Browse around some of Amelia Island’s popular restaurants — fine dining to casual.
FERNANDINA HISTORIC DISTRICT RESTAURANTS (located within walking distance of downtown bed & breakfast inns, the harbor front Hampton Inn & Suites, and the city of Fernandina marina):
SOUTHERN-STYLE DINING AT HISTORIC FLORIDA HOUSE INN
Florida House Inn circa 1857 (22 South 3rd street, 904-491-3322), known as the oldest-surviving hotel in the state of Florida, has re-opened its dining room bringing back the southern-style family dining of its past. Menu offers traditional southern dishes including platters of fried chicken, seasonal vegetables, bread, biscuits, dessert and sweet tea. The dining hall open from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm (but only open weekends off season, so call and confirm current schedule). Note that the Mermaid Bar is also open for cocktails, see Florida House Inn website.
Bonito’s Grill & Shushi – Asian- American fushion. Located on Centre Street and 7th, Bonito’s is a fine dining restaurant offering both lunch and dinner. FOR LUNCH: Check out one of the best deals in town, Bonito’s “Bento box lunch” — a local favorite — get the Grouper! (904)-261-0508.
Cafe’ Karibo, 27 North 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 277-5269. Very good food and nice, casual atmosphere. If you like portabella mushrooms, try the “Bella” sandwich — outstanding! Indoor dining plus nice outdoor brick patio and new upper deck. Wi-Fi available here.
KARIBREW BREW PUB & GRUB also has tasty menu of burgers, soft-shelled crab sandwiches, Thai spring rolls, and more. See Cafe’ Karibo’s FACEBOOK for the latest updates. Website:http://www.cafekaribo.com.
Pepper’s Mexican Grill & Cantina, located at 530 Centre Street in Fernandina (904) 277-2011. With good food, generous portions, and reasonable prices, appears Pepper’s has found the recipe for success in Fernandina Beach – a good value along with festive atmosphere. Try Pepper’s nachos platter called “Michoacan,” with pork carnitas. A couple can easily split an appetizer and one entrée (or take away a doggie bag for another meal at home). Burrito, fajitas, sangria and pina coladas all passed the muster and won’t break the bank. The cantina offers a nice cocktail bar with windows overlooking the main corridor of the historic district, plus outdoor patio seating along Centre Street.
Espana Restaurant, 22 S. 4th St., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 261-7700, http://www.espanadowntown.com Specializing in traditional Spanish and Portuguese dishes. Menu includes varied hot and cold tapas, steaks, “just caught” fish, and several types of paella, homemade sangria. Indoor dining room, enclosed patio dining or outdoor garden dining.
29 South Restaurant, located at 29 South 3rd Street in Fernandina. (904)277-7919. Chic neighborhood bistro offering “classic world cuisine with modern twist.” Fresh ingredients from local sources when possible. (They’ve also got their own chef’s garden behind the restaurant.) Grilled pizza and sandwiches also available. See the 29 South website for full menu and more details. Wi-Fi available here.
Happy Tomato Courtyard Cafe & BBQ, 7 South 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach, Phone: (904) 321-0707. Popular with locals, menu includes chicken salad, pimento cheese sandwiches, and great BBQ, a local favorite. See more info at Happy Tomato Cafe’s website.
Kelley’s Courtyard Cafe, new in 2010, 19 S. 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach (formerly La Bodega’s location), phone: 904-432-8213. Lovely outdoor courtyard setting, featuring Chef Michael Gass, open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm.. See Kelley’s FACEBOOK page for latest updates.
Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro,14 S. 2nd Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 321-2558. Website: http://www.joesbistro.com New American cuisine with influences from Italian, French, Creole, Asian and South of the Border cooking along with fresh baked bread, homemade ice cream, sorbets and signatures desserts. Dine in restored 1900’s home in intimate main dining room or outside by the fountain in New Orleans-inspired courtyard.
Le Clos Restaurant of Amelia Island, 20 S. 2nd Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 261-8100 Website: Le Clos serves Provencale dishes by candlelight in a charming, intimate 1906 cottage. Chef-owner Katherine Ewing received full degrees in both pastry and cuisine from Le Cordon Blue and L’Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise Ritz-Escoffier, Paris, and trained at the Ritz Hotel, Paris, France. Open Mon.-Sat. from 5:30 – 9:30. Reservations recommended. Extensive wine list. (Located across from downtown Hampton Inn & Suites.)
GET PIZZA DOWNTOWN, at ARTE’s PIZZA, located at 109 North 3rd Street (off Centre St.). Wood fired oven, thin-crust style pizza is their specialty, delicious. (904)277-1515. Wi-Fi available here.
Merge (904-277-8797) is located on the outskirts of the downtown historic district, so from Centre Street, take a drive to 510 S. 8th Street in Fernandina Beach. You may wish to check out what Trip Advisor and Urban Spoon reviewers have to say about Merge. This Amelia Island restaurant earns consistently high marks for pleasing diners and was one of the top rated restaurants on the island (as of November 1, 2011). Fall’s menu is in place at this writing (the “Lobster-Pumpkin Bisque with Pecan Pie Ravioli” sure sounds tempting!)
Casual Beach Restaurants & Beach Bars
Sliders Seaside Grill, oceanfront grill with outdoor tiki bar on the beach, located at 1998 South Fletcher Avenue at the roundabout at Sadler Road, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 277-6652.
An Amelia Island landmark, Sliders Seaside Grill is located on oceanfront property — one of only two restaurant/bars on Amelia Island (non-resort property), that are actually right on the beach (the other being Sandy Bottoms). For drinks right on the beach, there’s a tiki bar outside at the rear of Sliders with live evening entertainment some nights. Sliders has playground equipment off its rear covered porch, adjacent to the beach, for patrons with kids. Sliders is well known to both locals and visitors, having a presence on Amelia Island for over 50 years (initially as an inn). Adjacent is Seaside Park, with additional parking area (one of Fernandina’s public beach parks). Sliders is one of the places on Amelia Island where beach driving is allowed — you can drive a vehicle right onto the beach, but non-Nassau County residents are supposed to get a permit. (Don’t be tempted to drive on the beach without a 4-wheel drive vehicle that can handle it. Many tourists get stuck in the sand and have to get towed out.) Call Sliders for further information at 904-277-6652 about seasonal operating hours, specials and featured entertainment.
The Surf, 3199 S. Fletcher Ave., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 261-5711. http://www.thesurfonline.com The Surf Restaurant & Bar provides a casual beach atmosphere located across the street from the ocean. Specializing in seafood and steaks, offering daily specials such as Wednesday Wing-It night. Dine indoors or out on our huge oceanview deck, and enjoy live entertainment. The Surf offers live entertainment nightly on the deck (in summer season) and 23 TVs throughout the property.
SANDY BOTTOMS BEACH BAR & GRILL, MAIN BEACH PARK, FERNANDINA
If you’re around Main Beach toward the northern end of Amelia Island and would like a very casual beach bar, Sandy Bottoms is the place. It’s one of only two beach bars on Amelia Island (located in non-resort property) actually located right on the beach with an outdoor patio overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, as well as indoor seating (the other noted above is Sliders). Sandy Bottoms also offers some live musical entertainment at night. Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 pm is their all-you-can-eat wing night with live music. If you haven’t been to Sandy Bottoms in awhile, “KP” took over the kitchen in 2010 (KP for many years had a restaurant with large local following.) Located at Main Beach, 2910 Atlantic Avenue, call Sandy Bottoms at (904)277-0814 for the latest operating hours and entertainment schedule (summer vs. off season). Or visit their website, www.SandyBottomsAmelia.com.
Fine Dining at Amelia Island’s Luxury Oceanfront Resorts
Salt At The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island (RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED) Phone: 904-277-1100. AWARDS: One of the top restaurants in the state of Florida, Golden Spoon Hall of Fame. For a rare fine dining experience, Salt is located at the AAA five diamond award winning Ritz-Carlton hotel on Amelia Island. Valet parking, jackets suggested. Salt salutes the Ritz-Carlton’s standard for modern gourmet meals made from carefully sourced ingredients prepared for different menus each week with top chef skills. Located at 4750 Amelia Island Pkwy., Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Florida. Cuisine: Modern American. Dinner served nightly in Salt (other meals available in the Ritz-Carlton’s Cafe 4750). Visit Salt’s website.
AMELIA ISLAND PLANTATION RESORT: THREE RESTAURANTS WITHIN THE RESORT PROPERTY (RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED)
Ocean Grill, Amelia Island Plantation – — Phone: 904-261-6161. Menu updated seasonally with finest steaks, seafood, chops, chef’s specials, and bounty from the local farmers’ market, enviable wine list and a lavish selection of desserts. Located oceanfront, dine with view of the Atlantic. Signature favorites on the menu include “Grilled Shrimp & Grits, Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass, Surf & Turf, and Steak Amelia.” Located at 6800 First Coast Hwy within the Amelia Island Plantation resort. Visit Amelia Island Plantation’s website.
Verandah, Amelia Island Plantation –Phone: 904-261-6161. Enjoy a wonderful meal at the Verandah on Amelia Island Plantaton (near the tennis complex). A popular restaurant with residents of the Plantation as well as others living on Amelia Island, the Verandah is resort casual dining and great for seafood lovers. Located at 6800 First Coast Highway, visit Amelia Island Plantation’s website.
PLAE (People Laughing And Eating) Phone: 904-277-2132. AWARDS: Top 500 Restaurant in FLORIDA. Located in the Amelia Island Plantation’s Spa & Shops off First Coast Highway, with views of the golf course. Offering an eclectic menu, including beef, pork, fowl, lamb and of course, sea food, PLAE is beautifully designed and furnished — this is a stylish restaurant offering a wonderful dining experience for those with an accomplished palate. A well-trained staff will usher you to a table or booth and explain the featured specials. PLAE has an impressive cocktail lounge, offering live entertainment some evenings. Call or visit their website for the entertainment schedule, further information, and dinner reservations (used to be open only for dinner but now also open for lunch). Plae is located at 6800 First Coast Highway, Amelia Island Plantation. See PLAE’s website. Checkout PLAE’s FACEBOOK page.
Outside the Historic District — Other Restaurants on the Island
Townies Pizzeria & Deli (904-277-4755) located at 1721 South 8th Street, Fernandina Beach. The former Papa John’s pizza location is now Townies. Offering specialty pizza, wings, salads, sandwiches and more. Townies also delivers around Amelia Island and Yulee (even “late night” deliveries on the weekend until 3 am!) If you haven’t tried Townies, definitely check it out. (The “vegetarian” pizza is really delicious!)
Moon River Pizza, 925 South 14th Street (near Jasmine St.), a favorite of locals, in small strip plaza. Very kid-friendly, inexpensive but great pizza, salads, calzones, serving wine and beer. (The gorganzola walnut salad dressing is wonderful.) (904)321-3400.
Loop Pizza Grill. Family-style eatery with nice burgers, pizza, salads, and great thick shakes. Located in the same plaza as Blockbuster Video (Sadler Road and South 14th Street). (904) 321-0093.
Carolyn’s Breakfast and Desserts, 1881 S 14th Street Suite 1, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 261-6277. A favorite of locals for breakfast and the homemade coconut cake!
Barbara Jean’s Restaurant ,960030 Gateway Blvd., Amelia Island, FL 32034 (located on the marsh). Phone: (904) 277-3700. A favorite of locals who like home-style cooking. Known for their crab cakes and fresh bread basket.
Kabuki Japanese Steakhouse, 1147 Amelia Plaza, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 277-8782. Kabuki chefs, masters of Ancient Art of Japanese Teppanyaki cookery, will entertain as dinner is prepared at your table. Sushi chefs also serve custom made sushi rolls and platters.