On our return trip from Palm Beach, we decided to take an alternate eastern route and spend the night in the historic city of St. Augustine. It had been decades since my last visit, so it all seemed new again to me. St. Augustine remains a striking town with equal parts Savannah, Mobile, and Charleston. Southern, check. Close to the water, check. Chock full of history and stunning architecture, check. What perhaps sets it apart a bit is the distinctive Floridian vibe. Palm trees and Spanish tile everywhere. And that, my friends, is where The Floridian comes in.
The Floridian’s delivery bike — spic and span and ready for action
The hours are kind of complicated — the concept is not
Classic Old Florida kitsch can be viewed & enjoyed throughout
They do tasty sweets here too — this one nutty and delicious
This Gator painting was lurking over my shoulder all evening long
Great, fresh menu — I opted for the unique Florida Sunshine Salad
Drinks are served up in an old-fashioned yet timeless Ball Mason jar
The Dining Room is a combo of soft pastels and fish camp ambiance
The bar is cool – and diners must visit if you choose to imbibe
The Floridian’s thrift store sensibility is charming, for sure
Few details are overlooked here. Even the floor looks terrific!
I started my meal by ordering the Grit Cakes. This take was especially unique thanks to the inclusion of a spicy chili-cumin aioli and a seasonal salsa highlighted by small cubes of roasted sweet potato. A Wainwright Cheddar is also employed, giving the appetizer a true diversity of flavors and textures. There was a lot going on here, but it all managed to work just fine.
My son’s po-boy with fresh Pork Sausage and Fried Green Tomatoes
Behold (above) the Florida Sunshine Salad. It is a feast for the eyes and the belly. Look at those vibrant colors! Look at those plump Florida shrimp! Look at those BEETS!!! Hey, how often do diners actually get fired up about beets? Not very often, I can tell ya that. But you know what? They are the star of the show in this daring dish. If your only experience with beets involved a glass jar, I strongly suggest you reintroduce yourself to fresh beets. There is a BIG difference. Great texture with natural flavor that is often diminished during the normal pickling process. Fresh Plant City (FL) strawberries are also invited to the party, as are large chunks of blue cheese from Thomasville, Georgia’s Sweet Grass Dairy.
The inventive cuisine served at The Floridian is Southern-inspired … to a degree. More importantly, they are using farm fresh ingredients that spotlight the best natural bounty that the Sunshine State has to offer. The atmosphere is winning and the staff hip and helpful. If you’re looking for touristy, this ain’t your place.
It’s not exactly vegan, but it’s close.
And it’s a smart choice for those ready to take a step beyond fried seafood.
So come tour The Floridian — where fresh flavors coming shining through.
Consider it a vacation for your palate.
The Floridian – 39 Cordova Street, St. Augustine, FL
(904) 829-0655; www.thefloridianstaug.com