Food and Nightlife
The Surf Restaurant & Bar (3199 S. Fletcher Ave., 904/261-5711, www.thesurfonline.com, 11 a.m.–midnight daily, main courses from $8) is a large multibuilding complex across the street from the beach. Despite its size, it always seems full. Live music, 23 televisions, and a drink while you wait on the outside deck that has a view of the Atlantic eases the pain of the seemingly eternal wait for a table. Once you finally get seated, you probably won’t mind that the steak and seafood that the Surf dishes up aren’t exactly anything to write home about; just sitting and eating is rewarding enough.
For a less grueling wait and a similar beach-grill atmosphere, head to the north end of the island and Sandy Bottoms (2910 Atlantic Ave., 904/277-0814, main courses from $9). A standard selection of sandwiches and seafood baskets are complemented by an outdoor deck that sits atop the sand.
More upscale dining experiences can be found in downtown Fernandina Beach. The Beech Street Grill (801 Beech St., 904/277-3662, www.beechstreetgrill.com, 6–10 p.m. daily, main courses from $17) is located in a home built in 1889, with a menu that’s steeped in the classics—grilled beef tenderloin, roasted salmon, spit-roasted chicken, sautéed lobster and linguine—but prepared with a contemporary flair.
Espana Restaurant & Tapas (22 S. 4th St., 904/261-7700, www.espanadowntown.com, 5–10 p.m. daily, tapas from $7, main courses from $19) features Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, with a wide selection of tapas plates and a full dinner menu as well. Dinner is served in one of two comfortable dining rooms and on a verdant outdoor patio.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition