Diehl Rd has some good sushi.

      Reang Thai - 2740-2 Capital Circle - The tables are pretty close together.

      1. Try Sahara on Lafayette St. for middle Eastern/Lebanese/Greek. No Moroccan that I know of. I whole heartedly agree on Marie Livingston's "steaks" and think Sage is wonderful.

        1. Hi! So I lived in Tallahassee for two years for grad school and I'm a serious foodie. Check out Mozaic (stupid name, excellent food) which was my favorite meal by far in Tallahassee. Also there's andrews 62 (something like that, its downtown its upstairs from the more casual andrews which is more like a brewery but also a good place for burgers/salads/etc). And then, a hidden gem, is the Torreya Grill which is attached to a Hampton Inn on apalachee parkway. It's really reasonably priced and has great specials (though i wasn't a big fan of the lemon chicken soup) and the best Pecan Pie i've ever had. Good ribs, decent steaks, excellent sides.....I would go there a lot, its a huge and comfortable restaurant, really quite nice.

          I was disappointed with foodgloriousfood because my fish was done poorly there and the appetizers forgetable, though their desserts were heavenly and the atmosphere was nice.

          I really liked Mori for sushi/hibachi.

          In terms of cheap grubbing, I became enamoured with Po Boys. I didn't go there the first year cos it looks like a frat boy's den (it kinda is) but what tasty food! The grouper bites, especially, i crave seriously. Mmmm, grouper bites......and Qdoba I went to a lot (its a mexican chain but yummy and i'm sorry but moe's is so bland).

          I think are you kinda shooting too high for north african food in tally....though there was a hari krishna like vegan buffet on or near campus. In terms of exotic, that was the most adventurous thing I probably had in Tallahassee. Curry and Wine on appalachee pkwy was decent and then there was the other Indian place (Samrat?) which was cheaper, homier, and pretty good (for the deep south!)

          For Mexican I used to go to San Miguels (i got the chille rellenos with shrimp) and the guacamole....Oh La Pitaria was good cheap food. I loved that place.

          For Italian? I cooked myself. Stay away from the Italian restaurants here, I ain't playing.

          Take a foodie vacation to Destin or Atlanta some weekend.

          9 Replies
          1. re: sarahbeths

            Thanks, all, for these great, quick responses!

            You provided an excellent starting list, crewsweeper! Where is Mosaik? It's been mentioned twice herein and I've seen it in some of my earlier chowhound lurking, but I can't find an official website or its location mentioned anywhere online.

            steakman, I tried Sahara for lunch a few years ago, and it was quite good. I completely forgot about them, so thanks for the reminder!

            The same goes for Osaka, tpatraveler. My friends are pretty anti-sushi so I've always just sat at the hibachi there, but will definitely try the sushi.

            I've tried Torreya Grill twice in the last 5 or so years, sarabeths, and I haven't had the good experiences you describe. Both times the food was forgettable and the service was infuriatingly poor. Since you give it such high marks, it might be worth another look -- maybe I caught it on bad nights!!

            And if I can ask another food-related question, where do you do your gourmet (or ethnic, or organic, or any of those other foodie subcategories) grocery shopping? I am getting along with Publix and what my family and neighbors grow, but have moved from a metro area and am still in Trader Joe's withdrawl. I know about New Leaf; are there other options?

            1. re: kcbacker

              Is Osaka in Tallahassee owned by the same people that own Osaka in Destin? Seems like we'll frequently see a car with a Leon County license plate at the Destin location, and I've wondered.

              1. re: kcbacker

                Agree with you on Torreya. It is owned by George K. who also runs Georgio's. Food there is okay, better than Torreya, but nothing outstanding, in my opinion. For grocery more upscale than Publix, try Fresh Market, pretty good, but probably not up to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. It is on Thomasville Road, in a former Wal Mart location, just north of I-10. (across from an Albertson's)

                Folks like to say that Kool Beanz isn't that great, but I like it...always something different and reasonably priced. Whataburger for burgers; the double meat and cheese, please.
                Somewhat surprisingly, for a state capital thirty minutes from the coast, no decent seafood, and for a southern town, no BBQ joint, either. For pizza, I like Decent pizza on N. Monroe, Three Guys from NY on Tenn. St.
                Barnaby's on Ap. Parkway, and Rummy's, way out Thomasville Road off Kerry Forest Pkwy. More as they come to mind.

                1. re: steakman55


                  Hearing some chatter about how good the steaks are at Banjos over near sonny's on APkwy. Ever eaten there? Looks like a converted Dairy Queen from the road.

                  Crew (still on the water)

                  1. re: crewsweeper

                    Never had a steak there, as I am positive it would not be prime and would be cooked along with the BBQ. Not that such a steak would be bad, just not my taste. By the way, Banjo's is closing for a renovation and will do away with their lunch buffet, going to blue plate specials and de-emphasizing BBQ. New name to be Helen's. (Big Red's daughter)

                    1. re: steakman55

                      Ah, so maybe we get a real diner/dive in town.

                2. re: kcbacker

                  Moziak is on Market St. in the Pavillions Shopping Center near Chicos(a high end clothing store ,not a Tex-Mex eatery) off Thomasville Road, just north of I-10. And across the street is Hopkins ( one of 2 locations) which has great sandwiches, IMO.

                  1. re: crewsweeper

                    Had dinner at Mozaik Sat. night. Not so good!
                    Service--lacking. Had to ask for a spoon for soup, and for bread. They serve something that looks like remolade sauce with the bread--never said what it was--no butter.
                    The food, in general was OK--not bad not wonderful. I had Opah with Spanish rice and greens. The menu said "cumin & chili scented" and I would swear there was no trace of cumin in that dish! The fish was nicely cooked, rare as I would expect. The little salad on top was soggy with too much dressing and the rice below was salty.

                    We paid $50/person including tip and wine.

                    1. re: crewsweeper

                      We had dinner at Mozaik Sat night. Nothing special.
                      Service was less than wonderful. We had to ask for a spoon for soup and for bread. What ever happened to butter? With the bread they serve a sauce--looked like remoulade or pink salad dressing. Never said what it was.
                      I ordered "cumin and chili scented Hawaiian Opah". The fish was very nicely cooked--rare. But there was no trace of cumin in that dish. It was topped with a soggy little salad with blue crab in it. To me, the crab was wasted in there--couldn't really taste it with the heavy dressing. Below the fish was Spanish rice--salty but OK.

                      We paid $50/per person including tip and wine. We shared 2 desserts with 4 people.