10 MUST TRY Food Experiences in St. Augustine

So you’ve eaten at Columbia and Collage and think you know St. Augustine… but how well have you experienced the unique flavors St. Augustine has to offer? Without further ado, I present to you my 10 MUST TRY foodie experiences in St. Augustine. In no particular order… because they’re all my favorites.

1. Catch 27’s Minorcan Chowder

Catch 27 St Augustine Minorcan Chowder
Catch 27 St Augustine Minorcan Chowder

The Minorcan people came to St. Augustine from Spain in 1777 and many locals still celebrate their Minorcan heritage today- Minorcan Chowder is a big part of the culture they celebrate. Several restaurants on the First Coast serve this tomato-based chowder but none do it as well as Catch 27.

Fresh clams, chunks of potatoes and St. Augustine’s famous Datil B Good hot sauce set this bowl apart. After this appetizer, order the Catch Rustica. Not only is this fish dish locally caught, your fish will be less than 24 hours out of the water! Minimal seasonings & handling allow the fresh from Florida fish to shine!

2. Hot Shot Bakery’s Chocolate-Dipped Datil Pepper Challenge

Hot Shot Bakery was the first to sell Chocolate Dipped Datil Peppers- it's now a St. Auggie tradition!
Hot Shot Bakery was the first to sell Chocolate Dipped Datil Peppers- it’s now a St. Auggie tradition!

It’s small but ooooo-weeee is it spicy… it’s a datil pepper. These peppers are only grown in St. Johns County– so don’t be surprised when you see datils listed on menus all over town.

Chocolate Dipped Datil Pepper St Augustine
Yep. They were right. It’s hot!

Hot Shot Bakery bottles award-winning datil sauces and includes the perky little pepper in many menu options. So it comes as no surprise that this is the home of the chocolate dipped datil pepper. Owner Sherry Stoppelbein dipped her first datil 15 years ago to creatively top a chocolate birthday cake. “I never, never, never dreamed it would be as big as it is…” she shared with me. Hot Shot Bakery’s wall is now papered with over 1,800 photos of people who have accepted the chocolate-dipped datil challenge- my son and I are up there!

You can pop in any time to be added to the Wall of Flame but if you really want to experience the heat, join Hot Shot Bakery’s Annual Chocolate Dipped Datil Competition.

3. Beef on Weck at Ann O’Malley’s Deli & Pub

Beef on Weck St Augustine
Comfort food at its best.

Every Sunday, Ann O’Malley’s serves up beef sandwiches on kummelweck rolls. It’s a staple in Buffalo, New York, and an appropriate specialty for the local Buffalo Bills Backers hangout. It’s not supposed to be a gourmet sandwich (like Cafe Alcazar’s Veggie Panini– don’t miss that one either!), it is comfort food Ann O’s style. You just don’t see something this meaty, perfectly jus’ed and tender often!

4. Present Moment Cafe’s Samosas

Present Moment Cafe St Augustine
As delicious and healthful as they are beautiful- Present Moment Cafe’s Mango Samosas are incredible.

The Present Moment Cafe is one of the most amazing restaurants I’ve dined in. Ever. First, the staff is friendly without exception. Second, the food is creative and flavorful. Third, almost everything on the menu is raw. As in uncooked. They don’t even have a stove, oven or microwave in the kitchen!

Mango Samosas stand out to me because of the brightness of the mango and peas, subtle heat and gorgeous presentation. This dish is pleasing to all the senses and never disappoints.

5. GAS’ Jalapeno Popper Burger

GAS’ Jalapeno Popper Burger is memorable to say the least!

It’s massive. It’s spicy. It’s two patties surrounding cream cheese and jalapeños battered and deep fried. It’s amazing.

All of GAS Full Service Restaurant’s burgers are hand pattied from regionally pasture raised beef- this local love is just one of the 2 dozen reasons I love GAS. {That’d make a good post! I need to remember that… 2 dozen reasons to have GAS. Haha} Anyways, this massive burger is everything a fun, quirky, local favorite should be. Feel free to share with a friend- maybe you’ll have room for one of their homemade sweet treats afterward!

6. Collage anything

Sorbet Palate Cleanser at Collage
Sorbet Palate Cleanser at Collage

This might sound like a cop out because I can’t pin one thing down… {ahem} but, seriously, everything is amazing at Collage! From the roasted bulb of garlic served alongside freshly baked bread to the palate cleansing sorbet you’re offered to a perfectly seared side of foie gras alongside a perfectly prepared filet… Collage is an unexpectedly refined fine dining experience in St. Augustine. Set aside a few hours and enjoy a gourmet meal at the leisurely pace it deserves.

7. Burrito Works UFO

Photo Cred: Yelp http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/a1a-burrito-works-taco-shop-st-augustine?select=37UML-QHNqIxy1YobYeQfA#37UML-QHNqIxy1YobYeQfA
Photo Cred: Yelp!

The Mexican UFO is 2 crunchy tacos stuffed with goodness enrobed in a layer of molten cheese all wrapped in a tortilla. Have you ever seen anything like this at Chipotle?!? {correct answer: NO!} You choose between fish, chicken or beef and then customize your UFO so it’s an Unparalleled Food Occurance. I just made that acronym up. Anyone know what the UFO stands for? Well anyways, you can’t go wrong at Burrito Works Taco Shop.

8. Southern Belle Pecan Pie {or anything else in the case} from Creme de la Cocoa

cake st augustine
Everything in the case is delish at Creme de la Cocoa! {photo cred to them}

Chef Nils is making a big impact on the oldest city’s dessert scene. He prepares unique desserts for several local restaurants and custom cakes for weddings and events and always offers about a dozen treats at Dos, a local coffee roaster. If the artistry of all the desserts in his case at Dos Coffee + Wine isn’t enough to convince you, he was on Food Network’s holiday cake cook off. Fancy.

We picked up a Thanksgiving Southern Belle Pecan Pie and promptly ordered our Christmas Dutch Apple Crumb pie from him. His flourless chocolate cake is delish and the chocolate bombe is- you guessed it- tha bomb. {see what I did there?} Chef Nils keeps shooters of many desserts in the case as well as slices of his cakes and tortes… but once you’ve found a favorite, you may find yourself splurging for a full sized version! Chef Nils’ artistry is what sets Creme de la Cocoa desserts apart. His finishing touches and his sugar & chocolate sculptures are stare-worthy.

9. Popsicle from the Hyppo

The Hyppo Gourmet Popsicles St Augustine
The coconut popsicle is one of my favorite Hyppo flavors.

The Hyppo has a cult-like following- it seems that no matter what popsicle flavors they churn out, people line up for a taste! My personal favorites are the coconut (dip it in chocolate!), the strawberry datil (dip it in chocolate!), and the pineapple cilantro (don’t dip this one). Don’t try the lavender. Here’s another place you should take it to-go… along with some extra napkins. Enjoy this refreshing treat while walking around downtown!

10. O’Steens for Local Shrimp

Osteens
photo cred: http://vicki-h.travellerspoint.com/45/

Like The Columbia Restaurant, O’Steens is a St. Augustine landmark. Save your calories- all the good stuff there is fried! There’s always a line, it’s cash only and it’ll probably be full of more locals than visitors. For a taste of North Florida, order their Fried St. Augustine Shrimp and a couple of southern sides- make one of them the Squash Casserole.

O'Steen's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

10 Must Try Food Experiences

You know coming up with JUST 10 food experiences is quite a challenge… many of my favorites (Claude’s gourmet, hand crafted chocolates) didn’t get (Cold Cow!) the attention (The Floridian) they deserve (Yard Bird Cafe). So join the chat on facebook and subscribe below for regular updates with what’s worth exploring in St. Augustine:



Comments

  1. Teresa says

    All sound good but where is the recommended place for grilled shrimp?

    • says

      Teresa- Sounds like Linda has a suggestion for you! You’ll find grilled shrimp at many local spots. Many are good, but none make my 10 MUST TRY list. ~Allie O

    • Bonnie says

      Catch 27 has a super delicious shrimp and grits dish and the shrimp are grilled. The grits are also yummy!

  2. Linda says

    You should try Schooners. They have a full service bar, excellent grilled shrimp (and the most delicious fried shrimp) daily specials and a Happy Hour that doesn’t compare. Try the Margaritas! They are family friendly and talk about a local’s spot! And…if you don’t have cash…no problem. No need to run to an ATM.

    • Jo-An says

      agree with you. have eaten Schooners at least 25 to 1 of Osteens!! that is how much we prefer Schooners over Osteens. even now that Schooners is not open on Sundays now. Schooners is still better. the shrimp are great, shrimp dip is better, the onion rings are to die for!!

  3. says

    Great post – mind if I do a similar one for Jax?9 I’d credit you for the inspiration, of course…

  4. Patrick says

    Burnt ends appetizer at MOJO BBQ!

  5. Jon Craig says

    You really should have the Wet Burrito from Back 40 Urban Cafe on here somewhere!

  6. says

    Thanks for these! We have them on our list to try all those we have not. Have you done a post on restaurants that allow dogs?

  7. says

    I think you missed one of the best sandwich shops in St. Augustine
    Cheezees Grill

    • says

      I’ve driven by but never eaten there. Thanks for the suggestion, Joe!

  8. says

    Unfortunately, the Bistro de Leon is now closed. But you can visit 5 different yummy places each day on the St Augustine Food Tour brought to you by St. Augustine Historic Walking Tours. 😉

    • says

      I <3 St. Augustine Historic Walking Tours!!! 🙂 I'll miss Bistro de Leon. I guess I need to update this post... hmm, what to replace that with...

  9. Jeni s says

    Anything for breakfast at the Blue Hen

  10. says

    Casa Maya has some amazing tempeh dishes and the Floridian has a curry dish right now that is to die for. Great to see you and the family at the farm!!

  11. conrad says

    The Bistro at culinary outfitters has some great stuff. Chocolate ganache pie at Purple Olive is da bomb!

    • says

      Thanks, Cap’n Conrad! I’ve been wanting to hit Culinary Outfitters but never seem to time it right… great reminder!! 🙂

  12. Kay N says

    We can’t forget MoJos Tacos. The fish tacos/burritos are out of this world!

  13. Joel landrua says

    The food is great, MOJO is my favorite. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone that wants a good sandwich.

  14. says

    you are looking for a good Cuban or Reuben go to Cheezees grill in the shores area. They are a little take out sandwich shop that roasts all of their meats fresh in house and you can taste it with every bite you take. No lunch meat or preservatives, they pride themselves on serving good quality food. Everything I have had from there is delicious. From their meatloaf sandwich to the Reuben to the stuffed portobello and even the BLT is to die for with super thick bacon in every bite.

    • says

      I haven’t had a good BLT in St. Augustine- good to know Cheezes is good. Are you the owner? Thanks for saying hi. ~Allie O.

      • Dave says

        No just you average sandwich eater

  15. Jo-An says

    try Obi’s Filln’ Station on the Island. they make the best homemade style burgers around. even have several different varieties beyond beef. the desserts are richer than rich!! love the old car decor too. they offer a limited breakfast menu too.

  16. Lisa R. says

    Allie O. I just have to add the Ice Plant Bar! I have eaten there several times and their food/drinks are consistently amazing-especially the shrimp ceviche appetizer and the shrimp with polenta entree! Also fantastic is Cousteau’s waffle and milkshake bar on Hypolita-get the key lime milkshake!??

    • says

      I completely agree on both counts!! St. Augustine is better because of both of those! I didn’t include Cousteaus because Hyppo had already made it in and 2 dessert-only places by the same owner seems a bit like kissing up. 😉 LOL!

  17. Laura says

    How about anything from Uptown Scratch Kitchen? Vinny is the best chef around!

  18. Cathy McLeod says

    Great breakfast at Moon and Sun …. service is excellent!

  19. says

    Blackfly and Collage share the same executive chef! Blackfly has its own menu and it’s incredible! Real Bahamian conch fritters.

    • says

      Absolutely! We always enjoy our meals at Blackfly. And parking is easy!! 🙂 ~Allie O.

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