Cafe on the Ave (631 N. Citrus Ave., Crystal River, 352/795-3656, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Wed., 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thurs.–Sat., main courses $12–23) is in the small and overlooked downtown area of Crystal River . It is the area’s only real offering in the fine-dining category. The restaurant features a standard array of top-tier dishes—chateaubriand, grilled lobster tails—in a quirky though appropriate environment that’s simultaneously Victorian and Italian.
With a great waterfront location overlooking King’s Bay, the food at Cracker’s Bar & Grill (502 NW 6th St., Crystal River, 352/795-3999, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, main courses $6–14) doesn’t need to be exceptional…and it isn’t. Standard fried-seafood plates are the name of the game, along with burgers and sandwiches. An expansive outside deck has its own bar and features live music on the weekends.
At Grannie’s (1712 SE Hwy. 19, Crystal River, 352/795-8884, 5 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, main courses $3–7), some of the kindest waitresses around serve gigantic portions of country breakfast all day long, with a decent selection of sandwiches available for lunch and dinner. Daily specials vary but are dependably of the Southern comfort-food variety.