The oldest city in the United States is also home to some of the most eclectic dining in Florida. St. Augustine, named for the patron saint of brewers, is on the northeast coast, south of Jacksonville. Spanish colonial architecture is everywhere, and Spanish influence abounds in St. Augustine’s cuisine. That’s not to say that all the best food in St. Augustine is Spanish, though. Read on for several interesting eateries you might want to try on your next visit.
South Beach Grill
This Southern-inspired casual restaurant has been around for more than 18 years. It’s right on the ocean and specializes in locally sourced seafood. They hand cut all their fish in house. You’ll also find amazing pasta, steaks, veggie dishes, chicken and ever-changing chef’s specials. Depending on the time of year, the menu features jambalaya, wraps, fish tacos and seafood enchiladas. Don’t forget to save room for delicious desserts like xangos, a banana cheesecake deep-fried in a tortilla.
The upstairs dining room allows you to view the ocean while you dine, and the deck overlooks the beach, close enough to see and hear waves crashing onto the shore. South Beach Grill frequently sponsors local music festivals such as Music By the Sea, which features popular regional bands playing everything from reggae, to classic rock and disco.
Another mainstay of St. Augustine, Barnacle Bill’s has been around since 1981. This family-friendly establishment serves seafood in a variety of ways, along with salads, pasta, chicken and steak, and even Florida gator!
Specials include Salmon Sensation, a seasoned, grilled salmon with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese; grilled mahi-mahi with fresh mango salsa; hickory crusted pork ribeye; and Hickory Chicken, topped with tangy BBQ sauce, bacon and melted Swiss cheese.
Over the years, Barnacle Bill’s has been honored with numerous awards, such as Taste of the Beach and Best of St. Augustine. It’s one to check out if you cherish time-tested favorites.
You’ve heard of Texas BBQ and southern BBQ. Well, St. Augustine BBQ is a variety all its own, and Saltwater Cowboys has been serving it in St. Augustine for over 50 years. Their specialties are ribs, frog legs, gator tail and seafood, of course.
On any given day, you may find Maine lobsters, open-pit BBQ fare like ribs, shrimp, chicken or a combination of the above, plus blackened catfish, Southern-style fish over grits, oysters and the ever-changing catch of the day.
Saltwater Cowboys proclaims that it only serves East Coast white shrimp, never farm raised. They’ve won the Great Chowder Debate cook-off and have been listed in Robert Tolf’s “Top 200 Restaurants” since 1990.
Maple Street Biscuit Company
This restaurant is known for Southern comfort food with a modern twist. It’s heaven inside a biscuit, with amazing sandwiches like The Loaded Goat (fried chicken breast, fried goat cheese medallion) and The Ralphie Deluxe (sausage gravy with a kick and a fried egg). On the side, they serve mac and cheese with a cracker crust, oatmeal, hashups (home fries with ham, pepper, onions and cheese), sweet potato fries with maple mustard, and fried green tomatoes.
Maple Street Biscuit Company was featured on Food Network’s “Guilty Pleasures” show and Amanda Freitag raves about its Squawking Goat biscuit sandwich.
Pizzalley’s is two connected restaurant experiences. One is all about brick-oven pizza, salad and wings. Down the alley is the Chianti Room, which features an extensive wine list, Italian old-country entrees, Tiramisu and more.
Whichever venue you choose, you’ll have a casual but classy Italian dining experience. Whether you prefer gourmet pizza or Italian classics, it’s a safe bet you’ll enter Pizzalley’s hungry and leave satisfied.
In addition, this establishment often has live music, including Spanish guitar and folk music. On Wednesdays, you’ll be able to take advantage of half-price bottles of wine when you buy food.
The Ice Plant
The Ice Plant is exactly what it sounds like –a vintage ice factory turned into a bar and dining establishment. Ice is the cornerstone of the place, with a giant 300 lb. block as a centerpiece with custom ice cubes. Other than Old World cocktails, you’ll find grass-fed beef, burgers, seafood and vegetarian options.
Featured on the Ice Plant’s farm-to-table menu are beignets, oysters, polenta, shrimp ceviche, and the Skillet Seared Creekstone Bistro Filet, which comes with heirloom tomatoes, roasted Shishito peppers, Elkton Creamer potatoes and Tarragon aioli.
On Wednesdays, they serve whiskey cocktails at a discount. Spin the Whiskey Wheel to discover a new whiskey taste you might not have tried before.
Gaufre’s & Goods
Authentic Greek and Polish cuisine stars at Gaufre’s & Goods, a small café in historic St. Augustine. Traditional dishes served at this café include waffles, pierogis and more. Gaufre, their namesake specialty, is a gourmet French waffle served with toppings like homemade whipped cream, Nutella, chocolate, walnuts, pecans and ice cream.
Organic, direct trade coffee and authentic Aussie pies are the name of the game at The Kookaburra. If you’ve ever been to Sydney, you’ll see these tiny meat pies everywhere, but you’ll have to find a place like The Kookaburra to find them Stateside. The pies are stuffed with a variety of meats, plus vegetable curry, if you prefer.
Another Best of St. Augustine list-topper, the Kookaburra is great for Australian expatriates or Americans who crave the authentic taste of Down Under.
Explore these dining delights on your next Bluegreen vacation to St. Augustine!Like our Facebook page and share your favorite vacation memories!