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May 16, 2010 04:55 PM

St. Augustine FL faves?

Going there in a week for 3 nites with party of 6. Looking for nice casual places for lunch/dinner. Not too pricey or fancy-anybody been to Saltwater Cowboys? Thanks!

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  1. Best of luck to you. I have been to St. Aug a number of times and have yet to have a good meal.

    3 Replies
    1. re: marelyisdead

      surely we can do better than that. I've only been a few times, but the tasting Room was good, Opus 39 was very good (but since has declined, I hear), O'Steen's does the simple Cracker stuff well (try the Minorcan clam chowder, fried shrimp, chicken and dunmplings), bistro de leon was new on my last visit and was a great treat for lunch. In my experience, the St. Augustine Columbia never measured up to the locations closer to the original in Tampa, but they just finished revamping the entire restaurant and might have improved. A1A Ale Works won't win points for originality, but the food was fine when i visited.

      1. re: andy huse

        That Bistro DeLeon has some potential. Some of the food is really good, some very average. I had a special which was ground pork wrapped in cabbage. It was very unique and reminded me of something one would have in Provence, very rustic. But my wife had a gummy shrimp pasta dish that was really not very good. The service started out pretty well. Then I broke out my certificate. It seemed that once this was displayed, I was basically "written off" as an unimportant diner.

        The restaurant is not romantic in the least. Seats are very close together and we had parties with children on both sides of us - at a pretty late dinner. The restaurant staff talked about the desserts and we wanted to order some, but they literally forgot about us after taking away our dinner entree plates for 45 minutes. At the 45 minute mark, they came back and apologized, but did not offer us anything for the mistake. So I just asked for the check. I refused to get up off my butt to physically ask someone to serve us dessert. I also just wanted to see how long it would take them to come back to us.

        I would take Andy's advice and go for lunch if at all. If I ever went back, my strategy would be to go for lunch with NO COUPONS, or possibly just for dessert and coffee.

      2. re: marelyisdead

        We were pub crawling (IMO the best way to see St Augustine) and stopped at JP Henley's for lunch. The 70 beers on tap is reason enough however their signature sandwich "The Mantanzas" made for an excellent lunch as well. Garlic roast chicken, andouille sausage, manchego cheese and their special sauce on foccia bread. Our server was quite proud of it and described it as something you wake up in the morning craving for lunch. No argument here.

      3. A1A Ale Works is pretty good, and has a more-creative-than average pub menu and a nice selection of hand-crafted beers.

        The best meal I've ever had in St. Augustine was at The Tasting Room. Awesome tapas...but can get pricey.

        There's a Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine as well, which is a fairly-reasonably-priced crowd-pleaser.

        And don't even think about walking past Denoel French Pastry Shop without at least picking up an eclair (to die for!).

        Denoel French Pastry Shop
        212 Charlotte St, Saint Augustine, FL 32084

        1. I loved Columbia in St. Augstine, especially the 1905 salad and the white chocolate bread pudding. Also had a mojito which was good too.

          1. If you're driving or renting a car during your visit, I'd recommend Cap's on the Water, a great location for sunset dining. It's a local treasure.

            Take Ponce de Leon north out of the old town to US-, then follow the signs a short distance to A-1-A. You'll wind up on Coastal Highway. Proceed north about 2 1/2 miles and look for their sign. The restaurant is located on the west side of the island in a residential neighborhood. You'll be turning west off of A-1-A at Third Street. It dead-ends after a few hundred feet, and the eaterie will be to your right. My lady lo-o-oves their vanilla grouper, and I do, too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gimmeseconds

              I second the recommendation for Caps. Good food, amazing atmosphere, oyster bar, best on-the-water dining experience in the area. They do not take resevation so get there early for a good table on the deck for sunset. Limited boat-in, boat-out spots available on floating dock for those who have the means.


            2. I really like Casa Maya at 17 Hypolita St. Very wholesome Mexican food. The restaurant is small, and the tables close together, so not romantic. Would be best for lunch. Nice soups, organic coffee, some veggie dishes. A bit of a hippy "world beat" type vibe.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert R

                Have to second this reco for Casa Maya...we really liked it it a lot. It was not really traditional Mexican...I almost want to say it's more "mayan". Whatever it was, we found it to be reasonably priced & really delicious. It is quite small, but we went with 4 people for dinner & it was just fine. We also liked The Tasting Room - it was a bit pricey but we enjoyed the food & the atmosphere. We sat outside which was quite nice & could still hear the music from inside without being overwhelmed by it. And for a casual lunch, we really do like the A1A Ale House. While certainly not gourmet, it is definnitely above average bar food and not expensive. If there is a sporting event on that we are interested in, we like sitting at a high top downstairs in the bar. They have a good beer selection.