Foodie Favorites: A Guide to the Best Eats in Crystal River | Discover Crystal River

Foodie Favorites: A Guide to the best eats

From unexpectedly delicious fine dining to hole-in-the-wall and odd ball local favorites, we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for!

Crystal River and the surrounding cities of Inverness, Homosassa, and Floral City are home to some of the best fun, funky, and foodie friendly restaurants on the Nature Coast. From unexpectedly delicious fine dining to hole-in-the-wall and odd ball local favorites, we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for!

It’s All in the Name:

While there is something to be said about creativity, sometimes you can hit the nail on the head with the most straight forward of ideas. This is the case when it came to naming many of our favorite local food joints.

Local seafood favorite The Freezer started out as a literal bait freezer attached to a seafood market until just over a decade ago when the owners turned it into a tiki restaurant. Serving up fresh-caught seafood, this spot is a favorite among locals looking for a delicious, casual dining experience. If you head to this well-kept secret, be sure of two things: bring cash since cards are not accepted and try the steamed shrimp!

The Monkey Bar is another prime example of the obvious name choice being the best choice. Located at the Florida Cracker Riverside Resort, the Monkey Bar is two-story, open-air bar seated right along the Homosassa River, overlooking the famous Monkey Island! Serving up craft cocktails, delicious appetizers, and wood fire pizzas, it’s the perfect place to relax and watch the monkeys at play!

I’ll give you one guess what enticing entrees people can’t get enough of over at Seafood Seller… yup, shrimp, crawfish, scallops, grouper, and all kinds of other fresh Gulf seafood! As a true Louisiana Cajun, the owner Jimmy and his wife Sue serve up the best gumbo, po’ boys, and steamed shrimp you’ll find outside of the Big Easy. Located in a strip mall right off of Hwy 19, this local favorite might not look like much from the outside, but as soon as you step through the doors and smell the Cajun spices, you’ll know you made the right decision.


There is something special about walking into an unassuming restaurant and walking back out having had one of the best meals ever. Citrus County is home to plenty of these restaurants that you would probably never find on your own, but don’t worry, we are here to help!

If there is one thing almost none of us can resist on a hot Florida day, it’s an ice-cold beer and some delicious wings. The Cove Pub and Grub, located in Inverness, offers just that with a unique setting right along the Tsala Apopka chain of lakes. Popular with locals for boat-up dining, this spot is sure to be some of the best chicken wings you’ve ever had. If you’re stuck on which sauce to try, we recommend their famous Debbie sauce, you won’t be sorry!

Also on the East Side of Citrus County is the adorable burger and hotdog stand known as Pudgees. Their menu offers every type of burger and chili dog you could imagine, as well as delicious homemade fries. You can leave your diet behind for the day and enjoy the greasy goodness; but if you need some exercise to ease your guilt, Pudgees is located close by the Withlacoochee State Trail, a 46-mile paved multi-use path perfect for cycling, jogging, or an easy after meal walk!

Fine Dining:

You don’t have to travel to a big city to enjoy a high-class meal, there are some amazing options locally that you must try on your next visit. From fresh caught seafood to high quality fillets, there is something for every foodie here in Citrus County.

Take a step back in time when you visit the Old Courthouse Square located in downtown Inverness. Here, inside of a historic building, you will find Oscar Penn’s. With steak, seafood, and sushi on the menu you might have a tough time deciding what to order, but it is safe to say you will be satisfied no matter what you choose. After dinner, grab a drink in the downtown square at one of the cozy local pubs like Sidebar Tavern of the Twysted Vyne.

Also located inside of a historic building, this time in Crystal River, is Vintage on 5th. Their menu boasts amazing and creative chef creations, as well as one of the most impressive wine lists you’ll ever see. Reservations are recommended as this spot is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. After visiting Vintage, you are in the prime spot to walk over to a few of the downtown Crystal River pubs such as the KC Wine and Koffe Bar or St. John’s Tavern.

No matter what kind of dining experience you are looking for, Citrus County has something perfect to offer! You can find a full list of our great local restaurants on our website: Restaurants

Bon Appetit!


Jodi Sanders
Media and Content Manager

A local classic, voted one of Florida's top ten hole-in-the-wall places for seafood. Cash only.

Craft Pizzas, Craft Cocktails, Craft Brews with the best riverfront view in Old Homosassa! On the weekends they have live music, homemade Amish ice cream served out of an airstream, as well as all...

We're Cajun and We Don't Mess Around! Born and raised in Cajun country so when you taste our food you'll think you are on the Bayou! Fish From Our Own Boats! Our fish is fresh daily and comes...

The COVE is an old Florida fish camp that has evolved into what is very likely the greatest little hidden treasure in Citrus Co. Our reputation is built on Hot Wings, Cold Beer and Big A** Burgers!

The average American eats 50 hot dogs a year... Do you need to "ketchup," are you an over-achiever, or are you one of the unfortunate 9% that has never had a hot dog? No matter the category you fit...

Welcome to Oscar Penn's, where you can enjoy a true fine dining experience in a cozy atmosphere, complete with a beautiful outside patio. Everything is made from scratch daily, from our fresh never...

Winner of Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for seven years straight, Vintage on 5th is an eclectic, destination restaurant located in the historic downtown area of Crystal River, FL. The goal is...