As the old Spanish capital of Florida, St Augustine offers a plethora of beautiful tapas restaurants and multiple international fusion venues. We profile 10 of the best restaurants in this Florida gem.
St Augustine’s locals and visitors describe The Floridian as a restaurant serving regionally, authentic cuisine for lunch and dinner. The Floridian uses fresh-from-the-source ingredients – down home Southern comfort entrees mixed with lighter, healthier dishes. The restaurant also offers a plethora of vegetarian options. The venue prides itself on the use of local and sustainably produced meats, seafood, vegetables, artisan breads and cheeses. The restaurant does not take reservations, except around the holidays. Say yes to the pickled pepper shrimps, fried green tomato bruschetta, and shrimp and sausage pilau.
Located inside a historical Colonial Victorian home built in 1865, the Raintree Restaurant offers an intimate atmosphere in an elegant setting. Serving an international menu ranging from Mediterranean and American to Italian and surf & turf fare, the Raintree Restaurant is also one of St Augustine’s most beloved spots. The Raintree serves everything from a Sunday brunch spread of crepes, croques, sandwiches, salads and a continental buffet, to the best beef Wellington in town, paired with an extensive award-winning wine list. Beyond the food, the property is registered as one of St Augustine’s historic Inns, so be sure to soak up the atmosphere during dinner.
Centro Piano Bar is a new, upscale dining option located in historic St Augustine, with a formal atmosphere, piano bar featuring live music and elegant restaurant design facing the Plaza de la Constitucion. With a great location, adjacent to the Bridge of Lions, guests can expect a wait if reservations aren’t secured. From the dinner menu, the filet mignon and mashed potatoes, or the rib-eye steak and chicken artichoke plate are excellent choices. Pair this with one of the restaurant’s excellent bottles of wine, or a cocktail from their full bar. Stay late and watch the piano bar transform into a nightclub.
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The Columbia Restaurant has been a Florida institution since 1905. In St Augustine, the restaurant features authentic Spanish cuisine befitting of its environment. The restaurant was first opened in Tampa by Casimiro Hernandez Senior and has since only grown in popularity. The atmosphere consists of Spanish design with a hacienda-style indoor patio dining room. From the tapas menu, try the gazpacho Andalucia, pincho mixta and the tortilla Espanola. For an entree, the Paella Campesina is a delicious blend of Valencia rice with beef, pork chicken and chorizo.
Owner Pat Morrissey says Gypsy Cab Company‘s urban ‘cab fare’ (daily menu) is prepared by a creative and innovative culinary team who borrow from Italian, German, Cajun, Mediterranean, classical European, Southern, Oriental and ‘Floribbean’ cuisines. The local Anastasia Island neighborhood establishment has a menu that mostly changes daily, so a recommendation from the wait staff is warmly welcome. Or, select a few mainstay favorites from the menu, like the Gypsy chicken and duck with vegetables.
95 Cordova Restaurant is situated inside the striking Casa Monica Hotel, dressed in lavish antiques, silk textures and hand-painted gold leaf ceilings. The elegant Moroccan design gives a strong nod to the south of Spain. The restaurant offers fine wine and an eclectic mix of international cuisine. Since the opening in 1999, the restaurant has become a St Augustine favorite for romantic dinners, business meetings and other special social occasions. From the menu try the coriander-crusted sea scallops, filet mignon with crab and shrimp ragout, and the savannah style shrimp and grits. Pair the meal with any one of the wines offered from Napa to Spain.
Mojo comes from the lyric of a blues song, describing a good luck feeling and cool cat vibe. The blues-filled space at Mojo’s offers a southern blues kitchen vibe with matching food. A variety of regional barbecue specialities from all over the country are given a Mojo spin for some of the best barbecue dishes in North Florida. From the menu, get the barbecued pork, beef briskets or chicken, accompanied by a side of collard greens, mac and cheese or grits. From the bar, the Kentucky mule cocktail is a long-standing fave.
Offering cuisine inspired by the Mediterranean region and traditional Spanish plates, Michael’s Tasting Room is a delicious meal in a city built by Spaniards. The plates range from tapas to entrees and are accompanied by an extensive, award-winning wine list with more than 70 different Spanish wines. Along with the meal guests are afforded authentic, live Spanish music. This restaurant is the perfect atmosphere for a romantic dinner or date night. Try the cochinito frito, which is crispy pork belly, pineapple cilantro pique, and a white bean salad; gambas la Florida, which is sweet local shrimp sauteed with garlic and datil peppers deglazed with Florida orange juice and escabeche onions.
Tucked away in a boatyard near the San Sebastian River, Crave Food Truck is the freshest food in the oldest city. St Augustine’s premiere food truck offers fresh, local and healthy menu options from smoothies and wraps, to salads and vegan sandwiches. The outdoor picnic table seating overlooks the St Augustine’s main river, which creates a very pleasant atmosphere. Try the Tuscan kale salad with beets, pumpkin seeds, tomato and other delicious items, all topped with hummus and balsamic dressing. Another good option is the tuna wrap full of carrots, fresh spinach, cabbage, avocado and other fresh veggies.
In the heart of the historic district, Collage Restaurant offers a first-class, award-winning experience. The menu reflects the eclectic tastes of owners Mike Hyatt and Cindy Stangby, and focuses on fresh local seafood, steaks, lamb and veal, using international flavors. The decor is intimate and romantic – the perfect setting for a special occasion or date night. Choose the Kobe beef short ribs with parsnip puree; the lobster ravioli, which is filled with lobster and shrimp; and for dessert, the chocolate bread pudding.