As one of Florida’s most populated metropolitan areas, it makes sense that Jacksonville has both a diverse and celebrated dining scene. Thanks to being positioned right up against the Atlantic Ocean, seafood is of course something that isn’t lacking when it comes to Jacksonville’s restaurant landscape. But what many people don’t realize about the Northern part of Florida is that classic Southern barbecue and Soul food is also firmly established in the regional culture, providing locals with lots of mouthwatering options to consider for a night out on the town. So if you're looking for a great new restaurant or eatery to try, these Jacksonville neighborhoods offer the best flavors in town.
Springfield Historic District
Jacksonville’s Springfield Historic District is situated just north of downtown and is widely known for having some pretty amazing late-19th- and early 20th-century houses. So if you’re a historic home lover like us, you’re already going to dig the vibe. Food-wise, you’ll find a seemingly endless collection of ethic restaurants, breweries, bars, and cafes along Main Street, the neighborhood’s primary thoroughfare. Uptown Kitchen & Bar, located at 1303 N. Main Street is always a go-to for us, as is Historically Hoppy Brewing Company if you’re looking for a great after-dinner spot for a beer or two.
Just off the beaten path in Springfield are two of our other favorites in town, Silkie’s Chicken and Champagne Bar and The Cookbook. At Silkie’s, award-winning Chef Kenny Gilbert serves up the best Southern chicken and biscuits you’ll have anywhere, but really the entire menu helps make this one of Jacksonville’s best restaurants. On the other side of Main Street near 8th Street and Pearl, The Cookbook has been a top breakfast and lunch choice among Jacksonville locals since its doors first opened. The chicken and waffles here won’t disappoint but the Shrimp-n-Grits made with their house-made gravy is also highly recommended.
Like in most major cities, if you’re wanting more of a trendy, upscale setting for brunch or dinner, Downtown Jacksonville is where you want to be. It’s here you’ll of course find your high-end steakhouses, like Cowford Chophouse and Mortons for example. But we also recommend The Bread & Board for awesome beers and even better sandwiches, as well as bb’s restaurant and bar for its chic digs and absolutely delicious desserts.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to be downtown but still prefer more of a homey and casual atmosphere, try Casa Dora, located at 108 E. Forsyth. This old world Italian joint definitely feels like a throwback, and both the food and the Italian wine list makes it worth a visit.
St. Johns Avenue is the main drag in Jacksonville's Avondale neighborhood and where you’ll find a vibrant mix of restaurants, diners, and cafes. Biscottis, located at 3556 St. Johns Avenue, is a small French bistro with classy cocktails and amazing charcuterie plates. And right across the street is The Blue Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar, which for our money has one of the best outdoor patios in town.
Along with an amazing collection of restaurants, perhaps what we love most about the Avondale dining scene is that you can go here for any meal, any time of the day. Bakeries, cafes, and coffee shops like Southern Ground & Co., located at 3562 St. Johns Avenue, provide plenty of breakfast and brunch options, while the aforementioned Blue Fish Oyster Bar and Biscottis are ideal setting for a date night or group dinner with friends or family.
Southbank / San Marco
Although the Southbank district is loaded with tasty restaurants of all varieties, it had to be mentioned just for Chart House alone. Despite being a chain with restaurants all over the U.S., the Jacksonville location sits right alongside the St. Johns River, providing diners with some pretty epic views of the water and also the downtown Skyline.
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key in the Southbank / San Marco area, however, Flavors of Thai, located at 1004 Hendricks Avenue, is one of our favorites in the neighborhood. Every dish is top notch, the tea selection is on point, and there’s even a full bar as well. Plus, the covered outdoor patio actually feels relatively quaint despite being on the corner of two busier streets. Or if you’re in the mood for some classic and traditional BBQ, The Bearded Pig over at 1808 Kings Avenue is without question one of Jacksonville’s best barbecue joints.
Posted by Brad Officer on