Foodie Florida

Naples and Tarpon Springs deemed two of the nation’s top spots for good eats.

Everyone loves trying different cuisines, discovering new favorite restaurants, and nurturing a belly full of a decadent dessert. But for the ultimate dining connoisseurs, eating is somewhat a passion, earning them an endearing nickname: a Foodie. Foodies often flock to big cities to enjoy a greater plethora of dining options, and if you live in a small town you can often feel left out. But according to USA Today, there are ten small cities that surely won’t disappoint – those awarded inclusion in the list of Top Ten Best Small Town Food Scenes:

  1. Frankenmuth, Michigan
  2. Driftwood, Texas
  3. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  4. Yountville, California
  5. St. Helena, California
  6. Traverse City, Michigan
  7. Tarpon Springs, Florida
  8. Hendersonville, North Carolina
  9. Naples, Florida
  10. Fredericksburg, Texas

A panel of experts chosen based on their extensive knowledge of American travel picked the initial 20 small town nominees, then the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Florida joins California as the only other state home to two cities on the list, giving Floridian Foodies plenty to brag about. Here’s a little more about the two small towns that made the nation’s Top Ten:

Foodie-Florida2

NAPLES, FLORIDA
Authentic Italian and the sea’s finest
With access to amazing seafood, and some of the best Italian chefs around, Naples is the home of a rich culinary scene full of gourmet delights. Panel experts and popular voters recommend Sicily-born Chef Vincenzo Betulia’s creations at Osteria Tulia and the small plates at Sea Salt, a restaurant by Venice-born Fabrizio Aielli and partner Chef Jason Goddard. In addition to Italian, you’ll find everything from French to Persian cuisine letting this small town shine some light on why the influx of non-natives to the state of Florida actually makes the state a cultural and culinary treasure.

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TARPON SPRINGS, FLORIDA
Coastal cuisine, and a Greek scene that’s unbeatable
Like Naples, Tarpon Springs is known for its seafood – after all, the small town does have a fish in its name – but its true foodie flair derived from its evolution into an enclave for an enormous Greek population. Generations of Greeks have grown up in Tarpon, infusing the small town with its traditional cuisine and culture. Now there are plenty of places to get an amazing gyro or Greek salad, like Hellas Restaurant and Dimitri’s on the Water. For seafood, the Tarpon Tavern reigns supreme – a laid back bar welcomes you without pretense and satisfies your seafood desires with dishes like crab cake pops, fish & chips and mahi mahi fish tacos.

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