I really love where I live. Maybe I shouldn't be so vocal about it because I like St. Aug the way it is, but I'm not great at keeping my feelings to myself. People, St. Augustine is a great town and it just keeps getting better.
In my 9 years of living here I've watched some really cool restaurants, boutiques and shops, and great music come to town. I have to be honest that I'm not a super arts and culture person, but this is mostly due to my lifestyle right now (little to no social life during football season and parenting 2 little boys). BUT, when I can, and most certainly in the future, I try to take full advantage of what this amazing city has to offer.
I often get asked for my list of favorite St. Augustine restaurants. I am really happy to report that I sort of have a hard time keeping up with all the new places coming to town! Again, between lifestyle or budget challenges, I just don't eat out enough to visit every new place I've heard about.
So here we go with the places I think are the best in town. Most of the places offer healthy eaters an array of delicious options. But you’ll find a few indulgences too.
The Floridian - 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. (For a longer old review, see this post.) 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: $$
- The Raintree - The ambiance at Raintree is hard to beat. It's an old historic house with a beautiful garden seating area, covered in white lights. The food is wonderful and the dessert crepes our one of our favorite desserts in town. We have celebrated several anniversaries here and will always go back. Price: $$
Blackfly, The Restaurant - 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: $$-$$$
Ice Plant - 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: $$ PS - next door is the newly opened St. Augustine Distillery, which offers free tours.
Mango Mangos - With delicious Caribbean food and only steps from the ocean, this is one of our favorite beach restaurants. It’s very casual so you can literally go straight from the beach. We’ve been eating here for years and the menu keeps getting better. My usual choice is there shrimp tacos. Price: $
Barnacle Bill’s - When you are looking for a straightforward, local seafood restaurant, this is our go-to place. It has all the familiar dishes you expect at a seafood place and it’s always good. This is a locally run, St. Augustine staple with friendly service. You won’t be disappointed. Their cococonut shrimp is my favorite in town and they are always willing to accommodate my healthy requests. Price: $$
The Present Moment Cafe - 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: $
Cafe 11 - 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: $-$$
The Kookkaburra - An awesome little coffee shop on the plaza in downtown. Locally owned by a very cool couple. Price: $
Here are some other great restaurants that I would recommend but won’t take the time to fully describe (because I could go on and on and on).
And lastly, these are restaurants I have not made it to yet, but am dying to go to.
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.