Seeking seafood: Trends and recipes from Florida

Staff photo by Anne Braly / Conch House Marina Resort and Restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida, will prepare guests' own fresh catches any way they want it.

After all the sandcastles are built, the body surfing is over for the day, you've put your fishing rod to bed and washed the sunscreen and sand away, another adventure awaits: dinner.

Once was, a trip to Florida meant a bodacious seafood platter with fried everything and a basket of hushpuppies on the side. But somewhere along the line, chefs re-embraced their love affair with the sea, tossing aside heavily battered fish for a different touch featuring spices and other seasonings that marry with the mother lode of the sea's bounty.

You can still find fried fish on most every menu in the Sunshine State, but a recent trip across northern Florida - from St. Augustine to Tallahassee and on to Panama City Beach - showed how times have changed when it comes to seafood in Florida.