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Mussels, frittes, and seared fish from Restaurant Orsay in Jacksonville, Florida
Megan duBois

The 13 Essential Jacksonville Restaurants, 2020

The must-try spots in Jacksonville every local knows about

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Mussels, frittes, and seared fish from Restaurant Orsay in Jacksonville, Florida
| Megan duBois

Everyone in Jacksonville has their favorite go-to spots for a meal — the place they rave about to friends and family who are coming to visit, and the one they always mention in their group chat. From diner-style breakfasts, tacos near the beach, Italian food or Korean barbecue, here are 13 must-try restaurants in Jacksonville.

Editor’s Note: A number of South Florida restaurants have resumed indoor and outdoor dining services. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for onsite dining, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Florida Health Department’s website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Catullo’s Italian

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1650-2 San Pablo Rd S
Jacksonville, FL 32224
(904) 240-1252
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What started out as a Jacksonville-favorite food truck is now a brick-and-motor restaurant serving up Italian food like lasagna using hand-rolled pasta sheets, incredibly light gnocchi, ravioli with a variety of fillings, and the crowd favorite pear fiocchi filled with pears and cheese. Pro tip: arrive right when the restaurant opens or be prepared to wait as seating is very limited in the small space.

2. Restaurant Orsay

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3630 Park St
Jacksonville, FL 32205
(904) 381-0909
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A top-notch happy hour followed up by a meal filled with bistro classic with a unique twist is what to expect at Restaurant Orsay. The restaurant is heavily influenced by French cuisine but leans into its Southern locale to create dishes like pan roasted fish with grits and mussels frites. As this is one of the most buzzed about restaurants in town, make sure to book a table far in advance.

3. Blue Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar

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3551 St Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205
(904) 387-0700
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While freshly caught fish is readily available at restaurants all over town, when in Riverside and Avondale this is the spot to dine on it. No matter the craving — from raw bar oysters to mahi-mahi prepared a variety of ways to shrimp and grits — the seafood options are abundant. For those craving a high-end Sunday brunch experience, this is still the spot to be with dollar mimosas and an eggs Benedict flight.

4. Biscottis

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3556 St Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205
(904) 387-2060
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Located in the Avondale neighborhood, this restaurant serves up creative dishes like lamb ravioli and blue cheese crusted beef medallions. But the real reason people in Jacksonville venture to Biscottis is for dessert, which take center stage as guests are greeted at the entrance with a massive dessert case filled with cakes, pies, tarts, and more. For those too full after dinner to eat dessert they can opt to take one home with for a midnight snack.

5. Fox Restaurant

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3580 St Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205
(904) 387-2669
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Riverside and Avondale’s go-to breakfast spot is The Fox. It serves up breakfast classics like omelets, French toast, and piles of pancakes every morning and afternoon. The restaurant is also uniquely decorated with vintage art and drawings done by kids as they wait for their breakfast to show up.

6. TacoLu

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1712 Beach Blvd
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
(904) 249-8226
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Tacos are always a good idea, and this Jacksonville restaurant is a local favorite. Here, guests are encouraged to try more than one taco since each taco is sold individually. Guests rave about the Baja fish taco and the carnitas taco, but everyone has their go-to tacos here.

7. Blue Bamboo

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3820 Southside Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32216
(904) 646-1478
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Chinese and Southern classics get combined together into inventive dishes at this restaurant. People around town can’t get enough of the red curry shrimp and grits, which brings an Asian spin on a traditional southern meal. Be sure to leave room for the chef’s award winning dessert, a mandarin orange cake with cream cheese frosting.

8. Eddis & Sons

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6426 Bowden Rd #207
Jacksonville, FL 32216
(904) 333-1400
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Cheesesteaks are an iconic American food, and Eddis & Sons are bringing the classic Philadelphia experience to Jacksonville. Its large assortment of sandwiches are filled with steak, chicken, or various vegan-friendly options, just be sure to know how to order it correctly to score the right kind of cheese and the optional onions.

9. The French Pantry

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6301 Powers Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32217
(904) 730-8696
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Right when guests walk into The French Pantry they’ll immediately feel like they’ve been transported to old world France. The restaurant is best known for its sandwiches and large variety of bruschetta, but do not want leave here without a slice of towering homemade cake.

10. Wicked Barley Brewing Company

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4100 Baymeadows Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32217
(904) 379-7077
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Craft beer and hearty eats perfect for pairing with brews is the name of the game at Wicked Barley Brewing Company. The creative brewmasters are always working on something new, including beers inspired by the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team. Opt for a sharable appetizers like the cheese curds or kimchi pork belly fries that pair perfectly with its beer selection.

11. Kim's Korean BBQ Restaurant

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9825 San Jose Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 619-5832
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While it might be housed inside a strip mall, don’t let looks deceive as Kim’s Korean is certainly worth a visit. The owner, affectionately known as Mama Kim to regulars, whips up Korean classics like bulgogi, bibimbap, and japchae, all served alongside house-made banchan. 

12. Le Petit Paris Cafe

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9965 San Jose Blvd #46
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 512-7777
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A slice of Paris can be found on the corner of a strip mall in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville. Here, fresh brewed coffee is always available and pastries are displayed behind glass like works of art. Do not skip the quiche Lorraine for breakfast, or the melty brie, honey, walnut, and mixed greens croissant for lunch.

13. Kazu Japanese Restaurant

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9965 San Jose Blvd #35
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 683-9903
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Kazu is a sushi legend in Jacksonville — and with good reason. Grab a seat at the sushi bar and watch the masters at work while sipping on sake from its extensive list, then dine on some of the most creative rolls in town, all made with pristine sushi grade fish and vegetables.

1. Catullo’s Italian

1650-2 San Pablo Rd S, Jacksonville, FL 32224

What started out as a Jacksonville-favorite food truck is now a brick-and-motor restaurant serving up Italian food like lasagna using hand-rolled pasta sheets, incredibly light gnocchi, ravioli with a variety of fillings, and the crowd favorite pear fiocchi filled with pears and cheese. Pro tip: arrive right when the restaurant opens or be prepared to wait as seating is very limited in the small space.

1650-2 San Pablo Rd S
Jacksonville, FL 32224

2. Restaurant Orsay

3630 Park St, Jacksonville, FL 32205

A top-notch happy hour followed up by a meal filled with bistro classic with a unique twist is what to expect at Restaurant Orsay. The restaurant is heavily influenced by French cuisine but leans into its Southern locale to create dishes like pan roasted fish with grits and mussels frites. As this is one of the most buzzed about restaurants in town, make sure to book a table far in advance.

3630 Park St
Jacksonville, FL 32205

3. Blue Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar

3551 St Johns Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32205

While freshly caught fish is readily available at restaurants all over town, when in Riverside and Avondale this is the spot to dine on it. No matter the craving — from raw bar oysters to mahi-mahi prepared a variety of ways to shrimp and grits — the seafood options are abundant. For those craving a high-end Sunday brunch experience, this is still the spot to be with dollar mimosas and an eggs Benedict flight.

3551 St Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205

4. Biscottis

3556 St Johns Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32205

Located in the Avondale neighborhood, this restaurant serves up creative dishes like lamb ravioli and blue cheese crusted beef medallions. But the real reason people in Jacksonville venture to Biscottis is for dessert, which take center stage as guests are greeted at the entrance with a massive dessert case filled with cakes, pies, tarts, and more. For those too full after dinner to eat dessert they can opt to take one home with for a midnight snack.

3556 St Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205

5. Fox Restaurant

3580 St Johns Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32205

Riverside and Avondale’s go-to breakfast spot is The Fox. It serves up breakfast classics like omelets, French toast, and piles of pancakes every morning and afternoon. The restaurant is also uniquely decorated with vintage art and drawings done by kids as they wait for their breakfast to show up.

3580 St Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205

6. TacoLu

1712 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

Tacos are always a good idea, and this Jacksonville restaurant is a local favorite. Here, guests are encouraged to try more than one taco since each taco is sold individually. Guests rave about the Baja fish taco and the carnitas taco, but everyone has their go-to tacos here.

1712 Beach Blvd
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

7. Blue Bamboo

3820 Southside Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32216

Chinese and Southern classics get combined together into inventive dishes at this restaurant. People around town can’t get enough of the red curry shrimp and grits, which brings an Asian spin on a traditional southern meal. Be sure to leave room for the chef’s award winning dessert, a mandarin orange cake with cream cheese frosting.

3820 Southside Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32216

8. Eddis & Sons

6426 Bowden Rd #207, Jacksonville, FL 32216

Cheesesteaks are an iconic American food, and Eddis & Sons are bringing the classic Philadelphia experience to Jacksonville. Its large assortment of sandwiches are filled with steak, chicken, or various vegan-friendly options, just be sure to know how to order it correctly to score the right kind of cheese and the optional onions.

6426 Bowden Rd #207
Jacksonville, FL 32216

9. The French Pantry

6301 Powers Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32217

Right when guests walk into The French Pantry they’ll immediately feel like they’ve been transported to old world France. The restaurant is best known for its sandwiches and large variety of bruschetta, but do not want leave here without a slice of towering homemade cake.

6301 Powers Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32217

10. Wicked Barley Brewing Company

4100 Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32217

Craft beer and hearty eats perfect for pairing with brews is the name of the game at Wicked Barley Brewing Company. The creative brewmasters are always working on something new, including beers inspired by the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team. Opt for a sharable appetizers like the cheese curds or kimchi pork belly fries that pair perfectly with its beer selection.

4100 Baymeadows Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32217

11. Kim's Korean BBQ Restaurant

9825 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32257

While it might be housed inside a strip mall, don’t let looks deceive as Kim’s Korean is certainly worth a visit. The owner, affectionately known as Mama Kim to regulars, whips up Korean classics like bulgogi, bibimbap, and japchae, all served alongside house-made banchan. 

9825 San Jose Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32257

12. Le Petit Paris Cafe

9965 San Jose Blvd #46, Jacksonville, FL 32257

A slice of Paris can be found on the corner of a strip mall in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville. Here, fresh brewed coffee is always available and pastries are displayed behind glass like works of art. Do not skip the quiche Lorraine for breakfast, or the melty brie, honey, walnut, and mixed greens croissant for lunch.

9965 San Jose Blvd #46
Jacksonville, FL 32257

13. Kazu Japanese Restaurant

9965 San Jose Blvd #35, Jacksonville, FL 32257

Kazu is a sushi legend in Jacksonville — and with good reason. Grab a seat at the sushi bar and watch the masters at work while sipping on sake from its extensive list, then dine on some of the most creative rolls in town, all made with pristine sushi grade fish and vegetables.

9965 San Jose Blvd #35
Jacksonville, FL 32257

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