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Mar 7, 2007 02:46 PM

St. Augustine - help, please

I'll be traveling to St. Augustine by car from Miami Beach this Sunday and returning on Wed.
I'm accompanying someone who'll be there for business and I'll have plenty of free time on my hands. I'm looking for great places to eat and any interesting food markets and bakeries. The car is available to me the entire time and I'm willing to drive a distance for a unique experience.

I dislike chain restaurants. Other than this, I'm willing to give anything a try - cheap or expensive, small or large. We are staying at Casa Monica and will probably eat there at least once. Any tips for dining at Cordova 95?

Please help. Thanks.

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  1. Since you have a car, two places I like that are away from the historic downtown section

    1) Cap's On the Water ( in Villano Beach - sit out back and relax - this is a place not as filled with tourists, more old florida, no frills.
    2) Saltwater Cowboy ( - try their punch while you wait for a table, florida cracker style food, also no frills. Do you detect a trend yet? :


    In the historic downtown area, Harry's isn't bad (sit out in the garden/courtyard), A1A Brewery is ok, not great either, Columbia is ok (but one of their weaker if not weakest locations food/service wise IMO), the Cordova at the Casa Monica we did one day for lunch and found average. A lot of people are fans of Gypsy Cab, we didn't have a good experience there. The little Mexican place along the Matanzas (down by the fort) I wouldn't try again. Mill top tavern is a good place to grab drinks (one of only places open late, they roll up the sidewalks early in st. augustine), also Stogie's - cigar bar obviously, good drink, good cigars, relaxing atmosphere. Conch House is fun with its little tree houses and atmosphere, but food isn't much. Cap's and Saltwater Cowboy are my faves.

    The only "chains" above would be Harry's and the Columbia, pls post when you get back!


    2 Replies
    1. re: tastetampabay

      Also on the beach not too far from the bridge is "Steen's" (not positive on the name but look for lines of folks sitting or standing outside waiting for the great shrimp (and other good seafood selections too).

      1. re: feelinpeckish

        It's O'Steens! Don't be fooled by their appearance. Their shrimp is among the best in town. O'Steens is best known to locals.

    2. I still salivate when I recall my fish dish from A1A. I love the upstairs balcony. Saltwater is nice, low-key, good location. There's a fried fish place across the bridge that people stand in line for. Mac-somethings. Dunno caps. what a wonderful city it is. cheers.

      1. There are several restaurants that have been left out. First, the best restaurant in St. Augustine is Opus 39 and I'm not the only one to say that. Then if you want tapas go to The Tasting Room. Those two are both downtown. Caps is good too. I'll second that notion but Saltwater is mediorce at best.

          1. If you're staying at the Casa Monica, you are very reasonable walking distance away from Opus 39. 95 Cordova is a good hotel restaurant, but there is no comparison with the kind of cooking you'll find at Opus 39. Search this board and read the reviews - highly recommended - one of the best restaurants in the state, I think. Get reservations and make an evening of it. St. Augustine is full of good places to eat, but this is by far the best.

            The Columbia was better the last time I was there than I remember it being earlier- worth a visit and also walking distance. A1A is also good and close - find a nice day and sit on the verandah upstairs and enjoy some beer and a nice piece of fish to go with the view. I am blanking on the name of the French place between Opus 39 and the Columbia - hopefully someone will add it. We've eaten well there more than once.

            If you have a fetish for memorable fried shrimp, you must try OSteens - talk to the locals and they'll explain how it works, it will be good advice. Don't go before you get the briefing from an experienced OSteens customer, though.