Florida’s Governor lifted restaurant capacity limits on Sept. 25, 2020 (Phase 3 of COVID-19 Recovery Plan). Executive Order 20-244 allows restaurant owners leeway to continue indoor dining at less than 100% capacity, or not.
Where To Eat?
Browse Amelia Island restaurants, from casual beach dining along the island’s eastern seashore, to the historic district in downtown Fernandina near the riverfront. Plus fine dining options on Amelia Island’s south end, including several restaurants at the two luxury resorts, The Ritz-Carlton & Omni Amelia Island Plantation.
Downtown Fernandina Historic District
Wicked BAO — 232 North 2nd St., Fernandina Beach (904-775-5577). Open for dinner only (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.), closed Sundays. Unique dining experience known for great service and flavorful “Asian Street Food.” In a crowded downtown dining scene, Wicked BAO has created a recipe for success. Don’t miss trying this gem, tucked away a few blocks off Centre Street. The combination of menu options, casual atmosphere, delightful restaurateur, Nathalie Wu, and the signature — steamed Taiwanese buns (i.e. “BAO”) — have all made a big impression on this town and its visitors. Chef Nathalie’s past culinary experience includes working at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore.
Island Kitchen – 11 North 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach (904-624-7447). Looking for a lunch place? Fresh and flavorful sandwiches, soups, & salads. (Eat in or orders to go.) A teacher of culinary arts (Amelia Island Culinary Academy), Island Kitchen’s Bill Thompson was a former Ritz-Carlton chef. The food reflects Chef Bill’s passion for both the slow food and farm-to-table movements. Serving wild-caught shrimp and local produce from Nassau County farmers. Like fish? Try the seared grouper sandwich (served on baguette with tomatoes, arugula, & creole remoulade) — yummy! Chef Bill also offers cooking classes and culinary tasting tours.
Le Clos — 20 S. 2nd Street, Fernandina Beach (904-261-8100). Enjoy a memorable dining experience at Le Clos (be sure to make reservations well in advance). This excellent French restaurant has a long established reputation downtown. Look for the charming cottage, circa 1906, with its white picket fence along the sidewalk.
Ciao Italian Eatery – 614 Centre Street, Fernandina Beach (904-206-4311). Serving dinner only. Chef/owner Luca Misciasci has been pleasing patrons in downtown Fernandina for decades. Serving pasta, pizza, salads, seafood, veal, chicken, pork, ribeye steak. A popular “special” when on the menu is Ciao’s seafood lasagna.
Espana Restaurant — 22 S. 4th St., Fernandina Beach (904-261-7700). Specializing in traditional Spanish and Portuguese dishes, a very popular place to dine. Reservations are suggested, especially weekends and busy summer season. Menu includes varied hot and cold tapas, steaks, fish, paellas, and homemade sangria. Indoor dining room, enclosed patio dining or outdoor garden dining. Mick Jagger dined at Espana during summer 2019, read about it here. (Also see Espana YouTube video for a glimpse inside the restaurant.)
Café Karibo — 27 North 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach (904-277-5269). Café Karibo, tried and true, a downtown eatery for nearly 20 years. Serving sandwiches like the yummy “Big Bella”(portabella mushroom), chili, burgers, and tasty salads (such as Spicy Thai Noodle or Mediterranean Couscous). Plus after 5 dinner menu and homemade desserts. Eat inside or dine al fresco. Karibo features a side and rear courtyard, shaded by tree canopy (and pet-friendly, too.) Karibo’s “Happy Hour” is Tues. – Fri. 3-6 pm, drinks 50% off.
Timoti’s Seafood Shak — 21 N 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach (904-310-6550). Serving seafood prepared fried, grilled or blackened, tacos, PO’Boys, salads and bowls. Small seating area inside. Outdoor seating at covered picnic tables. Pirate ship play structure for kids.
Salty Pelican — 12 N. Front Street, Fernandina Beach (904-277-3811). A popular restaurant with second-floor overlooking the Amelia River along the railroad tracks. The restaurant features many big-screen TVs, a nice spot to watch sports and a sunset.
Burlingame Restaurant — 20 S. 5th Street, Fernandina Beach (904-432-7671). Enjoy a fine dining experience downtown at Burlingame, offering a “seasonally inspired menu, top quality ingredients and native products of the southern coastal region.” Chef Chad Livingston was formerly with “Salt” at the Ritz-Carlton and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.
The Patio Place — 416 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach (904-410-3717). Featuring sweet and savory crepes, salads, soups, homemade hummus, fresh seasonal fare. Enjoy outdoor patio and live entertainment some evenings.
Happy Tomato Courtyard Cafe & BBQ — 7 South 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach (904-321-0707). Lunch menu includes chicken salad, pimento cheese sandwiches and great BBQ, a favorite of locals.
ARTE PIZZA — 109 North 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach (904-277-1515). Wood-fired, thin-crust pizza, plus large menu. Pasta, chicken, salads and seafood (including their popular shrimp mac-n-cheese). Eat in or take out.
HOLA! Cuban Cafe (904-206-1985). Unique in Fernandina serving authentic Cuban cuisine (Cuban coffee, pressed sandwiches & more), HOLA is located behind the Palace Saloon (Centre Street & N. 2nd).
29 South Restaurant — 29 South 3rd Street in Fernandina (904-277-7919). Neighborhood bistro offering fresh ingredients from local sources when possible (including their chef’s garden behind the restaurant.) Grilled pizza and sandwiches also available.
Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro — 14 S. 2nd Street, Fernandina Beach (904- 321-2558). Fine dining restaurant, enjoy dinner in restored 1900s home or outside in the New Orleans-inspired courtyard.
David’s — 802 Ash Street at corner of 8th Street, Fernandina Beach (904-310-6049). One of Fernandina’s fine dining experiences, David’s also offers a beautiful cocktail lounge with live entertainment some evenings and a private wine room that can be reserved.
T-Rays Burger Station – 202 South 8th Street, Fernandina Beach (904-261-6310). Serving breakfast and lunch. T-Rays is a magnet for locals. Don’t let the name fool you. T-Rays offers what some feel is the best fried shrimp in Fernandina Beach, besides their burgers. Also serving salads, fish, chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese, tuna, turkey and more. T-Rays has attracted national media attention over the years with its unique setting — a former Exxon gas station.
Casual Beach Dining & Bars
Salt Life Food Shack located at Fernandina’s Main Beach Park, 17 North Fletcher Ave., (904-432-7385). The blue hues of evening lighting along with glowing flames of tiki torches adds to the nighttime ambiance at this dining/beach bar option. From rooftop bar, the elevated view looks across Main Beach Park to the ocean. The restaurant’s design and setting exudes a beach vacation vibe.
The Sandbar & Kitchen, is also located at Fernandina’s Main Beach Park, 2910 Atlantic Ave. (904-310-3648). This restaurant is right on the beach. Brick pizza oven plus full menu. Sit oceanfront beside a sand dune at tables on outside patio or at the outdoor bar. Inside, dine upstairs or on main level (interior design is themed “the Main Beach Pier”). Lots of TVs for sports, live entertainment (musicians/bands perform on stage).
Sliders Seaside Grill — 1998 South Fletcher Ave., Fernandina Beach (904-277-6652). A landmark restaurant/bar on the beach for over 50 years, located at the city’s Seaside Park. Sliders features a large covered tiki bar near the dunes next to the outdoor patio dining area. There’s live entertainment, two levels of dining/bars inside and valet parking in busy summer season. Tortuga Jacks (Baja Mexican), opened upstairs in 2019. Tortuga’s started serving “sunrise breakfast,” just before dawn so patrons can watch an oceanfront sunrise.
The Surf — 3199 S. Fletcher Ave., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: 904-261-5711. Outdoor dining, featuring seafood and more, on rebuilt deck (8,000 square feet), with live entertainment and casual beach vibe. Across the street from the ocean. Surf Café features poke bowls, sandwiches, organic smoothies and serves breakfast.
The Down Under, located under Amelia Island’s Shave Bridge (96106 Wades Place, 904-310-6211). A seafood lover’s menu, waterfront setting, and Southern nautical vibe, often features live musical entertainment. Dockside dining and/or drinks inside or out (large riverfront deck with Tiki bar). With floating docks for mariners, read related article about the re-opening of the Down Under with photos.
Shuckers Oyster Bar & Grill – 96008 Wade’s Pl, Fernandina Beach (904-277-2580). Waterfront on the river next to Shave Bridge (on the mainland side). Shuckers offers indoor dining plus a nice outdoor area with fire pit, corn hole, and play structure for the kids. For oyster lovers, you can’t go wrong by getting the “big bucket” of steamed oysters (you shuck them), served with crackers, horse radish and cocktail sauce. But Shuckers has big menu, seafood and more. The restaurant often features live musical entertainment.
Amelia Island’s South End
Lagniappe – 4810 First Coast Highway (904-844-2634), serving lunch, happy hour with light menu, dinner & Sunday brunch. This restaurant has been a big hit since opening. While you may stumble pronouncing its Creole name (“LAN-YAP”), don’t trip up by missing out on this fine dining experience. Chef/Owner Brian Grimley moved his culinary talent from Lulu’s at the Thompson House (in downtown Fernandina), shifting to Amelia Island’s south end back in 2018 for this restaurant venture. And he’s met resounding success since, introducing “a little something extra” (the translation of “Lagniappe”). Calamari lovers, be sure to try the appetizer here!
Dining at Omni Amelia Island Plantation
Marche Burette “STEAK OUTS” – 85 Amelia Village Circle, 904-491-4834 . Not just for resort guests, locals love “Steak Outs” at Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Casual setting, al fresco dining served on rear covered porch and patio lakefront with live music.
While Marche Burette’s dinner menu is limited to just a few choices, steak is skillfully prepared on big grill lakeside (you can watch chefs). Choices are a huge 36 OZ Bone-In Ribeye, a more petite 8 OZ Beef Tenderloin or a 10 OZ NY Strip. All dinners are served with a side salad, bread, and loaded baked potato. (Alternative to beef is Salmon.) Steak nights are weekends only (Sat. & Sun. 5 pm to 9 pm), but closed during winter. 2020 dinners begin in spring, offered March 2020 (through November).
The Sprouting Project — “Farm To Table,” 5-course dinner with tour and cocktail hour, a very special evening out at Omni Amelia Island Plantation. These dinner events include tours of aquaponic greenhouse, barrel room and apiary. The Sprouting Project dinners are once a month. See 2020 dinner schedule, related article and video about The Sprouting Project.
Oceanside at Omni Amelia Island Plantation — 39 Beach Lagoon Road. Phone: 904-491-4113. Serving lunch and dinner.
Bob’s Steak and Chop House. Phone: 904-432-2201. Located at Omni Resort property at the Spa & Shops (First Coast Highway).
Fine Dining At Ritz-Carlton
Salt (at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island) — 4750 Amelia Island Pkwy., (904-277-1100). The hotel’s restaurant, Salt, has been awarded AAA Five Diamonds in multiple years. Enjoy a rare fine dining experience at Salt, (valet parking, jackets suggested, reservations recommended).
The Ritz-Carlton opened their newest restaurant, Coquina in spring 2020. Coquina offers alfresco dining poolside, just steps from the sea, and features flavors inspired by Amelia’s time as a Spanish territory. Coquina is open daily for lunch and cocktails, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, dinner is offered until 9 p.m. (Ritz-Carlton, 904-277-1100.)
Or visit the Lobby Lounge Bar featuring a special daily bourbon presentation. Also available at the Lobby Bar, Ritz sushi chefs present the freshest seafood with house specialties including the “Amelia Roll.” Another dining option at the Ritz-Carlton is their restaurant Coast.
Pizza & More
Townies Pizzeria & Deli — 819 TJ Courson Road. Phone: 904-277-4755. Offering specialty pizza, wings, salads, sandwiches and more. Townies also delivers around Amelia Island and Yulee (even “late night” deliveries on the weekend).
Moon River Pizza — 925 South 14th Street (near Jasmine St.). Phone: 904-321-3400. Pizza, salads (the Gorgonzola salad is very popular), calzones, serving wine and beer.
Loop Pizza Grill — Sadler Road and South 14th Street. Phone: 904-321-0093. Family-style eatery (order at counter then seat yourself). Burgers, pizza, salads, and great ice cream thick shakes.