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. With this many options, you’re sure to find something delicious near you!
What kind of food can I find in Jacksonville, Florida?
Because Jacksonville isn’t too far from the ocean, it’s filled with incredible local seafood spots. And if you like the idea of a surf-and-turf, there are three primary types of barbecue in Jacksonville, based on the zones within Florida 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 local places to eat, so let’s start with the seafood restaurants in town before moving onto quick bites, barbecue and other delectable options around the city. Here’s your ultimate list of the BEST places to eat in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville’s Best Local Seafood Restaurants
#1 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 in Jacksonville?
#2 Beach Road Fish House & Chicken Dinners
This Florida 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 that it serves the freshest food you can get in town! You can view their menu here.
#3 Palms Fish Camp
If you’re looking for a nearby place to dock and dine, Palms Fish Camp is the place to do it.
Located on Heckscher Dr along the St. Johns River, this Jacksonville restaurant 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 Chowder Ted’s
As you’d imagine, this place does amazing chowder. Reviewers rave about the oyster po’boy and the conch fritters, but you can’t go wrong with any menu choice at a nearby Chowder Ted’s. This small Floridian restaurant is located on the waterfront and many customers mention in reviews that they drive long distances to get to this Jacksonville gem (and that it’s worth it every time)! View their menu here.
#5 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!
Situated right along the water, the food here is freshly-caught daily from the ocean, so you know you’ll be eating some high-quality food!
Start with crab dip or gator tail for an appetizer, then feast on Kona bowls, tacos, chowders, and sea food baskets!
If you’re looking for delicious dockside dining with a modern twist, check out their menu.
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 near you.
#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. From matchas to espressos and pour overs, the have coffee to satisfy ever kind of sipper.
If you’re wondering where to find a location near you, each site’s address is on their website.
#7 Kickbacks Gastropub
Unlike the traditional English pub, Jacksonville’s Kickbacks serves a huge range of foods, from poutine and hot dogs to pizza and jambalaya. Situated in the Riverside neighborhood, their draft list changes every day, and they serve delicious food locally 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!
#8 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 locally-owned sandwich shop is located on Jacksonville beach and has been around for almost 30 years.
Their best-seller 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.
#9 The Metro Diner
This place is a great spot for a quick breakfast or lunch in five locations across Jacksonville. With restaurants across the city in the Ortega, San Marco, Southside and Jacksonville beach neighborhoods, this local 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.
#10 The French Pantry
With its ever-changing menu, this locally-owned eatery is one of the most popular places to get food near Jacksonville. The French Pantry has Northeastern Florida roots that go back more than 20 years! Their locally-sourced pastries and bread are sought out across the region, 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.
#11 Maple Street Biscuit Company
Picture this: you’ve been out taking in the sights of Jacksonville, Florida 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.
With locations in the Murray Hill, San Marco, JAX Beach, Southside, Fleming Island, and Julington Creek neighborhoods, there’s definitely a Maple Street Biscuit Company near you!
#12 The Fox
The Fox has long been a breakfast favorite among Jacksonville 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 Barbecue 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 local Jacksonville spot 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 barbecue joint on the Southbank of the St. Johns River in the San Marco neighborhood, or you can check out their menu here.
#14 Monroe’s Smokehouse Barbeque & Catering
This locally-owned Jacksonville business started over 150 years ago when A.P Monroe began curing meat in the smokehouse behind his home in North Carolina. Now in Northern Florida, They offer a Southside and Westside menu, and customers recommend the ‘Smoked Texas’ and ‘Carolina Pork’ entree items! You can check out both menus by visiting their website.
#15 Butt Hutt Smokehouse
This local 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 to various Jacksonville neighborhoods across the city, 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 Barbecue & Catering
Celebrating the tradition of slow-smoked, Southern-style barbecue, Gator’s Barbecue near Rolling Hills offers a huge range of local 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 locally-owned 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 near you in Jacksonville? These dishes are what Four Rivers Smokehouse does best.
This restaurant is only 10 miles from the center of downtown Jacksonville so you can easily enjoy a portion of burnt ends, brisket or coconut cake after a day of exploring the city.
For their full local menu, take a look at their website.
Fine Dining in Jacksonville
This classy Jacksonville 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 in the city!
Jacksonville’s Must-Mention Hole-in-the-Walls
Whether you’re stuck for time or simply want to try something different, a locally-owned hole-in-the-wall is always a great shout. These tiny, understated eateries often serve some of the most fantastic local food you’ll eat in the city, 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 local 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! Jacksonville 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 nearby 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 local 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 as well as 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 the Riverside neighborhood 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 local 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 Jacksonville dining spot. Oh, and did we mention their incredible wine selection?
#23 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 local 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.
#24 Cullhane’s Irish Pub
We Americans love the Irish, and what better way to celebrate this wonderful culture than by immersing ourselves in it?
Located near St. Johns Town Center, 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 nearby you’ll want to go for a pint and a bite!
#25 Green Papaya
This Pan Asian restaurant serves up fresh flavors and a buzzing atmosphere in Jacksonville. 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. They have locations in the Northside and JAX Beach neighborhoods.
#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.
For a taste of France in Jacksonville, check out 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 in Jacksonville 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.
Sweet Treats in Jacksonville
After you’ve chowed down on your favorite local 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 locally-owned 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 Jacksonville customers favor their cinnamon rolls! You can decide which is your favorite by clicking on their website.
This well-hidden gem in the Murray Hill neighborhood can easily be missed, but you won’t want to miss out on their treats and food. Dreamette has been serving ice creams, sundaes, and shakes to Jacksonville since the 1960s, and customers say this cute local shack serves up nostalgia with their ice cream!
This Avondale neighborhood restaurant serves food, but is well-known for its desserts.
The Biscottis‘ Jacksonville menu changes every day, but their signature dish is a decadent croissant bread pudding.
If you’re more of a savory person, fear not!
They also serve up a great selection of omelets, pancakes, steak and eggs, plus a daily local 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 food location 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 local places to eat.
With so many delicious options, it would be almost impossible not to miss out on some locally-owned restaurants.
The best part about Jacksonville’s food and eateries is that they’re diverse and offer something for everyone. Many people say you could stay in Jacksonville for three weeks and eat a completely different meal every day!