2 Special Hidden Gem Restaurants in Lakeland, Florida To Try This Holiday Season

Lakeland, Florida, is a treasure trove of delightful dining experiences, especially during the festive season. This year, two hidden gem restaurants are the talk of the town, offering a kaleidoscope of flavors that promise to dance on your palate. Nestled in Lakeland’s charming landscape, these eateries serve up a fusion of traditional and modern dishes, perfect for those looking to add a splash of culinary adventure to their holiday celebrations.

Cob & Pen

Cob & Pen in Lakeland, Florida, is a delightful dining spot that offers a unique experience to its patrons. With a packed menu of scrumptious dishes and a unique & charming atmosphere, it’s a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts.

Food Highlights:

  • New England NE-Style Steak Bomb: A meaty delight that’s filling and delicious.
  • BBLT Special: Thick cut extra crispy bacon, fried green tomato, and seasoned mayo on toasted bread, served with fries.
  • Mexican Street Corn: Four cobs covered in shaved cheese, seasoning, and lime.
  • Bananas Foster: A sweet and satisfying dessert.
  • Shrimp and Grits: Tasty shrimp paired with cheese-laden grits.
  • C&P Breakfast: Features thick crispy bacon and perfectly cooked potatoes.
  • Bananas Foster French Toast: Irresistibly delicious, often devoured before a photo can be snapped.
  • Vegan Buddha Bowl: A healthy and appetizing option for vegans.
  • Local Beer Selection: Including Hefeweizens and a peach lambic.

The restaurant has a vibrant vibe, with high and low top tables and a large screen projection TV usually playing ESPN. The interior showcases a neorustic style, perfect for enjoying a meal or drink during a rain shower.

The staff are wonderful. You will love them. While the conversation may echo in this lively spot, it adds to the energetic atmosphere. Parking is available out back, with adequate space even on busy nights.

Cob & Pen is not just a dining venue; it’s a place where memories are made, and taste buds are tantalized. Whether you’re dropping a child off at college, enjoying a post-event brunch, or just seeking a cozy spot for dinner, Cob & Pen promises an unforgettable experience.

1221 Florida Ave S Lakeland, FL 33803


Nineteen61 shines as a top dining destination in Lakeland, Florida. A recent visit for lunch left a lasting impression, sparking a desire for a repeat experience.

This Spanish-style eatery offers a delightful blend of a serene yet bustling atmosphere, akin to a symphony during mealtime. With a capacity to comfortably accommodate a party of 11 on short notice, the restaurant excels in flexibility and hospitality.

Food Highlights:

  • Vaca Frita: A standout dish, offering a perfect balance of juicy, flavorful, and complex tastes. It comes in generous portions, ensuring satisfaction.
  • Empanadas: Bursting with flavor, these empanadas set the standard for excellence.
  • Pollo Mexicana: A must-try, combining traditional spices and cooking techniques.
  • Churrasco Steak: A culinary masterpiece, perfectly cooked and seasoned.

Nineteen61 creates a serene yet lively environment. The hustle of the bar adds to the dynamic ambiance, while the diverse seating options cater to both large and small groups. The service elevates the dining experience, with complimentary champagne for first-time guests and a special birthday dessert offering.

Nineteen61’s service stands out, marked by its high-end approach. Guests are welcomed with champagne and treated to a complimentary birthday dessert. Overall, Nineteen 61 promises an exceptional dining experience in Lakeland, making it a must-visit for both locals and travelers.

215 E Main St Lakeland, FL 33801

As your Lakeland adventure draws to a close, the unforgettable tastes and vibrant atmospheres of these hidden dining gems linger on. Their unique blend of traditional and modern flavors has added an extra sparkle to your holiday festivities. Remember these culinary treasures for your next visit and share the secret with fellow food aficionados searching for Lakeland’s best dining experiences!