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Oceanside restaurant review: Great views at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

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Recently, we've written several articles about our trip to the renovated Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. These articles include reviews on Verandah and Sunrise Cafe. In this article, we would like to spend some time discussing Oceanside, also located at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort:

Ambiance: 3/5

The main draw to Oceanside are the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. The restaurant is physically located in the front left of the hotel nearby the pool and every seat can see the ocean. The building itself that houses the restaurant is not particularly large, but there is extensive outdoor seating available. During our visit, we sat just inside the front doors of the restaurant, which open up and provide a great breeze. Given the incredible views, our readers may be wondering why we didn't give it a higher score. This is a bit of a complicated answer. As others online have suggested: Oceanside seems to be stuck in between being a casual, poolside burger joint and a fine dining restaurant. For instance, the restaurant offers fine dining options like the $34 filet mignon, but the waiters are wearing cargo shorts and tennis shoes. The ultra-casual attire is fine during the afternoon, but we feel that the price levels on the menu and the upscale atmosphere warrant at least semi-casual attire. Also, the music during our visit didn't seem conducive to an oceanside dining experience. The mix playing over the speakers included unusual transitions like Todd Rundgren's "Bang on the Drum All Day" to Sugarland "Stuck Like Glue" and we found it distracting at times. Fortunately, changing uniforms and putting on a new music mix are easy fixes that would truly make the ambiance at Oceanside shine.

Food: 3/5

We began our meal with the Georgia Peach salad ($10). The roasted pecans were relatively good, but we felt that this salad could be improved a lot with a few more components, like cheese crumbles. Also, the peaches were a little bit under ripe and could have benefited from being cooked down with some cinnamon. Next, we tried the Shrimp Cocktail ($16), which included some fresh, almost prawn-sized shrimp that were a nice appetizer that can feed two. For our entree, we first tried the Filet Mignon ($34). The steak was accompanied with parmesan-chive fried that we can recommend. However, the steak itself had a butter/herb topping that had a strong "green" taste that we felt detracted from the nice cut of meat. We also tried a fish (the Chef's Turn(?)) that was fresh, but salty. The meal was brought to a close with an excellent Key Lime Pie ($8). This was probably the best thing we had. The pie was served as a large, tall slice and this authentic key lime pie was impressive. We also saw the Chocolate Ganache Cake at the table next door and it was also a huge portion and looked good...but probably best for 3-4 patrons.

Drinks: 4/5

The wine selection at Oceanside offers several nice options by the glass. We tried the Raymond "R" Cabernet and found it smooth, but a less bold than you might expect from a Cabernet. This might be an example of a Cabernet that you could actually pair with fish or chicken. Oceanside also offers a full range of frozen and signature cocktails, including the Strawberry Mojito ($10) with Bacardi limon, fresh lime, diced strawberries, mint, and club soda.

Service: 3/5

We were quickly greeted by seated promptly by friendly hostesses when we arrived at the restaurant. Our waiter was quick with the drinks and appetizers, but the entrees unfortunately were waited quite a while for the entrees. The wait was significant enough that the waiter had to notify us that they were on the way. With that being said, it was a packed house on Memorial Day weekend.

Overall: 3/5

It is entirely possible that we ordered the wrong thing, but we thought the food did not quite equate to the price levels. However, if you are looking for an amazing view with your meal, then Oceanside is a place to consider. We hope to visit the restaurant again and order some alternate menu items and report back!

For more from Jacksonville Fine Dining Examiner, follow us on Twitter @JaxFineDining`

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