Last week, AAA, The Auto Club Group, unveiled its annual list of restaurants that earned Four and Five Diamond awards in the past 12 months.
Floridians can rest easy knowing their home is one of four states with the fifth-most Five Diamond eateries in North America. Three dining spots outside of Tampa Bay helped the Sunshine State make the cut: Palme d’Or (Coral Gables), Salt (Fernandina Beach) and Victoria & Albert’s (Lake Buena Vista).
According to AAA, Florida also ranks second for the most Four Diamond restaurants in North America. The state has 54, while celebrated food destinations California and New York have 74 and 51, respectively.
Here are the local eateries with Four Diamond ratings: Armani’s (Tampa), Caretta on the Gulf (Clearwater Beach), Maritana Grille (St. Pete Beach) and Ocean Hai (Clearwater Beach).
“Some of Florida’s finest restaurants feature award-winning chefs, an elegant atmosphere, and adventurous meals that can span several hours and 7-10 courses,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA, in a statement. “If fine dining isn’t on the menu for you, AAA members and non-members can use Diamond ratings to find a meal that fits any occasion or budget.”
The Four and Five Diamond awards are a tradition that started 80-plus years ago. Professionally trained AAA inspectors conduct unannounced restaurant evaluations around the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean to determine the list of top-rated eateries.
More than 700 restaurants were recognized as honorees this year.