In Northeast Florida it is often difficult to find a good restaurant. If you live here, you know it is true. Here we enjoy high quality of life in exchange for low amount of income (worth it) and expanses of extraordinary nature and gorgeous beaches for the rarity of cutting-edge music, art, and culture (also worth it). Living in Florida you can find yourself close to tears when you make the mistake of ordering a “Maryland-style crabcake” in the seafood restaurants here (I am originally from Annapolis).
OK, no more whining. I will take 80 degrees in February over the easy availability of a backfin heavy, succulent, savory crabcake any day. And Barbara Jean’s has the closest thing to true Maryland-style I’ve ever had in Florida, if I want to make the drive up to Amelia Island.
So as the perfect remedy for my Florida restaurant depression, my sister and I were thrilled to have one of the best meals ever at Balefire Brasserie in St. Augustine, Florida recently. It is located on Anastasia Island on the left before you go over the Bridge of Lions into historic downtown St. Augustine. The menu is “New American” cuisine and you will have a difficult time selecting from the menu because it all sounds so good: http://www.thebalefirebrasserie.com/menu
My sister had the scallops (shown in the photo) and I had the pork chop. We love every bit of it. We shared the pork belly and housemade sausage appetizers as well as the arugula salad. Check out Balefire’s consistent five star ratings on Yelp for more suggestions from diners that repeatedly say the same thing in their reviews: “The best in St. Augustine.” The service and decor complemented the amazing food. Keep in mind that Balefire only serves beer and wine (a wonderful list from which to choose) so no cocktails.
If you are visiting St. Augustine, my recommendation would be to stop at Balefire for dinner. We also had a fantastic meal at Collage in St. Augustine but you will need to find parking downtown to access that little gem, whereas Balefire has its own easily accessible parking lot away from the tourists and crowds. Be advised it is a restaurant for dinner only, closed on Tuesdays.
Enjoy! And please do not hesitate to leave a comment with your favorite restaurants in the area.