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Moving my daugter to Tallahassee: Tired of the old thread

Once again we're making the long drive to Tallahasse to take my daugher back to school. In the past, we've eaten at Kool Beanz and Cypress and many of the usual chains. The old Tallahassee thread is a bit tired, I think...it's mostly about where "not to eat". I realize choices are limited, but can anyone help me broaden my horizon and find a couple new, decent and interesting places? We like all ethnic foods and price is not an issue...

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  1. One of the best ethnic is Sahara, serving Greek and Lebanese and middle Eastern dishes. It is right off Apalachee Parkway, near downtown. I also like Kool Beanz as well as Sage, which is north of I-10 behind Fresh Market. For pizza, I like Three Guys from NY, near campus and Decent, on North Monroe. Most of the local seafood is fried. There is not a good BBQ joint, nor a great steakhouse. I would avoid Chez Pierre. Tallahassee is not noted for its culinary prowess, as you will quickly see. Look at the following:
    also www.dinemozaik.com for Mozaik, which is good and finally one I have not tried:
    www.urbane-restaurant.com for downtown and oh, if you don't mind driving
    30 or so miles into Georgia, lots of us like Liam's, in downtown Thomasville...see www.liamsofthomasville.com

    1. I had a very good meal at Urbane a couple of weeks ago. I was somewhat surprised, given some of the "reviews" I've seen on here. We were a large group (10-12) and there was another large b-day party group there, which had to be a little bit challenging for the staff.

      They did a great job with service and the food was quite good. It was half-price wine night and our server was helpful in guiding our group toward some decent choices to pair with the food we ordered. I'd go back.

      A workmate was touting a place called Red Snapper, down on Crawforville Rd. I Googled it and couldn't find any info beyond the address. Workmate said the seafood was excellent and she doesn't eat fried food, so it isn't a typical Panhandle fish joint. I'd love to get more info as it might be a good place for me to meet DH for lunch.

      If you want to drive to Thomasville, Liam's is excellent and I'm a BIG fan of George & Louie's for casual seafood. If you try G & L's, get a glass of their Greek white wine. I can never remember the name of it. It's actually from Crete and is just excellent with seafood.

      2 Replies
      1. re: onrushpam

        Thanks steakman55 and onrushpam for the info. I am looking forward to trying something new and I will let you know how it goes.

        1. re: tlubow

          My suggestion is Reangthai. If you go save room for dessert. They have homemade coconut ice-cream w/ fried bananas, topped with honey. It's amazing! I

          I've had mixed experiences w/ Urbane. The last time I went I ordered salmon w/ stir-fry. I’ve had salmon there and enjoyed it but this time it was raw, REALLY raw. Also my companion ordered a pizza w/ capers. However, they put way too many capers on it and it was almost inedible.

          You might also want to try Clusters and Hops. It’s a small wine and cheese shop that serves lunch and dinner. FYI they do not take reservations.

          Also worth checking out are Sakura, Masa, and Kitcho. They serve sushi as well as other Asian dishes.

          If you’re up for something different (and VERY casual) there is a cart downtown in Kleman Plaza. That serves vegetarian soul food for lunch. I recommend the barbeque tofu sandwich (served everyday) and lasagna, served only on Fridays.

          Hope that helps. I’ll try to think of a few more places worth checking out.

      2. In the midtown area, on North Monroe, there's Masa's for Fusion-Asian and Sakura for creative Japanese appetizers and sushi. While it gets mixed ops on this board, IMO Food Glorious Food for Sunday brunch outside in nice weather can't be beat. There's an Indian restaurant, Essence of India, behind Olive Garden on Apalachee Parkway that is pretty decent and a gathering spot for Indians in the area, per my Indian neighbors. And if you want to go south 40 miles or so there's Avenue Sea in Apalachacola.

        1. And you're right, we should retire that old thread. it's so lackluster.

          1 Reply
          1. re: crewsweeper

            Thank goodness for this thread. Our son will be returning to FSU in August and we needed guidance as well. I have to add that our three trips to Masa have all been sensational. We are sushi eaters, howver, the last trip my sister was with us and was getting that very picked upon sour face when she realized her nephew had suggested a sushi place.

            She ordered a salmon (non sushi) meal and is still talking about it. Oh, and if you plan to visit your child on parent's weekend, make reservations. We ended up at Crystal River Seafood (after stops at virtually ever restaurant near campus) and are still talking and laughing about that "worst ofs" dining experience.

          2. Everything written thus far is on point. Also want to add China Delight on Tennessee Street as very good for tradtitional chinese. Angelos in Panacea is very good for seafood. Ave Sea, mentioned before is extraordinary but is 90 miles aways- not thirty (sadly). Rays Steel City is good for lunch (across from Tallahassee Mall on John Knox Road). I also love Teds Montana Grill (though a chain) on Capital Cirlce N.E. There is also a crepe place that people are raving about on Pensecola, near campus. Rest easy parents for the shopping and bar scene is just as bleak as the food scene!

            1. tlubow--
              Just had dinner on Saturdya at Bahn Thai on South Monroe just past the Railroad Trestle and the BP Station. Very interesting spot. Pad Thai noodles were very good as were the curries. Pad Lha Na (wide noodles) seafood, needed a kick but that was satified when a request for chili paste brought not only the usual red sauce but a fiery little bowl of special seasoning with a wallop of flavor.

              1 Reply
              1. re: crewsweeper

                Thanks. Keep the recommendations coming! We still have a few weeks before we go. I am leaning toward ethnic one night. We were thinking of trying Essence of India, but maybe we will do Thai instead.

              2. Definitely try Urbane. Z Bardhi's for Italian. Shell Oyster Bar for outstanding fried seafood. Georgio's can be good. Kitcho for sushi. Cypress is excellent. Kool Beanz is good as well.

                1. My wife & I have enjoyed every meal we have had at Silver Slipper. It's been in Tallahassee forever. We always insist on Joyce as our server. The steaks are always first rate, all seafood has been great as well. We have taken world travelers from SanFran there and they loved it as well. I know it is a little "shop worn" around the edges, locals seem to never mention it; BUT the food is always super, the drinks correct and the prices fair. It's stayed in the same family ownership and while the food is not the latest fad fare, they get the traditional items (steaks, seafood, baked potato, salads) perfect. When we are in Tallahassee and want a really good steak, it's our dependable 'old reliable'.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Onlytraveltoeat

                    I would also add Marie Livingston's as far as a good reliable steak joint. It is very basic - no frills, but they cook a mean steak and their homemade steak sauce is phenomenal. It is also not too pricey. You leave there feeling very satisfied.

                    Clusters & Hops is great. Even though I had one bad dining experience there (steak was undercooked/cool in the middle). Otherwise, I would highly recommend.

                    Shell Oysters is a great little "hole in the wall". Best oysters from Appalachicola as far as I'm concerned. Their fried grouper is fresh and succulent.

                    1. re: fvitchard

                      So we will be there for two dinners, Fri. night and Sat. night. I'd like Friday night to be more casual. I've narrowed down our list of choices to Urbane, Masa, Cluster & Hops, Sage, Sahara. My daughter doesn't really like Thai so we will avoid those restaurants. We don't eat fried fish and we want to stay in the Tallahassee city limits, so that eliminates several other choices. What do you think?

                      1. re: tlubow

                        Sahara Friday night and Sage Saturday. Try the lentil soup at Sahara and the chicken shawarma. Get extra olives and feta in the salad.
                        If they have the spring rolls for apps at Sage, try those. You won't be disappointed, and welcome to Tallahassee.

                        1. re: steakman55

                          While not to disparage Steak's choices, Masa's is also a good choice for either night and it's closer intown (it's a bit upscale in food but casual in setting). Or try the "ice sculpture" apps at Sakura,on Friday if you're doing Sage on Saturday. I'm not a big fan of Sahara, guess it's the influence of the "food court branch" dining experience at the Mall versus the actual restaurant.

                          1. re: crewsweeper

                            Is Sahara in a food court? We really love middle eastern food. But if it's in the mall, we will probably pass. Masa was our second choice, but it looked kind of expensive and we were hoping for something more reasonable on Friday night (we may end up taking two extra kids to dinner with us).

                            1. re: tlubow

                              They have a branch in a food court in the Tallahassee Mall. But the one Steak points to is a stand alone off Magnolia, behind New Leaf Market. I've eaten that that spot exactly once (with Steak and other Tally chowhounds). And if you like Mid Eastern food, it was pretty good. Absolutely nothing fancy about the place at all. Plenty of room and cheap enough to bring a whole dorm/soroity, if you'd like. My quibble is with the prep and quality at the food court location, albeit, it's one of the better spots to eat there, but that's faint praise.

                              1. re: crewsweeper

                                Crewsweeper is correct; the one to which I refer and eat at weekly is on Lafayette St., right off Apalachee Parkway--which goes directly out from the capitol. I would skip Sahara and any other eatery in the mall. But if you like middle Eastern, you won't go wrong with the original location. Ask for Dareen as a server. And as for Urbane, I have yet to try it, but have heard good reports. Certainly closer in than Sage. Good luck

                              2. re: tlubow

                                I would try Urbane on Saturday. I have been underwhelmed by Sage on each of my 4 trips there. At Urbane, I had one questionable dish when they first opened, but if I had read the description of the dish more carefully, I would have realized that I didn't want pizza with figs on it. Everything else I have had in multiple meals there has been great.

                                1. re: fl bob

                                  Thank you everyone. We are going to Sahara (restaurant location) on Friday night and Urbane on Sat. night. I will let you know how it turns out.

                                  And again, we all know Tallahassee is a little limited in the culinary arena, but the old thread was SO negative, that I'm glad we jumped on this one, and are highlighting the some of the positive aspects, even if there are only a handful! Hopefully, I will have positive comments to report back. Thanks again.

                                  1. re: tlubow

                                    Just reporting that we had a terrific dinner last night at Kool Beanz!
                                    Those guys really can cook.
                                    The noise is a real negative but the food is still great. And there are lots of great options for wine by the glass.

                    2. Thanks everyone for your recommendations. I want to report back that although we intended to try Sahara on Fri. night and Urbane on Sat. night, Tropical Storm Fay decided she didn't like our plans! We made it to Sahara on Friday night, but when we walked in they said they were closing and that they couldn't find my reservation...Oh well, I understand they wanted to close because of the weather, but I left them my cell phone number. It would have been nice if I hadn't had to haul my family out there in the rain for no reason. They could have just called.
                      We ended up at the old standby, Kool Beanz, where we were seated right away, no doubt because the weather kept most smart people at home. The dinner was very good (not great), and we were happy to be somewhere dry. The standouts were the pulled port appetizer with cherry bbq2 glaze and the pork chop entree - cooked perfectly and very juicy. Desserts were mediocre. I remember them being better in the past.
                      After braving the rain all day on Sat. and having to change hotels because the power went out at the first, we decided that we were not in the mood for a fancy meal that night, so we cancelled Urbane. Instead we tried Ted's Montana Grill, which is my new favorite chain restaurant. The bison chili cheese fries and the bison burgers were really good! The sides were a little more interesting than the usual, like squash casserole, and the strawberry shortcake for dessert was actually made with real shortcakes, instead of plain white cake. I wish there was a Ted's in Fort Lauderdale. Well, I hope to make it to Urbane over parents' weekend and I'll report back then.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tlubow

                        Kool Beanz never has had the desserts that are up to par with the rest of the food.

                        I did have a terrific piece of blueberry pie at Mozaik after an unremarkable lunch, a couple of weeks ago.