Local Expert-Only in Jax
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Each of Jacksonville’s neighborhoods have a unique flavor of their own. From southern classics to far away cuisines, there is a little bit of everything throughout the city. Check out some of the top local spots in each neighborhood!
Bestbet - Take a break from the poker table and indulge in some of the best sushi in Northeast Florida! Sushi Bar is open everyday. From specialty rolls to Sushi & Sashimi plates, Bestbet has it all. Your taste buds will thank you!
Rice + Noodles - One of Yelp's Top 50 Place to Eat in Jacksonville, Rice and Noodles is a Korean Fusion restaurant featuring Deopbap. Deopbap is a rice bowl covered by Korean-style meat, homemade sauce and veggies. The Kimchi Jeyuk Deopbab is a great way to experience all of the great flavors of this popular Korean dish.
The Potter’s House Soul Food Bistro II - For soul food done right, the Soul Food Bistro is the place to go. It was a tough call between the fried chicken and the smothered pork chops, but the pork chops come out as king of the comfort foods.
Tabouleh Mediterranean Café - If you’re craving Mediterranean or Greek cuisine at reasonable prices, check out Tabouleh. Their Tabuloeh Rider sandwich is served in a toasted pita pocket is popular among their dedicated, local fanbase.
Catullo's Italian - Debatably one of the best places for Italian food in Jax, this food-truck-turned-restaurant has some of the most authentic dishes in town. Their Creamy Chicken Pesto features handmade pasta and a flavor-filled sauce that keeps people coming back again and again.
The Juicy Crab - The Juicy Crab offers low country boil meals to the Arlington community. Their variety of fresh seafood and seasonal crab makes this a mandatory stop in town for seafood lovers.
Angie's Subs - The best subs and sweet tea in town! This Jacksonville Beach favorite has been around for nearly 30 years, and with good reason. On your first visit go for their #1 best seller – the Peruvian. With ham, genoa salami, bacon, Italian sausage, provolone and Peruvian sauce it has everything you want and more! Of course don’t forget to wash it down with some sweet tea.
Azurea - For upscale dining right by the beach, Azurea is a must. Their long line catch 3 ways uses the freshest locally caught fish and gives you a great variety of preparations to enjoy it. The 3 ways: grilled with tropical fruit salpicone, bronzed with a citrus butter emulsion, and cooked in beignet batter with a smoked Vidalia remoulade. Fish 3 ways, all delicious.
Engine 15 Brewing - One of the stops on the Jax Ale Trail, this popular craft brewery’s Frito pie might rival their beer (and that’s saying something). But you won’t have to choose because at lunchtime your pie comes with a free draft.
The Fish Company - Serving up fresh local seafood in Atlantic Beach, The Fish Company is a great spot for oysters and drinks, but what makes them stand out from the other seafood restaurants is their Szechuan Fish. A new spin on the classic Asian preparation, the daily fresh catch is seasoned with five spices, seared and served over fresh spinach and warm soba noodles topped with a special reduction.
Marker 32 - Featured on Emeril’s Florida, Marker 32 is a staple of the Jacksonville culinary scene. Everything on the menu is prepared daily from scratch by classically trained chefs. One of Marker 32’s (many) highlights: broiled octopus with rosemary, garlic and black pepper over a chilled corona bean salad on top of a white bean hummus, with a tomato puree and basil oil.
North Beach Fish Camp - Located just steps from the sand in the middle of the Beaches Town Center the North Beach Fish Camp is one of Jacksonville’s best fish camps. Their signature dish is a perfect example of southern beach cuisine: fresh blackened Mahi with Tasso ham gravy, collards and creamy grits. Yum!
Poe's Tavern - A gastropub named after the great poet, Poe’s Tavern has burgers to match some of the artist’s greatest works. The Rue Morgue is a dish just as epic as Poe himself, a bunless burger with fries covered in chili and queso, topped with a fried egg. It will get your tell-tale heart pumping.
Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant - A visit to Jacksonville is not complete without dining on the local Mayport shrimp (there’s a reason there’s so many shrimp dishes on this list!). For a true Jacksonville fish camp experience, try it at Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant right on the dock in the historic Mayport Village.
Salt Life Food Shack - For those enjoying the Jacksonville Beach experience, a trip to Jacksonville would not be complete without a visit to this local food joint. Salt Life’s signature dish is a true tribute to their ocean loving lifestyle: fresh tuna, steamed spinach, sticky rice, avocadoes, and a special marinade make this poke bowl unforgettable.
Singleton's Seafood Shack - Singleton’s is a cozy little seafood shack in Mayport that just happens to have some of the best Minorcan Clam Chowder you’ve ever had.
TacoLu - Fish tacos, tequila and mexcal – what more could you ask for? TacoLu is the place to go if you want great food, but also want to have a great time. There’s a reason this place is always packed. Must try: the bangin’ shrimp taco with its Asian style fried shrimp, cabbage and chipotle cream.
Burrito Gallery - Voted best burrito in Jax six years in a row, there’s a reason the locals love this burrito joint. One of Burrito Gallery’s more unique offerings is their curry chicken burrito, a blend of flavors that is out of this world.
Arepa Please - If you’re searching for a deli mixed with South American influence, Arepa Please is for you. The food here ranges from traditional arepas to the classic BLT. Their Fancy Monkey arepa includes fried plantains, queso blanco, black beans and avocado. Next time you’re in the Brooklyn area be sure to check this place out!
Cowford Chophouse - Jacksonville’s Cowford Chophouse brings luxury and great views to downtown. The steakhouse has a rooftop bar with craft cocktails and a plush interior. If you’re looking to splurge, check out their Wagyu filet—you won’t be disappointed.
De Real Ting Café - Downtown, you can experience the ultimate Caribbean experience at Da Real Ting Café. They serve authentic Jamaican food. At night, you can experience live music when bands and DJs take over the back room. When you check it out, try the Jamaican patty lunch—a fan favorite!
Happy Grilled Cheese - Three words: Gourmet. Grilled. Cheese. Come to the food truck turned Jacksonville staple and pick out your unique and one-of-a-kind cheesy goodness.
Indochine - Voted Folio Magazine’s “Best Thai Restaurant” 3 years in a row, Indochine is the place to go for anyone who loves Thai food, wants to try Thai food, or just likes food at all. Their crab Rangoon is the must-try here, with real lump crab and curried cream cheese. This is not your average Rangoon.
Juliette's Bistro - Located in the Omni Jacksonville Hotel, Juliette’s Bistro has been serving up delicious First Coast cuisine for 27 years. The Bourbon Honey Braised Short Ribs are a must-have! They are paired with creamy Florida grits, blistered brussels sprouts and apple fennel salad. Come enjoy a fantastic meal located in the heart of downtown.
Olio - For “lunch done differently” locals head to Olio in downtown Jacksonville. With inventive soups, salads and sandwiches this is a favorite among the working crowd and visitors alike. Their duck grilled cheese is a star, but don’t miss out on the fries with house-made basil aioli, or if you’re feeling extra hungry go for the bacon cheese fries (make sure you still get that aioli though!).
On the Fly Sandwiches & Stuff - At On The Fly -a local food truck-, the sandwiches are definitely worth a try, but the stuff is where it’s at. Sweet potato planks, topped with melted bleu cheese, pulled pork and their special On The Fly Sauce – that’s some really great “stuff.”
Sweet Pete's - Sweet Pete’s makes over 10,000 pounds of caramel a year, and for good reason. People can’t get enough of the sweet stuff. Made right here in Jacksonville, Sweet Pete’s Caramels are a true Only in Jax treat! Be sure to try the signature Sea Salt Caramels.
ChopHouse Thirteen - This upscale steakhouse is a good choice for a special night out. Great atmosphere and food! From the drinks and appetizers to steak and seafood you will leave full and happy.
Julington Creek Fish Camp - Many southern cities will lay claim to Shrimp and Grits, but no one does it quite like Jacksonville. With fresh, locally caught Mayport shrimp and a white wine butter sauce, Julington Creek Fish Camp’s dish is a shining example of a local favorite.
Le Petit Paris - Take a step into Mandarin’s slice of Parisian cuisine at Le Petit Paris. Their traditional French quiches come highly recommended, along with their decadent breakfast croissant sandwiches. Stop by and check out this unique spot!
Picasso's - Craving authentic Italian food? Picasso's is the answer. From the unique gourmet pizzas to homemade pasta, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu.
The Dreamette - An unassuming little ice cream stand, if you blink you could miss it, but what you don’t want to miss is their ice cream. Serving homemade ice cream for more than 60 years, this treat is hard to beat. Try any of their flavors, homemade syrups and shakes.
Maple Street Biscuit Company - A fresh-made flaky biscuit, all-natural fried chicken breast, bacon, and cheddar cheese topped off with sausage gravy (with a kick). Locally sourced ingredients and southern charm are plentiful at this wildly popular breakfast spot. Maple Street has lighter options too, but if you’re doing a good southern-style breakfast, you should do it right!
Moon River Pizza - Moon River Pizza is a funky pizza joint that makes pies the old-fashioned way, hand-tossed, covered in hearty tomato sauce and freshly grated cheese. For your classic everything pizza, try “The Special”, loaded with meat, veggies and of course, extra cheese!
Murray Hillbilly - Who say’s southern comfort can’t be plant-based? Murray Hillbilly offers local and organic meals for any and all diet needs. We recommend the Spicy Chickun Fry, deep fried bbq soy chickun with pickles, hot sauce.
Vagabond Coffee Bodega - The smell of fresh-brewed coffee will draw you to this location—instantly. They are serious coffee people with specialty blends and roasts. They also serve pastries (try the blueberry ginger scone) to accompany your perfect cup of joe.
Green Papaya - This Pan Asian restaurant reigns supreme with fresh flavors and great atmosphere. Their Pad Thai dish is a classic done well—the noodles and peanut sauce are a delicious combo that are well worth the trip to the northside.
Ship 2 Shore Seafood - Stuffed Flounder? Sign us up! Ship 2 Shore Seafood is a restaurant famous for its fresh seafood and great prices. Their large portions and local feel make Ship 2 Shore another great place to get seafood in Jax.
Joseph's Pizza - Who doesn’t love pizza? Especially pizza from Joseph’s Pizza. This local spot is a go to for pizza, wings, garlic knots and even salads made with homemade dressing. The crispy crust and original marinara sauces combine for a perfect pie, great for the whole family to enjoy.
Junior's Seafood Restaurants – Seafood is an essential to the Jax experience, but no one has seafood quite like Junior’s. The shrimp tacos come highly recommended by staff and patrons alike and the secret spicy sauce make these tacos a mouth-watering Junior’s specialty.
The Jacksonville Farmers Market - The Jacksonville Farmers Market holds the title as Florida’s oldest, continually open farmers market. Produce, honey, homemade jams and salsas and more can be shopped and enjoyed at this year-round market. If you’re in the mood for a bite while you shop, swing by the famous Essi’s Farmers Market Grill, where you can grab a variety of classic American fare. We recommend the BLT!
13 Gypsies - This local restaurant serves traditional Spanish tapas, where everything from the sausage to the cheese, to the bread is handmade. You can’t go wrong with anything from 13 Gypsies menu, but a mainstay of the restaurant is their risotto, which changes daily but is always delightful.
Brew - When you’re craving brunch, check out Brew in 5 Points. Their breakfast tacos are to die for, including the OG, which has bacon, chimi fried egg, white cheddar, avocado, pickled red onion and cholula. YUM! Their honey oat and cinnamon cold brew is a perfect beverage to pair.
Biscottis - Biscottis is a luxurious local restaurant in the historic Klutho building in Riverside/Avondale. Their cozy blink-and-you'll-miss-it location contributes to the warm feeling of the restaurant. Their brunch menu is full of classics with a Biscotti’s twist. Their Cajun Seafood Benedict is a must-have with crawfish, crab and shrimp on mini croissants.
Black Sheep - Located in the historic 5 Points area of Jacksonville, Black Sheep focuses on fresh, local ingredients and hand-crafted food and cocktails. You can’t go wrong with anything you may choose off this menu, but you’ll never forgive yourself if you miss out on their poutine. They’ve got the basics of your average poutine, hand cut fries and cheese curds, but with a twist in the form of their smoked short rib gravy – that makes this dish anything but average.
Bold Bean - Locally roasted and brewed fresh, any way you like it, Bold Bean Coffee Roasters is dedicated to sourcing, roasting and serving outstanding coffee. This is a must for any coffee lover, plus their local pastries and fresh tea are a must do, as well.
Kickbacks - Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the best dishes. Kickback’s Gastropub (along with the adjoining Goozlepipe and Guttyworks) offer everything from high end adventurous dishes to old-school favorites like tater tots, spaghettio’s and corndogs which are perfect in their simplicity, and pair perfectly with any of the over 180 beers on tap.
Mojo BBQ - Can’t decide between all the delicious barbeque options at Mojo’s? Get a little bit of everything with the Whole Hawg, it has ribs, chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, turkey breast and smoked sausage served with four side items. Hope you’re hungry!
Mossfire Grill - Seared yellowfin tuna, tangy Asian slaw, green onions, homemade sesame seed sauce and a soft flour tortilla make this taco the one to have on Tuesdays or any day of the week at The Mossfire Grill.
Restaurant Orsay - For fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere, Restaurant Orsay is the perfect destination. A French Bistro with southern influence, this is a great spot to grab dinner, but their brunch is where you will find our favorite – the duck confit hash. Fingerling potatoes, fried eggs, fresh herbs and tender duck make the perfect dish for a great Sunday Funday.
Sweet Theory Baking Company - Sweet Theory Baking Co. in Riverside handcrafts treats that are egg, dairy, soy and peanut free yet full of flavor. Their donuts are fluffy and perfection, but their cinnamon rolls take the cake!
Bistro AIX - Located in San Marco, Bistro AIX is the spot to go for absolutely delicious French and Mediterranean inspired cuisine. Of course you can’t go French and not go with escargot. Here it is served in a rich garlic herb butter sauce and a crostini to soak it all up (you won’t want to waste a drop).
Matthew's - One of the most innovative and distinctive restaurants in Northeast Florida’s fine dining scene, Matthew’s offers a unique (and of course delicious) menu. Chef Matthew Medure is constantly coming up with new and exciting dishes, so it would be impossible to choose just one for this list, so we leave that up to the chefs with the Chef’s Adventure Menu, where they take you on a culinary exploration through the season’s freshest and finest options.
The Metro Diner - A true diner and a local favorite, Metro Diner is a great spot for some of the best breakfast in Jacksonville. Must try: all the reviews agree, the chicken and waffles with their strawberry butter is simply delicious!
Peterbrooke - Two great things, chocolate and popcorn. How could you possibly make them better? By combining them of course! And nobody does it better than Peterbrooke.
Taverna - Located in the San Marco Dining District, Taverna specializes in seasonal European cuisine. Their soppressata pizza, with Italian dry salami, fried egg, house-made mozzarella and San Marzano tomato, has developed somewhat of a cult following. Just one bite and you’ll see why.
The Local - The Local has a little bit of everything: food, booze and caffeine. This café is inspired by good old homecooked meals, straight from a scratch kitchen. The Local creates unique dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner so it’s hard to choose just one dish to enjoy, but you can’t leave without trying the Get Rooted salad with arugula, quinoa, roasted veggies, goat cheese and a fabulous green goddess dressing.
Crispy's - For a pizza with just the right amount of flavor, try Crispy’s Hubbard pie, with sausage, roasted peppers and onions. Their San Marzano Red Sauce is out of this world and a stable in the Springfield community. Don’t leave without grabbing a slice!
Strings Sports Brewery - The brewery and restaurant is in a restored station house with plenty of views. Their Strings Grilled Cheese isn’t your traditional American cheese fare. It features apple jam, whole grain mustard, brie and pork belly.
Tommy's Breakfast in a Cup - Tommy’s is Springfield best kept secret. The restaurant doesn’t have any signage to direct you, so patrons are always locals. Their Breakfast in a Bowl has grits, egg, cheese and your choice of meat, delicious and hearty. Make sure to bring cash to this Springfield gem.
Culhane's Irish Pub - An upbeat Irish pub in Tinseltown, you’ll go for the drinks, but you’ll keep coming back to Culhane’s Irish Pub for this stew.
The French Pantry - One of, if not the, most popular lunch spots in Jacksonville. This cozy little pantry has a menu that changes daily, but whatever the offering of the day is – you know it will be fresh, made from scratch and absolutely delicious. The bruschetta is the most popular among locals. They have several options to try. Also, be sure to enjoy a slice of cake, their wedding cake is one to remember.
The Potter's House Soul Food Bistro - For extraordinary Southern cuisine, check out The Soul Food Bistro. From country fried chick to smothered pork chops, The Soul Food Bistro serves up heartwarming comfort food for all tastes. Remember to save room for their famous peach cobbler!
Mission BBQ - Authentic BBQ made from the freshest, most delectable ingredients. Barbecue, ribs, sandwiches and all American food. Catering options and gluten free option are available.
Simply Sara's - Southern cuisine and handmade delectables at an affordable price. Cookies are made from scratch and baked fresh for each order. Open for reservations or takeout.
Trent's Seafood - Delicious southern style seafood and sides. J.L. Trent's Seafood has been family owned and operated since 1997.
This is not a complete list of all top spots in Jacksonville, if we have left off one of your favorites let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will consider adding it in the future.
*Updated: June 2021
Local Expert-Only in Jax