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Florida's Best Restaurants

It's been a watershed, not to mention waterlogged, year for Florida restaurants going into their 38th season of striving for Golden Spoon recognition, being named one of the 25 honorees or making the great leap forward into the Hall of Fame, where four new champions of consistency join the 22 already securely enshrined. There's the trio of Ritz-Carltons that first carried high the banners, setting the highest standards in Amelia Island, Palm Beach and Naples. Fourth in this year's list of promotions is a perfectionist of another kind, the Petronis family, which has made Capt. Anderson's a star on Panama City Beach and far beyond.

Their advancement to the Hall left space for the first-timers among the 25 Golden Spoon winners, including the second wave of Ritz-Carltons, those gracing the landscape in Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne and Sarasota, and a storefront phenomenon in Pompano Beach, the Sunfish Grill, and three veterans, the Ocean Grill in Vero Beach, the venerable Columbia in Tampa and points north, south and east, and Bud & Alley's in Seaside.

The Ocean Grill survived another onslaught of hurricanes, demonstrating once again the wisdom of building oceanfront property Waldo Sexton-style and putting the Replogles in charge. Its third generation is currently apprenticing. The Columbia restaurant has a fifth generation waiting and working in the wings, the extended Gonzmart clan happily celebrating the restaurant's centennial. Florida's oldest restaurant has obviously been doing more than a few things right the past 100 years to soar to the summit of Golden Spoon achievement.

Visit Florida Trend's Great Florida Restaurant Guide for detailed restaurant listings, including:

Golden Spoon Award Winners
Golden Spoon Hall of Famers
20 Best New Restaurants (including chains)