Like every great catch, Florida is the total package: beautiful on the outside and intriguing beneath the surface. Go behind-the-scenes at some of Florida’s finest restaurants when you sit at the chef’s table.
At upscale Matthew’s Restaurant in Jacksonville, reserving the chef’s table is no different than making a standard reservation; there’s no additional cost, either. Just be sure to book early, because this five-top with a great view of the kitchen fills up quickly. 2107 Hendricks Ave., 904-396-9922, matthewsrestaurant.com
The chef’s table at the Italian Da Campo Osteria in Fort Lauderdale works similarly; you just pay for the food you eat. Up to three people can fit at the spot overlooking the cooking line. Order from the menu, or chat with the chefs and have them whip up something special just for you. 3333 NE 32nd Ave., (954) 226-5002, dacamporestaurant.com
At Sea Salt in Naples, Chef Fabrizio Aielli emphasizes organic, fresh ingredients when creating your special menu. Linger over an eight- to 10-course meal in a private dining room off of the kitchen. The experience takes about three hours and costs $250 per person. 1186 3rd St. S, (239) 434-7258, seasaltnaples.com
Overachieving Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista is home to not one but four restaurants with chef’s table concepts: There’s Kouzzina by Cat Cora, the celebrity chef’s casual Mediterranean eatery; Citricos, another Mediterranean restaurant inside the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa; and the Grand Floridian’s Victoria and Albert, an upscale spot with a chef’s table right in the kitchen. Then there’s Flying Fish Cafe, a seafood and steakhouse with a chef’s counter overlooking the onstage kitchen. disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining