Ready to try some new restaurants in St. Augustine? Surprising though it is…there are quite a few!
Before I list some new places, a hat tip to the perennial favorites. I am in AWE of the restauranteurs in St. Augustine, who have managed to keep their businesses open through this pandemic. They have all been so resilient–changing menus, rearranging tables, creating curbside dishes to go.
We are lucky to be part of such an amazing business community.
As impressive as just surviving 2020 is, it’s a whole other level to actually open a NEW restaurant in the midst of this continuing uncertainty.
If you’re a regular in St. Augustine, but couldn’t come in 2020 or 2021, there are a BUNCH of new restaurants to try on your next visit.
Scroll to see our list of NEW favorites:
Casa Reina Taqueria and Tequila
You’ve seen this beautiful building for years–you may still know it as the American Legion building. It is the Spanish building across from the Bridge of Lions, and next to Harry’s. And it has some of the best food, an interesting fusion of Mexico, Latin America, and our own Floridian coast!
We love the honey lime glazed salmon (served on top of a charred Mexican street corn), the lime tequila grouper, and the carnitas. We also love the chips and salsa–they charge for it, but definitely worth it. I’m afraid we haven’t tried a lot on the menu–the salmon is so good, I can’t bear not to get it. But besides the food, we love the building–there are so many spaces inside it, as well as a ton of outdoor spaces. Open firepits are on one of the outdoor decks–it’s a sweet spot in the afternoon with a drink (or one of their 60 tequila options) from the bar. Easy walk from our bed and breakfast. www.casareinastaug.com.
River and Fort
We’re going to talk about this building as well–it is on the other side of San Marco, right across from the fort. It used to be a string of Mexican restaurants, but the new owners have spent almost a year renovating all of the spaces, adding an adorable courtyard, a second and third floor outdoor deck (again with firepits–are we seeing a trend here?) as well as outdoor seating in front of the city parking lot.
Although it’s named for the Matanzas River which empties into the bay just across the street, River and Fort is a great place to take people who don’t want to eat seafood every night (like Sandy’s meat-and-potato man dad). Pork chops, tomahawk ribeye, short ribs, New York strip, and hand-cut filets give plenty of options for those who want their protein to come from land. River and Fort also offers a more in-depth kids menu (including the fresh catch, fried shrimp, and cheeseburger sliders in addition to the more expected grilled cheese, buttered pasta and chicken fingers), so keep it in mind if you’ve brought the family to St. Augustine on this trip. www.riverandfort.com.
After over a decade of being closed, the Mediterranean restaurant at the intersection of San Marco and A1A is BACK. It’s got new owners, a new menu, and a spiffed-up courtyard with statuary and fountains. I have only been here for lunch, but I am still thinking about it, and I hope to try the dinner menu soon (I’m eyeing the risotto as well as the whole fish branzino).
Take my advice and buy the bread basket. Freshly made, and served with olive oil, I really thought the bread might be the highlight of my meal–crispy crust, super light and soft center. That was before I tasted the eggplant rollatini, which was just delicious as well. We liked everything we had–not too much sauce, really fresh entrees–Mike can be really picky about Italian food, and he had great things to say as well. Cortesse’s Bistro (cortesses-bistro.com)
Alta marea means high tide, and the restaurant specializes in seafood, done with an Italian flair.
Some of the menu may look familiar to St. Augustine regulars, as Alta Marea is the newest restaurant from chef-owner Simone Parisi, of Terra and Acqua Restaurant on Anastasia Island. Alta Marea is located at the intersection of Aviles Street and King, an easy walk from the Bayfront Marin House. Some house favorites are on the menu–like frito misto. my favorite appetizer–but definitely more of a focus on seafood and fresh pasta. The local-caught grouper is excellent, and for those who prefer a little meat, the Papperdelle Oxtail is delicious. www.altamareadowntown.com.
St. Augustine Fish Camp
St. Augustine has always been surrounded by water, but it seems as if there is a new waterfront area–on the Western end of town, near the St. Augustine Distillery. If St. Augustine Fish Camp sounds familiar, you may have seen some of its sister locations–Palm Valley Fish Camp in Ponte Vedra, North Beach Fish Camp in Neptune Beach, and Julington Creek Fish Camp in Jacksonville.
This latest restaurant from owners Ben and Liza, St. Augustine Fish Camp is a fairly long walk from the inn–at least 25 minutes, which sounds a little far for dinner. I recommend driving there; parking is simple with a connected lot, and valet parking on weekends. As with their other restaurants, the fish is excellent, and a friend of mine raved about the Prime Rib. They are on the water, and there is a lot of outdoor seating. I recommend reservations there, as it has been very popular. BONUS: St. Augustine Fish Camp is now open for lunch from Tuesday-Sunday. www.staugustinefishcamp.com.
Sainte George Restaurant
Located at the city gates, this elegant upscale restaurant brings a little European flair to St. Augustine’s culinary scene. The owner and her chef have created an interesting menu, with items as diverse as banh mi sandwiches for lunch to a lobster corndog as a mid-day snack or evening appetizer. For dinner, you can enjoy seared tuna with forbidden black rice and ponzu sauce, seared salmon with a curry sauce and pureed peas, or a boudin-stuffed chicken breast. The restaurant is making all of their own bread (including croissants!), as well as all their own sauces and condiments–right down to the ketchup.
St. Augustine Fish House and Oyster Camp
Completing your tour of St. Augustine waterways, check out the new St. Augustine Fish House and Oyster Camp on the San Sebastian River, just off Route 1 at the Home Depot. Housed in the old Creekside Dinery, the new owners have completely revamped the space, updating it to a sleek chic spot. If you’re looking for outdoor seating, they have a 4,000 square foot deck with a fire pit. St Augustine Fish House & Oyster Company | Facebook (I couldn’t find a website for them yet, but the Facebook page has information).
Odd Birds Bar
Odd Birds moved to their current location on Anastasia Island so they could spread out a little bit. It’s all the more room for their amazing craft cocktails– like the Wild Moon Child a sweet but acidic cocktail with Tequila, Strawberry, Pineapple, Lime & Fernet Vallet. Great bar food too–arepas, empanadas, tequenos, and chicarrones–oh my! (They have great dinners as well, but I recommend a pile of appetizers so you have room to sample several cocktails). When people ask me where the locals hang out, this is where I send them. www.oddbirdsbar.com.
When you want to grab a drink close to the inn, Forgotten Tonic on Aviles is not one to forget. Now in the space that used to be Cellar 6, Forgotten Tonic has a nice selection of wines by the glass, as well as innovative cocktails that change seasonally. If you (or one of your friends) is doing a dry-January, try the Stealing Second, a bright drink with grapefruit, lime, basil, and elderflower tonic. You won’t miss the alcohol at all. www.forgottentonic.com.
Located right on St. George Street, next to Prohibition Kitchen (which is a fairly new restaurant itself), the Roosevelt Room has made a name for themselves for their extensive brunch and breakfast menu. I know, I know…you’re staying at a wonderful bed and breakfast, so who needs breakfast or brunch? It’s true, but if you like breakfast as much as I do, this is a great place to enjoy it all day. Plus a nice selection of cocktails. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.www.pkstaug.com.
Located in the St. Augustine airport, this eclectic restaurant has an ever-changing menu that highlights all the interesting places you’re itching to go to! In late April, they were serving dishes as varied as shrimp Tuscany, a feijoada Brazilian stew, seafood risotto, jager schnitzel, and a venison ragu. If we can’t currently go to an exotic destination ourselves, at least our tastebuds can take a little trip! Closed Monday and Tuesday.www.hangaronebistro.com
Of course, if you’re planning a visit, don’t forget your favorite St. Augustine places to eat! As I said, I’ve been amazed at the innovation and resilience of all of our restauranteurs–they are what makes St. Augustine the best Foodie Town in the south!!
(I recommend that guests call ahead to any restaurants, to see if there are any restrictions in terms of indoor dining, group size, etc. I have tried to note when restaurants are taking reservations, and when they are not, but it is always best to check as things change quickly).