Nocatee residents don't have to wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas to get that post-feast nap we all know and love. Restaurants in Florida’s First Coast area are abundant and delicious, providing lots of options for a night out with your other half or the whole family.
And with Jacksonville being ranked as the second-best city in the nation for new small businesses in 2015, innovative chefs and restaurant owners have chosen the First Coast area as their home.
With a little help from Jacksonville Magazine’s “Top 50 Restaurants in 2015” list, we’ve pulled together a list of a few favorite First Coast hip dining options so you can savor good food any time of the year, without the kitchen mess:
Nona Blue | A Modern Tavern - Nona Blue serves fine American cuisine in Ponte Vedra Beach. Known for a variety of "shareables" on the menu, the restaurant aims to create a comfortable and social dining experience. Nona Blue also serves a variety of tap beers and signature cocktails.
Aqua Grill — Aqua Grill serves eclectic American cuisine in Ponte Vedra Beach. With a mainly seafood menu, you’ll feel the sea breeze with outdoor seating surrounded by water fountains.
M Shack — Boasting truffle fries and pecan pie shakes, this gourmet burger joint has several locations in the Jacksonville-area and now has an M Shack in the Nocatee Town Center. To learn more about this new location, check out the "M Shack Cooking in Nocatee" blog post.
Palm Valley Fish Camp — On the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway, this cozy, rustic chic spot serves a variety of fresh catches styled any way you’d like, making it the perfect dinner destination for the whole family.
Barbara Jean’s — Also along the Intracoastal Waterway, this family-run restaurant and bar is known for its Southern American and seafood to take you back into Grandma’s kitchen. Everything is made from scratch for Barbara Jean’s best home-style cooking.
Jacksonville Beaches (17 miles from Nocatee)
Flying Iguana — If you’re in the mood for some gourmet tacos and tequila, this Latin American go-to in Neptune Beach is the place for you. Choose from the largest selection of tequila in town and some guacamole made at your table. And if tequila, tacos and guac aren’t enough, the entree menu ranges from specialty enchiladas to Latin-inspired seafood.
Dwight’s Bistro — Dwight’s is a Jacksonville Beach special occasion destination, with mosaic decor and gourmet Mediterranean cuisine. You’ll feel like you traveled across the world without even crossing the shores of Atlantic Ocean. Reservations are requested as the chef creates the guest dining experience himself.
Southside Jacksonville (18 miles)
Moxie — Within the popular shopping destination of The St. Johns Town Center, Moxie is a modern restaurant and cocktail bar boasting sustainability and notably fresh ingredients. Cuisines range from gourmet salads to carefully prepared steaks and seafood.
Whiskey Jax — Located in the Baymeadows neighborhood of Southside Jacksonville, Whiskey Jax is a gastropub and sports bar noted for its craft beer and whiskey. Guests can enjoy juicy gourmet burgers and other savory menu items or whiskey flights during evening trivia and band entertainment.
St. Augustine (20 miles)
Ice Plant — This farm-to-table restaurant and bar in downtown St. Augustine is housed in an old ice-making plant and boasts perfectly crafted ice, hence the name. Besides must-try signature cocktails, Ice Plant has a delicious menu of seafood and grill options.
Collage — Collage is a romantic seafood and steakhouse with a quality selection of fresh, local menu items. “Artful, global dining” is how Collage describes the atmosphere and experience.
Downtown Jacksonville (25 miles)
Indochine — This Asian dining lounge is located in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville. Its fundamentally Thai menu boasts the perfect options for spice lovers, so be ready to take the heat.
Uptown Kitchen & Bar — This modern gem is located in the middle of Jacksonville’s historic Springfield neighborhood. The diner’s fresh ingredients take the stage in everything from classic Southern dishes to specialty tacos and burritos.
Fernandina/Amelia Island (53 miles)
Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen — This Deep Southern American restaurant in Fernandina serves up a daily seasonal menu based on availability of local ingredients. That’s fresh. Chef Kenny Gilbert was even a fan favorite on Bravo’s “Top Chef” in 2010.
Salt — Inside the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton Hotel is Salt, an elegant destination perfect for special occasions or date-night splurge. The restaurant features the “Chef’s adventure,” which gives guests a delectable multi-course surprise dining experience from the chef himself.
Don’t give turkeys and holiday hams all the attention this year — there are several ways to stuff yourself, gourmet style at one of the First Coast’s favorites, whether along the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville or in the quaint seaside town of St. Augustine.
To learn more about new homes available in Nocatee, explore nocatee.com or stop by the Nocatee Welcome Center.