St. Augustine is known for its downtown restaurants—but some of our favorites are on Vilano! And–shame on us–we didn’t even frequent many of these until we bought our beach cottages.
We hope that you don’t make the same mistake. To ensure that you don’t, here’s a list of restaurants, along with some of our favorite dishes. Some restaurants have seasonal hours; please call to ensure that they’re open.
Aunt Kate’s. www.aunt-kates.com
612 Euclid Avenue
This is a VERY casual restaurant, with picnic tables, and no tablecloths. We love it because it’s on the water, and surrounded by old oaks with spanish moss, so it feels very old Florida. It is next to a pier where you can walk and watch the fishermen.
Recommendations: the blackened fish sandwich and the sweet potato casserole. Also, we’re a big fan of the free bread basket they bring—especially the datil cornbread muffins, and the johnny cakes.
254 Vilano Road
Very casual–bar atmosphere with a Caribbean flair. You can sit on the sand, under the tikis, or inside (if you sit inside, try for a table by the window).
Recommendations: Any of the frosty drinks are good. We also like the grilled fish tacos and the spicy shrimp tacos.
Cap’s on the Water. www.capsonthewater.com
4325 Myrtle St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Cap’s is only open for lunch Friday-Sunday, so it can be crowded on those days (it’s open for dinner every night during busy season). It’s a great mix of a beautiful location (you sit on a deck with trees growing up through it, right on the water, surrounded by oaks with Spanish Moss). They are known for their fish.
Recommendations: The shrimp or fish tacos are good (but messy), and Sandy likes the crab salad for a lighter lunch. Dinner specials are always fresh.
85 Ava Way
Pizza is good here, and they do have delivery during high season, if you’re hungry, but too lazy to shower and go out!
Recommendations: We typically do take out or delivery from them, and go for the Italian sub (it has real mozzarella on it!) and pasta fagioli soup.
The Reef. www.thereefstaugustine.com
4100 Coastal Hwy, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Great restaurant right on the ocean (ask to eat outside, because the inside is dark). Good for special occasions. The Reef serves a popular brunch on Sundays, and is quite crowded (there is parking across the street if their lot is full).
Recommendations: Get the lobster risotto for dinner—it’s heavy but it’s vacation!
180 Vilano Grill. www.180vilanogrill.com
180 Vilano Road
This casual grill, referred to simply as 180 by many locals, is a great lunch or dinner stop. All meals are made fresh, and service can be a little slow (so don’t go if the kids need to eat NOW). Good place for pizza, and has a large menu with unusual items like the hamburger wrapped in a calzone dough.
Recommendations: There is only one thing that we get here, not because it’s the only good thing on the menu, but because it’s just that good. It’s the grilled fish sandwich, and it comes with a big piece of fish, and a fried pickle on the top for under seven bucks. Sides are extra; we like the Cari-bean salad. UPDATE: We still love us some fish sandwich. But since we started going to 180 almost every other day, we have branched out–and here is what we’ve learned. The hamburger with sautéed onions, sautéed mushrooms and ketchup is one of the best in town. The eggplant rollitini appetizers is just right for lunch. The pizza is great as well (we like My Wife’s Favorite). Enjoy!