Chef in restaurant in Jacksonville rearranges and decorates food.

City Guide

7 Best Restaurants in Jacksonville, FL

By Bri Hand

When you conjure up images of moving to Jacksonville, you likely think of sunny skies and sandy beaches—but what about world-class cuisine? As a growing metropolis of almost one million residents, Florida’s largest city has become a veritable culinary capital.

If you’re thinking of moving into one of Landing’s furnished apartments in Jacksonville and are letting your stomach make the decisions, this guide will break down seven of the best restaurants in Jacksonville. From drinks to decor, learn everything you need to know about these local favorites before moving to Jacksonville:

  1. 1928 Cuban Bistro 
  2. Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar
  3. Black Sheep
  4. ChopHouse Thirteen
  5. Flying Iguana Taqueria
  6. Kazu Japanese Restaurant
  7. Mezza Luna

1. 1928 Cuban Bistro 

At 1928 Cuban Bistro, the first thing you’ll notice is the restaurant’s colorful interior. Greens, pinks, yellows, and blues accent its bright and modern dining room. It’s an intimate space with a cafe counter on one side and a row of tables on the other. Delving into the menu, you can look forward to:

  • Cups of caffeine: Enjoy authentic Cuban coffees, like the restaurant’s cortadito, a coffee sweetened with sugar and evaporated milk, or the colada, espresso that’s sweetened with sugar during the brewing process.
  • Flavor-filled spreads: For breakfast, there are plenty of regular and vegetarian options on the menu. The “La Gordita Open-Faced Toasts” features Cuban bread topped with croquetas (breaded and fried ham), avocado, bacon, mozzarella cheese, a fried egg, and house-made sauce.
  • Cabana chow: If you stop by for lunch or dinner, you can order salads, soups, or sandwiches. The 1928 salad is a mouth-watering mixture of romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onions, lime, and croquetas that is finished with olive oil and vinegar for a refreshing meal.
  • Tropical delights: Have enough room for dessert? You can order tres leches cake in either vanilla or Nutella flavors, as well as a wide range of shakes in fun flavors like mango. 

2. Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar

Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar has an old-world charm, full of wood beams and brick walls. Patrons at this Jacksonville restaurant can sit at the spacious bar or a table in the dining room as they explore the eateries many offerings, such as:

  • Crisp libations: Choose from their selection of over 150 wines. Fifty of those bottles are available as half bottles, and 30 are sold by the glass in both three-ounce and six-ounce pours. What’s more? All bottles are available by glass if you purchase at least two glasses!
  • Scrumptious snacks: Take a trip to this intimate date spot to dine on small plates filled with artisanal cheeses and cured meats, alongside a glass or two of wine. This wine bar also offers mini desserts to end your meal, including cannolis, cappuccino mousse, and apple pie. 

3. Black Sheep

Black Sheep is located in Jacksonville’s historic Five Points neighborhood, but its location is sleek and modern. Neon orange bar lights contrast the classic wood interior, and a rooftop bar completes this effortlessly cool neighborhood favorite. Look forward to their:

  • Heavenly liquor: Choose a craft beer or sip on an unforgettable custom cocktail to enjoy on the rooftop bar. The “Eat A Peach” cocktail combines Four Roses Small Batch bourbon, green tea turbinado, and peach and trinity bitters for some fruity fun. For a little more heat, the “Smokin’ ‘Loma” includes Vida mezcal tequila, Giffard Pamplemousse liqueur, lime, spiced Peychaud’s syrup, and jalapeño. 
  • Classic renditions: If you visit for brunch, you can start with a cocktail or maple bacon crullers and then move onto a delicious entree like the classic avocado toast, which features Meyer lemon kosho, radish, soft boiled egg, and everything seasoning, with a salad on the side. After all, it’s not brunch without avocado toast.
  • Fusion bites:  Start your dinner with salads, soups, snacks, or small plates. Enjoy Korean BBQ ribs or miso-glazed eggplant before your entrees come to the table. 
  • Vegetarian and meat-lovers fare: For plant-based diners, the “Green Hill Ravioli” includes house-made pasta topped with English peas and cheese. Meat eaters can enjoy chicken, fresh fish, and pork chop dishes, as well as hamburgers.
  • Decadent desserts: You’ll want to save room for dessert. The “Hazelnut Torta” is made from flourless hazelnut cake and chocolate ganache and is topped with ruby chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Another great option, the “Toasted Coconut Creme Brulee”, combines key lime marshmallow and chantilly into a divine dessert.

4. ChopHouse Thirteen

At ChopHouse Thirteen, you’ll dine in a classic and spacious black and white dining room that elicits vintage elegance. Guests should follow a “smart casual” dress code when they visit this high-end spot. Hungry yet? Offerings include:

  • Crafty cocktails: There’s a wide variety of wine, beer, and liquor to sip on. You can also choose handcrafted cocktails, such as a mango whiskey cocktail, vodka-infused strawberry lemonade, or blackberry mint martini.
  • Elevated appetizers: Start your dinner off with any number of enticing appetizers, such as the sesame seared ahi tuna, escargot, or wild mushroom and lavash crackers. You can also choose from soups and salads to meet your daily vegetable quota.
  • Meaty provisions: It’s no surprise that the entree list is full of meat and fish. There’s New Zealand lamb chops, Atlantic salmon, filet mignon, pan-roasted chicken breast, jumbo shrimp, twin lobster tails, and more. The chef offers vegetarian options as well, including a number of sides from grilled asparagus to parmesan risotto.
  • Simple sweets: For dessert, try the bread pudding, creme brulee, or cheesecake. Patrons can also order coffee or dessert cocktails and wine. A chocolate martini is a classic choice, but you can order a white chocolate martini too!

5. Flying Iguana Taqueria

Flying Iguana Taqueria is a restaurant-tequila bar combo and can be considered one of the many fun things to do in Jacksonville! Diners can sit in the colorful and eclectic interior or outside on the patio. With a devoted gluten-free menu, it’s a wonderful option for those with dietary restrictions. Menu highlights include:

  • Lively libations: There’s wine, beer, and, of course, plenty of tequila. Choose from eight different specialty margaritas. The “Ginger Beer Margarita” combines Olmeca Altos Blanco tequila with blood orange liqueur and Goslings ginger beer. Organic agave nectar and fresh lime juice complete the drink. There are also 11 more custom cocktails if you’re not in a margarita mood.
  • Fun finger food: Begin your meal with guacamole and queso or treat your palate with unique offerings such as a mushroom tostada or grilled stuffed avocado made from shrimp, green olives, radishes, and tomatoes.
  • Tasty tacos: Pick and choose from 13 different tacos or explore entree options. The “Chimichurri Steak” includes marinated steak, potato au gratin, roasted cauliflower, and salsa. The “Seafood Paella” includes fresh seafood like locally sourced shrimp, steamed mussels, and seared scallops in saffron rice that’s completed with a delicious fire-roasted pepper puree.
  • Sweet treats: Save room for dessert! There’s guava cheesecake made from blueberry compote, guava sauce, and graham quinoa, complemented with mango whipped cream. Not in the mood for a tropical dessert? You can also enjoy stuffed churros or Nutella bread pudding.

6. Kazu Japanese Restaurant

Dimly lit but accented with pops of color, Kazu Japanese Restaurant is a fine dining sushi bar that also offers contemporary Japanese food. With countless awards to back up their great food, you can dine on:

  • Japanese refreshments: Sip on wine or sake or nonalcoholic options such as strawberry or bubblegum-flavored Japanese soda to excite your taste buds.
  • Mouth-watering starters: You can begin your dinner with fresh ingredients in soups, salads, dumplings, and countless sushi and sashimi offerings. The “Chicken Teriyaki Roll” includes grilled chicken, avocado, and cucumber all covered in eel sauce. The “Lobster Volcano Roll” features steamed lobster and avocado wrapped in white tuna. Tobiko, scallion, and wasabi yuzu sauce complete this fiery roll.
  • Customizable entrees: For your meal, you can choose from hibachi bowls, bento boxes, and even sushi burritos! Build your own sushi burrito for the ultimate experience. You can also enjoy Kazu fried rice, yakisoba, tofu teriyaki, and more.

7. Mezza Luna

For contemporary Italian cuisine, Mezza Luna is a must. The decor has a classic charm and plenty of light and space, so diners can relax and enjoy the ambiance. Menu options include:

  • Nectarous wine: There’s an expansive wine list that includes champagne and sparkling wines, light to medium-bodied reds and whites, and medium to full-bodied reds and whites that suit every palate.
  • Classic starters: Begin your dinner with leafy greens like the “Mezza Summer Salad,” which includes mixed greens complemented by berries, toasted nuts, orange segments, and champagne vinaigrette. Appetizers include truffle fries, crispy Brussels sprouts, burrata, and more.
  • Rich specials: For your entree, you can choose from seven different wood-fired pizzas, meat, or pasta dishes. The “Fresh Pappardelle” includes short rib ragu and herbed ricotta that’s topped with panko bread crumbs. Another delicious seafood dish is the “Cioppino,” a tomato seafood stew full of fresh mussels, clam, shrimp, and more.
  • Liquor-infused sweets: For dessert, diners over 21 years old can enjoy specialty coffee and dessert martinis. The “Café Peppermint” combines white chocolate liquor with peppermint schnapps and coffee. The “Key Lime Martini” mixes vodka, citrus liqueur, fresh lime, and cream. For a more substantial dessert, you can inquire about the seasonal creme brulee flavor or enjoy bread pudding coated in an Irish whiskey sauce.

Hungry to make your move to Jacksonville?

Whether you want tacos, sushi, or pasta, Jacksonville has a restaurant to satiate your hunger. Keep in mind that, because of the low cost of living in Jacksonville, you’ll actually be able to hit all of the foodie spots on this list without breaking the bank! If Jacksonville’s culinary offerings sound appetizing to you and you’re ready to make a change, Landing can help. 

Access furnished apartments with flexible, short-term leases, so you can eat your way through Jacksonville on your own terms. The best restaurants in Jacksonville are just waiting for you to arrive. Browse our apartments in Jacksonville today!

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Bri Hand published on October 4, 2021