- Things to Do
Our restaurants offer dining choices galore! Whether you’re craving fine dining or a casual patio lunch with friends, Jacksonville serves up locally owned establishments and nationally recognized chains. From Southern comfort dishes to fresh-off-the-boat seafood to wide-ranging international flavors, Jacksonville’s dining scene satisfies every palate.
Dining with An International Accent
As the home to US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville has attracted visitors from around the world who served here or visited friends and family. That diversity and melting pot of cultures, traditions and delicious food inspired us to create Jacksonville's International Food Trail. You can sample foods from around the world with this selection of locally owned spots selected for service, taste and authenticity. The following offers a preview of some of the stops along the International Food Trail. Sample fresh authentic South American flavors at Lilianna’s Colombian Restaurant and Bakery. Order the fresh fruit drinks to start and consider nibbling on her Arepas or other homemade breads while you read the menu. Consider ordering the empanadas alongside the “Bandeia Paisa”, a heaping platter of grilled steak, red beans white rice, pork cracklings, Colombian sausage, fried sweet plantains, a fried egg and a white corn patty. Save room for dessert -- the bakery is known for its authentic Columbian favorites. They also do special occasion and wedding cakes to order.
Continue your global tasting tour at Marrakesh Mediterranean Cuisine, where Middle Eastern tapestries, textiles, lanterns add ambience. Here, you’ll find homemade humus, stuffed grape leaves, perfect executed lamb chops, kababs and so much more. Insider tip: belly dancers swirl among the tables on select nights. Check their Facebook page for the schedule.
Savor a taste of the Caribbean at Elsa’s Place in downtown Jacksonville. This family-owned business offers sit-down service in take-out styrofoam containers. Don’t let the casual vibe fool you. For many, the oxtail is the crown jewel of the menu. If it’s your first time to try it, order the platter. Mouthwatering bites of this perfectly cooked oxtail tastes a bit like the best pot roast ever. You’ll find perfectly balanced curries, fried pork chops and burgers in the mix here too.
At the Angry Ginger Irish Pub, find Irish-inspired favorites such as the Irish Boxty and Scotch Eggs along with the American classics such as spinach & artichoke dip and pub wings. Beer lovers will nod to the many beers on tap. Take advantage of the pool tables and darts after you eat.
Casual Restaurants Made For Fun
For a laid-back vibe, enjoy crab dip and shrimp scampi while overlooking the New River at Captain Bob Beck’s Marina Café, or stop in for authentic New York-style pizza at Tony’s while shopping the Jacksonville Mall. Chow down on hand-cut fries and the Paul Parker sandwich (a fried pork tenderloin sandwich named after a local 1950’s radio personality) or the burgers and mouthwatering shakes at Jeff’s Burgers, Dogs & Shakes. Jeff’s was named one of Southern Living Magazine’s “50 undiscovered Places You’ll Love in the South”. Don’t forget to top off your meal with a homemade chocolate milkshake.
Celebrate, Linger When Dining Here
Stop by Duck’s Grille & Bar for premium cocktails such as the "Dirty Goose" Martini. This full-service, white tablecloth restaurant offers a bar on one side and quiet, beautifully designed nooks for lingering over food and quiet conversations. Duck’s serves specialties such as Surf & Turf, Grilled Heritage Pork Chops, Umami Dusted Ahi Tuna, salmon scallops and more. Sunday brunch features Fried Calamari, salads, Eggs Benedict, Duck’s Steak & Eggs and more, including delectable desserts.
Comfort Food and Classics
When you’re in the mood for comfort food like Grandma would make, head over to Southern Harvest Soul Food and start your meal with sweet potato bread. You can order breakfast all day at The Kettle Diner, and on Friday, the special is fried shrimp, fresh off the boat. If starting your day off at an old-fashioned breakfast house sounds good, go where the locals go: Angie’s, where you’ll get strong coffee, buttermilk biscuits, grits and fat links of sausage purchased from a butcher the next county over.
Jacksonville’s mix of coffee shops offers even more spots to enjoy a cup of java and a place to hang out with friends. You will find fancy Italian coffee, sidewalk seating and original brickwork at Biagio’s downtown. Or sip on your choice of coffee or smoothie overlooking the new river at Port City Java. At Lil Bean Cafe, pick your mug from their extensive collection. Then feast on their daily quiche special, made-to-order sandwiches and chicken salad. The specialty coffee is fresh roasted at The Milk Road, but the liege waffles are just as big a draw. So crunchy and sweet, no syrup needed. If you’re a tea lover, the fresh loose-leaf tea is a must try. You can get their coffee and tea in bulk, whole bean or ground to your specified brewing method.