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Daytona Beach Rec's, PLEASE?

We will be in Daytona Beach for a week in March/April. And I am looking for something REALLY good to eat - we have been for the last 4 years and have had some good food, but are really looking for some new stuff.
The only kibosh any one has ever put on choices is sushi - but on the other hand alot of us like it.
There will be about 7 or so of us - depending on the day/night.
Any suggestions welcomed and appreciated!

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  1. We go to Daytona Beach Shores at least once a year, and dining can be a struggle for us, too. For your typical FL fried seafood we often eat at the Deck Down Under, just under the Port Orange causeway. I like Pat's Riverfront for breakfast - they do a decent job, and I enjoy the setting. We end up in New Smyrna for seafood, too, but very casual places - The Oceans, Boston Fish House. There is always Stonewood or Chart House if your looking for something more upscale, and I've never had a bad meal at either, but not necessarily outstanding either. Keep us posted if you find something great!

    3 Replies
    1. re: joanieloch

      I love the food at Down the Hatch in Ponce Inlet, FL. I had a melt-in-your-mouth mahi-mahi burger a few nights ago during Bike Week that was to die for. The sun was setting, a few boats sailed by, a pelican waddled by on the restaurant's dock. Outdoor dining, with a Florida breeze and live guitar music. All would be wonderful here, except that the place is under-staffed and the hard working servers do not have time to pay attention to orders, customer requests, or show any personal interest whatsoever in the diners. The rush-rush-rush and obvious half-listening remained a consistent irritant throughout the meal and beyond. I asked for silverware 3 times. I spread the mayonaise on my mahi mahi sandwich with a straw. After I filled in my credit card amounts during the billing process, I could never get my server's attention, or much of anybody else's, so I left the folder and paperwork with the hostess inside(the main restaurant). I will go back there- the food and ambiance is well worth the server hassle, but I wanted to warn my Chowhound friends that there is, sadley, a "server hassle" at this place.

      1. re: Florida Hound

        I will have to try that - I would lvoe to have great servers too, but can settle for excellent ambiance and food.
        thanks for the thoughts / rec's
        We have a car or two so it won't be too much of an issue to get places either
        we just have to stay within walking distance of the hotel for the after dinner theatrics we usually get into

      2. re: joanieloch

        I'm in Ormond Beach/Daytona now and have eaten in 3 places. Hull's has been recommended for very fresh seafood, just caught from the sea. It's good, nice soft shell crabs yesterday. Very casual. The Cellar, recommended by another poster, is really very good, but also quite expensive. Worth a one-time treat. Just ate at Las Bistro, charm bordering on eclectic decor, with a nice varied menu. Excellent service. Had an early bird dinner (no, I'm not a senior, just like to eat early) of pecan-coated tilapia, fresh green beans, rice pilaf, salad, wine, rolls for $9.99. Great value. . Dinner prices are higher. Also interesting breakfast/brunch menu. I'd go there again.

      3. REALLY good in Daytona will be a challenge. Best bet is to keep your expectations really, really low, that way you won't be disappointed!

        2 Replies
        1. re: askdrtodd

          do you live in Daytona or are you saying that as a tourist?
          how many times have you been here?
          just curious.

          1. re: askdrtodd

            I agree with this statement. If you are going to Daytona expecting transcendent food experiences like NY, SF, Boston, or Chicago, you are going to be disappointed. There's a lot of chains in Daytona. If you go expecting good/decent non chain food and take the time to root it out at fish shacks and holes in the wall then you can be satisfied. Basically it is what it is. People go to Daytona for things other than food experience. And just because this is my opinion doesn't mean that it is the absolute authority and no one else's opinions and recommendations are wrong.

          2. Really just trying to bump this up - I'm amazed that so many of the Daytona area threads are so old. Doesn't seem to be much activity for this area. I'm headed there tomorrow, and would love to see something current :)

            5 Replies
            1. re: joanieloch

              where did you eat on the last trips?
              I live in Daytona & I'd like to try and help. alot of places closing & a lot of places opening.

              1. re: joanieloch

                its amazing the number of people thst ask for recomendations that don't get them within 2 hrs. don't reply at all....if they even do come back to look.
                I try to help people because I live here.
                tell us what was good or bad.
                reply one way or the other.

                1. re: riffjamer

                  riffjamer, I've been travelling and haven't had much computer access. I will be on much more when I get home, but am actually in Daytona Shores right now and just saw your last two messages. We ate at Oceans in New Smyrna yesterday, and also picked up fresh seafood to eat back here at Mom's. We are headed to Chart House tonight. Tomorrow we are trying Hidden Treasure in Port Orange along the causeway - someone rec'd it and it's always looked interesting. Will post later :)

                  1. re: joanieloch

                    joanieloch, Oceans is usually good.Prime Ribs the best choice at the Charthouse.
                    what time are you going to Hidden Treasure? we live 10 mins. from there. just meet to say Hi. have a drink & leave.

                  2. re: riffjamer

                    I apologize - I had back surgery and was not thinking of the trip
                    This will be the fourth year we have gone - we have eaten at The Ocean Deck, Hidden Treasure Bar & Grill (last 2 years we really enjoyed it) , and Rosellini's which was very good also.
                    Those are the places we enjoyed - there have been numerious others that were just not that memorable. I am not looking for transcendant, just a good meal
                    Thanks for the reply!

                2. I have family in Daytona and when I visit, I love to go t Down the Hatch at Ponce Inlet. I also like Betty's Cafe on AIA in Ormond, also Peach Valley Cafe in Ormond is great for breakfast.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: vafarmwife

                    Down the Hatch is OK but a better place is Boondocks a few miles north.

                    Bettys has great whole belly clams, but try Alfies down the street.

                    also try the Lobster Pit in between both of those.

                    Peach valley is ok but WAY overpriced.

                    1. re: riffjamer

                      Your opinion doesn't mean that my recs are wrong.

                  2. It's been a decade since I lived there....but I always liked pizza at Sorrentos...I wonder if I'd still like it?

                    I also like The Ocean Deck as a place to have a few drinks, dance, and have fun.

                    1. I have been to Daytona numerous times over the years. Last time (June 2011) I found a restaurant that was very good- the Cellar- I hope it is still in business- so I'm reposting the ttext of the review I wrote about it for Yelp:

                      The Cellar is by far the nicest restaurant I have been to in Daytona. As a visitor from the Philadelphia area, over the years I thought I had tried all the decent restaurants around- in the Daytona area there is no shortage of casual seafood places, cheap italian pizza/pasta joints and chain restaurants...but very little in the way of fine dining. I was so happy to discover the Cellar!

                      The restaurant itself is beautifully decorated with white tablecloths, stained glass windows, and artfully displayed wine bottles. The service was extremely professional, but also friendly- the owner came over to our table to chat with us and find out how we heard about the restaurant. (I found it here on yelp!)

                      My husband and I enjoyed an appetizer plate of delicious italian meats, cheeses and marinated vegetables. For entrees, we tried some of the house made pastas- seafood ravioli and the fettucini with rabbit ragu. Both were delicious! We finished our meal by sharing a yummy apple strudel with ice cream.

                      I highly recommend the Cellar if you are in the Daytona area on vacation and looking for an upscale dinner with excellent food and service! I only wish I had known about this restaurant sooner!

                      1. Thanks for all the recommendations here! We were in Daytona Beach for the first time last week and had some nice meals.

                        Our favorite was probably our first dinner Hull's Seafood in Ormond Beach. We each had the golden tile special which was a nice local fish we hadn't heard of before. Sides at seafood places are often iffy, but these were great - nice collard greens, black-eyed peas, tomato-based fish chowder, and hush puppies. Only the wine and beer selection was uninspiring, but we expected that going in.

                        We were in Ponce Inlet around lunch time so we stopped at Down the Hatch, where I had a nice grouper sandwich. We wanted something other than seafood for our second dinner, so we went to the European Café and Schnitzel House in Ormond Beach. We don't have much in the way of German food where we live in California, so it was nice to get some good schnitzel and sauerbraten there.

                        It was happy eating, and I see plenty of possibilities like The Cellar for future visits.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mdg

                          Just got back from a few days at Bike Week, Daytona, and I did notice a pretty good crowd of bikes parked at Hull's Seafood, Ormond, and wondered if I should try it sometime. Now, I read your post, so I may have to "take you up on it" on a future trip over that way! As you said at the top of your post, "Thanks for... the recommendations...!"
                          Of course, we did get to "Down the Hatch" and enjoyed it as much as ever. Glad you checked them out!
                          Travel safe,

                          Florida Hound

                        2. I have lived in the Daytona Beach area pretty much my entire life (save for a 7 year stint in NJ and man do I miss the bagels) and although for the most part there is a marked dearth of quality eats in the area, there are some places that I would enthusiastically recommend.

                          -The Cracked Egg in Daytona Beach Shores has a great breakfast (hot apple fritters!)
                          -The Daily Grind in Port Orange (right next to Daytona, more or less) has excellent burgers
                          -Thai Woodhouse is great if you are in the mood for thai
                          -The Ormond Beach Wine Company in Ormond (just north of Daytona) has an excellent wine selection, delicious flatbreads, and these incredible savory-sweet rosemary mixed nuts
                          -The Dancing Avocado Kitchen in downtown Daytona is wonderful for vegetarian options.
                          -Also in our tiny downtown area is McKays, which has a great selection of beers and sometimes live music (Irish/Celtic). As well as Tia Cori's at the other end of the street which has some purportedly amazing tacos, though I have yet to verify this for myself.
                          -Hull's Seafood, which other folks have mentioned, is pretty good for ...seafood (of course!), though it has been several years since I have been there. There's also Aunt Catfish's, which, while not stellar, has a certain charm to it, and their Sunday breakfast buffet is pretty good.

                          ...as far as bagels though, I am afraid you are out of luck in the Daytona locale. However, if you are willing to make the hour's drive to Winter Park (Orlando area), there is a Bagel King which is on par or maybe even better than my favourite bagel place/deli up north.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ghoulnextdoor

                            We finally made it to Hulls Seafood Market Restaurant in Ormond Beach this past weekend. I remember 2 of the party had shrimp platters, and Hulls was willing to make it pretty much any way they wanted it, which was a good introduction, and our 2 shrimp eaters gave their meal rave reviews. I had fried clam strips, which were terrific. (I don't recall specifically what our other friend at the table had, but he did mention several times he enjoyed it. ) Everyone wanted to know how I heard about the place and I told them about Chowhound, of course.
                            I was not expecting:
                            The drill at Hulls is place your order at the front counter, and then the order is delivered to your table. So that part of restaurant dining took a moment to get used to.
                            Its small, and the lay out and "feel" is like "fast food," which it is not (the small part- yes!) The front of the restaurant is entirely glass window, looking out on to a busy and pretty dreary Hwy 40, and so that added to the "fast food" ambiance. At times, the line to place your order took over the crowded aisles of the small restaurant, although we happened to time it ourselves with, thankfully, no line and no waiting. Watching the line get longer and longer only convinced me this is a very popular place.
                            Food came out in plastic baskets- the usual informal seafood place kind of presentation.

                            The food: IMO, is good quality food. And the seafood market part of the operation sure looks like an incredible "real deal" from what I could catch a glimpse of, although the market was closed (we sat near a glass emergency exit that connected to their market).

                            Everyone at the table wanted to get back to Hulls soon- all very positive reviews.