If you follow me on Instagram @adventuresingourmet, you might have noticed our multiple trips to Jacksonville this year. My sister and brother-in-law have lived there for a few years now and my parents just moved to Nocatee! Since our family gatherings always revolve around food and drinks, we’ve had the chance to explore some of the local restaurant and bar scene. I haven’t written about Jacksonville since my Guide to Ponte Vedra Beach back in 2018 when we stayed at the Sawgrass Marriott for my sister’s wedding, so I figured I was overdue for an update!
Ponte Vedra Beach, Sawgrass & Nocatee
Located just under the bridge on the Tolomato River, this is a great easygoing spot to enjoy drinks and casual seafood fare outside by the water on a nice day. They sometimes have live music, as well as my favorite, happy hour deals on oysters!
Down the road from Palm Valley Outdoors is another popular restaurant on the water, though this one is worth going to on a not-so-nice day too as the inside dining rooms are quite enjoyable. They serve modern BBQ fare, without being fussy, for brunch, lunch and dinner. We’ve been for both and would recommend their cocktails, Deviled Farm Eggs and Smoked Brisket tacos.
From the owners of Restaurant Medure (below), this casual burger spot has consistently been voted Jacksonville’s Best Burger by the readers of Jacksonville Magazine for their signature “M Burger.” They also offer alcoholic milkshakes, if that’s your thing.
Previously featured in my Guide to Ponte Vedra Beach, this restaurant ranks at the top of wishlist to return to because it was SO impressive. The service was phenomenal, and the in-house sommelier was incredibly knowledgable, offering us some great recommendations from their extensive wine list. The food is a New American modern take on classics, like the Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Vidalia Onion Confit, Onion Marmalade, Aged Balsamic, Vanilla Truffle Oil – unreal!
Also shared previously in my Guide to Ponte Vedra Beach, this restaurant is located at the 19th hole in the Sawgrass development. They have since done some renovations so it’s on my list to go back to next time, particularly for those life-changing scallops – the best I’ve ever had!
Lastly, for a nice outdoor atmosphere especially great for bringing visitors or golf fanatics, this restaurant featured in my Guide to Ponte Vedra Beach offers expansive views of the golf course and an upscale environment. We went for lunch so the food was a bit more simple, but I’d be curious to go back another time of day to check out the rest of the menu.
St. Johns, Julington Creek & Baymeadows
Whenever we visit my sister’s house, we look forward to the ice cream they always have in the freezer! We’ve tried so many flavors at this point, including many of their rotating flavors of the week, and also love their Whitties ice cream sandwiches.
We also look forward to picking up these New York style bagels from a local shop that offers the classics and some more unique flavors like egg everything or pumpernickel everything. Can you tell I love any variation of the everything bagel? They also have a french toast bagel that is apparently quite delicious. This isn’t any ordinary bagel shop though because their bagel dough is not made on premise, but is shipped in from a company in New York who has mastered their family recipe. Then they proof overnight, season and steam bake them fresh every morning on site.
We went here for the first time on our most recent visit to Jacksonville. They have a good wine and local craft beer list, oysters (we loved the Jack-O-Lantern special), and these amazing off-the-menu scallops in the shell! I would definitely go back for lunch to enjoy the rooftop deck, or dinner to try more from the menu.
I love a unique combination of toppings on a pizza, or any creative variety of a classic for that matter. V’s Pizza has both, and it’s wood-fired so it smells incredible the moment you walk in. They also have a large craft beer menu, great for ordering a flight, and live music outside with large communal picnic tables.
Pre-COVID, we all went here as a family and it was packed! It’s definitely a popular spot, for good reason. I loved their craft beers and the outdoor area in particular – very lively and charming.
On my wishlist: Legacy Ale Works
Five Points & Downtown Jacksonville
It’s a close call, but this award-winning restaurant is definitely one of my favorite spots in Jacksonville! Even though it’s probably the farthest drive from my sister’s house, we’ve still gone multiple times. Their wine list, cocktails, service, and cuisine featuring traditional French techniques with a touch Southern influence is top notch. Their creme brûlée in particular is the best I’ve ever had!
I miss a good rooftop bar from my NYC days, but going to Hoptinger helps! In the trendy Five Points neighborhood, it’s a bier garden and sausage house that attracts a young crowd. I’ve only been once but I would definitely go back if I was in the neighborhood.
Another rooftop in the Five Point area is this amazing brunch spot! They source ingredients locally for their modern Southern fare, and also have a great craft cocktail and craft beer menu.
If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by our favorite cocktail boutique, The Glass Bottle Society!
Located on the intracoastal side of Jacksonville Beach is this local seafood restaurant offering upscale dishes from its classically-trained chefs. I recommend going during the day or around sunset to enjoy the views through the large, wraparound windows.
This popular seafood market on the also offers fast casual dockside dining. Enjoy a fresh catch of the day or a traditional seafood basket while looking over the St. Johns River.
On my wishlist: Eleven South by the owners of 3 Palms Grille above
In case you missed it, check out my Day in Amelia Island.