Guide to Restaurants in the San Marco Community
San Marco has been rich in Jacksonville history since the 1920’s. After surviving the Great Depression, numerous Hurricanes and the boom of an industrial city scape, San Marco concurrently feels nostalgic and modern. San Marco hosts an impressive list of restaurants, dessert spots and drink locales, and here they are!
Matthew’s Restaurant – Matthew’s has a long standing presence in San Marco. This fine dining restaurant is great for those special occasions with main courses ranging from $25 (fried eggplant) to $47 (14oz Kansas City Strip) but you likely want to order a starter or two (beef tartare and braised pork belly are great to share!). The house-made radiatori pasta with wagyu beef bolognese is a must try. Complementary valet service available and a great happy hour menu in the lounge is available from 4:30pm-6:30pm.
DATE NIGHT SPOTS
Rue Saint-Marc – Opened in the Summer of 2017, this is one of San Marco’s newest restaurants. Rue Saint Marc offers French inspired cuisine like the Fish Meuniere du jour ($23) and French Macarons ($2.25) but their wide variety of unique cocktails are what keeps guests going back.
Bb’s – Showcasing an impressive wine list and elevated Southern flare, this San Marco staple is for locals and new comers alike. Perfect for an after work bite or date night out, make sure to end your night with desserts that you’ll be dreaming about.
Taverna – Located in the Square, Taverna has been serving up handcrafted Italian for nearly a decade now. The menu includes Italian favorites like sautéed mussels and clams, soppressata pizza, the best cheese and charcuterie board in town. You can also get local flavors like scallops with Congaree and Penn’s middlin risotto. Taverna has one of the best happy hours in town and makes for a great date night spot.
Town Hall – Another great date night spot in the Square, Town Hall brings a West Coast inspired design and menu to the East. Chef Tom Gray serves up unique dishes like the seared octopus starter ($14), cauliflower steak entree ($18) and manchego bread pudding side ($6) that will certainly have you wanting to come back for more. Enjoy beer, wine and wine cocktails in the small lounge area, the bar or at your table. Town Hall is the sister restaurant to Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails at the St. John’s Town Center.
Flavors of Thai – Formally Basil Thai and Sushi, their menu offers a fusion of traditional and modern Thai flavors. Robust, fresh and spicy dishes are served in your option of the main dining room, wine room or outside patio.
Bistro Aix – A San Marco staple since 1999, Bistro is the perfect blend of French cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean influences. With traditional dishes such as escargot ($9) and hanger steak ($26) coupled with their impressive craft cocktail list, Bistro Aix is a destination for special occasions or dinner out on the town.
Olive Tree – A Mediterranean grille located off Hendricks. Olive Tree hosts very traditional Mediterranean cuisine with daily specials. Menu items include shawarma ($9), gyros ($9), grape leaves ($9) and hummus ($3). Parking perks! There’s a decent sized parking lot in front of the restaurant.
The Bearded Pig BBQ – Located off Kings Avenue just North of Aardwolf and the Square, this Texas-style BBQ joint consistently serves up delicious BBQ. All meats are smoked with a dry rub and all sides are vegetarian. The San Marco Platter serves two and is a great way to try a variety of items off the menu. The beer garden (also serving wine) features a covered patio, with heaters, TVs and beautiful outdoor area with picnic benches.
San Marco Theatre – Did you know the San Marco Theatre offers a dine-in experience when you watch a movie? You can enjoy beer and wine (including Aardwolf and Intuition) while eating quesadillas, pizza, paninis or nachos (in addition to popcorn and candy). Insiders tip: Buy a bottle of wine from Grape & Grain next door and pay the $3 per person corking fee.
Seafood Island Bar & Grille – Located in the Square, you can’t miss the straw umbrellas and brightly colored façade. This could be the largest menu in San Marco and you can get anything ranging from seafood to steaks, sandwiches and salads. You can even get frog legs and gator tail.
Ajeen and Juice – A Smoothie and Middle Eastern Street Food locale with plenty of fresh vegan and healthy options. Smoothies are offered at either 16oz ($5.95) or 20oz ($6.95). With a walk up window and juice bar, it is sure to satisfy for a quick visit or sit down meal.
Fuji Sushi – All you can eat sushi that is sure to please. Fuji has smaller bites of Japanese dishes with a tab that won’t hurt your wallet. Although there is usually a line, it is worth the wait for the sushi made to order and assortment of other plates like wontons, rice, noodles and soups.
Green Erth Bistro – Almost hidden on Hendricks Avenue, this Persian gem is a must! With international and seasonal sharing plates, paired with a warm and friendly atmosphere make you feel welcome and relaxed. Offering familiar dishes like hummus and kabobs, it will also expand your palate with exotic dishes like Bademjan and Fesinjan.
Hightide Burrito – A relaxed beach atmosphere with Mexican and Florida influences make its way on this menu of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and empanadas.
Metro Diner – Metro’s first location is about 1 mile south of the Square. Your typical old-school diner feel with large portions and serving breakfast all day. Insiders tip: you can order almost any item as a half order and you can bring your own bubbles for mimosas.
Panera – One of the few chain restaurants in San Marco. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner serving bagels, sandwiches, salads, soups and pastries. Parking located behind the restaurant and shared with La Nopalera.
Subway – Open only Monday – Friday 7AM – 4PM this Subway is located in the Baptist Medical Center Reid Medical Building at the corner of San Marco Boulevard and Nira Street.
The Loop Pizza Grill – Located in the Square, The Loop serves pizza, burgers, milkshakes and a little bit of everything in between. Did you know this was the first Loop location, opening its doors in 1981?
Tropical Smoothie Cafe – Located on the corner of Hendricks and Landon, this is the chain Tropical Smoothie. Serves sandwiches, wraps, bowls and of course, smoothies seven days a week and offers indoor and outdoor seating. There’s a small parking lot and designated to-go parking.
Pizza Hut – Literally a small hut. Located off San Marco Boulevard, this is carry out and delivery only. You won’t be able to eat here, but you can grab and go.
Beach Diner – This local diner chain can be found all the way in Fernandina to Ponte Vedra Beach or Mandarin. Serving classic American favorites for breakfast, brunch and lunch, this San Marco diner is sure to please with their house made omelets, blueberry pancakes and the like.
Chick-Fil-a – One of the most popular chains in America, Chick-Fil-a is always a family favorite with pleasant employees and juicy, moist chicken. Located in the Baptist Medical Center, it is easy to miss, but definitely a must not miss for a quick bite and constantly delicious chicken. Parking may be tricky, but there is a parking garage across the street. Hours may vary.
Firehouse Subs – This fast casual chain not only humbly originated in Jacksonville, FL in 1994, but serves some of the best hot or cold subs in the area. With the usual choices such as the Hook & Ladder (Medium $5.89/Large $8.39) and Engineer (Medium $5.99/Large $8.49), Firehouse also offers a variety of salads. It is also a great option for catering!
Flame Broiler – A healthy choice for fast service, this West Coast Franchise is making a name for itself on the East Coast. Serving Korean inspired dishes with a variety of different proteins like Tofu, Angus Beef, chicken or veggies, they pride themselves on no transfat, dairy or frying. A quick pick up with made to order dishes, I’m sure this chain will only continue expanding.
Hurricane’s – Perfect for watching a game or having a pitcher of beer after work, Hurricane’s is a local spot with great wings. Whether you’re looking for great bar food or a place to hang out with friends, this casual restaurant is ideal for an afternoon of football.
Jimmy John’s – Known for their slogan of “Freaky Fast” they usually live up to their name. Made fresh and fast, they may not have a wide variety of toppings, but are still sure to please. The chain restaurant is clean, meat cut daily and bread baked in house. With simple and crisp ingredients, it is an easy pick up anytime of the day.
La Nopalera – This newly moved La Nopalera was renovated, updated and will amaze anyone new or old to the restaurant. Authentic Mexican dishes pared with strong Margaritas are sure to please just about anyone looking for a fast casual bite.
Maple Street Biscuit Company – Deeply ingrained in San Marco, this local treasure originated in San Marco Square. Serving comfort food on homemade biscuits, each restaurant is clean, friendly and family oriented. Sure to please and fill your belly with gravy as delicious as your grandmother’s, locally brewed coffee and amazing mac-n-cheese. The only down side is that unfortunately they close early and are not open Sundays!
Saucy Kitchen – A soup, salad and sandwich lunch concept with multiple options. Located off Hendricks Ave, next to Hurricane’s, this restaurant is open for lunch Monday – Saturday with catering options.
European Street – With multiple locations, this beloved San Marco cafe overcame damages and rebuilt from Hurricane Irma. Now better than ever, they still host an extraordinary beer list with over 100 beers and extensive menu consisting of your choice of veggie plates, clubs, Reubens, heroes, and more.
V Pizza – Located north of the Square and close the Aardwolf, V Pizza is the first of five locations in Jacksonville/Gainesville. Their menu serves up some of the best Napoletana pizza you will find and all their dishes contain all natural ingredients, no artificial preservatives and no GMOs. Their wings are a must-try as well. There’s a parking lot behind the restaurant and shared parking across the street. Additional bonus is that it’s attached to Sidecar and can order your favorite pizza while sipping on your favorite beer or handcrafted cocktail.
Amaretti Desserts – Located next door to the San Marco Theater, this newly opened dessert spot is a must visit! Serving Pura Bean Coffee, it is the perfect pairing to any of their remarkable desserts. Cookies, cakes, pies, breakfast pastries and more are perfect for a quick pick up or ending to a work day. A must try if walking around the Square or after dinner splurge.
Donut Factory – Brand new to the area! This donut shop has an array of different glazes and toppings like Coca Pebbles, Strawberry Poptarts and Bacon (!) It also sells plenty of specialty donuts such as S’mores, Orangesicle, and Chocolate Covered Cherry.
Good Dough – Handmade donuts from scratch, they boast exciting flavors like Basil Lemonade, Cardamom Sugar, and a Molly Ringwald. They also provide a side of savory donuts including Fried Chicken, Avocado Dough-oast, and Ham, Egg, Cheese Doughwich. Menu changes monthly and be sure to get there early! They are sure to run out.
Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops – Handmade Ice Pops with super unusual flavors for almost any taste. With over 450 whimsy flavors like Coconut Curry Cashew, Pumpkin Stout and Hibiscus Honeydew, they are ever-changing and worth a constant visit. The perfect cool off in the Florida heat they will please adults and children alike.
Marble Slab Creamery – A Global Franchise with ice creams that is always fresh and combine in store. With toppings to spare, you can mix almost anything your heart desires with hand crafted ice cream. You’ll feel your childhood coming back to you with either your own personalized cone or cup, or cakes for any occasion.
Peterbrooke Chocolatier – You can smell the chocolate even before you reach the store! With the original located in San Marco Square, it is the perfect addition to any party, office event or indulgence for you. With the best chocolate covered popcorn in town, you’re sure to leave happy.
Bold Bean – One of the best coffee shops in town. Hosting three locations around Jacksonville, the San Marco shop is laid back, clean and friendly. Showcasing local artist and rotating tap beers, you’ll feel like a local even if you’re not.
Starbucks – The most recognizable coffee chain in the US, it is a staple for coffee addicts and mom’s alike. For the simple or complex order, it is sure to satisfy that afternoon pick me up coffee in a crutch. You’ll always walk away happy, or they’ll fix it until you are. (Even if they can’t spell your name right)
Aardwolf Brewery – Dog friendly, local brewery north of the Square. The standalone building has a large parking lot in the back and the brewery on site. Aardwolf has about 20 of their own beers on tap and release small batches on Wednesdays. Most evenings you will find a food truck on site and the brewery is closed Sundays.
Beer:30 – Located off San Marco Blvd, North of the Square next to Flame Broiler, Beer:30 is a craft beer retail store and tap room. And great news! The shop just expanded – adding more seating, additional restroom and a new projector. The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable. Grab a beer from the cooler or enjoy a flight of local beers on draft. Dog friendly.
Grape & Grain Exchange – Located in the Square, GGX is a great place to meet up with friends and enjoy a drink or two in a chill atmosphere. The GGX team makes handcrafted cocktails and is very knowledgeable in the vast selection of products in the retail section. Buy spirits, wine and beer to go or enjoy a bottle on site (with a corking fee). The Parlour is the back room open on the weekends and for special events and features a speakeasy vibe with the same great service. Open until midnight Sunday – Thursday and 2AM Friday and Saturday.
Sidecar – Attached to V Pizza, Sidecar serves up specialty cocktails, beer and wine. You can order food from V Pizza and it will be brought out to your table. Fido is allowed to chill under the covered patio but not allowed to come inside. Watch games on the TVs or play trivia Thursday evenings. Open until 2AM seven days a week.
Locals’ – Located in the northern parts of San Marco, near The Bearded Pig. Locals’ dimly lit atmosphere has friendly bartenders and music pumping through the on-line Jukebox. You can sip the night away playing darts or pool with your friends. Smoking is permitted in the building.
Sherwood’s – Dive bar on San Marco Boulevard near the Main Street Bridge. Restored after being closed from severe damage after Hurricane Irma. Now much brighter, you can still find your favorite bartenders pouring strong drinks with a smile. You can play pool or darts, listen to music or just hang out with friends. Allows smoking inside the building.