It’s an exciting time to be a fine dining fan in Jacksonville. Restaurants like Sbraga & Company are now joining the already bustling Jacksonville fine dining scene and we believe dining in Jacksonville is better than ever. Recently, the Jacksonville community has seen many new, upscale restaurants and we wanted to highlight the best of the group. The following restaurants are what we consider the best of the best in terms of new restaurants in Jacksonville:
#5: This Chick’s Kitchen: As you can tell from our byteclay.com title: “Jacksonville Fine Dining Examiner”, we focus on upscale, fine dining restaurants. This doesn’t mean we’re “snooty”. Rather, we want to provide information that is useful for people looking for a “special occasion” upscale dining experience, with top-of-the line service, the best wines, the highest quality cuts of meat, incredible views of the ocean, etc. In other words, “fine dining” news and reviews is what we focus on at Jacksonville Fine Dining Examiner, because we believe it’s what our readers come here to read about. This Chick’s Kitchen is decidedly more rustic and casual than what we typically prefer, but that doesn’t mean the fresh, locally sourced ingredients aren’t delicious. If you’re into the directly farm-to-table trend, then this recently opened restaurant is a great place to try.
#4: Bob’s Steak & Chop House: We’ve written extensively about Omni Amelia Island Plantation and their fantastic restaurants, like Verandah. Another restaurant on Omni Amelia Island Plantation, property, called PLaE, recently closed and Bob’s Steak & Chop House opened in its place. Bob’s opened 3/1/16 and it is serving top quality cuts of beef with some unique items like their famous pickles and glazed carrots. Bob’s Steak & Chop House is a chain and they have 11 other locations in the U.S.
#3: Kitchen on San Marco: This relatively new restaurant is happily celebrating their 1-year anniversary and we recommend that our readers give it a try. We recently visited the restaurant for lunch and we thoroughly enjoyed the Salt Roasted Beet Salad (with whipped goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, and topped with seasonal vinaigrette) and the Short Rib Grilled Chese (caramelized onion, local cheese, arugula, and fries).
#2: Sbraga & Co.: Unity Plaza, in downtown Jacksonville is a source of two great new restaurants, like Sbraga & Co. (and the next restaurant on our list, HobNob). Sbraga & Co. was created by Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga. The restaurant serves eclectic, contemporary food, which is influenced by Northeast Florida. The menu features items like Hog and Hominy (basically a ham and cheese grits dish with baby corn) and the Country Captain (curry fried chicken with a rice waffle and almond rice). The restaurant also features an extensive raw bar with shrimp, snapper, carrot, and snapper ceviche.
#1: Hobnob: We had the privilege of visiting this restaurant pre-open and from all accounts it looks like it will be an excellent addition to the Jacksonville fine dining scene. Next door to Sbraga & Co., Hobnob is now fully open and provides excellent opportunities to mingle with fellow patrons in its impressive bar area. There is also a large dining area where patrons can get a full view of the kitchen. We would described the ambiance at Hobnob as not overly formal, but still upscale and hip. The cuisine is eclectic and inspired by international influences. We expect great things from Hobnob and we strongly recommend you give it a try.
#1: Cowford Chophouse: This new steakhouse in downtown Jacksonville plans to open in the fall of 2016 and so far it looks impressive. The plans are to create a two-story restaurant with a rooftop bar in the historic building at 101 East Bay St. The latest news is that Ian Lynch will be the Executive Chef, who worked previously at Ovinte, Bistro Aix, and Il Desco. Also, Jacksonville’s City Council approved legislation to provide $500,000 from the Historic Preservation Trust Fund to go towards the Cowford project. Foundations for the elevators/stairwells, masonry wall construction, and restoration of the window frames has recently taken place. We will continue to provide updates.
#2: The BullBriar Restaurant: Another exciting new project in downtown Jacksonville, the BullBriar will be located in the Florida National Bank building aka the Marble Bank. According to Metro Jacksonville, the restaurant is set to contain 175 seats and feature a large-scale bar.
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