Five restaurants in South Walton County have been recognized in the Golden Spoon Awards this year.
The awards have been issued by Florida Trend Magazine for 50 years. It began as a guide to help travelers find dining experiences around the state that were a cut above.
Nowadays, the awards feature the classic Golden Spoon, which recognizes outstanding fine-dining restaurants that have demonstrated consistency in high standards and longevity, as well as a Golden Spoon Hall of Fame for repeat winners and a “Best New Restaurants” category for up-and-coming eateries.
South Walton boasted winners in all three categories: two Golden Spoons awardees, two hall-of-famers and one on the “Best New Restaurants” list.
Here are the local winners and what Florida Trend had to say about them:
Bijoux – Golden Spoon winner
“Between New Orleans and Florida’s corner of the Gulf, Bijoux brings fresh and simple seafood and dolls it up, too. Have fried oyster salad, blackened Brie or apple slaw before moving on to the likes of crab beignets and diver scallops with cheesy polenta cakes or cowboy rib-eye with mushroom ragout. Cool off with house-made sorbet.”
Black Bear Bread Co. – Best New Restaurant winner
“The beloved bread bakers of 30-A have a new cub, and it has a taste for wine. The Cracker-style cottage next to the bakery has been handsomely redesigned to showcase natural and biodynamic wines and offer extra room for the bakery’s café and its menu of Stumptown coffee, breads, pastries and tartines (avocado/za’atar to smoked salmon with radish salad).”
Bud & Alley’s – Hall of Fame winner
“Heart of Seaside and the New Urban dining hall of South Walton since 1987; an edible amusement park on the boardwalk. Pizza, tacos, rooftop bars plus shrimp and grits or whole fish with arugula and new potatoes.”
FOOW (Fish Out of Water) – Hall of Fame winner
“FOOW delivers Gulf view and Gulf seafood sassied up with a strong Southern accent. Not just pimento cheese, but country ham, comeback sauce, candied bacon, sweet-tea chicken, catfish and hoppin’ John, too, add a solid taste of the land to the breeze of the sea.”
Vin’tij Food & Wine – Golden Spoon winner
“Todd Reber has been at it for more than 20 years and continues to refresh his vintage restaurant. Start with oyster and spinach crostini and move on to cumin-seared tuna or steak and collards. Weekend breakfast delivers blue corn pancakes and carnita posole as well as eggs, biscuits and vegan hash.”