Saint Augustine -€“ A Foodie’€™s Paradise

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One of the most asked questions in St. Augustine is "What is the best restaurant?" There is so much to choose from here. Your question really should be "What different types of restaurants are there?" For the food lover visiting St. Augustine you can find many wonderful selections to please any discerning pallet.  You really don’t want to be on a diet when you are visiting St. Augustine. There’s just too much to eat in this town. We have wonderful waterfront dining in St Augustine either on the beach or overlooking our inter-coastal waterway.  Then you can select from fine dining in St. Augustine to casual restaurants at the beach. We do have it all.

We’ll start with a few of our favorites and add on some that you may not want to miss. We’ll hit on everything from appetizers to dessert.

Appetizer Fun

Catch 27 is a fantastic fresh seafood restaurant right on Hypolita Street. We asked the owner about the name. It’s not their address. Florida is the 27th state in the United States and the get fresh catch every day from the local fish market. You’ll want to try the Shrimp and Grits. No, this isn’t your mama’s shrimp and grits. Polenta with bacon baked right in with a mound of local shrimp all covered in a scrumptious Sherry Cream Sauce. Just the thought of it is making my mouth water right now.

Let’s just keep with that bacon theme for now. A1A Ale Works, located right on the bayfront, for wonderful waterfront dining, has quite a tasty appetizer. Blue Cheese Chips. I know, you’re wondering “Where’s the Bacon?” These are homemade potato chips slathered with Blue Cheese sauce and then topped with bacon and green onions. They go great with one of A1A’s own locally brewed beers. My favorite is the Bridge of Lions Brown Ale.

For something a little more “down south” try the Fried Green Tomato Bruschetta at the Floridian. Think of a wonderfully toasted crust of bread topped with a tasty fried green tomato and a seasonal salsa. During the summer months it is usually a wonderful corn salsa.

The Entrée Dilemma!
One of my very favorite stops for lunch has got to be La Pentola. This hidden gem is located on the street just behind the bay front. When you find Charlotte you’ll find a beautiful courtyard that is lit by tiny white lights in the evening and the most wonderful lunch options. My very favorite is the Cheese Ravioli. Ricotta and mozzarella cheeses encased in pasta covered in a delectable Sherry Cream Sauce with sweet peas, sun dried tomatoes and hiitake mushrooms. They’ll even bring you some wonderful warm crusty bread so that you can soak up every last bit of that sauce! While you are there for lunch ask about their dinner specials. They are always fantastic!

Another lunch stop that is a “Do Not Miss” is Café Alcazar. Located in the back of the Lightner Museum, the café is actually in the deep end of the original swimming pool. Be sure to ask your server about the history while you are there. The food is fresh and very delicious. The hummus is fresh made daily along with the tahini dressing.  There is everything from pasta to crepes to paninis. I have not had a dish here that was not very tasty. They are only open for lunch, so don’t miss this one.

Now let’s look a few of the wonderful places for dinner.  For a special occasion or a just a special dinner be sure to try Collage located on Hypolita Street. The chef’s creations here are wonderful. Find one of your favorites on the menu, again another place that you won’t disappoint.

La Pentola is also another great dinner stop with wonderful nightly specials.

The Tasting Room is also fantastic for that special occasion. Spanish Tapas or full dinners are available with wonderful music to set the fantastic ambiance. Their wine selection is incredible.

There is also a fantastic restaurant located at one of our member inns. Old City House Restaurant has received a number of recognitions over the years. They offer a delicious blend of old world cuisine with a Mediterranean flare, using only the finest ingredients in every course. Be sure to make reservations when dining here.

If you are looking for something a little different and more casual, maybe something that you’ve never tried before, you can try La Herencia for Cuban Food. Wonderful flavors of the Caribbean will tantalize your taste buds with authentic flavors. Don’t miss the Tres Leche dessert.

Check out Athena’s Café for some of our Greek history and cuisine. The Stuffed Grape Leaves, Gyros and the mouth watering Balkava are all excellent choices at this wonderful little restaurant.

Another one of my favorites is the Gourmet Hut. This out of the way place is unbelievable when it comes to food. Not much to look at when you walk up, but don’t pass it up. The food is fantastic. This is a place that you will really love.  Farm to table cuisine served in a gorgeous garden between to old buildings. You’ll be amazed at the food you receive here.

Sweet Tooth Temptations

We have soooo much to offer when it comes to dessert. Many of the restaurants have fabulous treats, but you might want something a little different.  Here are just a few and what the offer:

  • Cousteau's Waffle & Milkshake Bar – No description needed. It’s waffles & milkshakes. But these are fantastic.
  • Café del Hidalgo – Gelato in amazing flavors
  • City Cow – The very best Ice Cream in the city!
  • Hyppo – Gourmet Ice Pops
  • Claude’s Chocolate – Fabulous handmade chocolate
  • Chocolate Turtle – Cakes and pastries that are to die for. Really!

This is only a handful of the scrumptious places to eat in Saint Augustine. This town is full of fantastic restaurants. Another great way to get a taste of St. Augustine is on one of the wonderful historic Food Tours in town. Ask your innkeeper for more information about the historic walking food tours with wine and beer pairings available and the carriage food and wine tours available daily.

Jerry Houman
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