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The 12 best restaurants in St Augustine

Fresh seafood, barbecue and Southern staples are featured on menus across St. Augustine.

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Written by
Megan duBois
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St Augustine has long been one of the best things to do in Florida for its historic sites like the Castillo de San Marcos and the nation’s oldest school house, but true foodies know that there are culinary goldmines between the tourist trap restaurants that only serve fried seafood baskets and watered-down drinks. The best restaurants in St Augustine are scattered around the nation’s oldest city, from historic downtown to the beaches and inlets, and everywhere in between. 

In fact, St Augustine is known for its growing list of farm-to-table restaurants, historic buildings transformed into gastropubs and bars, and even a few taco dives worthy of any Food Channel host. Pro-tip, look out for a unique pepper on many local menus: The datil peppper, which is incredibly spicy, is usually paired with something sweet like strawberries or as a sauce base for savory items at restaurants across the city. In fact, many people taste the datil pepper once and end up buying locally made hot sauces from shops and grocery stores to use at home too.

After a long day of exploring the best things to do in St Augustine, be sure to stop in at one of these restaurants to relax and refuel before heading out to the beach or continuing to explore downtown.

Best restaurants in St Augustine

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One of the best spots in St Augustine for a drink and a meal is Ice Plant Bar. The bar is actually located inside a historic ice plant and the building dates back to 1927. Ice Plant Bar is so meticulous about how drinks are presented that they create three different types of ice, including a 300-pound block of custom cubes. On the food menu you’ll find Southern staples like pimento cheese, which is served with guava-datil jelly, and fried chicken and hoecakes.

Locals and tourists can’t seem to get enough of Columbia Restaurant, which is located right in the heart of historic downtown. The restaurant serves hungry diners a mix of Spanish and Cuban cuisines, with things like black bean soup, Cuban sandwiches, and the original 1905 salad, that’s made the exact same way it has been since the restaurant’s opening. Split a pitcher of the famous sangria, which can be made with red, white or sparkling wine. 

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One of St. Augustine’s most notable fine dining restaurants is Llama Restaurant, where Peruvian cuisine is the star of the menu. Perfect for date night, each of the dishes is made with authentic ingredients and locally sourced produce. The dinner menu is filled with items like ceviche made four different ways and savory pork belly with Peruvian-style pesto cream and tagliatelle pasta. 

Right in middle of the historic district of St Augustine you’ll find Prohibition Kitchen, known for its farm-to-table menu and hand-spun milkshakes. The dimly lit eatery looks to the Prohibition era to dictate the environment – even the menu looks like a newspaper from the front, with a full list of drinks and food items on the back. On the weekend, local bands are on the menu alongside the food. 

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For a taste of true Florida cuisine step inside The Floridian, where local producers and growers are spotlighted throughout the menu, which changes seasonally. The menu is filled with items like fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, a spicy fish melt with datil pepper-chipotle mayo, and braised brisket tacos that are made with pepperjack corn tortillas. Bonus points: most of the menu can be modified to be gluten-free.

Variety is the spice of life, right? Well at Meehan’s Irish Pub you'll actually find two restaurants in one location. Inside the restaurant you’ll find traditional Irish fare like fish and chips and corned beef and cabbage. Upstairs at Johnny’s Oyster Bar, you can enjoy freshly caught seafood and a full bar with seating that overlooks the Matanzas River and the Castillo de San Marcos. No matter where you choose to dine, the atmosphere is relaxed and the Irish beer is cold. 

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There’s nothing like stepping off the beach and coming face-to-face with a delicious, local taco shop (although we could do without the line wrapped around the building). Burrito Works Taco Shop is a small stand that serves up tacos and burritos however you like them. The beach-side dive uses local produce and hormone-free meat to ensure everything is full of flavor. The carne asada-loaded fries and Baja-style fish tacos are what the small restaurant is known for, and for most dishes guac isn’t extra.

Collage is located in the middle of downtown St Augustine, but don’t let the fight for parking or groups of tourists stop you from getting to this restaurant. The menu highlights local ingredients and the kitchen creates each dish with a finesse usually only found in a fine dining restaurant. Don't miss the housemade burrata cheese; The dish starts with hand-stretched mozzarella that’s stuffed with goat cheese mousse for a tangy and savory bite.

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Raintree Restuarant has been open in St Augustine since 1981, but the historic home that the restaurant is located in has been a landmark since 1879. In fact, the building is one of the only original Victorian structures in St. Augustine. The menu is approachable with items like shrimp and housemade sausage, Kobe beef burgers, and steamed mussels for dinner. When Sunday rolls around and it’s time for brunch, the menu is filled with classic items like eggs Benedict and croque madame.

Nestled along the shore of Salt Run you’ll find Conch House Marina Resort, which has one of the best Caribbean-influenced restaurants in St Augustine. Don't leave without trying the jerk chicken egg rolls, served with sweet and spicy pineapple and datil pepper dipping sauce. And go ahead and sit outside on the deck so you can enjoy the warm Florida sunshine and watch the boats and fishermen as they go by on the inlet.

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Gas Full Service is the hot spot for sandwiches and burgers in St Augustine. The restaurant makes all of their buns and breads in-house and hand-forms every burger patty. Spicy lovers will want to try the jalapeño popper burger – a half pound burger that’s been stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar cheese and fresh jalapeños, then battered and fried before getting all of the traditional burger toppings. This burger takes the juicy Lucy to the next level.

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Catch 27 is a fantastic seafood restaurant that serves locally caught fish, shellfish and seafood to hungry patrons. The lunch and dinner restaurant serves up Southern favorites like deviled eggs with crispy fried oysters on top and smoked salmon spread as appetizers. Entrees include dishes like fish or shrimp with grits and delicate crab cake sandwiches. Try the famous tiki float, which combines coconut ice cream, Jamaican gold rum, passionfruit, pineapple and lime into a refreshing adults-only treat.

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