A Local’s Guide to Restaurants in Winter Haven: 12 of the Best Local Eats

Posted: May 25, 2023 | Categories: Communities | General Info | Communities>Chestnut Creek | Communities>VillaMar
By Highland Homes

downtown Winter Haven FL

Welcome to Winter Haven, Florida, a charming city nestled in the heart of Central Florida. If you’re a food enthusiast looking for the best culinary experiences in town, you’re in for a treat! With the help of our Community Sales Manager at VillaMar, who is a lifelong Winter Haven resident, we’ve rounded up the top local restaurants in Winter Haven. Whether you’re new to the city, just visiting, or a longtime resident looking for a new date night destination, Winter Haven has something to tantalize your taste buds. From hidden gems and newly opened eateries to long-standing favorites, this guide will take you on a mouthwatering journey through the vibrant dining scene in Winter Haven.

1.    Agape Agora Trattoria & Marketplace

Agape Agora restaurant
Agape Agora is located in the Arcade on Central


Trattorias are rustic neighborhood eateries that serve fresh, local food. This neighborhood restaurant just opened in December and is a minority, women-owned business featuring influences from Black, Latin, and Asian culture. Agape Agora menu favorites include a chicken salad sandwich, local pastries, kombucha, daily soup options, and rotating specials. The onsite organic marketplace offers fresh produce for purchase, as well as prepared tapas, grab n’ go items, and locally sourced goods and grocery items.

2.    Nutwood

Boasting a Michelin star-rated chef/owner and operator, Nutwood features California cuisine with international flair. Nutwood offers lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch options with dishes ranging from chicken and waffles to pork belly wraps and steak to a catch of the day. Reservations are highly recommended, and private dining options are also available for truly special occasions.

3.    Fire

Enjoy feasting on delectable dishes and craft cocktails at Fire, where an emphasis is placed on cooking techniques mixing traditional and modern. Expect bold flavors and unforgettable dining experiences that’ll make you want to visit – over and over again! The expansive menu at this eatery and bar includes everything from wings and burgers to pasta and seafood, as well as Sunday brunch options.

4.    Gourmet Goodies Bake Shop

Graduation cakes by Gourmet Goodies in Winter Haven
Graduation cakes by Gourmet Goodies - Courtesy of Facebook


When the sweet tooth needs a little bit of satisfaction, you have to check out Gourmet Goodies! This local bakery is open six days a week and is known for its specialty cakes for any occasion. In addition to custom cakes, Gourmet Goodies offers cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, brownies, pies, cheesecakes, and so much more!

5.    Sugar and Slice Bakery

Sugar and Slice Bakery in Winter Haven, FL
A custom cake by Sugar and Slice


Another option for fulfilling your sweet tooth, Sugar and Slice focuses on baking memories in the form of custom cakes for weddings, birthdays, and other occasions. Specialty or custom cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, rice Krispie treats, and other sugary goodies also await your visit!

6.    Arabellas

Arabella's Restaurant in Winter Haven FL

Located in the heart of historic downtown Winter Haven, Arabellas is known as the area’s best Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Grab a drink beforehand at Ave Bar, then sit down and enjoy delicious lunch or dinner starting with traditional antipasti options including bruschetta or calamari, followed by pasta or meat options such as fettuccine alfredo, ravioli di Manzo, pollo alla marsala, filetto al Porto, and more.

7.    Harry’s Old Place

Lobster dinner at Harry's Old Place in Winter Haven, FL
Tasty tails delight at Harry's


For 30 years, Harry’s Old Place has delighted as Winter Haven’s best seafood and steak destination. Locals love stopping in for their favorite food special, such as twin lobster tail Tuesday, prime rib Wednesday, or surf and turf Thursday. No matter which day you dine here, you’ll find plenty of fresh catch options and local fare in a waterfront location.

8.    Food Trucks at Grove Roots Brewing

Jimmy’s Famous Seafood food truck at Grove Roots Brewing in Winter Haven
Mmmm... Seafood, suds, and a sunset - Courtesy of Facebook


Looking for a casual culinary option perfect for an afternoon bite or group hangout? Grove Roots Brewing offers a popular, family-friendly biergarten and this local craft brewery features popular food trucks Tuesday through Sunday with options ranging from barbecue and hot dogs to seafood and Asian southern fusion. Be sure to watch the brewery’s calendar for an up-to-date food truck schedule, and ask the taproom staff to suggest a brew to pair with your meal!

9.    Adler’s 

Adler's in Winter Haven
Courtesy of Adler's on Facebook


Adler’s knows burgers. With two brick and mortar locations and a food truck, this restaurant focuses on handmade fare using high-quality, local ingredients in dishes such as the Twitty, a burger featuring caramelized pineapple, bacon, American cheese, and mayo. YUM! Enjoy traditional sides like fries with your burger, or opt for something a little more fun like fried mac n’ cheese, jalapeno firecrackers, or fried cheese pickles. Our mouth is already watering…is it dinnertime yet?!

10.    The Smokin’ Ox

The Smokin' Ox in Winter Haven FL

Get your barbecue fix at this popular spot, known for its brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, chopped pork, and smoked wings and chicken. With sauce options for every palate, including original, hot, sweet, and mustard based, it’ll be hard to choose a favorite! In addition to traditional barbecue options, The Smokin’ Ox also offers fried green tomatoes, smoked turkey salad, tacos, smoked sausage links, and even delicious desserts!

11.    Harborside

Harborside in Winter Haven
We're not sure what's better - the food or the views at Harborside


Located on the shores of Lake Shipp and one of Winter Haven's most well-known restaurants, Harborside offers upscale waterfront dining with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. Daily specials, such as catfish Tuesdays and super grouper Thursdays, draw a crowd, while other menu favorites, such as oysters, mahi mahi, and the shrimp trio, bring diners back over and over! Looking for a place to host a private event or special occasion? Harborside is the go-to spot for events in Winter Haven with its private dining spaces!

12.    Honeycomb Bread Bakers

Honeycomb in Winter Haven

We can’t leave our favorite breakfast and lunch option off the list! Honeycomb offers handcrafted breads and pastries to eat in-store or to take home. Sit and stay awhile and order from the full menu of breakfast options, with items like avocado toast, bagel and schmear, quiche, as well as coffee and latte options, or come by for lunch and enjoy a mix of breakfast options and sandwiches, salads, and soups.

Bonus Entry: Bowen Yard Food Hall

Do you love The Joinery in Lakeland? Exciting news – Winter Haven is getting its own food hall destination! Coming soon to Winter Haven, Bowen Yard is a unique concept from downtown developer Six/Ten where you can gather, eat, and chill. Slated to begin construction this summer at 4th Street and Avenue C, Bowen Yard will have six onsite dining options across multiple buildings, centered around a large recreational yard with plenty of outdoor seating.

More About Living in Winter Haven, FL

When you call Winter Haven home, eating is far from the only thing to do! While Winter Haven is landlocked, it is renowned for watersports and waterfront living thanks to hosting 55 lakes in the city limits, including the famed Winter Haven Chain of Lakes. You can spend your days in the great outdoors (with your furry friend in tow), stroll the historic downtown lined with parks, restaurants, and boutiques, or spend the day at a theme park with LEGOLAND Florida right here in Winter Haven and Orlando attractions just a short drive away.

Want to dig your toes in the sand? Winter Haven is centrally located between Tampa and Orlando, and between the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, making it easy to spend the day at the beach or commute to nearby cities. In addition to this convenience, residents state the top reasons they like this Central Florida city are a sense of community, a slower pace of life, and an affordable cost of living, with lots of places to eat and shop.

Here are two of the best neighborhoods in Winter Haven where you can enjoy all there is to love about living in this city.

Chestnut Creek

Chestnut Creek model home in Winter Haven FL

Looking for a little space to spread out? Our new construction homes in Winter Haven, FL at Chestnut Creek are situated on large ¼-acre homesites in a laid-back setting just a few miles from downtown! In addition to a spacious yard, homes here offer spacious layouts with 1,819 to 2,956 square feet of living space, 3 to 5 bedrooms, and multi-gen home options available on select plans. You’ll appreciate a 2 or 3-car garage, a covered lanai for outdoor living, and flexible-use rooms to suit your life – all priced from the $330’s.


VillaMar community in Winter Haven, FL

If a master-planned community rich with amenities is more your speed, discover VillaMar, a popular neighborhood of new homes priced from the $270’s. Now selling in Phase 4, the homes at VillaMar offer 1,301 to 2,029 square feet of living space, 3 to 4 bedrooms, and popular features designed for your life including open-concept living space, a private owner’s suite, and flexible-use rooms. Located on the shores of Crystal Lake, VillaMar boasts an idyllic setting surrounded by open space, ponds, and wetlands, as well as resort-style amenities including a pool, amenity center, and playground.

Ready to learn more? Our Winter Haven New Home Specialists are experts on the city and can help you find the perfect neighborhood and home to suit your needs. Give us a call, text, or email to connect!

Tags: Winter Haven Chestnut Creek VillaMar Single-family homes Amenities dining Central Florida Lakeland-Winter Haven Chain of Lakes