Each year, we try to provide a list of the best restaurants in Jacksonville. We hope that this list will help new residents and visitors to the area sort out the multitude of restaurants in Jax. Who knows, maybe the long-time residents will discover some new restaurants from this list as well? Regardless, the following is the "short list" of the best in Jax, listed in order of our preference:
10. J. Alexander's-Even though this is a chain restaurant, we feel that the Jax location consistently serves delicious food at reasonable prices with top-notch service in a cool atmosphere. We have tried the Orlando J. Alexander's and the Jax version stands out as the superior restaurant. Jacksonville Fine Dining Examiner strongly recommends the prime rib, grilled pork tenderloin, and key lime pie.
[For more on the top menu items at J. Alexander's, see this Jax Fine Dining Examiner article]
9. Taverna-This restaurant is a relative newcomer, but we are excited to put it on the list of the best in the area. The interior of the restaurant exudes "urban Jax" with the brick accents. We enjoyed their meatball appetizer.
[Taverna made our 2011 list of the top restaurants in Jax]
8. Eleven South-Lobster mac and cheese, great salads, and solid fish and meat entrees are staples at this long-time Jax Beach favorite. This is an upscale, fine dining restaurant that requires you to dress up and has what we would consider a "dinner-club" feel.
[See our previous article discussed Eleven South's best dishes in-depth]
7. Ruth's Chris (Downtown Jax location)-This Ruth's Chris is a step far above the other iterations of this upscale steakhouse. The view of the river and downtown Jacksonville are possibly the best in the city and the service and food meet the high Ruth's Chris standards. We've actually been going with the lamb chops at Ruth's Chris rather than the steak lately and we really enjoy the dish.
[See the article at this link for our full Ruth's Chris review]
6. Roy's-We are huge fans of the Roy's in Jax Beach. The restaurant is run professionally and it shows. Each table has multiple servers that see to your every dining need. We strongly recommend the lakanilau sushi roll, andouille crusted fish, and chocolate souffle.
[Go to this link for more on Roy's from Jacksonville Fine Dining Examiner]
5. Seasons 52-The final chain restaurant on our list is the newly built Seasons 52 restaurant located in St. Johns Town Center. At each of these restaurants (especially the Altamonte location) there always seems like there's an 80's vibe going on...and we're ok with that! We like that this restaurant tries to break the mold of the high-calorie and creamy dishes that we see so often at chain restaurants. Our favorites at Seasons 52 are the spicy chipotle shrimp flatbread and the cedar plank roasted salmon.
[Here's a link to our recent full review of Seasons 52]
4. 13 Gypsies-Clearly the best tapas restaurant in Jacksonville, this small restaurant serves great dishes like the fresh chorizo and pears and a special tres leches cake. Make sure you book your reservation ahead of time, especially on the weekend, this restaurant fills up fast!
[For more on 13 Gypsies go here]
3. Orsay-We like Orsay for its excellent cheese plate, creative mixed drinks, delicious steak frites, and delicious desserts like the homemade s'mores. The interior at Orsay is very cool and often features a younger crowd. The dining room in front is great for an upscale meal and the bar towards the back has a different, more laid back vibe.
2. Bistro Aix-Consistently delicious, Bistro Aix has been a staple on nearly all of our "best of" lists for Jax. We consider Bistro Aix the best restaurant in downtown Jacksonville. Service, ambiance, food, drinks, Bistro Aix has it all. The menu is frequently changing and often features locally grown ingredients. A few of our favorites include the spring rolls, Stilton blue cheese filet mignon, and their homemade desserts.
1. Azurea-Likely Jacksonville's most upscale restaurant, Azurea embodies what we want from a fine dining restaurant. Chef Ted Peters works wonders each night with his seasonally inspired menus and ingredients. Like Bistro Aix, Azurea frequently features locally grown vegetables, meats, and other ingredients. This, along with attentive and knowledgeable servers, great ocean views, and one of the best wine lists in the area make Azurea our number 1 restaurant in Jacksonville for 2013.
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