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article imageA menu of St. Augustine, Florida restaurants to choose from Special

By Kay Mathews     Nov 3, 2014 in Food
Saint Augustine - Restaurants in the oldest city in America feature everything from luscious seafood to traditional Cuban and Spanish favorites served in Florida’s oldest restaurant. The selections showcased will make your mouth water.
While visiting St. Augustine Beach, the friend I was with said something along the lines of “Let’s go down to the Sunset Grille.” Immediately, I answered “yes” and started humming Don Henley’s song from the 1980s, “Sunset Grill.” Needless to say, though, I was not headed toward a hamburger joint on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Rather, I was walking on A1A Beach Boulevard to the Sunset Grille, “The most award winning restaurant in St. Augustine,” where I was greeted by a friendly staff and an amazing dinner menu.
The Seared Scallops (served over a bed of fresh fried spinach with a soy ginger glaze and wasabi) appetizer was ordered. They were flawless. Without doubt, the best seared scallops I’ve ever eaten.
Seared Scallops at the Sunset Grille.  St. Augustine Beach  FL
Seared Scallops at the Sunset Grille. St. Augustine Beach, FL
Focused on the “Surf” options, entrees were then ordered. Coconut Shrimp (shrimp coated with fresh coconut, deep fried and served with their signature Caribbean piña colada dipping sauce) and Crab Legs (1 ½ lbs. of snow crab – filled with succulent meat) soon made their way to the table. A wave of fine-food fullness washed over me at the conclusion of the meal.
Coconut Shrimp and sides at the Sunset Grille.  St. Augustine  FL
Coconut Shrimp and sides at the Sunset Grille. St. Augustine, FL
Crab legs at the Sunset Grille.  St. Augustine Beach  FL
Crab legs at the Sunset Grille. St. Augustine Beach, FL
When I posted on Facebook that I would be spending some time in St. Augustine, a friend suggested that I go to Columbia Restaurant. Originally opened by Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., an immigrant from Cuba, in Tampa’s Ybor City in 1905, Columbia has expanded to seven restaurants throughout Florida and the family traditions of excellent food and old world service are carried on by fourth-generation owners.
The large restaurant features a grand atrium and it seemed to transport me to an “old world” place. I could almost see the flamenco shows and I certainly was smelling the aromas of the traditional Cuban and Spanish foods being served.
View of part of the atrium in Columbia Restaurant.  St. Augustine  FL
View of part of the atrium in Columbia Restaurant. St. Augustine, FL
In the South, it is not uncommon for complete strangers to strike-up a conversation. That’s what happened at the Columbia Restaurant’s St. Augustine location on historic St. George Street. Two ladies at a table near mine noticed that I was looking at their pitcher of what appeared to be a very delightful liquid they were imbibing. Almost simultaneously they said, “Oh, you just have to order this. It’s their wonderful sangria!” And order it, I did! The fruity sangria, with oranges and limes, was so refreshing.
File photo: Pitcher of sangria.
File photo: Pitcher of sangria.
For dinner, the “Tapeo” Sampler was ordered and among the Tapas chosen were the Mussels y Chorizo “Andres” (Fresh Prince Edward Island mussels, diced Choriza, sautéed, simmered with extra virgin olive oil, onions, celery, tomato, basil, spinach and garlic splashed with dried white wine and lemon). The menu says that they’re “Delicioso!” The menu is right. Truly, spectacularly, delicious!
Mussels y Chorizo “Andres” at Columbia Restaurant.  St. Augustine  FL
Mussels y Chorizo “Andres” at Columbia Restaurant. St. Augustine, FL
Columbia Restaurant made CNN Travel’s top 10 list of “America’s best historic restaurants” in smaller cities, and after experiencing it, yes, it is a 360 degree experience for the senses, I certainly understand why.
After eating at the next featured restaurant, I can say that I’m just wild about Harry’s. Or, more to its theme – I’m hooked on Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille!
Sign at Harry s Seafood Bar and Grille.  St. Augustine  FL
Sign at Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille. St. Augustine, FL
Located at 46 Avenida Menendez, Harry’s calls itself “A New Orleans Style Restaurant” and offers such an extensive menu that it was hard to pick just one. But, I did. After having had quite a bit of seafood during this St. Augustine adventure, I went with Pork Tenderloin Medallions (topped with portabello mushrooms & cracked black pepper sauce) and side of Harry’s Collard Greens (traditional southern collards slow cooked with smoked ham and cajun sausage). One bite of each and I was hooked on Harry’s.
Pork Tenderloin Medallions and side of Harry’s Collard Greens at Harry s Seafood Bar and Grille.  ...
Pork Tenderloin Medallions and side of Harry’s Collard Greens at Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille. St. Augustine, FL
As one Florida travel expert put it, “Historic St. Augustine is fortunate enough to have a wide array of unique restaurants showcasing many cuisines.” On my next journey to St. Augustine, I plan to revisit the ones mentioned above and experience more of them. Perhaps you will, too, whenever you visit St. Augustine, America’s oldest city.
More about Food, Cuisine, saint augustine, Florida, Columbia Restaurant
 
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