118 Avenida Menendez
St Augustine, FL 32084
From the amazing water views as you’re walking up to the courtyard to live music serenading you as you leave, you do not want to miss this distinctive treasure in downtown St. Augustine. The outside seating looks not only upscale and classy, it appears comfortable with the breeze from the bay and views of the marina. Notice the proximity of the water to the seafood dishes, and this review is definitely for those who enjoy the fresh catch of the day.
When you get to the fork in the road and the restaurant is straight ahead, veer right for the diner’s only free parking lot, much appreciated and needed for the location. It was a little too chilly for us to sit outside with temps in the high 60s the night we visited, but some were outside enjoying it. For an early Saturday evening dinner (around 4:30pm) we called ahead for priority seating, which they say cuts your wait time in half. Even on a busy holiday weekend, the wait was short and we didn’t mind taking in the beauty of the 1790 building that now houses the restaurant.
As you walk by the bar through the dining room, it feels exactly as you hope with century-dating roots. They led us up the wooden staircase, with a decorative life-size pirate to greet you on your way to a large table with booth seating on one side and dining chairs on the other, surrounded by the exposed aged coquina brick. Our server greeted us and told us fresh bread would be arriving shortly. When it did, it was a complimentary basket of herb and cheddar biscuits, warm and full of flavor.
Our Crab Spinach Dip appetizer ($10.95) came next, timely and hot with warm yummy bread similar to pita bread, but more of an airy texture. Delicious and too good to not dive in right away. Our phones were not fast enough to snap a picture of this until it was almost gone. The dip hit the spot and is definitely for the cheese lovers – don’t be expecting more crab flavor or a heavy spinach taste. We were enjoying the atmosphere and dip so much we decided on getting another appetizer to hold us over.
Because there were four adults, we ordered the Seafood Platter appetizer (market price). There were plenty of crab legs and warm boiled shrimp. Be prepared to work for your crabmeat, but that’s part of the fun, especially when you’re so close to the water. You do have to peel the fresh shrimp, and the cocktail sauce is just right.
For our entrees we continued the trend and went all-in with the seafood, but there are other non-seafood options like steak, burgers and Chicken Parmesan. The Parmesan and Herb Crusted Fresh Catch entrée ($23.95) arrived with two sides, seasoned rice and vegetables. On the hook: local caught snapper grilled perfectly.
Next up the crab cakes on the Seafood Combo entrée ($23.95) were filled with juicy crabmeat, nothing dry about them. If you’re someone like me, and not a fan of crab cakes, you should still consider giving these a try as they have the power to change your mind. I thought I would pass over these, but they were one of my favorites of the platter, along with the four fried shrimp. They were battered lightly, note: you’ll be reeled in for more. The entrée arrived with crispy sweet potato waffle fries, green bean vegetable medley and a 4 oz. herb crusted mahi mahi, grilled to perfection, as well.
One of our much-loved parts of the evening, besides the food, atmosphere and location, was the service. Everyone was so nice and our server Bria was timely, professional and knowledgeable. She was attentive to spell out “desserts” in front of the kids, in case we passed, which we did because our food left such a lasting good impression.
With so many quality places in Saint Augustine to try, you can cast historic charmer O.C. White’s on your must-visit list.
Written by Rebecca Barnes, an Ohio native residing in Saint Johns, Florida. She believes dog people are the best people and horseback riding is her weekly stress relief. Coming from a long line of lighthouse keepers, she loves being by the ocean. Her food goals include trying to make pizza healthy… and cupcakes.