Just like Long Island, Florida steakhouses offer a taste of fancy and impressive with a twist of modern and trendy. These four in Florida deliver on charm, service and superb entrees.
Bern’s Steak House, Tampa
New Yorkers talking steak will inevitably invoke Peter Luger, but for Floridians the man behind the meat is the late Bern Laxer, who along with his wife Gert opened this southern steak mecca in Tampa in 1956. Loads of locals spiff up to visit this time capsule of family tradition for special occasions ranging from corporate outings to quinceañeras, but the festive feeling extends even to parties of two. The fun starts in one of several baroque and bustling dining rooms, where guests will spend serious time deciding between dozens of available thicknesses of U.S. Prime filets, strips, porterhouses, t-bones and chateaubriands; 21 choices of caviar; and the 6,800 selections on the award-winning wine list. If there’s time for a tour of the kitchen and the wine cellar before dessert, go for it—but don’t miss the Harry Waugh Dessert Room upstairs with its private booths (each with its own stereo system); house-made ice creams, sorbets, pies and cheesecakes; plus 1,000 different digestifs, cordials and dessert wines. Go.
Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria, Orlando
Visitors may think they’re back in the city when they walk into the Bull & Bear in Orlando—the warm lighting and rich wood in the luxurious dining room do indeed pay homage to this iconic NYC hotel—but only Orlando offers table side views of Disney fireworks and the exceptionally attentive service travelers have come to expect from this haven for hospitality. Kick off your meal in Florida fashion with a “New World” gin and tonic made with local gin and garnished with edible petals, a velvety Florida farms corn soup with a tiny truffled cheese sandwich or an heirloom tomato salad with handmade burrata from Pompano Beach before diving into the sumptuous steaks, sauces and sides. Sit back, relax and enjoy the table side theatrics as dish after gorgeous dish sails by. Go.
Okeechobee Steakhouse, West Palm Beach
At the oldest steakhouse in Florida, the u-shaped bar is packed with neighborhood folks just enjoying happy hour or waiting for a table in the crisp and cheery dining room, where perfectly rendered versions of steakhouse staples like hand-breaded onion rings, crab-stuffed mushrooms and sublime creamed spinach await. Bow tie-clad waiters may inform visitors that he’s never personally levied the $8.99 sharing charge listed on the menu, but it’s probably a moot point. One look at his tray full of different cuts of dry-aged, hand-trimmed Prime steaks and you’ll want one all to yourself. Go.
Red, The Steakhouse, Miami Beach
The Miami outpost of this Ohio-based company is pure South Beach—upscale, clubby and jam-packed with stylish sorts. As with all great steak spots, more is more here, and indulgences at Red, The Steakhouse can pack a punch. An appetizer of spicy stuffed peppers boasts house-made sausage and zesty marinara, P.E.I mussels are spiked with Calabrian chilies and lemon-garlic shrimp come loaded with both. Carb fans can order pasta with meatballs, clams or a whole Maine lobster, and pescetarians can choose from an ocean of freshly caught faves including Alaskan king crab or salmon, gulf shrimp and Florida stone crab. And yes, there’s plenty of steak, seasoned simply with salt, pepper and garlic or topped with seared foie gras, blue cheese, béarnaise and more. You can dance it off at the club later. Go.