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Aug 19, 2008 06:55 AM

CURRENT Tallahassee restaurants

Let's start a new thread for Tallahassee. I always get tricked into looking at the very old one. Probably wouldn't hurt to do a new one every year since things change so quickly.
I'll start it with 2 issues.
1. Jasmine restaurant downtown is fabulous. I lived in Japan for a while and it's the very closest I've found to real Japanese food and tasty sushi since I've been back in the states.
2. I'm a huge bbq lover and was looking forward to trying Mr. T's on South Monroe, but was so upset to see that it closed before I got to go. Any other suggestions? I'm not a regional bbq snob, just like tasty food (especially the sides).

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  1. Add Sakura on N Monroe midtown to your Japanese favorites. And Masa's just down the street to upscale. Bahn Thai and Rengthai round out the Asian bests. Haven't found a really excellent Chinese place as Tallahassee favors buffets and AUCE Chinese.

    Being a big Texas Q fan and love the memphis stuff too, haven't found anything around the area that's even close to a Dreamland, much less a Tom Jenkins.

    Top Tex-Mex still goes to La Hacienda II out on Bannerman Rd. Sort of a tie between San Miquel and El Jalisco for #2. Black Bean rules Cuban, IMO. Havana and Carlos are about equal.

    Sage, Urbane, Mozial, Food Glorious Food, Cypress, Curry and Wine are the among the better spots for fine dining in town. Each has its own pros and cons and fans and detractors.

    Sahara, the restaurant, not the mall food court, is good for Mid Eastern. And Essence of India is the better of the 2 Indians spots in town. But there's a growing Indian community here, just make friends with them and you'll get the really good stuff.

    That's my spin.

    5 Replies
    1. re: crewsweeper

      I second you on Rengthai. Went last week with son for lunch and it was very tasty and reasonable. Want to try at night as well. Waitress needs a little training, however. I asked what was in one of the curries, and the reply: "certain vegetables" and "the meat of your choice." It was good.

      Also took son to Sakura for 22nd birthday at his request. He loved it, but it was so-so to me, but that type of food is not my style. From what I read in the Democrat today, we have a couple of good burger joints coming to town as well.

      For Mexican, try Tijuana Flats in Publix center on Mahan.

      Great steak house and BBQ joints are sadly lacking....not what one would expect for a southern capital city.

      1. re: steakman55

        Steak... looks like A.S. reviewed Tijuana Flats today. 3.5 toques, jus tlike a Chinese buffet. A chain no less. Sounds a bit more of a to-go spot. Still since it's close by, may check it out. Mrs. Crew picked up some Mexican from El Tapatio's last weekend. Wasn't as impressed, but maybe because of the selection she made (taco and enchilada) versus what I might have selected if I saw the menu.

        I've had some good meals at Peppers.

        1. re: crewsweeper

          Tijuana Flats is never going to be authentic and it will disappoint if you're expecting it to be so. But they're vegetarian-friendly (no lard in the beans) good about using reasonably fresh ingredients, have a number of options that let you pick the grease level you're craving on a given day, and I'll admit I'm addicted to their Georgia peach & vidalia onion hot sauce.

      2. re: crewsweeper

        I thought that Essence of India is the former Curry and Wine?

        1. re: Feellikeeatinout

          Essence of India is where Curry and Wine used to be. As for Sahara I would skip the one in the mall and go to their new location in Killearn or the old one on East Lafayette Street. Bella Bella is cozy and the food can be decent but is nothing special. I have been going to Bahn Thai for about 20 years and I used to love it. However, over the past few years it's gone downhill and I prefer Rengthai. Plus they have amazing homemade coconut ice-cream for dessert. I agree the servers there are a little inexperienced. I tried Sushilicious only one time and was not impressed but in all fairness I should go back before I make a judgement. For sushi I like Kitcho (get the ceviche, it's awesome), Sakura, and Masa are all pretty good. My only problem with Sakura is their wine list is a little lacking.

      3. For Sushi try out Sushilicious on Kerry Forest! It is so delicious and also very creative (I love the New Orleans roll!)

        for BBQ-OMG-Mr. T's was my absolute favorite! He still does catering but the restaurants gone (he is looking for investors to reopen though). A pretty good substitute I've found is Famous Daves on Capital Circle (by Capital Regional Medical Center) The rib tips are awesome and they have six different sauces. It easily beats out Jim and Milts or Sonnys. As for sides they have great fries and mashed sweet potatoes; the house side salad is yummy to and could be a meal itself.

        Mexican is definitely el Tapatio on N. Monroe. Love truly equals their queso and guac. dips.

        Bella Bella in MidTown is hands down the best italian. I've been there several times and the cozy atmosphere and great service make the meal even better. For and appetizer go for the bubble bread. The pre-dinner salads aren't great but you forget all about them once dinner arrives in huge, delicious portions.

        As for Seafood you're going to have to travel but Angelo's in Panacea is well worth the half hour drive. With seafood caught fresh daily, the great service and the amazing Gulf view its well worth the price tag.

        Urbane downtown is great for a night out- their shrimp and grits is sooo good, went there for my two year anniversary.

        Oh and dont forget classic standbys like Kool Beanz, Harry's, and for a chill night the Red Elephant.

        3 Replies
        1. re: tastytally0627

          While I agree that Sushilicious has a good sushi selection, Famous Dave's?
          The last lunch I had there, the meat was dried out from over reheat under the micro lamps. You'll find better sauces in Kraft's KC BBQ suace on the shelf at Publix. Bella Bella is okay if it's a nice day and you can sit outside, but it's nothing special. And Bayou Rouge eats Harry's lunch every day of the week. Po'Boy's can do so too. And you're not out an arm and a leg and snotty NYCish service. Red Elephant for chili? Tasty you've never had "real" chili or you wouldn't have made that statement. I love Kool Beanz food but lose my voice shouting to the person sitting next to me just to be heard over the noise level. We ate at Angeleo's shortly after the reopening and it was okay. I think what made Angeleo's was the atomshphere and the new place seems much more sterile. Over on the South Board there's a posting about a new spot in Thomasville in the old Liam's location on Jackson &Broad. Called Jonas' Fish and Grits. Maybe we can do a tasting...Urbane vs Jonas for best shrimp and grits, but the Fish House in Pensecola has the North Florida title locked up.

          1. re: crewsweeper

            Hey crewsweeper,, Ill toast to you tomorrow while dining at The Fish House tomorrow for lunch.. I try to go there at least a couple of times a month for lunch. They have the best grilled salmon salads.

            Dont forget the Lucky Snapper in Destin, the best stuffed grouper you can eat and outstanding chedder mini bisquits.

        2. I like Peppers on SE Capital Circle for Mexican. It's cheap, fast, good and clean and the salsa is fantastic. I just eat it by itself with a spoon! We're trying Mom and Dad's tonight for the first time and after all the build up, I certainly hope it lives up to it. Will have to post on it tomorrow I'm sure.

          1. I'm new to this board...just checking it all out...have lived in Tallahassee since 1970 so finding these posts interesting. Can't wait to hear what you say about Mom and Dads! That is an old staple of Tallahassee, first Italian restaurant in town, I believe, but I haven't been there for 20 years.

            1. We did really enjoy Mom and Dad's (even with the rain!). The food was really tasty and there was plenty of it. We had pizza, baked spaghetti and stuffed eggplant and it was all good, even the leftovers today. My only complaints are that the service was quite slow and inattentive and there is a musty smell that kind of hits you when you walk in like walking into an elderly person's home. Once you get used to that and the old, worn out decor, it's pretty enjoyable. Take out might be the way to go.

              1 Reply
              1. re: flgrl

                Mom and Dad's used to be my favorite date restaurant in the early 70's. Quite, dark, chianti bottle candles with checkere tablecloths, and relatively inexpensive. I remember I always got lasagna as it was good and easy to eat without appearing messy. Have not been in years. I know Nino Violante, who used to run it, moved on and opened an eponymous restaurant on down the road.