Amelia Island, Florida has no shortage of great places to eat– as long as you know where to look. As a result, the best restaurants on Amelia Island come in a wide array of contexts, and exploring all the variety is half the fun.
Here, you can find hole-in-the-wall seafood shacks, high-end resort destinations for world-class fine dining, bountiful brunch spots, and hip urban markets with great sandwiches and baked goods, to boot. The food on Amelia Island is excellent and the vibe will always be chill– such is the Amelia Island way.
Ultimately, whether you’re looking for a family-friendly Amelia Island restaurant, a romantic dinner spot, or simply a place that captures the unique je ne sais quoi of the food scene on Amelia Island, this guide has you covered.
Below, we spotlight some of the best restaurants in Amelia Island for unique, decidedly local meals– in no particular order.
Bookmark this list for easy reference later! There’s something here for everyone.
Verandah Restaurant is a gorgeous Amelia Island destination for elevated seafood and epicurean Southern cuisine, in an impressively modern, design-conscious space that feels like a hidden oasis. As of this writing, the kitchen serves dinner from 5 to 10 PM daily.
Nestled under a canopy of mossy oaks within the landscape of the Omni Amelia Island Resort, the restaurant is as intimate and inviting as the food. The creamy scallop risotto and complimentary bread appetizer are absolutely stunning, the pasta is handmade and decadent, and even seasonal vegetable sides like grilled roasted artichokes could bring a tear to your eye with their well-seasoned deliciousness.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a place to get an excellent farm-to-table meal on the island– or classic regional shrimp & grits– Verandah Restaurant is your best bet. But, it’s also secretly the best place to get handmade pasta on the island, as their abbreviated pasta menu always packs a punch.
They also have a fairly excellent kids menu, featuring said handmade pastas with chicken, shrimp, and other well-rounded add-ons, seasonal vegetables, and more. As a result, families, couples, and even solo diners will find a happy welcome dining here.
We love the environment, the efficient service, and the food– and the fact that tables are spaced to optimize for conversation and privacy even when the dining room seats a full house. (And it often does.)
Timoti’s Seafood Shak
Timoti’s Seafood Shak is one of the most beloved Amelia Island staples for wild-caught seafood– plus, it’s great for families (not to mention take away) as there’s a cute playground on-site. With its casual setting in historic Fernandina, it’s a delightful casual counter-serve spot that would feel like a hole-in-the-wall if it weren’t so universally popular already.
They serve creative sea-source fare like crab burgers, fish tacos, fried shrimp, and poke– but we really love the above-shown Baja Box, which comes with a choice of shrimp, salmon, fish, chicken, or tofu over coconut rice with avocado, greens, black bean salsa, tomatoes, and tangy cilantro ranch sauce. So good!
^ These kind of menu items can also be made with cauliflower rice. As such, Timoti’s offers fantastically fresh healthy options that everyone from pescatarians to keto- and carb-conscious folks love coming back to again and again. As a result, it’s easily the easiest place to eat a healthy meal on Amelia Island.
All of the fish and seafood served here can be grilled, fried, or blackened– your choice. The fried fish is never overly greasy and when they blacken the salmon, for example, they don’t char and burn it; they simply use the spices to coax out maximum flavor and then cook each piece of fish to beautiful, succulent perfection.
Ultimately, the food is all lovely– you could easily eat here multiple times during your stay and enjoy the experience deeply. Timoti’s also serves some of the best hush puppies you’re apt to find south of the Mason-Dixon line!
The salads, meanwhile, offer a masterclass in unique flavors and textures (e.g. julienned beets, toasted pecans, feta, and house fig vinaigrette, anyone?).
Pair your choice of salad or bowl with your preferred preparation of fish for the bespoke experience. The pre-fab items are all popular, but don’t be afraid to modify any dish to make it your own. The fish is so good and always cooked to order– it’s that fresh.
Salt at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island is the island’s go-to for exquisite fine dining in an opulent setting. True to the restaurant’s namesake, the kitchen is famous for using more than 40 salts from around the world across every dish on the menu.
Recent seasonal entrees included luxurious dishes like Baked Halibut with peas, kohlrabi, and leek fondue; grilled Wagyu with lightly cured egg yolk and warm gochujang vinaigrette; and pan-seared Lamb Loin with baba ganoush and pomegranate. The restaurant sources ingredients from local farms and sea, but the preparation inside of Salt’s kitchen is decidedly cosmopolitan.
The menu here tends to be short, but it features several fine dining classics if that’s what you’re looking to explore. (Think: pasta with truffle oil; octopus with chickpea puree, parsley salad, and harissa oil; artistic, architectural salads; and a dessert soufflé with Grand Marnier, chocolate gelato, and crème anglaise.)
Thus, if you’re celebrating something special or looking for a fancy date night destination, Salt is the go-to Amelia Island restaurant. It’s only open for dinner, and there’s a “resort sophisticated” dress code. (And yes, dress codes can be a little lax on Amelia Island, but diners should still take note.)
Pogo’s Kitchen is a great Amelia Island restaurant for refined Southern-style brunch, dinner, and upscale takeout. They have a tightly-curated selection of raw/chilled seafood (think: oysters, tuna tartare, and the like) as well as lovely appetizers (fritto misto, she-crab soup, beautiful salads and charcuterie boards, etc).
Entree-wise, the pan-seared scallops, roasted duck, and lamb meatballs are all particularly intriguing, and everything from the pasta to the vinaigrettes are always made in-house. That being said, the menu here is short and tidy, and it changes with the seasons.
Ultimately, if we want to dine in a bright, breezy upscale setting with light fair, good wine, and great conversation, Pogo’s is the place for you. We find that the portions here tend to be just right– decadent and delicious food that’s not so huge that you’ll feel sluggish after dining.
Oh, and their fried chicken and waffle brunch? It’s divine. For fans of the Southern brunch genre, the entire brunch menu here is a real gem. Other examples of exciting, unique menu items include boiled peanut hummus, duck hash, and crab benedict.
Man, do we love the walk-up casual vibes and excellent food at Marché Burette – easily the best place in Amelia Island to grab a hearty breakfast or weekend brunch.
This market and deli cafe inside of the Amelia Village circle of the Omni Resort also features boutique baked goods, an old time-y grocery store, and the largest ice cream sandwiches we’ve ever seen. (<—Seriously— they could feed 6+ people!)
The market is open from 6:30 AM to 5 PM for breakfast and lunch, and the sandwiches and salads are incredible. (Think: baby gem lettuces with soft-boiled eggs, avocado, goat cheese, heirloom tomato, bacon, and green goddess dressing. You can also always add any of the house proteins, from salmon and shrimp to rotisserie chicken, as these are always excellent and readily available for takeaway, as well.)
Sandwiches, meanwhile, are all delightfully well-rounded and often kissed by the grill, from house shrimp salad paninis to turkey BLTs with pimento cheese on fresh sourdough. They also do a wonderful broccoli salad– our go-to side of choice.
The outdoor veranda seating, meanwhile, offers plenty of shade and overlooks a lovely fountain pond on the edge of the adjacent golf course. Dining under the shade of the region’s signature mossy oaks is lovely. (And you can tell that Savannah is not far away.) As a result, Marché Burette is an ideal place to convene whether you’re seeking casual outdoor dining or gathering a picnic lunch.
(They frequently have live music on the weekends, and they also sell delicious sundries like peanut butter pretzel cups, housemade taffy, GIANT lemon-poppyseed muffins, and more.) It’s inviting, casual but refined, and always well-attended.
For the classic weekend brunch experience, order the impressive Brunch Tower, which features scrambled eggs, pecan wood-smoked bacon, sausage, potatoes, pastry with housemade jams, fresh fruit, and Chef’s housemade breakfast feature (which changes seasonally but is always worth the hype).
Cocktail-wise, pair this with a Marché Tea (sweet tea vodka with local peach purée and fresh lemonade) or an Amelia Island Lemonade (vodka and St-Germain-spiked lemonade with house-preserved lemon), and you’ll be happy as a clam.
Wicked Bao is a trendy Asian hot spot located in a somewhat hidden, industrial stretch of downtown Ferdinanda Beach.
Here, they serve excellent bao (succulent meat- and/or veggie-filled steamed buns) as well as other pan-Asian classics like crispy pork chop rice, dumplings, spring rolls, flash-fried veggies, and other unique vegetarian-friendly plates like tofu wings and laksa (aka Malaysian coconut curry noodle soup).
Wicked Bao is lovely for dine-in and take-out, and on the weekends they will be hoppin’ for dinner (though they are closed Sunday and Monday, FYI). We love the warm ambiance and nice outdoor seating under twinkly lights– just be sure to come early if you have a large party.
The urban-industrial setting, meanwhile, makes the restaurant feel like the best-kept secret among Amelia Island’s more hip and discerning foodie youth. (There are lots of hipster beards and tattoos among the younger clientele, for example.)
Ultimately, we love the pork bao and the seasonal vegetable offerings, which are always fresh and full of umami. (The recent flash-friend green beans, for example, were tossed with Chinese five spice and drizzled with wasabi miso aioli and lime. So good!)
Salt Life Food Shack
Salt Life Food Shack on Ferdinanda Beach is a great beachfront spot with shaded views, an on-site aquarium, and a cool beach bar vibe. They have GREAT rooftop seating, plus lovely oysters and margaritas. (They also do convenient curbside pickup and delivery.)
Here, you can order everything from hand-rolled sushi to crab-stuffed grouper to excellent Asian salmon salads. They serve a popular tuna poke bowl and authentic fish tacos, plus a raw bar, fried calamari, and a litany of coastal hits, from beach boils and Southern fried shrimp to the Key Lime Pie you can order for dessert.
The menu is extensive and it does feel a little corporate (they also have franchises in Jacksonville Beach and St. Augustine), but the location and the consistency make this beachfront snack shake a perennial local favorite. And they are a local staple for takeout!
Amelia Island’s own Burlingame Restaurant has a reputation that precedes it, having earned special recognition from the Wall Street Journal not long after Amelia Island became known as an on-the-map travel destination.
The restaurant is known for serving upscale boutique dinner service from 5:30 PM onward, and because of its cozy location in a quaint-yet-modern house, reservations are recommended.
Go here if you’re looking for gorgeous composed salads and lovely outdoor seating– though they also have a great handle on everything from tartare to BBQ. Proteins are handled with aplomb and served in perfect harmony with bright, seasonal produce. The result is bold flavors and balanced plates that have diners wanting to come back again and again.
Plus, the welcoming “home-like” setting draws a warm contrast to the epicurean finesse with which the kitchen presents the food. Basically, you can have a high-end farm-to-table experience here without feeling overwhelmed by pretense.
Ultimately, it’s a wonderful staple in the Amelia Island restaurant scene– and it just might be the highlight of your trip, especially if you’re celebrating something special and looking for a serene environment in which to do so.
Lagniappe (pronounced “Lan-Yap”) offers dinner and drinks daily from 4 PM onward, and it has a decidedly upscale gastropub feel. See, for example, their recent hot-smoked steelhead salmon brûlée and the softshell crab with succotash chimichurri, two choice menu items that blend high and low epicurean trends into a single, inviting dish.
But don’t let the gastropub designation fool you, either. My goodness, the food here is beautiful. It seems like everything is adorned with bright, seasonal garnishes, from edible flowers to chiffonaded herbs. Plates are dressed with bold, vibrant sauces, infused oils, and housemade reductions.
It’s all lovely, and the portions are ample which is not always the case with this level of gastronomic finesse. Even pub-style appetizers are taken to a new level, from the hand-cut calamari and chicken-fried oysters to the cold water lobster corndog (yes, a real thing!).
The menu here is extensive, but we particularly love the wide array of seafood and salad options available. These, too, are as delicious as they sound. Duck confit on frisée with leek and parsnip bread pudding, classic French vinaigrette, and homemade lardons feels more like a small entree than a signature salad, but the heartiness of flavor– a theme running through all of Lagniappe’s food– keeps people coming back.
~ Honorable Mention ~
A few other local highlights that are worth your time.
- Amelia Island Coffee is easily the best coffee shop on Amelia Island. This beloved community watering hole is an Amelia staple that’s absolutely hoppin’ on the weekends. The coffee here is excellent, they serve what is likely the largest biscotti on the East Coast, and the housemade baked goods are absolutely stunning. (Try the decadent peanut butter bar for a rich, shareable treat.) Other unique offerings, like their Red Bull infusion coffee, hint at the adrenalized coffee trends that have become quite popular throughout Florida, but ultimately, this is a very nostalgic hometown cafe. We love their chocolate-covered coffee beans and the fact that you can walk from here to the Saturday Farmers Market with ease. (More on that market, below.)
- David’s Restaurant is a go-to spot for sophisticated seafood and steak, though it can be a little stiff, as it’s the kind of place you go for an anniversary dinner, with its beautiful and often colorful desserts. The restaurant is open for dinner, only, and you’ll want to dress up a little.
- Cafe Karibo in the heart of downtown offers nice, shaded outdoor dining, and it’s good for lunch, dinner, take-out, and even Sunday brunch. The menu here has a Caribbean flair, and the service is friendly, fast, and unpretentious.
- Sunrise Cafe is a great Amelia Island brunch spot that is kid-friendly but still upscale, located on the sunny patio at the Omni Amelia Island Resort. Order off the menu or select the economical buffet option. The brunch service is open from 6:30 AM to Noon. But, you’ll need to book ahead since this is a private resort– You have to make a reservation here in order to get through the community gate.
Some Other Cool Foodie Things
- The annual Fish to Fork Festival returns to Amelia Island each May. The event takes place on the beautiful waterfront and tree-filled campus of the Omni Amelia Island Resort, and focuses on local “dock-to-dish” specialties. Over the course of a fun, seafood-filled weekend, chefs from around the country showcase their fishing and culinary skills in various individual and group challenges where diners get to vote on their favorite dishes. For more information on tickets, go here.
- The Fernandina Beach Farmers Market takes place in the heart of downtown Fernandina Beach every Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM. Here, you can get everything from fantastic mango salsa and guacamole to duck eggs, pasture-raised meats, gorgeous produce, fresh-baked bread, and even a few local crafts. (It’s also the only place I’ve ever seen “Marshmellow Shooters”, which is a toy you’ll just have to visit the market to understand.)
- Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop is a local bakery that makes whimsical and twee desserts ranging from cupcakes to colorful macarons. They also sell gorgeous celebration cakes, cinnamon buns, fruit tarts, brownies, ice cream, and even upscale pastries like kouign-amann and their signature “Amelia Island Lobster Tails”— a buttery, flaky layer pastry stuffed with heavenly cream and ricotta filling. (<—They make these first thing in the morning, they look just like a lobster tail, and they tend to sell out quickly!)
- Watanut is a great place to buy souvenir nut mixes, cookies, pretzels, crackers, and more, with decidedly local flair. (They sell Florida Key Lime cookies in specially illustrated Amelia Island tins, for example.) We love the gourmet Nut Nog mix, which features boozy rum cashews, sumptuous cinnamon yogurt-covered pretzels, toasty almonds, tart cranberries, and local Georgia pecans. They also serve made-to-order ice cream sandwiches.
- We love the roadside fruit stand known as Terry’s Produce, which is a great place to buy locally-grown Florida citrus. Look for their specialty tangelos and “Honey Bell” oranges when available. It’s a lovely place to shop for fresh, edible souvenirs– or a succulent snack after a bike ride on a warm, sunny day. 🙂