The open kitchen at Bruno’s Pizza reveals the cooking process for all to see. Before customers' eyes, pizza chefs toss dough into the air and whip up house sauces, using these as building blocks in pizzas, calzones, and towering crust castles. Their specialty pizzas are laden with toppings that include black olives, italian sausage, and portobello mushrooms; one pizza even comes with five types of peppers. Craft beer or soda accompanies each meal.
For more than two decades, Bud & Alley’s, winner of Florida Trend magazine's 2010 Golden Spoon Award, has sated appetites with steak and seafood fare and filled eyes with panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. After taking a seat in the relaxed yet elegant dining room, guests peruse the dinner menu's tempting entrees, such as steamed Prince Edward Island mussels flavored with thyme, feta, and a kick of chili flakes on grilled tuscan bread ($24). Southern-inspired sides enhance seafood plates, from a seared red snapper teamed up with sweet dill succotash and okra ($31) to seared diver scallops paired with creamy grits, fried capers, and an edible bust of William Faulkner ($32). A fillet steak served with portobello mushrooms and asparagus ($33) sets the stage for a classic romantic meal as couples clink and enemies hurl martinis or glasses of wine across the table ($8+). A visit to the rooftop bar infuses meals with a festive mood as revelers enjoy spectacular ocean views and sample a selection of top-shelf tequilas from Jose Cuervo, Patrón, and Sauza ($9).
Inside Roberto's Italian Pizzeria, 14 flat-screen TVs surround the dining room, so guests are never in danger of missing a play as they dig into pizzas fresh from the oven or pastas recently unearthed at a nearby ravioli mine. In addition to serving up crowd favorites, the kitchen crew fires up Italian specialties such as stromboli, caprese salad, and classic minestrone soup.
Now in its 25th year, the Sandestin Wine Festival is one of the oldest and grandest gatherings of its kind, showcasing a multitude of events for vino enthusiasts and novices alike in the picturesque Village of Baytowne Wharf. Grape-adoring attendees will be able to sample more than 600 varieties of wine from all over the world during the festival’s Grand Wine Tasting, including sips from the winners' circle. Master vintners from more than 80 national and international vineyards will present their wares while educating observers about the intricate wine-brewing process, which includes selecting perfectly ripened grapes and assembling corks out of old monster-truck tires. Hungry oenophiles can head over to the culinary pavilion on the grand lawn, where edible exhibitions such as Food Treasures of Spain will be held. The festival will also include a retail tent, where wine-quaffers may purchase vintages to take home and enjoy with friends or to motivate fledgling backyard grapevines to grow faster.
Chef Quinlan draws upon his inspiration from coastal, Cajun, and Caribbean cuisines as he cooks at Poppy's Seafood Factory. His menu showcases entrees pulled from the Gulf Coast, such as lobster thermidor and fried shrimp, as well as boiled seafood feasts available by the pound—like British money or an absurd amount of American money. There are also plenty of steak and pasta dishes to go around, as well as an ample wine list.
Poppy, the owner, hails from New Orleans—a city known for both its good times and exquisite cooking. He came out of retirement to keep the good times rolling within the laidback, casual fine dining environment of his restaurant.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, diners had just three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. The restaurant first expanded four years later, when an enterprising waiter at the initial location opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, the company—now owned by that original waiter, Mark Johnston, and his brothers Mike and Bob—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants. The restaurant's menu has also expanded, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, entrees, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of viscous-dip-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads while cooking steaks and seafood in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing the chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.