In 170 feet of water, running from the east coast of Fort Pierce, Florida, to the Carolinas, lies a reef populated by game fish, dubbed 27 Fathoms by local fishermen. Chefs in the kitchens of 27 Fathoms, named for the reef, cook locally caught wild fish and seafood such as the pan-roasted diver scallops with smoked gouda and crushed macadamia nuts. For the culinary prowess they display in doing so, they have earned a 2012 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Their sushi menu includes signature rolls such as the ultimate maine lobster—a tempura whole lobster with smoked bacon, avocado, and baked seafood volcano sauce. In addition to seafood, the staff pan roasts venison tenderloin and blackens elk steak by hiding it in a darkroom. They also add their own spin to chicken and waffles with sweet-potato-infused waffles, brussels sprouts, and peppercorn mélange syrup.
Gentle breezes ripple through the palm leaves on the outdoor patio, where glasses of fine wines and craft beers clink along with the sounds of nature. Friday and Saturday nights feature late hours and live entertainment for diners seated indoors at the high-topped wood tables.
At Ivy Lane Bistro, chefs blend international recipes into a uniquely American menu. At breakfast, they design daily quiches, crust french toast with Frosted Flakes, scoop mascarpone into crepes, and customize eggs benedicts to order. At lunch and dinner, they draw from European and Asian culinary styles to layer flatbreads with duck and hoisin sauce, hand cut 8-ounce fillets, and roll up lasagna noodles with prosciutto and ricotta. The aromas of their simmering and baking fill the café-like space, bouncing off the chalkboards on the bright-red walls and wafting out to greet guests dining alfresco on the historic brick-paved sidewalks. These aromas join the complex bouquets of wines from North and South America, Europe, and New Zealand and mingle with music during evenings with local musicians, Sunday jazz brunches, and Whistle-to-Yourself Wednesdays.
Vince Carter's, co-owned by Daytona's hometown NBA star, populates its menu with savory Angus beef burgers and a plentitude of refreshing drinks in an elegant dining and sports entertainment venue. Customers can bury a half-pound certified Angus beef burger ($9) in a mound of up to 15 toppings, including blue cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and piquant pesto-mayonnaise sauce. Burgers come with a police escort of french fries, the vegetable of the day, sweet potato fries, the house salad, or bow tie pasta to ensure they make it to mouths without any inappropriate paparazzi shots from nearby tables.
Twenty-nine stories separate Top of Daytona Restaurant & Lounge from the sands and rolling surf of Daytona Beach. From this vantage point, diners savor expansive, 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean, the mainland, and the Halifax River—views that the Orlando Sentinel lauded as "spectacular"—all while indulging in a menu inspired by classical pan-European cooking.
Executive Chef Vadim Vladimirsky incorporates Portuguese, Russian, French, and Italian flavors into his dishes, embracing the cuisines' rustic roots while adding his own refined, yet accessible touches. Accents such as homemade mozzarella cheese, a reduction of aged balsamic vinegar, and a rosemary-tinged port sauce demonstrate his dedication to upscale eating. And given the restaurant's oceanside location, an emphasis on fish and Caribbean lobster comes perfectly natural—Chef Vladimirsky even personally buys the seafood fresh from local suppliers each morning.
Should guests somehow tear their eyes away from the food and the view beyond the curving wall of windows, they find the dining room echoes Top of Daytona’s classic feel. A stone-circled fishpond bubbles in the center of the room, surrounded by stately chairs and tables draped with crisp white linens. The ambience grows most spirited on select Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings as live musicians entertain the crowd and help teach passing seagulls to sing in tune.
La Crepe en Haut has crafted fine French and Nouvelle cuisine for more than three decades. Customer's senses pique upon entry into La Crepe's elegant dining room, enveloped in warm lighting, lunar-dust-lined walls, and rich green accents, before being greeted by a menu of entrees made from fresh meats and seafood in a variety of traditional French preparations. Vichyssoise, a cold potato and leak soup ($8.50), sets the stage for the main event of blackened fillet with blue cheese and cabernet glaze ($36.95), or canard à l'orange or au poivre rouge, a roasted duckling bathed in orange sauce or peppercorn brandy ($29.95). La Crepe en Haut slakes fermented thirst with an extensive wine list, which doubles as a yearbook for varietals graduating this year.