You won't find fancy nouvelle cuisine in this suburbanized farm country, but there are plenty of fast-food chains along U.S. 1 and a few old favorites worth a taste.
Here for nearly a quarter of a century, El Toro Taco Family Restaurant, 1 S. Krome Ave., near Mowry and Campbell drives, Homestead (tel. 305/245-8182), opens daily at 9:30am and stays crowded until at least 9pm most days. The fresh grilled meats, tacos, burritos, salsas, guacamole, and stews are all mild and delicious. No matter how big your appetite, it's hard to spend more than $15 per person at this Mexican outpost. Bring your own beer or wine.
Housed in a one-story, windowless building that looks something like a medieval fort, the Capri Restaurant, 935 N. Krome Ave., Florida City (tel. 305/247-1542), has been serving hearty Italian-American fare since 1958. Great pastas and salads complement a menu of meat and fish dishes; portions are big. Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Friday until 9:30pm and Saturday until 10:30pm. The White Lion Café, 146 NW Seventh St., Homestead (tel. 305/248-1076), is a quaint home-and-gardens-cum-cafe with live blues, jazz, and swing music at night, and a menu with Blue Plate specials and cheekily named appetizers and entrees such as Dirty Little Shrimp and Garlic Romanian, which is actually delicious skirt steak sliced thin and served with fresh mushrooms, spinach, and garlic over real mashed potatoes and gravy. Entree prices range from $10 to $22. Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm until "the fat lady sings."
The Miccosukee Restaurant, just west of the Shark Valley entrance on the Tamiami Trail/U.S. 41 (tel. 305/223-8380), serves authentic pumpkin bread, fry bread, and fish, and not-so-authentic Native American interpretations of tacos and fried chicken. It's worth a stop for brunch, lunch, or dinner.
Near the Miccosukee reservation is the Pit Bar-B-Q, 16400 SW Eighth St. (tel. 305/226-2272), a total pit of a place known for some of the best smoked ribs, barbecued chicken, and corn bread this side of the Deep South. It's open daily from 11am to 8pm.
In Everglades City, the Oyster House, on Chokoloskee Causeway, S.R. (the locals call it Hwy.) 29 S. (tel. 239/695-2073), is a large but homey seafood restaurant with modest prices, excellent service, and a fantastic view of the Ten Thousand Islands. Try the hush puppies. For more authentic local flavor, try the Camellia Street Grill, 208 Camellia St. (tel. 239/695-2003), an off-the-beaten-path, rust waterfront fish joint fusing Southern hospitality with outstanding seafood served with a gourmet twist. An on-site herb and veggie garden provides the freshest ingredients and stellar salads. Some say the oysters here are among the best they've ever had. Everything is homemade, including the Key lime pie, and there's live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.