Jacksonville, Florida, boasts more than 850 square miles of beaches, forests, attractions and natural beauty. It’s also a well-known food destination and the most densely populated city in the Sunshine State.
Whether you’ve recently moved to Jacksonville or are just planning a visit, you’ll likely want to check out some of the local eateries. We’ve put together a list of 31 of Jacksonville’s top places to dine, from shrimp restaurants to unique spots off the beaten track.
What kind of food can I find in Jacksonville, Florida?
Because Jacksonville isn’t too far from the ocean, it’s filled with incredible seafood spots. And if you like the idea of a surf-and-turf, there are three primary types of barbecue in Florida, based on the zones within the state.
The Deep Southern style is found in northern Florida, and it’s influenced by the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia barbecue styles. Then there’s the central Florida “Floribbean” barbecue, which is a combination of the Caribbean and Deep Southern barbecue styles. Lastly, there’s the tropical barbacoa, which you can find in southern Florida. This style is a further blend of Floribbean barbecue and Latin American cuisine. Barbacoa was brought to southern Florida by Cuban and Mexican immigrants and continues to be a popular barbecue-style today.
Jacksonville has so many other amazing places to eat, so let’s start with the seafood restaurants before moving onto quick bites, barbecue and other delectable options – here’s your ultimate list of the BEST places to eat in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville’s Best Seafood Restaurants
#1 Beach Road Fish House & Chicken Dinners
This eatery blends freshly-caught fish with fried chicken dinners and has been doing so since 1939. Beach Road serves dishes like cheesy jalapeno oysters, Florida gator tail and crispy calamari, and chicken gizzards. And with an average of 4.5 stars on Tripadvisor, customers love the restaurant’s friendly family atmosphere and the freshest food you can get! You can view their menu here.
#2 The Fish Company
The Fish Company serves fresh local seafood in Atlantic Beach and is a great place if you’re looking for delicious oysters. But their specialty is their Szechuan Fish. The Fish Company has created a riff on the classic Asian dish, seasoning the fresh daily catch with five spices, searing and serving it on a bed of warm noodles. Could there be a better blend of cooking styles?
#3 Palms Fish Camp
If you’re looking for a place to dock and dine, Palms Fish Camp is the place to do it. This place offers a wide variety of fish, from ahi tuna and pan-seared sea scallops to the more modern fish tacos. They also serve delicious pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches if you’re not in the mood for seafood! You can view their menu here.
#4 Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant
This place is best known for its shrimp, and a trip to Jacksonville isn’t complete without trying some of the local shrimp! If you’re looking for delicious dockside dining with a modern twist, check out their menu.
#5 Chowder Ted’s
As you’d imagine, this place does amazing chowder. Reviewers rave about the oyster po’boy and the conch fritters, but this is definitely somewhere you have to try out for yourself. This small restaurant on the waterfront and many customers mention in reviews that they drive long distances to get to Chowder Ted’s and that it’s worth it every time!
Best Places to Grab Quick Bites in Jacksonville
Sometimes you don’t have time for a three-course, sit-down affair. But just because you want something quick doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be delicious and satisfying! Here are some of the best places for a quick bite to eat in Jacksonville.
#6 Bold Bean Coffee
This sustainable cafe has three locations: Riverside, Jacksonville Beach and San Marco. If you love the idea of grabbing a hot cup of coffee and a pastry after a surfing session, this place is the way to go. If you’re wondering where to find them, each site’s address is on their website.
#7 Angie’s Subs
Few things in life are more satisfying than a great big sandwich. Angie’s Subs is extremely well-reviewed by locals and visitors, and with good reason. This sandwich shop is located on Jacksonville beach and has been around for almost 30 years. Their bestseller is The Peruvian, with genoa salami, ham, bacon, Italian sausage, provolone and Peruvian sauce. Angie’s Subs’ menu also displays a great sense of humor, featuring sandwiches called The Dirty Gringo, My Wife Kicked Me Out and Dr. Bang’s Scrippy.
#8 The French Pantry
With its ever-changing menu, this place is one of the most popular places in Jacksonville. The French Pantry’s pastries and bread are sought out across the country, and the menu choice is incredible. So, whether you’re craving a high-end shrimp po’boy, half a dozen pesto cheese rolls or a slice of tiramisu, The French Pantry is sure to satiate those cravings.
#9 Kickbacks Gastropub
Unlike the traditional English pub, Kickbacks serves a huge range of foods, from poutine and hot dogs to pizza and jambalaya. Their draft list changes every day, and they serve delicious food from all over the world. You can view their full menu here. All of these delicious dishes pair well with any of the 204 beers Kickbacks has on tap. Oh, the choices!
#10 Maple Street Biscuit Company
Picture this: you’ve been out taking in the sights all morning, and you want a rich, satiating breakfast to tide you through to the afternoon. You stumble upon the Maple Street Biscuit Company, and before you know it, you’re devouring a flaky biscuit, fried chicken breast, pecan wood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and house-made sausage gravy. Still, need some energy after all that? They also serve iced maple vanilla bean lattes. If this isn’t tempting enough, check out their full menu here.
#11 The Metro Diner
This place is a great spot for a quick breakfast or lunch in five locations across Jacksonville. With restaurants in Ortega, San Marco, Southside and Jacksonville beach, this diner serves great egg platters and pies, but most customers agree that their chicken and waffles with strawberry butter is the winning dish! Click here to view their full menu.
#12 The Fox
The Fox has long been a breakfast favorite among locals. The walls of this small diner are adorned with pop culture memorabilia, including signed photos of celebrities like Larry David and even miniature dolls of Urkel and Mr. T. as for the food, customers favor the pancakes, sandwiches, biscuits and gravy.
Jacksonville’s Best Barbeque Spots
Sometimes, all you want is some smoky, tender meat with some delicious sides. Thankfully, Jacksonville has some of the best barbecue places in Florida, so let’s explore some of them now.
#13 The Bearded Pig
This place is one of the best at combining Southern-style barbecue and beer. Here, you can feast on their smoked sausage, pulled pork or mac and cheese. You can find this barbeque joint on the Southbank of the St. Johns River in San Marco, or you can check out their menu here.
#14 Monroe’s Smokehouse Barbeque & Catering
This business started over 150 years ago when A.P Monroe began curing meat in the smokehouse behind his home in North Carolina. They offer a Southside and Westside menu, and customers recommend the ‘smoked Texas’ and ‘Carolina pork.’ You can, of course, make your food choices yourself and check out both menus by visiting their website.
#15 Butt Hutt Smokehouse
This food truck is a favorite in Jacksonville and is known for its signature sauces and dips. They cook meat using a slow and low method and serve a heap of delicious food, from pulled pork sandwiches and spicy jerk chicken to curry fries and corn nuggets. Because this food truck moves around, you’ll need to check out their website if you want to catch them. Reviewers say it’ll be worth the effort!
#16 Gator’s Barbeque & Catering
Celebrating the tradition of slow-smoked, Southern, style barbecue, Gator’s Barbecue offers a huge range of delectable dishes. Whether you crave Texas-style beef brisket slowly smoked for 18 hours, juicy smoked ribs, pork, turkey, chicken, or sausage, Gators BBQ has just what you want. This family business crafts eight delicious sauces in-house, although many reviewers say their meat doesn’t need any sauce! Their full menu is available on their website.
#17 Four Rivers Smokehouse
Looking for perfectly marbled brisket, smoked chicken and ribs that fall off the bone? These dishes are what Four Rivers Smokehouse does best. This restaurant is only 10 miles from the center of downtown so that you can easily enjoy a portion of burnt ends, brisket or coconut cake after a day of exploring. For their full menu, take a look at their website.
Fine Dining in Jacksonville
This classy seaside restaurant serves dishes like braised Berkshire pork belly on cardamom brioche French toast, Maine lobster ravioli and a local catch trio. This dish sells particularly well as the fish is served bronzed, with beurre blanc, coriander dusted, beignet battered, with fruit salsa or a tomato remoulade. So decadent! You can view their menu here.
This innovative restaurant is one of the most dynamic and exciting in Jacksonville. Their standard menu is already exciting, but if you want an evening of real excitement, go for the Chef’s Adventure menu. Here, the chefs take diners on a culinary voyage with an incredible, seasonal six-course tasting menu. To keep things exciting, the courses of the evening menu are revealed as they are served. Pair it with the chef’s favorite wine selection, and you’re in for a decadent treat!
Jacksonville’s Must-Mention Holes-in-the-Wall
Whether you’re stuck for time or simply want to try something different, a hole-in-the-wall is always a great shout. These tiny, understated eateries often serve some of the most fantastic food you’ll eat, and Jacksonville is no stranger to this phenomenon. Here are some of the best hole-in-the-wall eateries in Jax:
#20 Dos Gatos
This tiny bar doesn’t currently serve food, but it’s so well-reviewed that we had to put it on the list’s hole-in-the-wall section! Customers rave about the raspberry lagerita and orange jalapeno margarita, so if you’ve already eaten and want to wash it all down with a drink, this is the place for you. You can find their full drinks menu right here.
#21 Lola’s Burrito & Burger Joint
Lola’s pride themselves on having something for everyone. This small diner is decorated in a Dia de Los Muertos style in a nod to the blend of Floridian and Mexican cooking styles. They serve burgers and burritos to vegan options, so it’s the ideal place to visit in a group of picky eaters! Their menu is extensive and extremely well-priced, so check it out if you’re in Riverside anytime soon.
Fusion and European-Style Food in Jacksonville
Barbecue and seafood can be delicious, but if you’ve never eaten at a traditional Italian restaurant or tried freshly-baked bread from a French bakery, you might want to try something new. Here are some of Jacksonville’s best fusion and European eateries:
This San Marco restaurant‘s specialty is seasonal European cuisine. Dine on chicken cacciatore, Sicilian seafood stew, soppressata pizza with salami and a Nutella panna cotta at this incredible dining spot. Oh, and did we mention their incredible wine selection?
#23 Cullhane’s Irish Pub
We Americans love the Irish, and what better way to celebrate this wonderful culture than by immersing ourselves in it? Cullhane’s serves a fantastic fusion of traditional Irish food and cuisines from all over the world. Try their Guinness Beef Stew for something hearty and classic or their crispy wontons with corned beef and sauerkraut for something more exotic! This menu is impressively diverse, and it’s certainly somewhere you’ll want to go for a pint and a bite!
#24 13 Gypsies
We all know Jacksonville’s barbecue style is heavily influenced by Mexican and Cuban cooking. But have you ever tried Spanish tapas here? 13 Gypsies is a self-proclaimed “peasant kitchen,” specializing in simple yet flavorful dishes. Their old-style menu boasts a huge range of treats such as albondigas, Spanish pork mojo, empanadas and mushroom escabeche. 13 Gypsies make all their bread, marinades, spice blends and sauces, and they strive to create waste-free dishes as often as they can.
#25 Restaurant Orsay
This award-winning French restaurant describes itself as “elegance without pretense.” They serve dishes like cassoulet, bouillabaisse and mushroom tarte flambée, or if you feel like sharing, they also serve several charcuterie platters. You can view this exquisite menu here.
#26 Bistro AIX
If one French restaurant choice wasn’t enough, here’s another! Bistro AIX is serving up elegant French classics like escargots, steak frites and some incredible fish dishes. Their dinner menu is almost as impressive as their wine list, which has been receiving Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence since 2004.
#27 Green Papaya
This Pan Asian restaurant serves up fresh flavors and a buzzing atmosphere. Their Pad Thai dish is a customer favorite, and their noodles with peanut sauce are a satisfying combo. Their menu is slightly different from that of their two other sites, but this Northside eatery is a fantastic change of scenery.
Sweet Treats in Jacksonville
After you’ve chowed down on your favorite burger, ribs, pizza or seafood dish, dessert may be in order. You may have to leave a bit of room for these sweet treats as some of them are fairly big!
#28 Sweet Theory Baking Company
This Riverside bakery hand bakes egg, dairy, peanut and gluten-free goodies, and their selection is divine! They sell biscuits, cakes, donuts and cupcakes in a variety of flavors like chocolate-lavender, snickerdoodle and chai, but customers favor their cinnamon rolls. You can decide which is your favorite by clicking on their website.
This well-hidden gem on Murray Hill can easily be missed, but you won’t want to miss out on their treats. Dreamette has been serving ice creams, sundaes and shakes since the 1960s, and customers say this cute little shack serves up nostalgia with their ice cream.
This Avondale restaurant is well-known for its desserts. The Biscottis menu changes every day, but their signature dish is a decadent croissant bread pudding. If you’re more of a savory person, fear not, as they also serve up a great selection of omelets, pancakes, steak and eggs, plus a daily special.
#31 Sweet Pete’s
Sweet Pete’s makes more than 10,000 pounds of caramel every year, and people love it! Made locally in Jacksonville, this place is the place to get your caramels, lollipops and chocolates. They even have a vegan selection which you can check out on their website!
While 31 might sound like a big number, Jacksonville still has so many more incredible places to eat.
With so many delicious options, it would be almost impossible not to miss out on some restaurants.
The best part about Jacksonville’s eateries is that they’re diverse and offer something for everyone. Many people say you could stay in Jax for three weeks and eat a completely different meal every day!