The best part of owning a bed and breakfast in St. Augustine is the opportunity to celebrate so many special occasions with our guests. (Well, that and the free Maringria every night!) Wedding anniversaries, birthdays, new promotions, holidays…we’re always happy to share a toast with our guests to the most important days in their lives.
Which is why the question that we answer the most from our guests is this: “What are the best restaurants in town?” I thought it would be nice to keep a list of our faves, and here it is:
Collage. This is a small but wonderful restaurant, and everything about it screams “special occasion”–from the nice wine list to the small intimate tables, to the pleasant but not overbearing service. Our favorites are the fresh black grouper, and the lobster ravioli. Both are pretty heavy, but it’s worth leaving a little room to try their homemade ice cream. 60 Hypolita. www.collagestaug.com. 904.829.0055.
Old City House. A newcomer to the scene, Old City House was purchased by our friend Juan Solano earlier this year, and it quickly became one of our favorites (and not just because Juan usually has a glass of wine with us–we could do that at the bar if we didn’t just love the food). We usually go with one of the daily specials, but if they don’t hit it for you, the sea bass is always a good option. Ask about desserts–some of their delicious concoctions are almost as tall as Sandy! 115 Cordova. www.oldcityhouse.com/restaurant/menu. 904.826.0113.
95 Cordova. The Casa Monica is a beautiful hotel, and its dining room is a lavish-over-the-top bit of Moorish excess (which is just the way I like it). This is a dark, romantic spot, with plush seats and hidden corners–perfect for a special anniversary. I could make a meal of the warm bread, dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, so that often distracts me from the main course, but I vaguely remember loving the sweet corn & datil pepper soup (which went great with the bread). 95 Cordova Street. www.casamonica.com. 904.810.6810.
Bistro de Leon. St. Augustine definitely has a European feel to its narrow streets, and Bistro de Leon adds a French flair to that. Chef Jean Stephane Poinard is a winner of the James Beard award, and his menu showcases his talent (and the restaurant showcases his personality–he is in the house most nights). The restaurant is crowded, with tables almost touching, so if you’re looking for a private table in a lonely corner, that’s not likely. But the onion gratinee soup and Croque Madame (not to mention the homemade bread) are totally worth the lack of elbow room. 12 Cathedral Place. www.bistrodeleon.com. 904.810.2100.
La Pentola. If “special occasion” is a polite way of saying “3 pounds of pasta” for you, you should indulge your Italian love at La Pentola. Eat in their nicely decorated dining room, or the small but romantic courtyard, strewn with white lights. You can’t go wrong with the melt-in-your-mouth Osso Buco, or the delicate lamb chops. 58 Charlotte Street. www.lapentolarestaurant.com. 904.824.3282. Closed Mondays.
So happy engagement-babymoon-new job-anniversary to you!! And if you’re celebrating something special, please let us know–we’d love to celebrate with you at our favorite bed and breakfast in St. Augustine!