Dining in Amelia Island

When we were in Amelia Island for Thanksgiving week, we ate at some memorable places, and some that we wish we could forget.  Please note that we are NOT Foodies, and are not overly impressed by the PHD (pile it higher and deeper) philosophy of presentation.  The overuse of molds or rings to shape the food is not for us.  We also do not like to overpay for something simply because it has been given a french name, or because of excessive overdescription on the menu.

We really have to give www.tripadvisor.com alot of credit.  The reviews were mostly spot-on.  Our poor choices were made when we didn’t check the places out on line first!

That being said, our hands down, new favorite restaurant for breakfast has to be Bright Mornings Cafe in downtown Fernandina beach.  http://brightmorningscafe.com/  Our only dissapointment was that they weren’t open EVERY day!  It is a cozy little cafe with some of the friendliest folks you could ask for.  It seems like it is family run.  There were plenty of local regulars (greeted by name, and served ‘the usual’) along with out of town visitors.  Their biscuits are heavenly, but they only serve them on the weekends (Try the egg, sausage, and biscuit sandwiches).  Excellent omelettes, pancakes, and incredible home fries.  They serve very good coffee too.  I think they had a bakery (you are given a muffin sampler with butter & marmalade when seated) but we didn’t try any baked goods.  Food (and coffee) is served on really nice ceramic tableware, not your typical diner dishes.  We ate here 3x…

Another great place we found is the Sandollar Bar & Grill.  This is a restaurant on the water, technically in Jacksonville, but on the St. Johns River just down the road from the Mayport Ferry.  You can sit inside or out on the patio and watch the river traffic.  They are best for lunch – fried Mayport Shrimp, Cashew encrusted Grouper were both excellent options (with hushpuppies of course!).  The dinner menu was almost identical to the lunch menu, with the same serving sizes, but at twice the price.  The grilled scallops were not memorable, and the prime rib was average, but still enjoyable meals.  This is a great off- the beaten path place and very comfortable to hang out on the deck. I don’t have a link but you can find reviews at Trip Advisor.. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60805-d476921-Reviews-Sandollar_Restaurant_Marina-Jacksonville_Florida.html

The worst food award is shared between two locations. 

1.  Jack and Diane’s.  They have a very interesting menu and it all sounds creative and tasty.  Service was terrible (and there were only 2 tables occupied at the time).  Location is on a very busy road – can’t hear the conversation over the lumber trucks rumbling by.  Do they even have a kitchen?  The omelette looked like it was made in one of those electric pans they advertise on TV and was tasteless.  The egg bowl with hash browns and ham (with Hollandaise) – this was OK.  Coffee was warm, not hot.

2. Marche Burette – this is the market/restaurant at the Amelia Island Plantation resort where we were staying.  It was a cute ‘french market’ for buying gifts and food items.  They had the nerve to say their sandwiches were 20x better than Panera.  Let me just say it was one of the most disgusting things I ever ate, and they had the nerve to charge a 20% service charge for an order to go!  Blech.  Maybe their soups or pizza is good, but this was just nasty, and way overpriced.

Kofe Haus (now Christopher’s Cafe) also deserves a dishonerable mention.  Last time were were here, under the former owners, the coffee was excellent and we loved getting coffee & pastry.  We went one morning with high expectations (instead of going to the Bright Mornings Cafe- big mistake!).  While the breakfast sandwiches were OK, the coffee (dark roast???) tasted like dishwater.  What a waste.  We didn’t go back.  Life is too short to drink mediocre coffee.


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