Stephen Dare is the food editor at MetroJacksonville.com and a chef of 30 years. He brings his chef's viewpoint to bear in listing his top recommendations for restaurants in Jacksonville. In alphabetical order, and in Stephen's words, here's the list.
Their sandwiches are lowbrow southern works of art. The bread is memorably good and the dining is unlike anything to be found in most US cities. Very authentic food with high personal quality and perfectly priced.
I would also stack Bold Bean up as one of the top 10 coffeehouses in the United States. By far they are the best coffeehouse available in the State of Florida, and in my pretty extensive experience they are also easily the best coffeehouse in the entire Southeast. There simply is no comparison to them. The coffee cost more than the other coffee joints in town, but it is appropriately priced for the supreme quality of the product and the natural excellence of all the choices of the proprietors.
I seriously do not care that this is a chain. Everything that they do at this location is premium. Great quality, great food, great prices, premium service. It would be nice if the management style of this place were exported to our historic neighborhoods.
Hipster guys passionate about food working in a tiny kitchen that looks like something straight off the linoleum and fluorescent circuit tour in San Francisco. Excellent, inventive perfectly priced food. Seating is a premium, but this is one of the true joys of Jacksonville
This isn't a public restaurant, but consistently some of the best food, expertly prepared in the city. Their treatment of Salmon should get them mitigatory points when trying to explain why anyone should be admitted to heaven.
Easily the best bakery in Florida. Food quality is extremely high, and the execution is both brilliant and flavorful. No other lunch place in the city compares, even remotely to the tiny claustrophobic little dining room that they have in the bakery. Simply cannot have enough.
Provides the highest quality food made with the best possible techniques and enthusiasm of any pizza place in the city. Hands down. Their prices are fair -- even inexpensive -- and appropriate for the quality and skill and cost of ingredients. I have never had a bad dining experience at Moon River, and I would list it easily amongst the top 10 similar restaurants in the US.
I love Jonathan Insetta's restaurant. For me its the duck cassoulet. I've never had a meal that I didn't spend thinking about the chef's expertise and I never resent the prices being charged.
To be honest, in most cases I prefer fresh Peterbrookes to most of the chocolates available in Ghirardelli in San Francisco. There are a few exceptions of course, but Peterbrookes is boss.
11. Saigon Time … (904) 378-2348 … 622 Cassat Ave. map>
Vietnamese restaurant on Cassat. Pretty much everything is brilliant and authentic, (also Pho Ha Noi on Blanding.)