Best Restaurants in Downtown St. Augustine
When most people think of St. Augustine, they conjure up images of legendary history and beautiful beaches, and rightfully so. But one of the greatest things about the Old City is our incredible emerging culinary scene. In fact, Southern Living Magazine recently named St. Augustine “The South’s Best Food Town” – quite an honor considering we were on the bottom of the list just one year before and never mentioned prior. It is a testament to all of the amazing chefs who have flocked here in recent years to take advantage of the vast resources that coastal North Florida has to offer. From fresh-caught seafood, to home-grown produce, to locally raised livestock, dining in downtown St. Augustine is the epitome of farm (and sea) to table. We are proud to share our knowledge of the local food scene with our guests in order to enhance their St. Augustine vacation experience. Here are some of our favorite historic downtown restaurants right now:
Boat Drinks is the newest addition to historic St. George Street, in St. Augustine, FL. They offer a tropical retreat at their historic two story building in the heart of the historic district. They take the “on a boat” approach to cocktails by pouring fresh juices and house made syrups in all of their cocktails. The cocktails are tropical, balanced and an escape in a glass. Since one can’t survive on cocktails alone, the food menu focuses on fresh thoughtfully sourced seafood prepared using recipes developed during their travels throughout the Caribbean, Florida and the Gulf Coast. For seafaring guests, they offer the freshest shellfish and fin-fish, and for landlubbing guests they offer plenty of plant and land based options with recipes developed throughout their travels. Look forward to embarking on a tropical cocktail and culinary journey…come sail away!
When dining at Collage, be prepared for a first-class, award-winning experience. The menu reflects the eclectic tastes of owners Mike Hyatt and Cindy Stangby and focuses on fresh local seafood, steaks, lamb and veal, using international flavor profiles. Located just a block off of St. George Street in the heart of the historic district, dishes are prepared from scratch using the finest and freshest ingredients available. As much as possible they use fish from local waters and produce from nearby farms. While they are not afraid to try something new, most of their dishes are original recipes that have been developed over the years.
Gaufres & Goods
One of our favorites! Gaufre’s and Goods is a family owned and operated Polish and Greek cafe featuring traditional European cooking. Located on beautiful Charlotte Street just south of the plaza, this unassuming corner restaurant is the epitome of homemade cuisine. Gaufre’s menu features kielbasa, pierogies, gołąbki, soups, mezze platters, spanakopita, pastries, salads, mussels, pyzy, and much more. Gaufre’s has a wonderful selection of Polish beers and also serves many hot and cold beverages including espresso, cappucino, latte, mocaciano, American coffee, iced tea, lemonade, orange, cherry and currant juices. The Charlotte Street location is quaint, and vacationers and locals alike will find a departure from the cuisine most St. Augustine restaurants offer. The owners are both welcoming and accommodating, making sure each order is special for every customer.
Old City House Inn & Restaurant
Tucked amongst Henry Flagler’s grand, historic hotels is this charming circa 1873 bed & breakfast. Old City House Inn & Restaurant eludes many visitors who assume you must be a guest of the inn to dine there. But we are letting the secret out! Enjoy delicious continental cuisines inside the quaint dining room or outside amongst blooming tropical flowers in the gorgeous courtyard. Their crab chowder (a popular local dish) is some of the best in St. Augustine, and they feature a full bar.
Cafe Alcazar is a dining experience unlike any other in the world. Opening in 1889, the Hotel Alcazar featured what was, at the time, the world’s largest indoor swimming pool. This ornate architectural and engineering masterpiece was modeled after the baths of Turkey and Russia and filled with natural artesian water obtained from a well on the property that was presumed to have medicinal benefits. The hotel has been closed since 1930 and is today St. Augustine’s city hall and home to the Lightner Museum. While the pool is no longer full of water, it is full of delicious food, served in this upscale lunch bistro in what was once the deep end. We love their escargot, baked in garlic butter and Asiago cheese, and homemade hummus.
Within cannon fire distance to the Fort and Bayfront is one of downtown St. Augustine’s go-to’s for coastal flavor – Catch 27. Everything on the menu is cooked from scratch with seasonal ingredients and local produce. Fish, shrimp and clams are caught in Florida waters and delivered fresh every day. And there are plenty of delicious choices for landlubbers too. The menu constantly changes, but some standards are always available. Try the St. Augustine Shrimp Roll, Datil Pepper Pimento Cheese Fondue and Minorcan Seafood Chowder for a true taste of the Old City.