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Foodie Fare from New Smyrna to St. Augustine

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I am a New Yorker who recently moved to this part of Florida. My searches for great food have not met with great success. The Cellar in Daytona Beach is quite good. I like the Dancing Avocado for lunch (the food is fine; but I like that it's eclectic and a lttle different than the rest). I need a place for a celebration dinner and would love others recommendations.

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  1. Looking for a romantic restaurant? If, by "romantic", you mean small, warm and intimate with superb yet unpretentious service and an imaginative and eclectic menu, then I have the perfect choice for you. It is not only a "special occasion" restaurant, it is "Valentines Day" quality and more. The restaurant is Collage in St. Augustine . We first tried Collage in mid-December of 2008. My wife had a house salad of fresh baby greens with orange balsamic vinaigrette, while I started with a tomato & basil soup. She had fresh black grouper, lightly coated in a parmesan, pecan & brown sugar crust then baked, finished with a buerre blanc. I had the duck breast with scallops, pan-seared crispy, thinly sliced and finished with a raspberry and shallot redux, a fried vidalia onion nest and two large scallops" poached in apple cider. It is strictly a special occasion restaurant...and pricey, but the portions are very generous and the quality was superb! That particular evening was not a true special occasion for us, but Collage made it so!

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    Collage Restaurant
    60 Hypolita St, Saint Augustine, FL 32084

    1. I know pickins' can be slim sometimes. I have never shopped at butcher markets until lately. There is this great old-fashioned butcher and specialty shop in Ormond (on Nova Rd.) called Gaff's Meats. They have an Italian Chef (from Florence!) that prepares... the take-out foods--also caters homes and offices. ...they customize your meat orders, and even tell you how to best prepare it! I remember he used to have the best Italian restaurant in town, but sold it or something and the people didn't stay in business.(Rosario's) Also great cold-cuts and a wine selection they are building! They have a guy there cooking BBQ as well.....tried it and it was the BEST! (and I'm not usually a BBQ fan).