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Good eats in St. Augustine/Jacksonville?

My husband and I and our 2 kids are headed to the area for 8 days for the first time. Just curious about the best local places to eat (where locals go). We'll eat anything but we love seafood and ethnic food. Thanks!!

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  1. Salt water Cowboys for seafood and cheese rolls or O'Steen's for their minorcan chowder both along the shore. In downtown St. Augustine, there's the Spanish Bakery with great, cheap empanadas. And on Aviles Street across from the square is La Harencia with good Cuban food and great breakfasts. Lots of folks swear by the Columbia, a Spanish restaurant family owned hain. I think its a bit overrated but their 1905 salad and their paellas are very good. Locals tend to crowd into Ned's on the southside down Dixie Hwy. Small diner with good food, and a bit of "character" in decor. For a bit of upper scale dining try Black Molly's a locally owned restaurant with excellent seafood on Geoffrey Street off Rte 312.

    1 Reply
    1. re: crewsweeper

      It has been a few years since we got up to Salt Water Cowboys- too long! Gotta get back there. Just throwing in my 2 cents to say we have always had great food there- its all good.

    2. Osteen's across the Bridge of Lions for Minorcan stew/soup and great shrimp. Worth the long lines. Coat and tie not required. The shrimp arrive in a plastic basket.

      1. I would consider giving up a major internal organ if someone would give me an idea how to replicate O'Steen's shrimp. I've got a major jones going, and no trips planned in the foreseeable future.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sunshine842

          I'm in that minority that was underwhelmed by O'Steen's shrimp. To me, fried shrimp should have a very crunchy crunchy coating which these do not have. They taste more like they were sauteed & not deep fried. I was more impressed by their fried chicken & Minorcan chowder. Having dined there once, there's no way that I would wait an hour or more to have this meal again. FYI: it cash only!

          1. re: cavandre

            I'm in that minority too. Shrimp is super fresh but I prefer different style than this.

            That said, I routinely detour from I-95 (NC to Tampa area drive) just for the Minorcan chowder and to buy a bottle of their datil sauce. Their vegetables are quite good. It is getting harder and harder to find a nice array of vegetable sides so I take advantage.

            I lived in St. Augustine for a bit in the early '80's and fell in love with Minorcan chowder.

        2. Jacksonville is a goldmine for ethnic food. I don't know where you are staying, but Jax is amazingly diverse culturally, and there are many great ethnic places in strip malls, etc. If you post what part of Jax I can be more specific.

          1 Reply
          1. re: karenfinan

            I just moved to Jax from Toronto and would love suggestions for great ethnic food. I love it all: Persian, Ethiopian, Indian, Thai, Ethiopian, etc. My favorites are family owned spots where I can chat with the owners and learn more about their food and stories. Thank You.