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Restaurants and Bars in the Daytona Beach Area


Susan in FL
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We had discussion about the less than good dining spots under a Central Florida topic. Orlando has some fine dining, so since it's mainly in and around Daytona Beach that is lacking, I thought I would start a thread about this area in particular.

With the current release of the movie, Monster, we have a claim to fame that would not be considered by most to be part of The Good category. The Last Resort was the last stop of Aileen Wuornos, the serial killer, before she was arrested and this biker bar is in the movie. Not exactly the kind of place I'm hoping to discuss routinely... but I thought it is worth a smile.

We may have actually found a decent restaurant right in Datona Beach, The Cellar, on Magnolia Avenue. It was one of our happy hour stops Friday. We had just a glass of wine and an appetizer, but it was a good glass of wine, and our first impression of the food was favorable! We had carpaccio, and a roasted red pepper stuffed with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto. These and entrees like pappardelle with rabbit and various risottos are items we don't often see on the menus of our beach restaurants. I've got my fingers crossed and plan to return for dinner another time. Has anyone eaten lunch or dinner there?

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I could very well be wrong, but I think The Cellar was a long-established, well-regarded restaurant that had to relocate after being punted off their beachfront location--to make way for the latest condo tower with a Bubba Gumps.

You might be onto something here.

PJ

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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Hey Nick! Yeah, Norwood's is still on my short list. Problem is, it's 20+ miles away from where I'm currently located. I have a hard enough time convincing dinnermates that we don't really need to go to Red Lobster again for the umpteenth time, to push my luck and suggest a 30 min. drive to New Smyrna Beach and back. I'm thinking of going down solo for a wine tasting, though.

One of the best burgers in Daytona can be found at The Brickyard, 747 W Int'l Speedway Blvd. I've been eating, and drinking there for 24 years. The bikers who are sometimes present there are friendly bikers. :biggrin:

PJ

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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About The Cellars, I hope we are onto something here. I'll report back after I check it out again. It might have been open elsewhere before this time. A dining friend of mine said something about that.

Last night we went to New Smyrna Beach for our Friday night thing. We went to the Flagler Tavern/ Old Flagler House Inn, where they have typical bar food, with like 22 different appetizers. I was impressed because they had Bass Ale on tap... what a sad commentary that is about the local beer selection! It sure tasted good after too long a day at work. And of course another wonderful thing was al fresco dining on January 16th when most of the rest of the country was in a deep freeze.

We ended up staying there to eat dinner. These places are OK, if you just prepare yourself for what it is... beach restaurants that appeal to the masses, with inexpensive seafood platters that have little plastic containers of tartar sauce, cocktail sauce and butter with the little lids on them. The stuffing in the mushroom appetizer had too much filler and the mashed potatoes tasted funky, but the bread was good and the bottle of Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc for $20.00 was decent. And, we liked their plates and bought two of them.

Speaking of New Smyrna Beach and Norwoods, I guess that is one step up from last night. I think it has decent food and a mediocre wine selection, and once again, if you prepare yourself... it is what it is. The wine shop is pretty good. Will they let you select a wine for dinner from their shop? We went to a wine bar and restaurant in Charlottesville, VA where the shop was the wine list. Great idea!

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I don't know as Norwood's could be described as fine dining and don't know anything about the wine list. I stopped in one evening back around '89. But, most of my recollection is from back in the early fifties. We had a small winter place on the beach. Back then it was called Coranado. You got to it by going across either the north bridge or the south bridge from New Smyrna. The bridges back then were wood on pilings with a swing gate so the fishing boats could get through and there were always people fishing off the bridges - mostly black folks fishing for supper. That's not a put-down. They were probably eating better (more healthy) than many of us white folks. I don't know if there are still two bridges and the one I went across in '89 was so concrete and high I don't imagine too many people fishing from it today. But, I'd been drinking a lot of beer so maybe the bridge is closer to the water than I remember.

Actually the last time I went across that bridge was in '98 coming back from near Key West after hurricane Georges had blown the roof off my father's place and I went down to do a temporary fix. Coming back I'd been drinking beer since we got off the Keys (I wasn't driving the pick-up) and about 9:30 at night on 95 I saw the exit for New Symrna. Drunk as I was I told Brian to head into town. Got in and somehow with all that new stuff that's been built I found our way across the bridge to the island. I actually got us to the motel that my uncle built in the forties and that now had incorporated our old house into the motel. Rang the bell at the office and even though it was after hours, a young woman came to the door. I told her a little history and damned if we didn't get to stay in the front part of our old house. Sure was something.

Anyyyyhowww, back when we lived there in the fifties we used to go to Norwood's quite alot. It was a lot different back then. A real local place and at the age of 9 or 10 I got to love eating smoked mullet.

Sorry for such a long post. I just got taken back.

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I loved reading about that! I hear all the time about the tremendous development in this area from just 10 years ago. I can only imagine the changes since the era you were describing. I have been living here for only 2 1/2 years. Thanks so much.

Yes, the bridges are there, now referred to as the north causeway and the south causeway.

I would love to hear more from you about it. Did you travel north to Ormond Beach? There are some restaurants that seem as though they have not changed at all since the 50's. Park's in Daytona Beach, Julian's in Ormond... That's not a bad thing, it's just a thing, not uncommon here!

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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These places are OK, if you just prepare yourself for what it is... beach restaurants that appeal to the masses, with inexpensive seafood platters that have little plastic containers of tartar sauce, cocktail sauce and butter with the little lids on them.

:laugh:

You forgot the complimentary bowl of cellophane wrapped crackers and ramekin of smoked fish spread!

PJ

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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You forgot the complimentary bowl of cellophane wrapped crackers and ramekin of smoked fish spread!

I did. Shame on me. How ungrateful!

I am following this thread but don't have much to add since the last time we chatted because we don't eat in/near Daytona that often. We did go to Bistro Aix in Jacksonville (San Marco) last week -and it was very good (not to mention that it was just about the only place in that area that was open on a Sunday night). Robyn (in St. Johns County)

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One of the best burgers in Daytona can be found at The Brickyard, 747 W Int'l Speedway Blvd. I've been eating, and drinking there for 24 years. The bikers who are sometimes present there are friendly bikers.  :biggrin:

We went to The Brickyard last night! You were right, what a delicious hamburger. The fries with it were really good, too. That was our "new" place for the week's happy hour exploration. Maybe we'll meet you there some night after work.

Another mention for Leanh's Chinese Restaurant... I went Thursday for a New Year celebration. She does good things with duck. I took a look at the Vietnamese menu, but decided to stick with Chinese for the occasion. I want to go back soon, to try her Pho.

For those who don't know: This restaurant is on Beville Road in South Daytona.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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  • 1 month later...

Finally reporting back about The Cellar, after a full meal there...

A colleague and I are dining buddies and went there this past week. I found out that they were closed briefly, and they used to be open just for lunch. I hope their dinner trade will be good enough to keep them open. At last, a Daytona Beach restaurant that falls under the Good category.

It is in an historic building, 220 Magnolia Ave., Daytona Beach, and most of the seating is in the cellar. There is also dining on a porch, but the evening weather has been too chilly this week for that. It is an appealing atmosphere and service was excellent. I had carpaccio as an appetizer. What there was of it was tasty, but I'm used to a more generous serving. I guess paper-thin is a good thing, but I would have preferred a little more thickness. It was served with shaved Parm-Reg, arugula, and fennel, and very slightly dressed with balsamic vinegar and EVOO. There was more Parm-Reg than beef.

My main entree was Boneless Roasted Rabbit, Served with Gaeta Olive, Orange Zest, and Walnuts... However, I asked that pine nuts be substitued for the walnuts, which they gladly did. It had a touch of flavorful sauce with it, along with roasted rosemary potatoes and green and yellow squash. It was absolutely perfect. With the substituted pine nuts, I wouldn't change another thing. We had a bottle of 2000 Raymond Estates Cabernet which was very good and reasonably priced. My friend had a roasted portobello mushroom over baby greens, with Gorgonzola and a balsamic glaze, followed by Risotto with Sea Scallops, Shrimp, Peas, and a Touch of Tomato. She enjoyed her meal, as well, and I loved my taste of the Risotto. For dessert, we had a little round warm dark chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream, and espresso and Port. All good!

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I've been remiss in noting what different places we've hit on our Friday night happy hours. Mostly we've been in the west part of the county, since most of my work has been in that area recently. It's Bike Week, and so that is a good thing for the time being.

This weekend's pick was in the Ugly category. We went to the bar of Doc's Place, in the Howard Johnson hotel by the route 44 exit off I-4, because I had seen a sign that said piano bar. NOT. It was dark and dingy and they were smoking in there. I saw nothing that resembled a piano bar. Maybe that was in the restaurant part, which had a sign on the door that said, "We are open, come on in." That was at 4:30, 5:00-ish, and they were telling everybody going in that they don't open until 6. I quickly drank my glass of "white house wine" and my husband quickly drank his beer and we got out of there. We stopped by the Applebee's close to our house for nachos and beer before going home for dinner.

On recent Friday nights, we had better luck in Deland. We did happy hours at Fish Tales and the Artisan, downtown, and in a shopping center on 17/92, Gator's Dockside. The appetizers and wine were good at Fish Tales, and there was live music. At the Artisan, they have some free happy hour food available, and a decent wine selection as well. Dockside is a typical race themed sports bar, with pretty good "bar food" and OK beer. There we got an appetizer sampler which included the best conch fritters and gator bites we're had at a bar.

Who knows what next weekend has in store, since it will still be Bike Week, but a bit of good news is that a new Stonewood Grill and Tavern has just opened on Dunlawton Ave. in Port Orange.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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  • 1 year later...

I wanted to revive this thread since Russ and I have continued our Friday night tradition of Happy Hours, and have missed going out on Friday after work only very few times in the past three years. We've had some repeats, but still try to visit one new place every Friday.

Last night we went to a restaurant/bar new to us, the River Grille in Ormond Beach. ...A good find! We don't look for upscale for Friday nights (nor many other nights in this area for that matter), and this is not, but it was a pleasant surprise. The weather was so beautiful, we wanted to be waterfront. It is on the Tacoma River, and is of relatively new construction. The views were really pretty, and the food was a solid "good." At first our intentions were to get just appetizers, but we ended up staying to eat dinner because of the decent wine and beer selection, and the comfort and scenery of the deck. They had a special "Shrimp Boil" for the holiday weekend, which included blue crabs, snow crab legs, shrimp, mussels, crayfish, potatoes, corn, hushpuppies, and coleslaw for $11.95. We got that, and Russ got a hot dog in addition. Noteworthy was that they served the wine in glasses on the deck, and several places around the beach don't do that for fear of breakage. Our server took very good care of us. I want to go back to try their shrimp or grouper po' boy, gater bites, and the like. This is a great place for visitors to the area, in order to enjoy the local atmosphere and this type of food.

In my last post to this topic, I mentioned the opening of the Stonewood Grill and Tavern. That has become the local bar of choice, being very close to where we work. It has good food, very good drinks and appetizers, and a fine Martini night on Wednesdays. I usually stop there once every week or two, and did so this past Wednesday for Cosmopolitans and one of my favorite appetizers, the brie served with bread, roasted red peppers, basil olive oil, and grapes.

For anyone vacationing in or around Daytona Beach, these would be two of my recommendations.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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