Where to Eat? A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants

Amelia Island, which is located in the northeasternmost tip of Florida, about 45 minutes from Jacksonville, is an island that makes a tummy happy. Before I go any further, it is imperative that I note that only tourists call it Amelia Island. Locals call it Fernandina Beach or Fernandina Beach town. With a tourist population of over a half million, I’m going to go ahead and call it the Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants.

The majority of these restaurants do reside in the perimeters of Fernandina Beach town, but that doesn’t really matter, right?

Home to over 70 restaurants, Amelia Island offers enough options that you could easily eat your way around the island. The waters of Amelia Island are the birthplace of Florida’s modern-day shrimping industry. Putting engines on boats and an intricate handmade net design put Amelia Island on the map for shrimping. Unfortunately, today, the industry is over saturated and under needed. Imported, cheap, farm-raised shrimp have taken over the shrimp industry and all but forced most shrimpers out of business.

Shrimp and grits 29 south Fernandina Beach - A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants
SHRIMP AND GRITS

Fortunately, most Amelia Island restaurants, I found, work to support the local shrimp industry still today by buying only locally sourced shrimp.

Why is shrimp a big deal you may be wondering? BECAUSE OF SHRIMP AND GRITS, DUH!

I think I consumed about 15 orders of Shrimp and Grits in the 10 days I was in Florida. It’s just so delicious in every form and each restaurant or chef makes it uniquely different.

Anyways, before I go into excruciating details about why shrimp and grits is so delicious… Here is a pretty thorough guide to Amelia Island restaurants.

Farm To Table – 29 South

This was such an eclectic little spot. The inside has a retro vibe and very personable staff. You can also enjoy the farm to table fare on the porch as the evening seeps in. The menu boasts as much local fare as humanly possible and many ingredients are plucked from their personal gardens. I had the shrimp and grits here, shocker, and they were out of this world. (Their typical shrimp and grits aren’t gluten-free, though, they are fried, if gluten is a part of your life enjoy them that way, if gluten is the anti-christ, they will do them grilled for you!)

29 South

Open for lunch Wednesday to Saturday 11:30-2:30

Open for dinner 7 days a week at 5:30

And they serve brunch on Sundays from 10am to 2pm

Price: Sandwiches/Light fair- $5-$15, Entrees $20-$20, Wine- Free! Just Kidding.

29 South 3rd Street

Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

 

The GUK Sampler platter at Gilbert's Underground Kitchen - A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants
The GUK Sampler platter at Gilbert’s

BBQ – Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen (GUK)

This is such an awesome find! You drive up to this tiny little thing and see a line of smokers out front. That’s how you know it’s the real deal! Kenny Gilbert is an acclaimed Top Chef and has cooked for Oprah and the James Beard Foundation, so he probably knows what he’s doing. 😉 In reality… it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. I had to try the alligator ribs. Because alligator ribs. I’m going to let you decide if they suit your fancy or not. I’ll give you a hint though, they kind of taste like a pork chop that’s been swimming in the ocean, so… delicious!

Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen

Closed Tuesdays

Open for lunch until 2pm Wednesday to Monday

Open for dinner 5-9pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Price: Lunch $5-$25 and Dinner $15-$25

510 S. 8th Street

Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

 

Upscale – Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro

Set in a 1900s home, this quaint little spot offers exquisite fine dining food with a semi-casual feel. Two levels offer ample seating and they even have a covered patio for those mild Florida nights. They don’t have a bar, so dining solo is really, dining solo, but that makes for a peaceful evening. I ordered (surprise!) the shrimp and grits. This one made me moan while I was eating it. Seriously.  If you are looking for moan-worthy shrimp and grits at one of the Amelia Island restaurants, pick this one.

Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro

Closed Tuesdays

Open for lunch and dinner daily, 11-2pm and 5:30-9:30pm

Price: Lunch $10-$15; Dinner $20-$35

14 South 2nd St.

Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

 

Burger on Some Gluten Free Bread - A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants
Burger on some gluten free bread. It is the simple things that really make my day.

Brew Pub and Grub – Karibo Cafe & Karibrew

Unfortunately, I visited this beautiful little cafe on a cold, rainy day so I wasn’t able to sit in their gorgeous patio area. I hunkered down in the brewpub side and sipped on a hard cider. If you’re not gluten free definitely try some of their home brews, I heard nothing but great things about them. If you are gluten free, you’re in luck, they have gluten free bread for sandwiches! It really has a great ambiance and the burger I munched on was scrumptious and well, dripping down my face it was so good.

Cafe Karibo & Karibrew

Open 7 days a week for lunch and Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. AND Brunch on Sundays starting at 10:30.

Price: Lunch is $5-$15 and Dinner is $10-$25

27 N 3rd. St.

Downtown Fernandina Beach FL, 32034

Gluten Free Crepe at The Patio Place - A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants
Gluten free crepe at The Patio Place

Casual lunch spot: The Patio Place

I discovered this casual eatery on such a whim. A woman from the cooking class I participated in that morning recommended it to me because she heard they served gluten free crepes. Oops, I gave it away, it’s a crepery! As I write this, it has only been open for a month or so, so it may change in the coming months. Crepes are always so delicious, though, and so off limits for a gluten free gal typically so it was great to be given this delectable opportunity. It’s a fresh service spot so you order at the counter and are given a country flag and your food magically finds you at your charming little spot in their courtyard. I went with the India Grill. It could have used a little more Indian flare to it but it was still wicked good. I engulfed it in about 3 minutes flat and was appropriately satisfied until dinner time! I am excited to see what these charming owners come up with!

The Patio Place

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Price: Around $10

416 Ash St.

Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Sunset Spot: Salty Pelican

I tried to go here 3 nights in a row and it was packed every single night! It was one of the only Amelia Island restaurants in Fernandina Beach town that had raw oysters and I wanted to eat them goddamnit! But I also wanted to watch the sunset from their top deck. Next time I’ll try by going at 11 and staying all day, I think. They boast every kind of seafood you can imagine and a semi-refined waterside dining experience. It’s a fun, relaxed spot where locals and tourists gather.

The Salty Pelican

Open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner, sunsets and late night bar activities starting at 11am.

Price: Under $20

12 North Front Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Waterfront Non-Fernandina Beach Town: Sliders

This spot was recommended to me by Nikki from Happy Trails Walking Horses after my horseback ride on the beach. The food is pretty typical of what you’d find in a beachside spot but the drinks, those were where it was at. They had this concoction called a dreamsicle that featured fresh squeezed juices and vodka. I went with the grapefruit one and it was yummy over crushed ice. Good spot to relax and sip the day away.

Sliders Seaside Grill

Open 7 days a week from 11am until late.

Price: Lunch around $10; Dinner $10-$20

1998 South Fletcher Ave.

Amelia Island, FL 32034

A Glass of Prosecco with shrimp and grits at Joe's 2nd Street Bistro - A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants
All of the shrimp and grits washed down with a glass of prosecco.

Italian: Ciao

Nothing wins me over like some gluten free pasta. And this isn’t just any gluten free pasta! It’s fresh gluten free pasta, what a treat! This is a great family run restaurant! I had a chance to chat with the owner, Luca for quite some time and he has a passion for what he does. The wine flowed, good conversation was had, and my belly left very full and happy. I went with the pasta ciao and you certainly should too.

Ciao Italian Bistro

Open everyday at 5:30pm for dinner service.

Price: $15-$25

302 Center St.

Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Old, Hole In The Wall Bar: The Palace Saloon

Coined as Florida’s oldest watering hole, the Palace Saloon isn’t for the faint of heart. This would have been a great spot to go with some friends or a hunny bunny. No matter the time of day there was always the tunes of live music floating through its doors. Drinks are cheap and the ambiance is rich!

The Palace Saloon

Open every day from 12 to 2am with happy hour from 3-7pm.

Price: they have happy hour, that’s all you need to know.

117 Centre Street

Fernandina Beach, FL

Burger Spot: T-Ray’s Burger Station

You’ve probably heard of a burger spot attached to a gas station but what about a gas station turned into a burger spot. Like you sit at picnic tables next to old fuel pumps. Chock full of character, and FLAVOR, T-Ray’s is one of the most unique eateries I have ever come across. The burgers are not to be missed.

T-Ray’s Burger Station

Open 7am to 2:30pm Monday-Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.

Price: Everything is under $10

202 South 8th Street,
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034,

 

 

Snapper Salad at Sliders in Amelia Island - A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants
Snapper salad, waterfront at Sliders

Mexican: Pablo’s

Don’t go to Peppers, go to Pablo’s is the recommendation that Theresa at the Fairbanks House gave me. Every so often you need a break from shrimp and grits and that’s why God made Mexican food. A ginormous outdoor seating area makes the perfect backdrop for salsa, ceviche, and nachos.

Pablo’s Mexican Grill and Cantina

Open daily 11am to 10pm

Price: $10-$20

12 North 2nd St.

Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Coffee Shop: Amelia Island Coffee

This became my favorite little spot to rest my feet and retreat to when the rain came on strong. The ambiance is nice and woody, and fairly quiet making it a great spot to plug in and get some work down. I saw many groups of friends catching up over a hot cuppa and solo visitors with laptops plugging away with productivity. Loved their chai and their espresso but I was eyeballing the homemade ice cream the whole time.

Amelia Island Coffee

Open 7am to 8ish pm every day.

Price: under $10

207 Centre St.

Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Veggie Salad at 29 South in Amelia Island - A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants
Gotta get my veggies in.

Cuban: Hola! Cuban Cafe

Great breakfast and lunch spot serving up authentic Cuban classics. You can find yucca, plantains, and lechon adorning the menu. Get a group together and head over for some thimble sized shots of coffee accompanying your breakfast.

Hola! Cuban Cafe

Open 9am to 4pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 10:30-4pm Sundays and closed Tuesdays.

Price: under $10

117 Centre St.

Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

 

Looking for a place to stay on Amelia Island when that food coma hits?  Why not check out the Residence Inn?  This comfortable hotel is located in Fernandina Beach and also has an outdoor pool for when you want to just relax!

Another beautiful property on Amelia Island is The Amelia Island Williams House.  This bed and breakfast was built in 1856 and is in a prime location to explore Fernandina Beach.

Pin for Later:

A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants

 

Megan Stetzel

Megan is a girl that shouldn’t travel. She’s gluten free, allergic to everything else, falls off motorcycles, poops her pants, gets bit by stray dogs and yet she’s still been traveling the world. She's the co-founder and editor of Why Wait. Read More About Megan here.

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2 thoughts on “Where to Eat? A Guide to Amelia Island Restaurants”

  1. I think that Moon River is one of the BEST restaurants/places to eat in Amelia Island!! Their White Pizza is AMAZING!!

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