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Aug 28, 2011 03:21 PM

Looking for recomendations in the Sebring Area

I am going to my dad's house for a few days. I would like to find someplace to get out for lunch or dinner. I will try just about anything so feel free to make any suggestions at all.


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  1. There are very, very few special things going on in Sebring restaurant-wise. Of course, you can find dozens of places to get typical restaurant garbage, but not many worth your restaurant dollar.

    The diamond in the rough: Taqueria Merlo. You can search for my review of Taqueria Merlo in Avon Park from at least a year ago. It is a taqueria in a Mexican grocery, but has ample seating and excellent food, and allows you to purchase Mexican beer singles to drink with your meal. As far as I am concerned, it is the only food served in Highlands County that is anything special. I highly recommend the barbacoa tacos, the lengua tacos, or the carne arrachera. Load up on the fresh salads and salsas, and you will be visiting your dad more often, I am sure.

    Other than Merlo's, I leave many of my lunch dollars at Cang Tong in Sebring. The Chinese food is American Chinese food that is serviceable, but I think the sushi bar -- believe it or not -- is where the action is. I don't go for the crazy, crunchy, cream cheese American sushi, but rather order the "house rolls", which are more like what you'd get in Japan: truly bite-size, pristine vegetables, and small cuts of fish, depending on what you'd order. The rice is well-made, which is what matters after all. I'm not saying you'll think you're in Japan, but for Sebring -- and hell, even for Tampa -- the sushi is very good. The nigiri is also well-presented, by the way.

    Other than that, depending on where you're coming from and how big your cowboy hat is, you might enjoy the newly reopened Watering Hole on 27, just south of Sebring. Steaks are good, atmosphere is rural Florida, beer is cold, and you can eat gator tail. I would never spend my own money there, but it's an option.

    If you opt for cooking at home (or bringing home Merlo's take-out), you may find that the new ABC liquors on 27 in front of Home Depot is your refuge. I am still astounded that Sebring has a store that complete, with a great selection of micro-brews and foreign wines at great prices. It's like a smaller Total Wine. Clean, well-lit -- you'll dig it.

    Enjoy it.


    Taqueria Merlo
    1004 W Main St, Avon Park, FL 33825

    Watering Hole
    2304 Transmitter Rd, Panama City, FL 32404