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Meat and vegetables laid inside a hollowed out pineapple
Photograph: Visit TallahasseePineappetite

The best restaurants in Tallahassee

From Saturday afternoon hangouts to chic date night spots, these are the best restaurants in Tallahassee

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Written by
Megan duBois
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In a city where state government officials often bump elbows with rowdy college kids, you'll find that the dining scene caters to an equally unique mix of people. In fact, eateries in the capital city of Florida run the gamut from Saturday afternoon hangouts serving seafood buckets to chic date night spots with a seasonal farm-heavy menu. But the one thing that brings this city and all its restaurants together: a win by the Florida State Seminoles college football team. 

On our list of the best restaurants in Tallahassee you'll find Southern staples, a BYOB oyster bar, and one place that’s serving dinner out of hollowed-out pineapples. So if the city's river sinks and parks aren't enough to lure you in, a food tour of the city just might. Keep reading to find out the top places in Tallahassee to grab a bit to eat while traveling, in town for a sporting event, or just passing through.

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Best restaurants in Tallahassee

Backwoods Crossing's farm-to-table menu is filled with items like locally caught soft shell crabs and locally grown blueberries. The menu changes weekly, but patrons of the lunch menu know that the popular pepper panini is always on the roster. Order it for a delicious combo of roasted red peppers, basil, house made ricotta and pesto on a parmesan encrusted roll. 

Savour is one of the chicest restaurants in Tallahassee with a distinguished menu and a fantastic wine and cocktail list. Each of its dishes is seasonally inspired and ingredients are sourced from around the region. Entrees include everything from classic filet mignon to Southern-inspired shrimp and grits. When it’s time for dessert don’t pass on getting the 'adult' key lime pie, which is spiked with grand mariner and Patron silver for a dessert that's closer to a margarita than a pie. 

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Food that’s worthy of your Instagram feed and is actually delicious can be a rare combination, but Pineappetit specializes in photo-worthy food that actually tastes good — take for example the half pineapple that’s been hollowed out and filled with seafood like lobster tail or shrimp.Gorgeous and delicious! Other menu items at the tropical-inspired restaurant include Caribbean patties, which are like empanadas, and your choice of plantains.

Fans of bao and other Asian bites will love J’s Asian Street Food. The restaurant is known for its homemade buns, which are filled with either pork belly, duck, chicken, shrimp or tofu, along with crunchy vegetables and cilantro. For noodle lovers, consider the savory Korean fried ramen or the spicy chicken pad Thai. And save room for hand-crafted desserts including a Cantonese coconut milk and tapioca treat that’s creamy and not overly sweet.

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Table 23 is a Southern-inspired restaurant in Midtown where locals know that whatever is on the menu its sure to be good. The restaurant is housed in a refurbished residence that dates back to the 1920s, and guests can choose to dine inside or on the patio – a hot spot once the cool weather arrived with fall. The menu is filled with sharable plates like beer-battered cheese curds and pimento-topped deviled eggs. And don't forget to tip your kitchen staff with a round of beer for just $12. 

Since 1945, Shell Oyster Bar has been feeding everyone from hungry college students to business men at power lunches in Tallahassee. The cash-only spot is known for its bring-your-own-beer policy and fresh oysters shipped to the restaurant on a regular basis. The spot also serves up fried seafood baskets and a variety of seafood-based sandwiches. Note that the restaurant is closed for most of the month of July each year so the staff can have a well deserved break when Tallahassee isn’t packed with college students.

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Lucilla's menu is rooted in Southern soul food. The restaurant is only open for dinner from Wednesday through Sunday, but it’s worth the trek across town to devour items like fried green tomatoes with housemade buttermilk and goat cheese ranch, or the shrimp, scallops and grits, which is topped with with andouille, corn, tomatoes and bell peppers. The dessert menu is filled with classics with a Southern twist like sweet-and-tangy Meyer lemon creme brûlée.

From the outside Kool Beanz Cafe looks straight outta the  90s with its bright primary-colors paint job and funky print on the logo, but once you step inside you’re surrounded by dark pastels and modern art. The menu changes daily based on what’s available from local sources, but some fan favorites include pulled pork with fried green tomatoes, and jerk swordfish with coconut black beans. The restaurant also has a fantastic wine menu, so feel free to stick around for a while. 

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The Edison is a spacious restaurant with ample indoor and outdoor seating and a menu filled with sharable plates and scrumptious entrees. Diners can’t get enough of the fresh lobster guacamole, lightbulb shrimp – which is a take on bang bang shrimp – or the pickled red onion rings. For something a little more filling consider the adult take on a grilled cheese that includes a green tomato and cheddar, American and gruyere cheese on perfectly toasted sourdough bread.

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Florida’s strongest quality may very well be its diversity: all across the state, cities and towns are lush with different kinds of food, activities and environments to explore. 

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