As a former legislative reporter, I know how frenzied it can get during the session. Just grabbing a bite to eat can be a challenge. Thank goodness there are at least 13 eateries within a 10-minute walk from the Capitol allowing you time to get something to eat and catch your breath before the action starts again – not to mention, you won’t have to lose your parking spot.
228 S. Adams St.; (850) 222-3444
Just a four-minute walk from the Capitol, Andrews has a long history (more than 40 years) as a hot lunch destination. Expect a crowd for items with insider names like the “Corcoran” Chicken Club (named after State Rep. Richard Corcoran) or the “Joyners” Juicy Turkey Burger (for Florida Sen. Arthenia Joyner).
220 N Duval St.; (850) 668-5533
Au Peche Mignon is a French pastry shop where the treats are almost too beautiful to eat. The shop sells savory breads, imported cheese, pastries, cakes, macaroons, and much more. Lunch sandwiches, quiche, soup and salad are available daily.
115 East Park Ave.; (850) 224-0115
The place has an urban, upscale vibe, a good choice for discussing business or legal strategy. The menu features a wide range of dishes, including a Butcher’s Board Charcuterie, sandwiches, salads and hot entrees.
402 W College Ave.; (850) 577-1230
Located in a newly renovated historic Tallahassee home, this Italian bistro is open every day and offers an assortment of pizzas, pastas, burgers and more for dine-in or take-out.
106 E College Ave.; (850) 765-4776
In its multiple locations, Catalina Café serves freshly roasted coffee, pastries made in- house and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. The coffees, lattés and espressos are created by baristas who compete nationally, and their beans are sourced from responsible importers.
500 S. Bronough; (850) 245-6400
Get a dose of culture with your slice of quiche at this petite offshoot of the popular Egg Cafe & Eatery. The Egg Express is on the lower level of the R.A. Gray Building, home of the Museum of Florida History. With a handful of tables inside and outside the cheeful nook, offers daily soup and quiche choices, salads and sandwiches like the Bradley’s Sausage sandwich, black bean burger and veggie wrap. If you have time, take a stroll through the Museum of Florida History.
222 E. College Ave.; (850) 765-4867
Stop by this minimalist Asian eatery for quick fare that covers a lot of territory -- Vietnamese pho and banh mi sandwiches, Korean kimchi, Chinese won tons, Japanese curry and a list of noodle and rice bowls.
116 E College Ave.; (850) 681-3888
This local deli is a comforting spot to pair soups and salads or sandwiches. As an added treat, don’t miss the ice cream bar. Grab a brownie and an espresso to go.
301 S. Bronough St.; (850) 222-3976
Find New Orleans-style cuisine including shrimp Creole, jambalaya and gumbo plus po’ boys, salads and plenty of seafood entrees at the lively restaurant in the Kleman Plaza. Specialty drinks, wine by the glass and an assortment of imported and domestic beers are also available.
101 S. Adams St.; (850) 224-5000
Tucked inside the Doubletree Hotel, this low-key, relaxing space offers rows of booths good for private discussions, plus outdoor seating. Jacob’s serves American cuisine, with burgers, sandwiches, salads and hot entrees.
109 E. College Ave.; (850) 681-6868
Ahipcafé with funky decor, Jasmine is popular with college students as well as downtown professionals. The attraction? Sushi, noodle bowls, hot entrees and the fun atmosphere.
104 S. Monroe St.; (850) 224-6870
Expect lines out the door during prime lunch time, so get here a little early if possible. The casual downtown spot serves soups, salads, subs and specialties including hot corned beef on rye, meatball parmesan sub and Cuban sandwich.
224 E College Ave.; (850) 558-5415
A casual, contemporary setting with a good-size outdoor deck and a lengthy menu of appetizers like lollipop chicken wings, fried oysters and beet salad as well as “bigger plates” like a Philly cheesesteak, burgers and meatloaf sandwich.
Tip: If you don’t have time to go out for lunch, head to Sharkey’s Capitol Cafe, with a cafeteria on the lower level of the Capitol and snacks and casual sandwiches on the 10th floor.