Surf, Turf and Flaky Biscuits: Dining in St. Augustine

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The oldest city in the United States is also home to some of the most eclectic dining in all Florida and even in all the United States. St. Augustine, named for the patron saint of brewers, is located in the northeast of Florida. The Spanish colonial architecture can be seen everywhere, and Spanish influence abounds in St. Augustine cuisine.

That’s not to say that all the best food in St. Augustine is Spanish, or even seafood. Read on for some of the more interesting eats that you might not come across on your first visit.

 

 

 

 

 

South Beach Grill

This Southern inspired, locally sourced restaurant has been around for more than 18 years. It’s right on the ocean and is considered a casual seafood establishment. At South Beach Grill, they hand cut all their fish, right in house.

You’ll find amazing fish, pasta, steak, veggie dishes, chicken and ever-changing chef’s specials. The upstairs dining room allows you to view the ocean, and the deck is among the sand dunes and is close enough to hear the waves crashing on the shore.

Depending on the time of year, the menu also offers 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.

South Beach Grill frequently sponsors local music festivals such as Music By the Sea, which features awesome regional bands playing everything from reggae to classic rock to disco.

Barnacle Bill’s

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Another fixture of St. Augustine, Barnacle Bill’s has been around since 1981. This family-friendly establishment serves seafood prepared a variety of ways, along with salads, pasta, chicken and steak, and even traditional Florida gator!

Specials you might find at Barnacle Bill’s include the Salmon Sensation, a seasoned, grilled salmon with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese; a grilled mahi-mahi with fresh mango salsa; a hickory crusted pork ribeye; and Hickory Chicken, topped with tangy BBQ, bacon pieces and melted Swiss.

Over the years, Barnacle Bill’s has won numerous awards, such as Taste of the Beach and Best of St. Augustine. It’s one to check out if you like time-tested favorites.

Saltwater Cowboys

You’ve heard of Texas BBQ and southern BBQ. Well, St. Augustine BBQ is a flavor all its own, and Saltwater Cowboys has been standing in St. Augustine for over 50 years. Their specialties are  BBQ ribs, frog legs, gator tail, and, of course, seafood.

On any given day, you may find Maine lobsters, open-pit BBQ fare like ribs, shrimp, chicken and a combination of the above, blackened catfish, Southern-style fish over grits, oysters and the 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 heaven inside of a biscuit. Maple Street Biscuit Company is known for Southern comfort food with a modern twist. This includes amazing biscuit sandwiches with names 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 at Maple Street Biscuit Company, you’ll find 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 has been on Food Network, on the show Guilty Pleasures. Amanda Freitag raves about the Squawking Goat biscuit sandwich in this video.

Pizzalley’s

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Pizzalley’s is two connected restaurant experiences. The pizzeria 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.

It’s a classy but casual Italian dining experience regardless of which venue you choose. Whether you’re after gourmet pizza or gourmet Italian, it’s a safe bet you’ll enter hungry and leave satisfied at Pizzalley’s.

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

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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 300lb block kept as a centerpiece and custom ice cubes besides. Other than Old World cocktails, you’ll find grass-fed beef, burgers, seafood and vegetarian options.

On the Ice Plant’s farm-to-table menu, you’ll find 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, you’ll find whiskey cocktails at a discount. Spin the Whiskey Wheel for a new whiskey taste that you might not have tried.

Gaufre’s & Goods

Authentic Greek & Polish cuisine abounds at Gaufre’s & Goods, a small café in historic St Augustine. Traditional dishes that are part of this café’s menu are waffles, pierogis, gaufres and more.

You might expect to find amazing espresso drinks at a place like this, and you’d be right. Enjoy a hot coffee drink with a Borsch soup, a Greek salad, or fresh steamed mussels. Or, for something lighter, Gaufre’s has hummus & pita or fresh fruit.

What is a gaufre? It’s a gourmet French waffle, and this place serves them authentic, with toppings like homemade whipped cream, Nutella, chocolate, walnuts, pecans and ice cream.

The Kookaburra

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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.

These pies come in a wide variety of meat options, plus vegetarian curry for the meatless among us. And as far as coffee goes, you might need to ask what the difference between a Long Black and a Flat White is, but once you have Aussie coffee, you won’t go back.

Another Best of St. Augustine list-topper, the Kookaburra is great for Australian ex-pats or Americans who want a real taste of Down Under.

Grande Villas at World Golf Village®

While you’re exploring all the culinary delights that St. Augustine has to offer, there’s no better place to stay than Grande Villas at World Golf Village. Bluegreen Getaways has a great deal going on right now–check it out.

 

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Photo Credits:

Seared Scallops at Barnacle Bills by Stefan Krasowski CC-BY-2.0
Pizzalley’s by rmanoske CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
Ice Plant by Keegan Berry CC-BY-SA-2.0
St. Augustine by Jeremy Wilburn CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0