The Best Food in Florida, According to Insider Food

The state's best sandwich, pizza, fast-food restaurants and more, according to one YouTuber.
Stone crabs at Joe’s are a state tradition.
Joe’s Stone Crab is a Miami – and Florida – institution. Joe’s Stone Crab

Nothing sucks me into couch time faster than food videos and reviews on YouTube. Lately, my fascination is with a series of videos by Insider Food, which has ranked the “best dish” in all 50 states.

From the publication dates on the videos, I’d say it was a byproduct of the COVID pandemic days, and to that I offer sincere applause. Way to make the most of our collective downtime. Out of curiosity, I tried to find all their videos and point out what dish won in Florida. Here’s what I found.

BEST SANDWICH: I would have bet it was a photo finish between the grouper sandwich and the Cuban, and maybe it was. But the Cuban came out on top, according to Food Insider. The mention gets just a short mention, and the video doesn’t even go to the trouble of describing its ingredients. I’m sorry, but this isn’t a PB&J – the ingredients here are very different and unique. Come on, Insider, you can do better. Watch the video.

BEST FAST FOOD RESTAURANT: This one had to be a little tougher, because if you drive down the street and inspected drive-through lines, you’d swear Chik-Fil-A would get top honors. (Alas, they’re a Georgia-born institution). Instead, the Miami-founded Pollo Tropical gets the nod here. Inspired by the Latin-Caribbean cuisine of those who made new homes in Florida, it’s indeed a gem. The marinaded chicken is incredible, and there’s no faster way to get your black-beans-and-rice fix. Watch the video.

BEST PIZZA: I knew Florida would take some lumps here; nobody who moves to our state seems happy with the pizza options. (My advice: Use Yelp to find the style you love best in your neighborhood. Around Orlando, I love Original Anthony’s NY Pizza in Casselberry; still trying to find my new place closer to the new home near International Drive and Dr. Phillips). Anyway, Old Greg’s Pizza in Miami wins Insider’s acclaim here, and I confess the video footage is mouth-watering. The narrator says customers have to wait “a few weeks to get a pie.” That can’t be right, can it? Watch the video.

BEST BURGER: You can stretch the definition of “burger” to about anything these days, but to me, a loose meat burger is really just a Sloppy Joe. In Florida, Miami’s El Mago de Las Fritas (translation: “the wizard of fries”) wins the honors for the Frita Cubana, which has potato sticks and diced raw onions as toppings. At this point, it’s safe to wonder if Insider Food has ever wandered outside the city limits of Miami. Watch the video.

MOST ICONIC FOOD: The Cuban wins again here, but at least Insider Food takes the time to describe the ingredients. No specific city or restaurant is cited. Check out our list of the best Cubans in Florida for some inspiration. Watch the video.

MOST ICONIC RESTAURANT: Joe’s Stone Crabs – again with Miami – rightfully deserves top honors here. (I’d also nominate Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa, Blue Heaven in Key West, The Columbia in Tampa’s Ybor City district, Yoder’s in Sarasota and Ted Peter’s in St. Petersburg.) If you don’t know the story of Joe’s, you don’t know Jack. Watch the video.

FAVORITE DISHES: Old Greg’s Pizza in Miami wins again. But pizza as a favorite dish for Florida? Surely, they jest. Insider is trying that old chestnut where you recycle one item (Cubans, pizza now) for multiple lists. I’d have picked just about anything other than pizza here. Stone crab claws, shrimp, grilled grouper sandwiches, oysters, you name it. Watch the video.

BEST DOUGHNUTS: The Salty Donut in Orlando is the winner here, according to Insider. Don’t yawn or you’ll miss the description. Check out Salty’s website and drool at the photos of butter beer, banana cream pie, tasted coquito, brown butter & salt and other options of flavors. Watch the video.

BEST DESSERTS: There’s really no second place here – it’s all about Key Lime pie in Florida. And as we all know from our homework, Key Lime pies aren’t green; they’re more yellowish in color. Watch the video.

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