When you’re on a family holiday, dining out can be a bit of a flash point. Firstly, it’s going to account for a large part of your budget (especially if, like me, your children eat like rabid wolves), and secondly, everyone has different ideas about what they want – whereas you might want to sit and sip a cocktail while pondering the delicious items on the menu, your teenagers might well want to grab a burger and go. We always try to do a wide selection of dining when we’re away that suits everyone, mixing fast food with some more upmarket dining, and we always seek out anything quirky or unusual. We found some incredible places to eat during our trip to Amelia Island and thought we’d share the best of the best with you:
Best for brunch – 29 South
Just a short walk from our gorgeous old B&B, the Fairbanks House, this cool and funky bistro with friendly staff (hi Todd!) is a perfect place to enjoy a long. lazy Sunday brunch, with unlimited coffee and portions so big, they even defeated Charlie. Highlights included huge breakfast quesadillas, generously stuffed with cheese and sausage, and topped with two eggs and fresh salsa, and the amazing open frittatas are great too, topped with all sorts of yummy stuff, with loads of fresh salad. There’s great, unlimited fresh coffee too.
Best for pizza – Pi Infinite Combinations
I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced pizza in quite the same way as this incredible little pizza shop. There’s no fuss and no frills, but there really are infinite combinations of toppings for this fabulous New York style pizza. We chose pizza with clams, smoky bacon and chilli and it was utterly delicious.
Best for family dinner – Amelia Tavern
Situated right on Centre Street, bang in the middle of the historic downtown Fernandina area, the Amelia Tavern is buzzy and popular, with that distinctive Amelia Island warm welcome. Huge screens play sports and different entertainment, and there’s a great selection of draft beers, ciders and stouts. The interior is very industrial chic with high ceilings exposed brickwork and the menu is full of great shrimp, salads and sandwiches. We absolutely loved it – don’t leave without trying one of their amazing burgers, preferably served with double fried black truffle french fries. Oh and there’s a great wine list too, especially if you love an American red.
Best for an evening out in style – The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, this stunning hotel is right on the beach and oozes sophistication and glamour. We loved the brand new Lobby Bar, where we spent an incredible evening at the Legends Table (reservations required) eating Chef Andrew Yeo’s incredible creations from the fabulous new sushi bar and being dazzled by Head Barman Johnny Love’s (yes that’s his real name) clever experimental mixology, including the weird and wonderful signature smoked old fashioned (see my Instagram for the full, swirling experience), and a bourbon blended with aromatics at the table with a very strange Heath Robinson-esque contraption that infuses the whiskey. The raspberry gin drops are still my favourite though.
Best fun, casual dining – Falcon’s Nest at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
This cool sports bar, part of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, has the best aviation theming I’ve ever seen, with whole chunks of planes dangling from the ceiling! When we were there, the Green Bay Packers were playing the New York Giants and the whole place was noisy and buzzing. We grabbed a table, ordered beers and their famous Buffalo wings and joined in the fun – a really great way to spend an evening.
Best sweet treats – Fantastic Fudge
Another fabulous old place, right on Centre Street, Fantastic Fudge is a great place to pop in for a coffee or hot chocolate (or an ice cream, depending on the weather) and just inhale – it smells like heaven. All sorts of fudgey flavours are hand made on the premises and if you’re lucky, you’ll be just in time to watch one of the fudge makers doing their stuff, mixing great big slabs of fudge on enormous marble tables.
We were in Florida as guests of VISIT FLORIDA and Amelia Island, with car hire provided by Hertz.co.uk. See loveflorida.co.uk for more on Florida. For more information on Amelia Island, including advice on things to do, getting there and where to stay, visit my Out and about on Amelia Island post.