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Jacksonville/Camp Lejeune

I'm going to the area for a job interview and am going to make a long weekend out of it. After poking around this board and Yelp I'm wondering if I can live there.

I would appreciate any recommendations - hot dogs or haute cuisine, home cooking, ethnic, seafood- it's all good. We will be there for

Saturday - lunch in Raleigh, Dinner in/around Jax
Sunday & Monday - 3 meals
Tuesday - breakfast & lunch

I will have a rental car so I can drive. Maybe I should look into getting a place with a kitchen, but I really just want to relax.


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  1. Two places to visit on your evening meals.

    1) The Old Siam. Absolutely the best Thai food I've had anywhere. I've had Thai in many places, and believe it or not, crummy 'ol Jacksonville has the best restaurant for it. It's on Hwy. 17 south of the Western Boulevard extension. For soup you can try the Tom Kai Gai. Entrees that we enjoy are the Duck Basil, Spicy Basil Fried Rice, and the Panang Curry. The chef's name is Eddie and he loves what he does.

    2) Shogun. This is a hibachi grill, but we never venture in to that area. We always sit at the sushi bar. We normally do a sashimi platter, but they have some nice rolls as well. Roland and Steven have always looked after us. Shogun is located down the Western Blvd. extension in the plaza behind Cracker Barrel.

    Both of these restaurants are relaxing.

    I now live in the Charleston, SC area...and even with the extensive list of restaurants around here, the Old Siam and Shogun are still two of my favorite places.

    I'm telling you...the Old Siam is worth the trip.

    1. This is a serendipitous post as I will be visiting relatives in the area this weekend! Hopefully the replies will pour in!

      3 Replies
      1. re: AnneBird

        I doubt much will "pour in" about the area in question. It isn't exactly a culinary mecca. Being a HUGE military town (and not much else), there are national chain restaurants everywhere you look. There are few independently owned places.

        With the lack of world-class food, it is surprising to find such a great Thai restaurant. The Old Siam is the best I've had anywhere.

        1. re: JayL

          I work at Captain Tonys Seafood and Oyster bar ,Its right across the street from ,Shogun and I can vouch for the lack of good food around this area but there is a little Mexican Place right beside me that packs them in every night,I havent tried it but plan on it soon.Try the grilled Tuna at Captain Tonys its fantastic.

          1. re: jellybear

            Are you talking about the Mi Cabana? It's not bad...usually busy.

            We went to Tony's once last year about a month and a half after it opened. The experience wasn't good at all. It wasn't busy so that wasn't the problem. None of the food was seasoned. Preparation and presentation where fine, but the food didn't have any taste as it wasn't cooked with any salt. It really was disappointing. I can understand one item being under seasoned as long as the rest of the meal is done properly, but it was everything we ate. We said we'd not go back as there is simply no excuse to not season food in a restaurant.

            I hope things there have improved...but if the cook that I saw in the restroom is still there, I would bet it's going on status quo (he had a terrible attitude).

      2. So I guess that the food culture is not exactly robust.

        2 Replies
        1. re: BeaN

          I have only been there for two weeks now and I know what you mean about the service.It sucks and I told the Owner about it last night.All the Girls that work there and some of the Men too have bad attitudes to start with.The Owners are really Nice people and they treat thier help too nice is what it is.As far as seasoning ,That isn't aproblem with Me .I season everything.
          On another note about Mia Cabana,I noticed on the back of thier takeout menu is that they add on the tip on take outs .

          1. re: jellybear

            What did I say about service in the one sentence that you are responding to?

        2. I spend a good amount of time in J-ville and will say that outside of the commercial restaurants there isn't a lot, but what they do have is in fact really good.....Old Siam is definitely worth it, I would also say that the Mongolian BBQ is not bad at all, and my favoorite place in town is a BBQ joint on airport road called THIGS it is classic Carolina BBQ not expensive and real good.....there are several good little BBQ joints peppered all around the area look for them and be happy.........

          1. I was there 2 weeks ago for work myself and feel for a tiny little place called Aji Ichiban. Good Japanese food and a few Korean dishes as well. I had the bento box with all sorts of yummies. They have sushi as well but I did not try.

            2 Replies
            1. re: wellfedred

              Never hear of this place .Where is it?

              1. re: jellybear

                In a very non-descript strip mall across from the mall

            2. Thank you everyone for the great recs! We actually ended up driving to Atlantic City, and although our original plan was to return to Jacksonville for lunch, we ended up at a place called "The Crab's Claw Restaurant" (http://www.crabsclaw.com/). It was fabulous! Don't be put off by the decor... the food coming out of the kitchen was amazing! Everything was cooked perfectly too-no fancy preparations or groundbreaking flavors, just good food.

              And if you are interested, it is not an expansive menu, but we were told by our waitress that all the fish was local. I haven't felt so good about eating out in a very long time! I would return there in a heartbeat!

              6 Replies
              1. re: AnneBird

                I hope by "fish" they weren't referring to all the seafood on their menu.

                They list conch, scallops, clams, shrimp, muscles, snow crab, king crab, grouper, tuna, mahi, and salmon.

                As for the non-fish items: There is no such thing as a conch in that area...whelks, yes...conch, no. Scallops...no jumbo scallops in North Carolina. Clams, yes they can get littlenecks that are commercially grown Downeast. Shrimp, it's not the right time of year for them to be getting local shrimp. Muscles, even their menu says the muscles are from Maine. The snow crab & king crab is self explanatory.

                As for the fish, it is very possible they get their grouper, mahi, and tuna local. Salmon? If they told you they get salmon local, they really didn't think much of your intelligence.

                I will also say that having menu items with "Caribbean" names (ie. Caribbean Grouper, St. Martin Shrimp, etc.) does not make you a "Fine Caribbean Cuisine" restaurant (as their menu proclaims). I have a question. Why does nearly every "Caribbean" restaurant have at least one menu item with either mango salsa or mango chutney? It seems like a prerequisite of sorts. I doubt anyone at this Caribbean restaurant would actually know how to quickly prepare a real mango chow.

                The menu at the Crab's Claw reminds me of the typical menu you see at the touristy spots along Atlantic Beach (not Atlantic City).

                1. re: JayL

                  If someone could prepare the "real mango chow" slowly or at average speed would your criterion be satisfied?

                  1. re: JayL

                    By "fish" I meant "fish"! I am certain the rest of the menu items came from some far away land! As for the "Caribbean Cuisine" thing- I also thought it was very funny! There wasn't anything Caribbean about the food, except maybe the names?

                    I agree about the touristy food comment JayL made. However, I will say that although touristy, it was all well made! Yes, there was breaded and friend shrimp with fries-but it was delicious. I was there with a very large party and everyone loved their food! In an area with sparse eating options this place was a surprise!

                    1. re: AnneBird

                      I'm kind of curious what you mean by sparse eating options. If you are talking about strictly Atlantic Beach, sure. But head to downtown Morehead City or Beaufort and you'll find plenty of independent restaurants, some that ALWAYS serve local seafood.

                      1. re: talkingcat

                        Talkingcat, I'm sure there are some great finds in the area, but none of them were apparent at the time of my very (very!) short visit! Could you mention a few places for future reference?

                        1. re: AnneBird

                          My first favorite: Cafe Zito in downtown MHC. Aqua in Beaufort is also nice, a little more expensive but the quality is still good. Use to enjoy William's in MHC but honestly haven't been there for a while.

                2. You mean Atlantic Beach. I have ate there and right now all seafood is brought in frozen.The Grouper is most likely imported too because I was at the fish house yesterday and the price was 14.98 a lb.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jellybear

                    Don't forget that the local fish guys sell most of their catch to restaurants. When a restaurant buys 30-40 lbs at a time, these guys will save their best variety for them. I'm getting local, yes I mean local, trigger, sea bass and mahi-mahi at the moment.

                  2. does anyone know of a Brazilian rodizio anywhere around Jacksonville??