Amelia Island: Dining Guide
If you love Florida vacations as much as I do, be sure to visit beautiful Amelia Island. If you're planning a trip to Amelia Island, Florida, you'll be bombarded with dining choices, ranging from fast food to four-star dining and everything in between. As a regular visitor to the island, here are a few suggestions:
Sliders: It's kind of an unwritten law that a visit to the island must include a meal at Sliders. It's right on the beach, on Fletcher. You can't miss it. This old favorite has been around for years. Some of their items are a little overpriced, but it's definitely worth a visit. I can honestly say I got the best steak I've ever had in any restaurant at Sliders. It was a little over $20, but it was worth every penny. You also need to try their oysters.
Cedar River: Located on Saddler, Cedar River has wonderful fried seafood at reasonable prices. There's nothing fancy about this place, but it's clean and offers good service. Their fried shrimp, fried oysters, and hush puppies are golden brown and never greasy. Sometimes they have an all-you-can-eat grouper special for a ridiculously low price. Just check the sign by the road - they'll announce the special there.
Sand Dollar: This restaurant is located on Heckscher Drive. It has a Jacksonville address, but it's a short drive from Amelia Island, and what a beautiful drive it is! The restaurant is right on the St. John's River, and there's an outside eating area for waterfront dining. One night a week they have an awesome seafood buffet, which usually also includes beef rib roast. Another night of the week they have an all-you-can-eat crableg special. Make sure you go with a big appetite.
Florida House Inn: Florida's oldest surviving hotel, the Florida House Inn was built in 1857. It's a bed-and-breakfast now, but its dining room is open to the public for breakfast and lunch. Lunch is served boardinghouse style, with heaping platters of Southern foods. If the large dining room is crowded, you might end up sitting with strangers - who usually become friends by the end of the meal. The food is good and reasonably priced, and the hotel itself is worth seeing. The Innis located on 3rd Street, near downtown Fernandina Beach.
O'Kanes's Irish Pub: Located downtown on Centre Street, O'Kane's has great atmosphere and good food. My favorites include the shepherd's pie, the baked brie, and the black angus burger. The service is friendly and laid back, and it has comfy traditional pub-style chairs at most of the tables. There's also a small bar up front.
The Surf: Across the street from the beach, on Fletcher, The Surf is another old favorite. They have a large outdoor seating area, and on most nights they feature live music. The night crowd consists mostly of young people, especially on the weekends, but a few old fogies (like me) are also always in attendance. They have wonderful wings and appetizers, and sometimes they feature all-you-can-eat specials, including lobster. This is a great place to go to enjoy appetizers and drinks and to party!
The Marina: A long-standing establishment, The Marina is located in downtown Fernandina Beach, at the end of Centre Street. It's a favorite with locals and has been for decades. There's nothing fancy about the place, but it does have a certain charm. My favorite entree here is the crab-stuffed shrimp. Yum!
Barbara Jean's: Located on A1A, just after you cross Shave Bridge to get on the island, Barbara Jean's features a large menu consisting of seafood dishes and old Southern favorites. Many claim that their crab cakes are as good as the ones served in Baltimore. They have great homemade sides, like a scrumptious squash casserole, and their homemade bread is amazing. Order the mixed bread basket!
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