Choose Your Own Adventure: Dining out in St. Augustine

February 15th, 2024

Part of Florida’s fame comes from its fresh seafood markets and subtropical produce. It’s also at the heart of a thriving crossroads for cultural cuisine. The beauty of living in Shearwater isn’t just its lush views, resort-style amenities, and engaging social environments – it’s a short drive from the fresh abundance of St. Augustine’s restaurants.

Playing tourist in your own city – choosing your own restaurants and routes, trying new cuisines and flavors – can feel a little extra adventurous and memorable.

Smaller Bites for Starters

Whether you want sweet, savory, saucy or all of the above, think shrimp. In 2021, as a nod to its maritime history, St. Augustine named wild-caught shrimp as its official seafood. 

If you like spice, Catch 27 serves a classic shrimp cocktail with a kick. They poach their shrimp in Old Bay and datil pepper – a hot little number that’s grown in abundance in St. Augustine.

You can’t go wrong by going local. Nibble on some classic Bahamian conch fritters from the Conch House Marina Resort, family owned and operated for over 70 years. Head over to River & Fort Rooftop Lounge for snacks with a view of the Castillo de San Marcos. The menu is perfect for ordering one of each and sharing it all, including Lobster Flatbread, Filet & Caramelized Onion Pizza, and Wood Fire Baked Beignets.

Tastes for Every Bud

Vegetarian and vegan options aren’t considered an afterthought in St. Augustine. The area is rich with scrumptious meatless dishes, thanks in part to a migration that occurred in the 1700s when a myriad of gorgeous Mediterranean dishes were brought to Florida. For an authentic taste of the Mediterranean, try Cortesse’s Bistro. Fresh vegetables from local farms are infused with classic Mediterranean spices.

If you’re in the mood for Mexican and Latin American flavors, head over to Casa Reina Taqueria & Tequila for al fresco dining. Their lunch menu includes a Short Rib Chile Relleno, Hot Chicken Tacos, Avocado Enchiladas, and much more. Wash it all down with a refreshing Oaxacan Spritz.

Check out the extensive menu for lunch or dinner at Forgotten Tonic, a neighborhood treasure in the heart of the historic art district. Their specialty is comfort food with a twist including Cajun Egg Rolls and BLFGT (Bacon, Lettuce, Fried Green Tomato). Forgotten Tonic also boasts an impressive happy hour menu – all served with a hearty dose of Southern hospitality.

A Citrus-Centric Dessert

When you think of having dessert in Florida, you probably think of the iconic Key Lime pie. Most restaurants offer their version, but why not shake it up a little? Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar offers the Calypso: a vanilla milkshake with fresh Florida lime juice, crunchy graham cracker crumbs and a hearty dollop of whipped cream. Get one to go and take it for a stroll.

Go Where the Night Takes You!

There’s no shortage of places to eat in St. Augustine. And luckily, many of those eateries frequent “The Best of” lists.

With so many local activities and community offerings, life at Shearwater never gets old. Cheers to good food and great adventures!