— RESTAURANTS IN ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA — Restaurants in St. Augustine are a food lover’s paradise, an oasis in Northeast Florida. While travelers flock from all over the world to visit this unique destination with its historical past, the sizzling culinary scene, and irresistible dining options delight as well.
The main attraction is the homegrown Florida cuisine, focusing on locally caught seafood, fresh ingredients, and Southern classics. Critics are serving up mouth-watering reviews for the area’s chefs, restaurants, and local dining gems.
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I’m dishing up 8 restaurants to love in the St. Augustine Food Scene, from casual eateries and food trucks to fine dining.~Sharon Kurtz
1. St. Augustine Fish Camp
At the edge of downtown, the St. Augustine Fish Camp is located next to a working dock along the San Sebastian River, where I enjoyed watching the shrimp boats coming in and out. I couldn’t resist slipping outside between courses to capture the gorgeous setting sun, the boats reflected in the quiet waters lining the river, in a blazing display of red and orange. The Fish Camp offers tons of outdoor seating to enjoy the view of the water just a few feet away.
We started with a handmade craft cocktail partnered with perfectly crisp rings of calamari. St. Augustine was the center of the shrimping industry for nearly a century, recognized for the best shrimping on the east coast. I had no choice but to continue my seafood feast with the Shrimp and Grits in a white wine butter sauce in tribute.
The tart and tasty Key Lime Pie was calling my name for a dessert, a perfect ending to a great meal. The service and attention to detail have helped make St. Augustine Fish Camp one of the most popular restaurants in town. I recommend making reservations to coincide with sunset.
2. The Floridian
The Floridian is a St. Augustine restaurant off the beaten track in the historic district. Tucked away on Spanish Street, away from the bustling pedestrian traffic, you might easily pass by without noticing its unassuming front entrance. The rustic-chic interior and comfortable outdoor dining space with twinkling lights offer a casual, laid-back atmosphere.
Working with local farms, they source their menu items from the surrounding area, labeling their menu ‘innovative Southern fare.’ Regionally inspired, the cuisine blends down-home comfort foods and lighter, healthier, creative dishes, with many vegetarian options.
They have an assortment of Small(ish) plates, including fried green tomatoes, pickled pepper shrimps, and the aptly named Biscuit and Belly — buttermilk biscuits with braised pork belly, hot sauce honey, and bourbon-apple butter. You could easily make this your main meal, buts it’s more fun to share. The Bowls and Mains are equally appealing—with lots of choices for everyone.
The menu changes with the seasons and characterizes their genuine appreciation of traditional southern cooking.
3. Llama Restaurant
I was given a great tip about Llama on Anastasia Island, with contemporary New Peruvian Cuisine, South American beer and wine, and exceptional service.
A small, cozy restaurant with limited seating offered 12 tables; the small size added to the casually elegant ambiance. Chef-owner Marcel Vizcarra calls it traditional cuisine cooking with a modern twist.
Chef Vizcarra’s goal is to immerse you in a fine dining experience from the moment you arrive. I immediately knew this would be a memorable evening from my carefully crafted cocktail, the Flower Bomb. A frozen orchid was presented in an ice cube with a spritz of rosewater, a nice touch.
The menu is small, but the food is inventive and delicious. My husband and I shared the salmon ceviche. So fresh and flavorful, I wanted to finish it all myself. The grilled lamb entree was prepared perfectly with roasted potatoes and a unique and savory dipping sauce. Llama presents a unique interpretation of Peruvian delicacies, and the presentation of the dishes was outstanding. I felt as if I was eating at a Michelin-rated establishment.
4. Catch 27 – St. Augustine
In the heart of historic St. Augustine, Catch 27 prepares and serves only locally caught seafood from Florida waters, the Nation’s 27th State. They make everything from scratch with seasonal ingredients and local produce with a farm-to-table menu.
The Deviled Egg BLT with Southern Fried Oysters was a standout starter—definitely not your grandma’s deviled eggs. And the Minorcan clam chowder—divine.
St. Augustine is known for its own signature clam chowder called Minorcan Clam Chowder. It was created by Minorcan settlers who arrived in Florida to work as indentured servants on New Smyrna Beach’s Indigo Plantation. What makes it unique? Its deep red color from a tomato base and the spicy kick from its key ingredient—the Datil pepper. The fiery Datil pepper is a locally grown product in St. Augustine. It’s hotter than jalapeño but less than fierce habaneros.
Other notable main entrees feature St. Augustine’s red shrimp, blue crab, a blackened fish sandwich, and shrimp or fish tacos. I couldn’t resist the warm doughnut bread pudding with homemade ice cream bubbling in its own cast-iron skillet, pillowy and soft on the inside, crispy on the outside.
5. Michael’s – Downtown St. Augustine
Housed in a charming 18th-century building on the scenic Calle Cuna in the heart of historic downtown, Michael’s began life as the Buchanti House and dates to 1764.
Michael’s offers a contemporary steakhouse experience with an impressive award-winning wine list. The chef pays homage to his Puerto Rican heritage with a menu that changes seasonally, focusing on steaks and Spanish-inspired coastal cuisine. Chef Michael Lugo has been recognized as Best Chef of St. Augustine by several food critics and publications.
When I dined at Michaels, my companion and I each chose different dishes so we could share. My beef short ribs over yucca mofongo mash were to-die-for tender, and my companion’s Salmon Wellington with foie gras crema unsurpassed, both beautifully presented and delicious. When you come to St. Augustine, Michael’s will make your visit to the Oldest City extra special.
6. Café Alcazar
Located inside the Lightner Museum, Café Alcazar was housed in a hotel called the Hotel Alcazar, a retreat for the well-healed who traveled south for the winter.
The Spanish Renaissance revival-style building was constructed in 1887 and was one of the oldest hotels in the US.
The elegant eatery inherited not only the name of the historic hotel but all its former elegance. The dining room was once a 120-foot long “pool bottom,” touted in the day as the world’s largest indoor swimming pool. As a result, the three-story-high room has a “Gatsby-esque” feel.
With a lunch menu of soups, sandwiches, salads, and a few pasta dishes, I splurged on the artichokes Giovanni, with imported artichoke hearts baked in breadcrumbs, sherry, asiago cheese and served with linguine tossed in mushrooms.
I enjoyed feeling like I was a glam hotel guest from that bygone era, having a delectable dining experience at this one-of-a-kind St. Augustine restaurant.
7. Funkadelic Food Truck
The aptly named, fabulously painted food truck gets everyone’s attention. Still, it’s the fresh gourmet fare that’s really worth writing about.
I experienced the foodie favorite Funkadelic Food Truck while attending the St. Augustine Craft Brewers Fest at the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park, a perfect foil to the libations and beverages nearby. As part of a group of foodies, we decided to order many choices and share, creating our own tasting menu.
The Blackened Fish Sandwich, local yellowtail served with avocado, house slaw, pickled red onions, with gochujang sauce on Brioche bun was off the hook delicious. The braised Lamb Sliders were tender and flavorful. The beer-braised Lamb shoulder, arugula, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and gochujang sauce were served on homemade cheese rolls. My favorite, the fancy pants gourmet grilled cheese.
The award-winning Food truck is located in Marina Munch off Ponce de Leon Boulevard. The cozy food park is settled on the banks of the San Sebastian River with communal picnic tables for noshing.
8. Salt Life Food Shack
On Anastasia Island, Salt Life Food Shack is beachy keen—a great family-friendly choice. The two-story restaurant has a laid-back vibe, friendly staff, and eclectic menu across the street from the St. Augustine Beach Pier. From the rooftop deck, you have the best of both worlds; sunset on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. In addition, salt Life is pet-friendly on the lower outdoor patio, so your pooch won’t be left out while you are enjoying the Salt Life.
The crab and spinach dip starter was divine, lump crab and spinach baked in a bubbly parmesan cheese sauce and topped with breadcrumbs. The freshest barbequed oysters on the half-shell did not disappoint—plump and juicy, with hot sauce on the side, just the way I like them. You will find all your favorites like Bahamian conch chowder, caliche’s poke bowl, and sushi rolls.
The casual yet trendy open-air space invites you to pull up a stool and relax as you admire the show-stopping custom-built saltwater aquarium just inside the entry. If you’re visiting on the weekend, plan to wait for rooftop seating—it’s worth the wait.
With the melting pot of cultures here in the Oldest city in the US, dining in St. Augustine is a treat. St. Augustine’s food culture has a rich and diverse history with Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Minorcan, and other influences over the past 455 years.
There are delicious dishes of every kind on the St Augustine restaurant scene, from shrimp, oysters, and fresh catches to international dishes and comfort food. You will be tickling your taste buds with each bite.
With all the fun things to do and the choice culinary scene, aren’t you ready to get out and explore the delicious Florida cuisine in America’s Oldest City?
*Opening photo ©Floridas Historic Coast
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