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The 7 Best Tasting Menus in Jacksonville

These restaurants are worth getting the reservation

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The food scene in Jacksonville is eclectic. In the same one-block area, restaurants range from upscale Italian and breakfast dives to pizza joints and sushi. As food trends in the city come and go, one that seems to be having a resurgence is tasting menus. All around the city, chefs are whipping up exciting four, five, and even 10-course tasting menus.

The often two or three-bite dishes are served with flair, under smoking domes, with extravagant garnishes, and are always picture-worthy. Those looking to impress a date or treat themselves to a special meal are in for a real treat with the tasting menus around town. These are the seven best restaurants in Jacksonville with tasting menus.

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Located inside The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, the AAA Five Diamond Salt is a high-end location that boasts fantastic ocean views and some of the freshest seafood in town. The Salt Kitchen Table is one of the hardest seats in the house to get. The four-guest table allows diners to peer into the kitchen while the chef at the restaurant prepares a multi-course dinner tailored to the guest’s preferences. A few dishes that have appeared in the past include zucchini and lobster fritters as an amuse bouche and seared langoustines with sauteed mustard greens as a second course. 

Congaree and Penn

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One of Jacksonville's more unique tasting menus can be found at Congaree & Penn. Part farm, part cidery, and part restaurant, the locale has begun offering six-course tasting menus where guests are invited to dine among the grapevines with up to six people per group. Dinners change seasonally with ingredients from the Congaree & Penn farm and other local farms and artisan purveyors. Those who enjoy wine with dinner can add a wine pairing to the tasting menu for a full culinary experience. 

Matthew's Restaurant

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Matthew’s Restaurant has been a staple in town for years. While the regular dinner menu is always good, the Chef’s Adventure Tasting Menu is a true experience. The six-course menu is $95 per person or $145 with wine tastings added on. The tasting menu typically has a stuffed pasta course, a crudo course, and a more filling meat course, along with clever desserts. Special attention is paid to the plating and presentation, where dishes may come out under smoking domes and more.

Rue Saint Marc

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Rue Saint Marc has made a name for itself in Jacksonville since opening in 2017, offering a few different tasting menu options. The first is a three-course prix fixe menu on Friday and Saturday nights. The other option is the Rue Experience, a five-course tasting menu where the dishes change seasonally. Dishes visitors to the restaurant have had in the past include sweet and savory Murasaki sweet potato gyoza and yuzu sorbet with chai tea mouse. The Rue Experience is $85 Monday through Thursday and $89 on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Mesa continues to welcome guests for its five-course tasting menu in the Avondale neighborhood. The vegetarian-friendly menu is filled with flavorful bites of classic and reinvented Indian dishes. While the menu does change throughout the year, the current menu features a sort of spinach fritter known as palak chaat that’s not to be missed. The chaat is served with a tangy yogurt sauce, sweet tamarind date sauce, and zesty cilantro sauce. Other dishes on the tasting menu include a lion's mane mushroom biryani with coconut milk, basmati rice, and a sweet cardamom semifreddo for dessert. 

norikase

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Norikase is a sort of speakeasy sushi and sake bar where the omakase menu continues to surprise guests. With this menu type, diners are up to the chef's will and what they want to prepare for the evening. No two omakase experiences here are the same, making this a spot locals will want to go to again and again. The fish that’s used at the restaurant is sourced from Japan’s toyosu market, and other ingredients are prepared fresh daily. Expect dishes like spicy jalapeno hamachi made with Japanese yellowtail, yuzu ponzu, and togarashi, and sweet shrimp, known as amaebi, with cauliflower puree and cucumber gelee. 

Michael's St. Augustine

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St. Augustine has an abundance of great restaurants, but Michael’s continuously impresses guests with its take on high-end casual dining. Even though the restaurant doesn’t have a tasting menu every night, it hosts wine dinners and chef’s table experiences throughout the year. These dinners often fill up quickly, and chef Michael Lugo is known for creating special tasting menus for the events. Holidays like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Even also allow Lugo to show off his culinary prowess with items like hearts of palm aguachile, perfectly cooked wagyu beef filets, and a cheese course with Basque cheesecake paired with an herb salad. 

Salt

Located inside The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, the AAA Five Diamond Salt is a high-end location that boasts fantastic ocean views and some of the freshest seafood in town. The Salt Kitchen Table is one of the hardest seats in the house to get. The four-guest table allows diners to peer into the kitchen while the chef at the restaurant prepares a multi-course dinner tailored to the guest’s preferences. A few dishes that have appeared in the past include zucchini and lobster fritters as an amuse bouche and seared langoustines with sauteed mustard greens as a second course. 

Congaree and Penn

One of Jacksonville's more unique tasting menus can be found at Congaree & Penn. Part farm, part cidery, and part restaurant, the locale has begun offering six-course tasting menus where guests are invited to dine among the grapevines with up to six people per group. Dinners change seasonally with ingredients from the Congaree & Penn farm and other local farms and artisan purveyors. Those who enjoy wine with dinner can add a wine pairing to the tasting menu for a full culinary experience. 

Matthew's Restaurant

Matthew’s Restaurant has been a staple in town for years. While the regular dinner menu is always good, the Chef’s Adventure Tasting Menu is a true experience. The six-course menu is $95 per person or $145 with wine tastings added on. The tasting menu typically has a stuffed pasta course, a crudo course, and a more filling meat course, along with clever desserts. Special attention is paid to the plating and presentation, where dishes may come out under smoking domes and more.

Rue Saint Marc

Rue Saint Marc has made a name for itself in Jacksonville since opening in 2017, offering a few different tasting menu options. The first is a three-course prix fixe menu on Friday and Saturday nights. The other option is the Rue Experience, a five-course tasting menu where the dishes change seasonally. Dishes visitors to the restaurant have had in the past include sweet and savory Murasaki sweet potato gyoza and yuzu sorbet with chai tea mouse. The Rue Experience is $85 Monday through Thursday and $89 on Friday and Saturday nights. 

mesa

Mesa continues to welcome guests for its five-course tasting menu in the Avondale neighborhood. The vegetarian-friendly menu is filled with flavorful bites of classic and reinvented Indian dishes. While the menu does change throughout the year, the current menu features a sort of spinach fritter known as palak chaat that’s not to be missed. The chaat is served with a tangy yogurt sauce, sweet tamarind date sauce, and zesty cilantro sauce. Other dishes on the tasting menu include a lion's mane mushroom biryani with coconut milk, basmati rice, and a sweet cardamom semifreddo for dessert. 

norikase

Norikase is a sort of speakeasy sushi and sake bar where the omakase menu continues to surprise guests. With this menu type, diners are up to the chef's will and what they want to prepare for the evening. No two omakase experiences here are the same, making this a spot locals will want to go to again and again. The fish that’s used at the restaurant is sourced from Japan’s toyosu market, and other ingredients are prepared fresh daily. Expect dishes like spicy jalapeno hamachi made with Japanese yellowtail, yuzu ponzu, and togarashi, and sweet shrimp, known as amaebi, with cauliflower puree and cucumber gelee. 

Michael's St. Augustine

St. Augustine has an abundance of great restaurants, but Michael’s continuously impresses guests with its take on high-end casual dining. Even though the restaurant doesn’t have a tasting menu every night, it hosts wine dinners and chef’s table experiences throughout the year. These dinners often fill up quickly, and chef Michael Lugo is known for creating special tasting menus for the events. Holidays like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Even also allow Lugo to show off his culinary prowess with items like hearts of palm aguachile, perfectly cooked wagyu beef filets, and a cheese course with Basque cheesecake paired with an herb salad. 

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