Lakeland Restaurants Offer Local and International Flavors

Located east of Tampa, the city of Lakeland attracts lake lovers and golfers. However, its proximity to both Tampa and Orlando means some of the best local flavors and talented chefs move into the area as well. From farm-to-table and seafood to international cultures and new creations, foodies will love to dine here. To get started, check out the top Lakeland restaurants and what to order.

Lakeland Restaurants: Where to Eat During Vacation and Golf Trips

lakeland restaurants breakfast

Cozy Oaks Restaurant

For many breakfast is the best part of the day. If that rings true, then dine at Cozy Oaks Restaurant. This cozy spot serves breakfast and lunch – both served all day. In addition, visitors can select from weekday specials.

The breakfast menu features platters, omelets, French toast, pancakes and waffles. Lunchtime brings half-pound hamburgers, salads, seafood and homestyle options. Examples include meatloaf, fried chicken, pork chops and hot dogs. In addition, Cozy Oaks Restaurant serves more than 20 sandwiches.

Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille

Harry’s has multiple locations in Florida. Its Lakeland restaurant offers a great place for food and hanging out with friends and family. Add in a New Orleans-style menu, and there’s another reason to visit for lunch and dinner.

No matter which time of day, diners will find a vast selection of Bourbon Street-inspired cuisine. Jambalaya, crawfish, red beans and rice, blackened seafood, and signature crab cakes are all top options. For something different, sample shrimp and grits or French baked scallops. For something lighter, fresh salads and soups hit the spot.

lakeland restaurants lunch

Ford’s Garage Lakeland

It’s hard not to have a good time at Ford’s Garage Lakeland. Ranked among the best Lakeland restaurants for burgers and beer, this spot strives to provide a place to relax and eat American comfort food. In addition, visitors can have lunch or dinner in an atmosphere that honors vintage service shops.

Burgers are the main star. All 12 options consist of a half-pound black Angus patty. To add some flair, try them topped with brisket or bacon. Those not interested in burgers may select from nachos, seafood, wings, soups, salads, mac and cheese, and chicken.


Looking for upscale dining? Head to downtown Lakeland where visitors will find Nineteen61. This local favorite blends Spanish, Latin American and Southern flavors into each dish. In addition, Nineteen61 opens for lunch and dinner.

Start with empanadas, crab cakes or charcuterie board. Main entrees include lamb, filet mignon, house tacos and seafood. The restaurant also offers salads, brisket, short rib and pasta. For the best dining experience, pair the meal with a signature cocktail or wine.

central florida food

Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant

Abuelo’s ranks among the best Lakeland restaurants for Mexican food. This family-friendly spot serves lunch and dinner in a casual environment.

On the menu, expect to find traditional Mexican appetizers and entrees. Combinations feature burritos, tacos, chimichangas, fajitas and enchiladas. House specialties include chicken, steak, and pork served with charro beans and rice. Visitors may also select from nachos, salads and soups. To keep it simple, try the grande with three enchiladas, tamale, taco, guacamole and relleno.

Fred’s Market Restaurant

For farm-to-table freshness, look no further than Fred’s Market Restaurant. The restaurant strives to serve the freshest Southern food possible, and opens for weekday breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Those coming for breakfast should try the breakfast market option, which may include eggs, casseroles, sides and fresh fruit. Lunch and dinner options feature fried chicken, catfish, pot pie, meatloaf, turkey and dressing, and pot roast. Other options range from lasagna and wings to spaghetti and dumplings.

barbecue lakeland dinner restaurants

Mission Barbecue

Mission Barbecue prepares authentic barbecue and has locations throughout the U.S. Its Lakeland restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, making it easy to enjoy flavorful barbecue anytime.

Meat lovers enjoy choosing from brisket, pulled pork, turkey, chicken and sausage. Signature entrees feature salmon, chicken, spare ribs and baby-backs. In addition, Mission Barbecue encourages guests to pair their meat with baked beans, coleslaw, mac and cheese, or potato salad. For larger groups, try the to-go meal options that feed five to 50 people — just call in advance.

Texas Roadhouse

For more hearty options, head to Texas Roadhouse. The chain specializes in steak and opens for dinner nightly and weekend lunch.

Visitors can keep it simple with steaks and sides. Or try combos with Texas steaks paired with shrimp. Cuts include ribeyes, t-bones, chop steak, filets and ribs. In addition, Texas Roadhouse serves chicken, fish, salads, burgers, pulled pork and country-style dinners. Afterwards, order a slice of apple pie or brownie.

After reading about great restaurants, plan some Lakeland outdoor adventures. Then book a vacation home in Lakeland or Winter Haven.