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Old 10-12-2008, 01:38 PM   #1
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Visiting JAX - St. Agustine... recommendations?

Next month my wife and I are visiting the Jackonsonville area (actually staying in Ponta Vedra) for a long weekend. It's our 1st visit and we are looking for good recommendations for Restaurants and Watering Holes in the area. We plan to spend 1 day in St. Augustine, so any there are also helpful. Please incl. any links if possible...TIA

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Old 10-12-2008, 03:08 PM   #2
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I've driven from Jacksonville to Daytona along the coast (A1) but can't remember anyplace that stood out, very touristy. St Augustine's beautiful. If your looking for watering holes I know of a few biker bars in Daytona out on the island.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:46 PM   #3
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I don't know the Ponte Vedra area, but I can find out for you. Lots of fine dining and watering holes, probably the best in Jax area. Bonefish Grille is excellent - http://www.bonefishgrill.com/locator/?zipcity=POnte+Vedra+Beach%2C+FL&radius=5&x=23&y=20#1
JOe's Crab Shack is also good - http://www.joescrabshack.com/locations.php?zipCode=32218
Jax is really the worlds biggest small town, so not that much in upper end entertainment/dining. St. Augustine is also not known, in my opinion, for fine dining. I'll ask my sister about anything new. She and my brother both live there. My brother is the carpenter/woodworker at the Spanish Quarter Historical site on San Marco. http://www.historicstaugustine.com/csq/new.html - that's him when his beard was still long.
He does everything with actual period tools, as do the blacksmith, etc. Don't listen to his crap about nothing new being worth salt, but he is extremely knowledgable on history. He also loves Porsches and had a '70 914/6! Dont miss this part of town. Alot is tourist traps but alot is quite original and informative. St. Augustine Beach is as pretty as Florida beaches get. Some like the west panhandle beaches like Destin, but I'll take St. Aug beach any day and twice on Sunday. Go down A1A to the St. Augustine lighthouse park and got to the beach from there. Wear your sunglasses.
We're in Amelia Island area and Fernandina Beach is also quite nice. Cozy and personal and the downtown Center Street area gets nicer every year. Several quaint, but excellent, resturants by ex-Ritz-Carlton Chefs. Our current favorite is Ciao Bistro.
Don't know when "next month" is, but my thread about Prague will probably be the same weekend. We're going the 7th and returning the 15th. When will you be here?
My shop is in Jax, across the street from the Zoo! If I'm in town I'm there on Saturdays.
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:04 PM   #4
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If you're a golfer, you have to pony up the bucks and play the TPC at Sawgrass. What a tremendous course and a true test of your game. You'll never regret paying the price after playing it. But be ready for sticker shock - it cost $400 when I played it in 2001. It's probably gone up some in 7 yrs.

You drive a Porsche so you're used to overpaying for things.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by husker boxster
If you're a golfer, you have to pony up the bucks and play the TPC at Sawgrass. What a tremendous course and a true test of your game. You'll never regret paying the price after playing it. But be ready for sticker shock - it cost $400 when I played it in 2001. It's probably gone up some in 7 yrs.

You drive a Porsche so you're used to overpaying for things.
We're actually staying at SawGrass, a friend arranged a 'villa' for us. I did play SawGrass many years ago, before the TPC was built and it was spendy then too.
I used to be a fanatical golfer, but now only pick up a club twice a year to play in a charity tournament started by a friend of mine and an annual best ball tournament with some old HS buddies... we've remained a foursome every year for the past 34 yrs. - not very good golf, but the annual get-together is priceless - lots of laughs...and some tears through the years.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:29 PM   #6
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@Quickurt... Great info! We're going to be there the 11th through the 14th... on the 15th, we're driving up to Savannah and staying a nite on River Street... we return to JAX on the 16th, but I'm going straight to the airport and home...my wife heads down to Boca for a week of business. But that gives us a few nites in the area and we're gonna dedicate one entire day/evening to St. Aug.... we'll definitely checkout the Bonefish and Ciao Bistro (Ciao Bistro was already on the radar).
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:26 PM   #7
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Ah, River Street in Savannah, GA. There's a great little bar (about 100 years old) on River St that has a local guitar plucker that plays at night and really makes you feel at home. I've had a few brews there in my travels. I'm thinking it was called the Cotton Exchange Bar and Restaurant. "Cotton Exchange" should tell you how old the place is.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:47 AM   #8
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I work in St. Aug. and live by Marineland, which is about 16 miles south of downtown. If you are staying in Ponte Vedra go down A1A and eat at the Reef, just off A1A on the ocean about 2 miles north of Vilano - great food and excellent dried shrimp. Or just across the bridge in St. Aug. you can eat at O'Steens. If you have time take a drive down A1A about 16 miles south - Fort Matanzas is at the inlet and has a free boat ride across the river. And 3 miles south of there is Marineland with a $5 entrance fee - they have the oldest dolphin and they train them, etc.

I could on & on but it does not seem you have a lot of time. But the beaches here are fantastic albeit we lost 3-4 feet of sand from TS Fay and a nor'easter. I went swimming this weekend and the water is still about 80 degrees - enjoy!
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Old 10-16-2008, 11:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Z.
I work in St. Aug. and live by Marineland, which is about 16 miles south of downtown. If you are staying in Ponte Vedra go down A1A and eat at the Reef, just off A1A on the ocean about 2 miles north of Vilano - great food and excellent dried shrimp. Or just across the bridge in St. Aug. you can eat at O'Steens. If you have time take a drive down A1A about 16 miles south - Fort Matanzas is at the inlet and has a free boat ride across the river. And 3 miles south of there is Marineland with a $5 entrance fee - they have the oldest dolphin and they train them, etc.

I could on & on but it does not seem you have a lot of time. But the beaches here are fantastic albeit we lost 3-4 feet of sand from TS Fay and a nor'easter. I went swimming this weekend and the water is still about 80 degrees - enjoy!
What do you do in St. Aug?
My sister is a para at Joe Boles office.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:42 AM   #10
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LB - I just returned from dropping off 3rd Qtr at my accountants. They're in Ponte Vedra and Denise says don't miss Pussers. It is a Carribean place, in the center, right at the entrance to Sawgrass. She says it's great food and drink and a blast.
She was kinda cute, too!
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:05 PM   #11
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St. Augustine:
Upscale-
95 Cordova in the Casa Monica in St Augustine makes some great food. They have music depending on the day, mostly jazz. They used to have a duck dish that was absolutely delicious, but everything I've had there has been top notch. The Casa Monica is a beautiful hotel, and it's nice to check it out before you dine. Wife will likely love it.

Mid-range-
Harrys is great, just North of the Casa Monica on A1A. Great cajun-inspired dishes. I'd take Harrys over OC Whites and the brewery on the corner.
The Columbia is great, good food and a nice building.
There are more restaurants out on St Augustine Beach, pretty easy to judge most of them from their exterior.

Snack-
The Spanish Bakery, off St Georges, but behind a wall (follow the sign) has some cheap pastries and snacks, with a neat dining area.
I'd stay away from the Kilwins and other chocolate factories, it's overpriced and pretty poor, IMHO
Walking down St Georges you will find a couple of bars with friendly staff. There is an arcade of shops off to the side, I think there's a candy store and a weird jerky (like the meat) store near the front, and a really neat bar at the back.... Small, quiet, but with a great selection of beer, if that's your thing.

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-11-2008, 05:29 PM   #12
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Well tomorrow I'm off on our trip and wanted to thank those giving us lots of suggestions. We will definitely be checking most of these out! The weather's supposed to be in the high 70's to 80's which will be a welcome change from the chill blowing here the past few weeks. I'll report back our impressions when I get home next week. Thanks again!!
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Old 11-22-2008, 10:24 PM   #13
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Back from a wonderful trip thanks in part to the suggestions of everyone here. I'm reporting back some of the 'finds' we made both for you locals and for anyone planning on visiting the area.

Met a surgeon at my departure airport in the bar who was also going to Sawgrass for a convention. He asked about airport transportation and those of you who know, know that there isn't any good (or cheap) transport from the JAX airport to Ponte Vedra - usually $70-$90. My wife preceeded me by 4 days and rented a car, but could not breakaway to pick me up so I found a limo co. - Southern Comfort Transportation who operated towncars for $52 to Ponte Vedra. Well, I offered to share my pre-arranged ride with the Dr., and when we got to the gate, he also had his scrub nurse and x-ray tech joining him so my share of the transport was $13 (+tip) - yea!

Enjoyed an afternoon at Pussers - sat on the veranda and pitched the limes from my cocktails to a gater floating in the pond - amazingly he liked them!

Found several great food finds in the area. One was Cafe Andiamo located in the Sawgrass Village (a mall adjacent to the resort) - http://andiamotrattoria.com/ - excellent food, especially the woodfired pizzas and pastas.

Another GREAT find was the Bridge Market & Bistro, located directly under the Palm Valley Bridge at 377 S Roscoe Blvd., (904) 285-1154 - excellent seafood acquired fresh daily from local fishermen. The chef did an outstanding job with some innovative recipes - looks like a baitshop from the front, easy to miss it unless you're actually looking for it. Also, LuLu's Waterfront Grill - http://luluswaterfrontgrille.com/index.html at 301 N Roscoe Blvd. on the intercoastal. Great drinks, watching the boats go by, and Raw Bar!

Stopped at the Reef Restaurant on our way to St. Aug. and were fairly disappointed - tourist trap, so one quick drink watching the surf casters on the beach and we were off.

St. Aug. was also a little disappointing, very touristy, but we did have an excellent lunch at DeNoel's French Pastries at 212 Charlotte St. - (904) 829-3974 and a WONDERFUL dinner at Collage Restaurant, 60 hypolita street - (904) 829-0055 - http://www.collagestaug.com/home.html .

Left Sat. morning for Savannah and had lunch at Bernie's Oyster House on River St. - 115 E River St - http://www.berniesriverstreet.com/ - it is a MUST for me to have their Raw Bar - been there MANY times since the mid-'90's, it's a bit of a dive, but the food is great and we were staying just a half-block away at the River Street Inn. Topped our stay in Savannah with a magnificent dinner at Vic's on the River - 26 E Bay St. - http://www.vicsontheriver.com/ where I had a 3lb. Lobster stuffed with homemade Andoulle sausage and grits and spicy Collards, one of the most memorable meals I've had in years.

Eating too much, drinking my fill and enjoying too many nice cigars, I'm now a slave to my recumbent excercise bike for an extra 20 min. daily to work it all off... but it was worth it!!

Thanks again to all who helped with our trip!
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Last edited by Lil bastard; 11-22-2008 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:10 AM   #14
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I really wish I would have come across this post earlier, because I live in south jax beach and work in ponte vedra and to make it even worse...I was at the health fair at TPC Sawgrass the 13th lol Anyway, sound like you enjoyed your time and a good selection at Pusser's. Hopefully, you took the suggestion of someone else earlier and drove A1A from ponte vedra to st aug (its worth it imo). Lot of really nice little local spots to enjoy around here and a little ferry boat to load your car on and cross the river lol Something kinda neat that's worth doing I think.
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:28 PM   #15
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There's a fresh seafood market near Mayport Naval Station on Route A1A near Jacksonville. They serve up the BEST fried shrimp and scallops I've ever had...not to mention the spinach/parmesan cakes...unbelievable! And coming from someone who lives 30 miles from Chesapeake Bay, that's saying a lot.

I'm pretty sure it's called Safe Harbor Restaurant. Google it and you should find it.

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