So, I really love where I live. Truly, I love all of North Florida, but I’m especially fond of the Nation’s Oldest City. We have lived here since 2006 and watched the city grow and change into something really special. (Coach is from here so he REALLY has seen things change over the years.)
The food scene has taken off in the past 5 years and we now have some incredible, unique places to eat. I haven’t even tried all the amazing places yet because we had our kids during these 5 years and going out is now a luxury!
But I often get asked about good places to dine, shop, play and stay in The Aug so here is my list of current favs that I hope only grows and grows.
Thank heaven St. Augustine now has an incredible taco shop. These are not your mama’s tacos as they use incredible ingredients for very unique tacos. The menu changes to reflect seasonal or available ingredients and there is always a vegetarian/vegan option. My current favorite tacos are the Avocado (duh!) and Baja Fish. This is a great place to take kids as you order at the counter and eat at big picnic benches outside. Conveniently located next door is Old Coast Ales, a local brewery that welcomes getting food at Osprey and a drink at their establishment. I highly recommending pairing the tacos and the beer. Price: $
This is hands down my favorite place in The Aug. The Floridian is Southern Trendy (my interpretation) with something for all types of eaters from meat lovers to vegetarians. They have great seafood always on the menu with some seriously good shrimp and grits. My favorite menu item is the Cornbread Panzanella Salad with shrimp and the Fried Green Tomatoes. Local beers are always on tap in their quaint, tiny bar. The decor is very cool and you feel like you are eating in someone’s renovated Southern dining room. Alligators frequent many of the pieces of art and is even on their t-shirt, which I own. Just go. Price: $$
PK is my favorite NEW restaurant to St. Augustine. The people behind this place are truly brilliant. Located right on the famous, and touristy, St. George Street, it could be easily overlooked as a hokey attempt at a fun time. But it is totally legit. Once you walk in the door you will feel like you have been transplanted back in time to the Prohibition era with creative details everywhere. There is a large stage with live music several nights a week. Both times we have been it was a three piece jazz ensemble that rocked. The menu is also stellar with homemade everything. I have now ordered, not once, but twice, their Fried Chicken Sandwich with a side salad. Friends, I NEVER order fried chicken but this sandwich is something to write home about. Also, the salads are high quality salads with dark greens (very important to me to justify buying a salad) and you must get the Charred Rosemary Vinaigrette. We also ordered the German pretzel appetizer, which is a site, delivered to your table as one huge pretzel dangling from a hook. Top off your meal with a craft cocktail, a beer from the extensive tap list, and perhaps even an over the top milkshake for dessert. We have only been for the early dinner hour but it was very family friend at that time. Price $-$$
If you are looking for healthy, delicious food, look no further than Crave. The stationary food truck has a cult-like following and it’s because the food is so darn delicious. They make veggies, well, crave-able. Daily specials vary and can take you around the world with different ingredients and sauces. You can always build your own wrap or salad to your liking. They also offer super-food smoothies, and they might actually be the only downtown establishment to do so. If that weren’t enough, they serve their own kombucha and the flavor combos are so unique. I didn’t actually get to try them on my trip, but I will be back to do so. If you need a fast, healthy lunch, Crave is your place. Price: $
The ambiance at Raintree is hard to beat. It’s an old historic house with a beautiful garden seating area, covered in white lights. The food is wonderful and the dessert crepes our one of our favorite desserts in town. We have celebrated several anniversaries here and will always go back. Price: $$
I’ve only eaten at Blackfly a couple of times but it is amazing seafood. I think I had the best piece of fish I’ve ever had there (aside from being in the Keys). The place is the brainchild of artist Vaughn Cochran so it is decked out in colorful artwork. There’s a brick oven pizza station next the bar where you can watch the pizza chef creating his/her masterpieces. If you are looking for a really nice dinner but in a casual setting, this is the place. Price: $$-$$$
This is a new restaurant to the area and it lives up to all the hype that surrounded it’s opening. The restaurant decor is Prohibition area and they want to be known for their extremely well crafted drinks. The menu is small, but again, very well crafted. We loved our experience and will be back for sure. There’s no reservations so be prepared to wait for 45-60 minutes, but it’s worth it. Price: $$ PS – next door is the newly opened St. Augustine Distillery, which offers free tours. Price: $$
With delicious Caribbean food, including lots of black beans, tropical fruits, jerk and plantains, and only steps from the ocean, this is one of our favorite beach restaurants. It’s very casual so you can literally go straight from the beach. We’ve been eating here for years and the menu keeps getting better. I order the same thing every time and it is glorious: Corn Cakes with pulled pork (It’s on the appetizer menu.) Price: $
This organic, vegetarian restaurant has been around for a while but they always seem to be on the cutting edge of innovative food. This is a must visit for any vegetarian but it will amaze anyone. Their kale salad was the inspiration for my Avocado Rubbed Kale Salad. Price: $$
This is a great brunch spot close to the beach. It has a cool vibe and yummy foods with lots of healthy options. They often have live music at night on the weekends. Price: $-$$
An awesome little coffee shop on the plaza in downtown and now a second larger location too. The coffee is stellar and you can always pick up a homemade Aussie pie, pastry, or even a pint of local beer. Coach and I love to go here for a quiet date-night. Locally owned by a very cool couple. Price: $
Salt Life made its mark on Jax Beach and fortunately made the move to St. Augustine beach too. You can’t beat the beach vibe at this restaurant with it’s double deck bar, view of the ocean and impressive salt water fish tank. I am always pleased with our food as the seafood is fresh and innovative. It’s easy to find healthy options that are also delicious. We have found lunch time is the best time to go with kids to beat the usually big crowds. $-$$
It took me almost 14 years to make it to this restaurant but it was worth the wait. This restaurant prides itself on fresh catch seafood, with options changing daily. While their outdoor seating looks casual, I consider this a pretty nice restaurant. The food is outstanding and on the gourmet side (read: smaller portions with beautiful plating). I ordered the 27 Trio as an appetizer and the Land & Sea entree and ate pretty much every morsel. Make reservations for this restaurant and leave the kids at home. Price: $$$
Here are some other great restaurants that I would recommend but haven’t quite gotten to fully describing them yet. Stay tuned for more info:
Gas Full Service
One Twenty Three Burger House
Maple Street Biscuit Company
A1A Ale Works
Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille
Hot Shot Bakery
Cousteau’s Waffle & Milkshake Bar
And lastly, these are restaurants I have not made it to yet, but am dying to go to.
Spy Global Cuisine
The Tasting Room
O’Steen’s — I’m really embarrassed that I’ve never eaten here. It’s very un-St. Augustinian of me.
The downtown area of St. Augustine is really coming alive with great new restaurants. Ask a local for a recommendation on these places or visit my friend’s blog, Simply St. Augustine.
So I know I have you hungry now and hankering for a visit to St. Augustine. We are way more than just the Fountain of Youth, although I hear that is a pretty cool place.
If you visited a place I missed or have an opinion on something listed, please leave a comment for me.