Tallahassee Restaurants

  • Picture of the famed wings
    Picture of the famed wings
    by BruceDunning
  • Interior of the restaurant
    Interior of the restaurant
    by BruceDunning
  • View from the street
    View from the street
    by BruceDunning

Best Rated Restaurants in Tallahassee

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    China First Restaurant: Something totally different... a Chinese Buffet

    by 850prc Updated Apr 12, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    OK, I was being funny. Chinese Buffet places are everywhere. Ubiquitous, if you're planning a Scrabble or crossword puzzle-solving career. Nothing new about Chinese buffet places, and to a degree, this type of restaurant is pretty much the same everywhere.

    I've often heard a saying about Chinese buffet food, probably authored by a hungry college student surviving on "all you can eat for $4.91" type meals.... Chinese buffet food is great when it's good and still pretty good when it's not.

    OK, I admit it, you CAN get horrible Chinese food. But, you won't get it at China First in Tallahassee. Of ALL the capital city's "buffet" Chinese places, China First is the best and most consistent for my money. Lunch buffet is usually $5.95, all you can eat (that's what AYCE means on signs in Tallahassee, by the way....). Dinner buffet is usually $7.95. I think they have a "seafood" angle on Saturdays for an additional buck. But since I don't go to Chinese buffet joints for seafood, I can't say for sure. : )

    They do have a menu at China First, should you decide to forego the buffet. However, the waiter may die of a heart attack if you actually ask for one. I can't imagine the panic in the kitchen if they suddenly had to make something NOT on the buffet. : ) Maybe someday I'll go stir things up, but... I actually love the buffet stuff.

    If you get a hankerin' for Chinese buffet in Tallahassee, I'd suggest China First. Reasonably clean, reasonable service and the quality of the food is very good. Don't let the restaurant's position directly next to a PET STORE give you any pause, either. Those are just rumors started by competitors.

    Favorite Dish: Oh we love their crab rangoon appetizers. The egg and spring rolls are good for buffet.

    And the entrees are all good and quite varied. For vegetarians, there's always several veggie entrees to choose from. MY favorite entree is General Tso's chicken. China First makes it extra spicy....... good stuff.

    NEVER try the desserts. There is nothing worse than a dessert item from a Chinese buffet line. I've often thought of "marking" one of the tea cakes' icing with an etch mark (using a toothpick). I want to see if the same cake is there the next day, and the day after that. It's rumored that the FSU school of archaeology calibrates their carbon-dating apparatus using Chinese restaurant desserts. Enough jokes... stay away from the sweets. Go get ice cream somewhere after your meal if you want dessert.

    China First also has a decent list of reasonably priced and cold beers, both domestic and import. Get a Tsingtao, folks...it's a Chinese place. Drink your Budweiser with a burger.

    China First Buffet, Tallahassee

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Mom and Dad's Italian Restaurant: Tallahassee's FIRST Italian place

    by 850prc Written Apr 12, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Back in 1963, Nino Violante and his wife Isolde started what became a Tallahassee legend.... Mom and Dad's Italian restaurant. In the days before Tallahassee became a bigger city, hour-long waits were the norm out at Mom and Dad's... The food, service and friendship was that good. This is one of those places that the governor and the garbageman were both welcomed with open arms.

    Nino turned it over to family members in the late 1970s. The crowds are nowhere near as large now, but it's no indictment on the food or service, which remain very very good. It's just that Tallahassee has so many places to eat now, not the least of which is "Nino's" a restaurant that Mom and Dad's founder Violante started up in the late 1980s when he found it impossible to stay retired.

    There are fancier places, and you'll find places with a snootier, high-class serving of Italian food. But if you want excellent home-cooking, assuming your home is in Trastevere and you can see Capitoline hill from you backyard fountain area , then Mom and Dad's is your place.

    Great service and always a smile. Mom and Dad's is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Open for dinner all other days, reservations are accepted, but rarely needed for an average-sized party.

    VERY reasonable prices, a decent little wine list, plenty of parking. And, since Tallahassee's grown so much, Mom and Dad's is "close in". It's never moved, mind you... the city's just grown out towards it. When opened in 1963, it was in the "boonies", so to speak.

    We try to hit Mom and Dad's every eight or ten months, just for old time's sake. Give it a try on your next trip to Tallytown.

    Favorite Dish: The last time I was there, I went traditional...

    A nice plate of spaghetti with homemade Bolognese sauce. Added a couple of giant and tasty meatballs, too.

    I had the sweet spumoni for dessert.

    Appetizers? Everyone else in my party did the crab-stuffed mushrooms. I went traditional and had the escargot in garlic butter. You know what?? I've eaten escargot all over the world, hundreds of times. In my opinion, Mom and Dad's has some of the best around.

    Mom and Dad's Restaurant.. a Tallahassee tradition

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Zaxby's Chicken: THE best chicken in a chicken-lovin' town

    by 850prc Updated Apr 17, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tallahassee, like most of the south, LOVES fried chicken. Many places serve fried chicken, and its most recent incarnations, chicken wings and chicken fingers or tenders.

    THE best chicken in Tallahassee comes from a relatively-new fast food chain, Zaxby's. Headquartered in Athens, Georgia, Zaxby's has now opened two restaurants in our city, with two more on the way.

    While technically fast-food, it's not quite true at Zaxby's. They prepare the orders fresh as you order them, so there is a slight wait for one's food.

    The great thing about Zaxby's is their quality and freshness. Hot, fresh and tasty, every time. They also have a wide variety of items on their menu, all of which are good.

    Anyway, if you find yourself hankerin' for some chicken fingers in Tallahassee, or in the south..... give Zaxby's a try. It's by far my favorite place.

    Favorite Dish: Their chicken fingers are hot, fresh and tasty. Ask to have them done "Buffalo style" for some extra kick.

    Zaxby's also has some terrific salads, generally featuring chicken tenders, fried, blackened or buffalo style. They are huge, fresh and filling. They call them "Zalads". They've just brought back (by popular demand) their Ranchero Zalad, which features grilled or fried chicken, greens and a Tex-Mex twist.

    Zaxby's....Tallahassee's best chicken fingers!

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Sonny's Real Pit Barbecue: The best barbecue chain restaurants in the South

    by 850prc Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sonny's Barbecue operates several popular restaurants in Tallahassee and throughout Florida. The first Sonny's originated back about 1968 in Gainesville, Florida. And yes, it was started by a big fat guy who loved barbecue named Sonny Tillman.

    What you get at Sonny's is a good barbecue and consistency. It's always good. It's always clean. The service is friendly. In short, going out to Sonny's is always a treat.

    When we have visitors from outside the South, we usually take them to Sonny's for some southern barbecue. Anytime you're in the South and see a Sonny's, it might be time for a feed. Pull over and enjoy yourself.

    Sonny's corporate advertising slogan sums it up...

    Sonny's...... YUMMY.

    Favorite Dish: The barbecue. They have a daily special, and the ones I remeber are
    Saturday and Thursday,
    All you can eat barbecued chicken

    All you can eat pulled pork. (My favorite)

    All you can eat St. Louis ribs

    All you can eat sliced pork

    Saturday night
    Kids eat free.

    Sonny's also has some excellent side dishes to go with their barbecue.

    Barbecue beans (absolutely THE best)
    fried corn on the cob
    fried okra
    baked potatoes AND baked sweet potatoes
    cole slaw,
    great french fries

    Sonny's also has a terrific salad bar. It's loaded with true southern specialties, including old fashioned potato salad, ham salad and homemade banana pudding. (the best)

    Hot damn..we're in luck.  Ribs are on special! The manager and waitresses at the Parkway Sonny's The Sonny's on Apalachee Parkway

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Bada Bean Coffee & Tea Company: Bada-bing, it's Bada-Bean for morning coffee!

    by 850prc Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I have nothing against the Starbucks, Peets and Seattles' Best coffee places of the world. They've gotten me jolted in enough airports to earn my praise forever. :)

    But, I just like local places.....

    The Bada Bean coffee shop recently opened in Tallahassee. And although it's nothing new or exciting, they brew a nice pot of coffee and offer a nice place to relax and catch the morning news on TV, or to read a newspaper.

    The coffee is quite good. I haven't tried the tea yet, but will someday. The accompanying cheesecake, muffins, turnovers and such are fine. Bottom line... it's a coffee place, folks.

    And most importantly, it's a local coffee place, the type that develops their own little cadre of regulars. For me, it's a slice of a smaller town in what is becoming a bigger city.

    Favorite Dish: coffee, duh!

    They have espresso, machiato (con panna), a nifty house coffee ("Tallahassee breakfast blend"), americano, cappuccino, latte, mocha, chai latter, hot chocolate and steamers, breve and Cuban-style Con Leche.

    Other drink items include iced tea, individual pots of gourmet tea, bottled juices, and a great menu of ice cream treats, including milkshakes and their custom "Bada-cino".

    From the bakery, there's scones, muffins, croissants (the raspberry-cream cheese variety is good), cookies, bagels. If you're into meatier stuff, they seel a ham and egg version of their croissant. The spinach-feta croissant is different and tasty, too. (I like it later in the day)

    They also have lunch sandwiches and soup, although I have yet to try them.

    The Bada-Bean Coffeeshop

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    The Melting Pot: Fond of Fondue???? Dip into something special.

    by 850prc Updated Apr 30, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tallahassee's "The Melting Pot" is one of the city's favorite special occasion eateries. One of several such restaurants by the same name in the state of Florida, The Melting Pot offers a varied and quality fondue experience.

    The food is excellent, the service is even better. And, when you factor in the ambience and atmosphere, it's just a terrific experience.

    Dinner at the Melting Pot is the sort of event that will easily take two hours.....things are done in a slow and easy-going manner.

    Dinner will start with drinks as you wish, followed generally by a starter course of cheese fondue. (there are several options, but it's hard to be the traditional Gruyere and Emmenthaler fondue). Next comes the salad, which is always fresh and well-presented, no matter which choice you choose. Then, there's the main course, which you (not surprisingly since it's a fondue restaurant) cook at your table. There are numerous styles and choices, and it's all good.

    If you have room, there are several scrumptious dessert fondues, usually based on some sort of sinfully rich chocolate concoction.

    MAKE RESERVATIONS. This place is popular. The only way you'll ever get away with just dropping in is if you choose to come by late in the evening to just have dessert and coffee.....always a nice thing to do after a show or concert.

    ANOTHER NOTE.... Even though the Melting Pot is a very nice restaurant, the dress code is very relaxed. This is a place that you can comfortably enjoy wearing your blue jeans and a t-shirt.

    Favorite Dish: EVERYTHING is good here. Among my favorite items are some that you'd consider mundane.....

    The "house" dressing that comes with the chef salad (one of the better salad choices with dinner) is wonderful. I continue trying to duplicate the taste at home. Speaking of salads, the mushroom and spinach salad is also good.

    My favorite appetizer fondue is the Emmenthaler, Gruyere and white wine fondue, with crusty bread, veggies and fresh fruits for dipping.

    For main course, I'm simple.... I love the chicken breast. I like it cooked the traditional Melting Pot way.....fried in peanut oil with a sesame seed batter. VERY good. The filet beefsteak is also good, as are the scallops and jumbo shrimp. Lobster is great, too. As for accompanying veggies, we especially like doing our mushroom caps "The Melting Pot Way", which means filling them with green goddess dip, battering them with the sesame batter and frying them in peanut oil. Ummm Ummmm good.

    For dessert, I'm partial to the dark chocolate and cherry liquer fondue. Lots of people like the mixture of the milk chocolate with the rich and creamy peanut butter.

    There is a very good wine list at the Melting Pot as well. As for the prices below, I'm not figuring wine. The Melting Pot also has a full service bar.

    If you decide to have a decent bottle of wine, or maybe couple of drinks, then the tab per person could approach or exceed $40 or even $50. Not cheap, but this is a great place for that special night out.

    My son Jeff digs into some Melting Pot fondue

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    WHAT a burger at Whataburger !: T H E best chain-store hamburgers in town

    by 850prc Updated Feb 19, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Whataburger is a relatively unknown (outside the south...they're primarily located in Texas and Florida) chain of hamburger stores. But for my money, they're the best.

    They don't pretend to be making health food at Whataburger. Their hamburgers are cooked WHEN you order them and fixed to your specifics. And, they're BIG.

    Hungry??? Try that doublemeat with cheese and add some bacon. You'd hate to miss an opportunity to harden your arteries. : ) BTW, this is an old fashioned place, y'all. They wrap their burgers up in wax paper.....not a lot of silly printed styrofoam containers and such.

    One of the neat things about Whataburger that is different from any other chain..... each location has its group of locals who routinely visit each morning and at lunchtime. It's kind of like on that show "Cheers".... at Whataburger, you'll find yourself meeting and greeting the same people day in and out. "Everybody knows your name" is overstating it, but my point is this. There are more "regulars" at a Whataburger than at Burger King (aka BK Steakhouse) or McDonald's (aka Mickey D's). Whataburger also has a true breakfast menu and is open early each day. LOTS of people visit Whataburger every morning for a cup of coffee and some breakfast. The place is full of regulars reading their newspaper.

    I only wish we had a better paper to read than the loathsome Tallahassee Democrat. (aka the Democrap or the Demagogue)

    Favorite Dish: Doublemeat burgers. Add cheese and bacon. Wanna heat them up? Ask to have a jalapeno pepper chopped up onto your burger.

    The grilled chilken sandwiches are very very good, too. Speaking of chicken, if you like chicken tenders, Whataburger only sells REAL strips of chicken breast. None of that processed and formed stuff that you find at Mickey D's.

    The french fries are the best here. They actually SALT them. It really annoys me when places leave off most of the salt with the notion that it's healthy. If fries aren't salted when they're hot and greasy, it is NOT the same. Whataburger also has GREAT onion rings.

    For breakfast, they have hotcakes, biscuits, sausage, eggs, bacon, ham and even taquitos, a nifty version of a breakfast burrito that puts the one at McDonald's to shame.

    Not sure about that karaoke business......

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Calico Jack's, also called CJ's: Simple seafood. Cheap beer. Is CJ's heaven??

    by 850prc Written Apr 14, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Calico Jack's is a Tallahassee institution, having been in business for darn near 20 years. Some folks simply call it C. J.'s. They feature well-prepared fresh local seafood. Oysters, shrimp, fresh fish.... it's all good. You can get it done in a variety of ways... fried, broiled, blackened. Again, all good... and pretty cheap, too.

    Calico's is also kind of a sports bar, so it's a good place to get a pitcher of cold beer, a basket of shrimp, fries and maybe some hot chicken wings. Sit back and watch the game on the big screen TV sets.

    And last but not least, the beer is COLD and reasonably priced at Calico's. Is it any wonder that it's so popular with the college crowd....especially the college crowd that's reached 21 years old. But, do not worry about the bar aspect of Calico's... it's family friendly, both in attitude and price.

    Favorite Dish: I love the hot fried shrimp, with a remoulade sauce for dipping.

    People tell me that their raw oysters are good, but I don't dig raw oysters. I worked in a medical lab for 32 years, and I know what sort of microbial crap grows in raw oysters. Thank you, no. :^/

    How about a pitcher of cold beer? Budweiser, Michelob.... ice cold and reasonably priced.

    Good service, too. Friendly waiters and waitresses.

    Calico Jack's, also known of as

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Cabo's Tacos / Cabo's Island Grille: Cult Following restaurants in Tallahassee, part 2

    by 850prc Written Apr 26, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tucked away on the backside of Tallahassee's oldest shopping center (even SEARS moved away) is Cabo's Tacos and Cabo's Island grill.

    Cabo's has a loyal cadre that habitually dines on their freshly prepared Tex-Mex treats. As much a bar as it is a restaurant, Cabo's is a place that one goes to veg out and watch TV with your friends....oh yeah, and to eat tacos.

    The tacos are actually very good, and they have an interesting variety of taco items on the menu. For a while, they used to make a trendy California-ish fish taco, but I'm not sure they do anymore. Florida may be on it's way to being another California, population-wise, but we're trying not to let our food get screwed up, too. ; )

    The island grill portion of Cabo's is a good place to find Caribbean treats, including jerk chicken, firey Jamaican shrimp, etc. Again, it's all pretty good...and reasonably priced.

    There's a reason that so many people keep coming back to Cabo's.

    Favorite Dish: Well, the tacos are what's on the signboard. Good, fresh and quite addictive. Have a frosty Tecate with a couple of tacos, add a bed of Mexican rice. Oh yea.... have another Tecate or two, and stay for a while.

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Itza Pizza (as in "it's a pizza"): New York-style pizza pie in Tallahassee

    by 850prc Updated May 16, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tallahassee's "Itza Pizza" restaurant has terrific NY style pizza. Everything is made with the best traditional ingredients, and they also show a great deal of variety and inventiveness on their menu. This is the sort of pizzaria that has both pepperoni AND broccoli available as toppings. How about fresh garlic added? White pizza, greek-style.....even nutty stuff like buffalo chicken and such.... All on that wonderful NY-style crust, the kind you fold over and cram into your salivating mouth. :)

    In addition to pizza, Itza Pizza also has wings, calzones, baked ziti, hot submarine sandwiches, breadsticks, ice cream, Italian-style ices and such. All good, all filling, all served with a smile.

    Itza Pizza is, for me, a bit out of the way. But, I still try to find a reason to be in their neighborhood every once in a while, just to enjoy the beauty of a true NY pizza. Itza Pizzas come in 12, 14 and 18 inch sizes, and are ready for pickup in about 20 minutes.

    Favorite Dish: Well, the pizza is terrific. Among our favorites are...

    The veggie deluxe, featuring black olives, onions, peppers, broccoli, fresh garlic and lots of mozarella cheese.

    The doctor special (???), which is double pepperoni and double fresh mozarella.

    The works, which has, ah...... damned near anything you could imagine.

    And, Itza Pizza also serves something they call a breakfast pizza, which is very very good. It's egg based, and features cheese and bacon as well. You can add anything else you'd like to personalize your breakfast pie. And although Itza Pizza isn't open FOR breakfast, you can get one the night before.... breakfast pizza reheats VERY nicely.

    You can see our reflection in the window!

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Morelia's Fine Mexican Dining: Mmmmmmmm Mexican food

    by 850prc Written Apr 23, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Located in one of the area's nicer "strip malls", Morelia's Fine Mexican Dining is a well-run local establishment. They serve up a pleasing array of Mexican standbys and combo platters, along with an excellent selection of cold Mexican, other import and domestic beer. They also have a limited winelist, although I'm seldom thinking in terms of wine when I'm eating Mexican food.

    The service is always prompt and attentive. As with most Mexican restaurants, you always get a lot of food for your $$$.

    Favorite Dish: I like all types of Mexican foods. Morelia's has excellent fajitas, and they seem to do a nice job with bisteca items, including their Mexican-style grilled t-bone steak.

    Combo platters are always a good choice, too.

    Don't miss the flan or fried ice cream at dessert.

    My daughter, Sara, heading into Morelia's

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Jenny's Lunchbox: Cult Following Restaurants in Tallahassee, part 1

    by 850prc Written Apr 26, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There's a little place on the corner of Magnolia and Mahan Drives in Tallahassee that has achieved the coveted "cult following" status. There are people who literally visit Jenny's Lunchbox every single day.

    The Lunchbox is only open for breakfast and lunch, and is the sort of place that caters to the regulars. Nothing ever changes....the waitresses are the same people, it's the same food, the specials are always the same.

    But, the coffee's always hot and Jenny and company are all about making your daily routine a little more personal.

    It may be a place for the regulars, but they've always got room for a newbie.

    Favorite Dish: Breaktast, plain and simple.

    Eggs, grits, bacon, toast and coffee.

    Good, hot, fresh and cheap.

    Jenny's Lunchbox in Tallahassee

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Old Mexico Grill and Cantina: More tasty Tex-Mex in Tallahassee

    by 850prc Written Apr 26, 2005

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tallahassee has several good INDEPENDENT Mexican eateries. My favorites tend to be small operations, the sort of places that are family owned and operated.

    The Old Mexico Grill and Cantina is another such place. The food is tasty and fresh, the service friendly and the prices reasonable. What more could you ask for when you've got a powerful hankering for a chimichanga?

    Favorite Dish: As for drinks, they have nice cold Mexican beer and some good margaritas.

    The food is all pretty good. Most recently, I had a nice combo fajita plate featuring both beef and shrimp. Very well done and as always, almost more than I could eat.

    Chimichangas are always a good choice, as are the combo plates.

    The Old Mexico Grill and Cantina

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Bagel Bagel Cafe: This is MY morning place

    by 850prc Updated Feb 12, 2007

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bagel Bagel's slogan is "so nice, we named it twice". And, what B-squared is this... a simple and friendly bagel, sandwich and coffee shop. They used to have a downtown location, and that's where I first became a customer. The downtown shop closed and they've now moved out a bit south and east, on Apalachee Parkway. But quite honestly, it's MY morning place. At least three times a week, you'll find pchamlis sitting in the shop sipping coffee, and sometimes having my trademark oatmeal cookies or maybe an egg/bacon/cheese on sourdough sandwich.

    I come to Bagel Bagel for two reasons...

    First, I like the people. The manager, Nicole (see photo), and I have become morning pals, and it's nice to be recognized when you walk in the door.

    Second, B-squared has a wonderful free WiFi, which I use to get early business taken care of. Sometimes, I even update my VT pages. :)

    Friendly staff, the sort of place where (with a nod to "Cheers") that "everybody knows your name. They have a wide assortment of folks in their clientele. Back when they had the downtown store, I'd see both homeless bums and state senators in line at Bagel Bagel. If you hadn't heard people saying "y'all" and there had been more customers ordering tofu sprout eggwhite omelets on 23 grain bagels, you'd have sworn you were in the Mission District of San Francisco.

    But, out here on the Parkway, it's a little more homogenous. And, since MY time at B-squared is early, I'm often one of only a couple of sitting customers. Nicole says it gets busier bigtime later in the day.

    By the way, Bagel-Bagel DOES offer delivery.

    Favorite Dish: Love the coffee as always. However, their "daily specialities" seem to go heavy on the "nut" coffee flavors....hazelnut, southern pecan. I'm not so into those. I generally stick with the house blend, although their French vanilla is good.

    BTW, this is NOT a foo-foo latte house. Starbucks it ain't. If you shots of flavors and stuff, go TO Starbucks, or Bada-Bean, or even "Bad-Ass" Coffee, here in Tallahassee. Bagel Bagel is more geared to sandwiches, bagels and such.

    But, as a guide, here are a couple of items from the lunch menu...

    "Spinach and Posado Bagel" a blend of spinach and cream cheese on a bagel, covered with provolone and baked, topped with tomato slices

    "Lahvosh bagel" your choice of bagel, topped with a trio of cheeses, marinara sauce, fresh basil and tomatoes

    "Wayvair" genoa salami, provoline, black olives, mayo, mustard, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, lettuce and tomatoes, piled onto a baguette.

    "Shanghai salad" fresh tossed salad, sliced grilled chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, oriental noodles and sesame dressing

    AND for breakfast, don't forget the pchamlis special: Bacon, mozarella and egg on sourdough toast, buttered and hot. :)

    Nicole, my buddy/the manager at Bagel Bagel Bagel Bagel Cafe, the old downtown location The B-squared's Parkway dining area

    Was this review helpful?

  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Ray's Steel City Saloon: A plate of Pittsburgh in the deep south

    by 850prc Updated Apr 25, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the best new "lower end" (pricewise) options in Tallahassee is Ray's Steel City Saloon. Conveniently located on the northside of Tallahassee, Ray's features specialties from Ray's hometown of Pittsburgh, PA aka the "Steel City". In addition the saloon includes many Florida favorites on its extensive and tasty menu. And of course, it IS a saloon, so.... the 100+ beers on menu are a definite plus.

    We went to Ray's the other night to celebrate another visit to Tallahassee by Doug48, one of the nicest guys on VT. Doug joined me, my wife and daughter for an early evening knosh at Ray's (OUR first visit) and we were not disappointed. One reason that we'd chosen Ray's was that our friend Doug truly LOVES a good beer.

    The service was great, the atmosphere relaxed, and the prices more than reasonable. It is my understanding that Ray's has developed quite a following, so if you're going on a Friday or Saturday, you might want to get there early... or earlier.

    OK, since VT now lets us have 10K characters, why don't I give you a look at Ray's beer menu? This should wet your whistle the next time you're in Tallahassee.

    First, there are the "usual" brands.... Bud and Bud Light, Miller and Miller Lite, Yuengling, Coors and Coors Light. Other great US brands available are

    Iron City (a Pittsburgh native, and the beer that I enjoyed most the other night)
    Rolling Rock (another Pennsylvania native)
    Sam Adams
    Sierra Nevada
    Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
    Killians Red
    Land Shark (a pitiful brew IMHO)
    Butte Creek Organic Pilsner
    Abita Turbo Dog
    Blue Moon
    Old Thumper
    Purple Haze
    Sweaty Betty Blond
    Sweetwater Blue
    Sweetwater 420
    Harpoon IPA and UFO
    Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider

    Want to go beyond the USA, check these out...

    Amstel Light
    Becks Dark and Light
    Corona and Corona Light
    Dos Equis
    Franziskaner Hefeweizen (always a good choice)
    Lenenkugels Honey Weiss and Sunset Wheat
    Negra Modelo
    Paulaner Lager
    Pilsner Urquelle (what Doug48 had, getting ready for his trip to Prague)
    Red Stripe (if you're into Jamaican shhhhhhhht, mon)
    Stella Artois (one of my favorites)

    If you want to spend more money, you can look over Ray's extensive premiums and micros list. My recommendation would be Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout, or maybe Dogfish Head Aprihop. Another wild and devilish choice would be Satan Red.

    Favorite Dish: It's all good. The other night, I had Ray's conch fritters (they called them Konk), which are a south Florida and Caribbean classic dish. Ray's were very nicely spicy, with an extra dose of habaneros in the fritter batter. Spicy dipping sauce made a very nice start for my meal.

    I then did Ray's Pittsburgh style fried codfish sandwich, truly outstanding. Beer battered north Atlantic cod on a great roll with all the fixings.

    Doug48 had a simple, but quite large cheeseburger, cooked to his specific order.

    My wife and daughter samples Ray's salads and soups, and pronounced everything top-notch.

    Looking over the menu, you might want to try the pierogies, a Pittsburgh appetizer specialty. (little homemade raviolis, stuffed with cheese and potatoes, pan fried in butter and onions, served with a side of sour cream. Both a Pittsburgh favorite and an Eastern European staple).

    Another Pittsburgh favorite on the menu is Ray's "Jacked-Up Meatloaf". It's stuffed with garlic mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese, served over Texas toast and topped with Ray's homemade bourbon gravy. Sounds good, but not for the light eater, I'm told.

    Vegetarians? Sure, they'll find good eatin' at Rays. Check out the "Uva" (supposedly pronounced as ooooovah) It's a sandwich stuffed with fresh mozarella, sliced tomatoes, flame roasted piquillo peppers, guacamole and pesto oil on freshly backed ciambatta bread. It's served warm and pressed. (which is good for both sandwiches AND dry cleaning!)

    Other good veggies dishes include spicy black bean soup and Ray's vegetarian chili. (The menu says that you won't believe how good it is) Guess I'll not find out, I am a meat eater. :)

    Dougs48 nuzzles up to our waitress at Ray's My daughter always has room for dessert Ove 100 beers... WELL over 100 beers Ray's bartender, at the ready Doug48's killer cheeseburger

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Tallahassee

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

16 travelers online now


Tallahassee Restaurants

Reviews and photos of Tallahassee restaurants posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Tallahassee sightseeing.

View all Tallahassee hotels