Five Places Every Foodie Should Visit in Jacksonville, Florida


I bet when you think about Jacksonville, you think of beaches and sunny Florida weather. We aren’t really known for any specific dish or style of food, but we have some restaurants that will give other cities a run for their money! Whether you are visiting from out of town or are a local looking for a new place to eat, these are the five restaurants that you must try while in Jax!

1. French Pantry

Best Sandwich Ever!French Pantry is a teeny tiny sandwich place that only has about 10 tables. They are only open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11am to 2:15pm, and you better get there early! The line usually starts forming outside around 10:30am. Every. Day. It’s that good. Now I know you are wondering how a sandwich place can be THAT good. Reason number one? The bread.
They make all of their bread fresh daily. It’s so good that many Jacksonville chefs buy it to use in their own restaurants! When you get a table (which is family style, so make some new friends!) you are given complimentary bread with oil and spices. I know it’s hard, but you must pace yourself! Don’t fill up on bread; remember that the good stuff is coming next!
Favorite menu items:

  1. Turkey Bacon Swiss Guacamole Sandwich
  2. Pastrami on Rye

Dining Tips:

  1. Get there early! I am not exaggerating! I got there around 11 one time and stood outside for 45 minutes. Yeah I know that sounds crazy. But once you have invested so much time, you are seeing it through to the end!
  2. Get the Turkey Bacon Swiss Guacamole sandwich. Is it exactly how it sounds, delicious! 3. If you are just not into sandwiches, get the bruschetta. They have a bunch of different types and it is outstanding!
  3. Order dessert to go. You are going to be stuffed after the bread and the sandwich, but you can’t pass on dessert. While standing in line you have to stare at the dessert case the entire time, which is torture. I have tried almost everything in there (don’t judge), and you can’t go wrong. The most popular cake is the Wedding Cake. If they have it, get it. Trust me.


6301 Powers Ave, Jacksonville, FL
(904) 730-8696

French Pantry on Urbanspoon

2. Maple Street Biscuit Company

The Sticky MapleMaple Street Biscuit Company is one of the newer Jacksonville restaurants, but it has made one heck of a name for itself! They started with one restaurant in the heart of San Marco, then opened another in Jax Beach, and have a third location opening later this year in Murray Hill.
They are primarily open for breakfast and lunch, but are open for dinner on Friday and Saturday. Maple Street is not your typical breakfast place. They do biscuits, and they do them well! Whether you are in the mood for biscuits and gravy or a chicken biscuit, they have got you covered. The menu is very creative and unique.
Favorite menu items:

  1. The Ralphie/The Ralphie Deluxe
  2. The Farmer
  3. The Sticky Maple

Dining Tips:

  1. Get your own biscuit, but share a side. You might not think that a biscuit will fill you up, but it will.
  2. Get a Cinnamon Pecan Biscuit for dessert. One word, yum.
  3. For your order name, they have a new question every week. Sometimes it’s your favorite band, movie, tv show, etc. Check out the sign on your way in and think of an answer while waiting in line.


2004 San Marco Blvd, Jacksonville, FL
(904) 398-1004

Maple Street Biscuit Company on Urbanspoon

RELATED: Where to Eat in Jacksonville, Florida.


3. TacoLu

Carne Asada, TacoLu Verde, Bangin ShrimpEvery city has that one place that locals will take you to. In Jacksonville, TacoLu is that place. They were originally located about two blocks from the beach, but they quickly outgrew that location and had to move a few more blocks down the road.
TacoLu is primarily a taco joint, but you can find other Mexican items on their menu as well. The menu is a la cart, which I love because it allows me to mix and match. Even though they are always busy, the food comes out fast and is absolutely delicious.
Favorite Menu Items:

  1. Bangin Shrimp Taco
  2. Carne Asada Taco
  3. Blackened Scallop Taco (daily special)

Dining Tips:

  1. If you can’t find a parking spot, they have complimentary valet! Just don’t park in the neighboring shopping center. They will tow you.
  2. Don’t worry about sides, just get an extra taco. 3-4 tacos and you are good to go.
  3. Make sure to ask your server for the daily seafood taco specials.
  4. Get Sopapillas for dessert. They are Heaven.


1712 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, FL
(904) 249-8226

TacoLu on Urbanspoon

4. Safe Harbor Seafood

Shrimp and Grit CakesJacksonville is surrounded by water, so you know we have some great seafood places! My favorite is Safe Harbor Seafood in Mayport. They are twice as awesome because they also have a fish market inside the restaurant! As a matter of fact, they supply most of the restaurants around town with their seafood! Recently they did some renovations that expanded the fish market as well as the restaurant. But with these changes came the best part, new Sunday hours (they were previously closed)!
Favorite Menu Items:

  1. Shrimp and grit cakes (Sunday special)
  2. Fisherman basket with Shrimp and Scallops

Dining Tips:

  1. Sit outside, no matter how hot it is. The view is amazing!
  2. Make sure to check the small sign next to the register for the daily fish specials.
  3. Check the hours before you go. They close at 6pm on certain days, so you either need go for lunch or have an early bird dinner.


4378 Ocean St #3, Atlantic Beach, FL
(904) 246-4911

Safe Harbor Seafood Market and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

5. M Shack

Portobello Truffle Burger, Truffle Parmesan Fries, Queso Fries, Onion RingsEvery city needs a good burger place, and M Shack is ours! All of the ingredients are fresh and the burgers are made to order.
They have a gourmet feel to them without being too uppity, which makes sense because the owners have been chefs in some of Jacksonville’s top restaurants! M Shack is a fast casual restaurant where you order at the counter. The line is always out the door, but it moves fast. The burgers are very inventive and extremely fresh. You will be hard pressed to find a better burger in Jax!
Favorite Menu Items:

  1. Portobello Truffle Burger
  2. The Sunrise Burger
  3. Truffle Parmesan Fries

Dining Tips:

  1. Grab a menu while waiting in line. They are located on the bar to the right.
  2. Get a milkshake. If you don’t, you will have to watch everyone else around you enjoy theirs, and that is no fun.
  3. You will be tempted, but don’t grab a table before you order. The tables rotate out really fast and there is always one opening up. The people in line see you stealing that table and will give you the eye.


10281 Midtown Parkway, Jacksonville, FL
(904) 642-5000

M Shack on Urbanspoon



About Jill Cruz

Headshot-Jill-Cruz-CropJill Cruz has been blogging for about 3 years, and since she doesn’t cook, she likes to explore all that Jacksonville restaurants have to offer. Follow her on her food adventures at “Forget Jack, Jill Wants a Snack!” and you might just find a new favorite restaurant!



  1. Katie Steverson says:

    Even better order selections:
    French Pantry – the bruschetta and turkey goat cheese pesto sandwich are an absolute must.

    Maple Street Biscuit – the Squawking Goat or the Five and Dime.

    Tacolu…there is no better taco than the Carne Royale. Carne Asada steak, Brie cheese and grape salsa. Also, like their FB page for random specials, like the black and blue or the PK taco.

    • Moon River needs to be added for sure!

      Burrito Gallery is better than TacoLu. Cheaper food, but a WHOLE lot more food, better cut meat and more selection than TacoLu. Besides, TacoLu copied a whole lot from Burrito Gallery, from the sugar skull in the logo to the mural on the side of the building.

  2. Add moon river pizza to this list and you have yourself a few of my favorite places to dine.

  3. Nice article. Now, how about us really picky eaters here in Jax.
    There are No vegetarian restaurants here. Why is that??? In fact, I learned just today as I was having my fave dish (the Garden Egg) at the Maple Street Bakery in Edgewood that the collard greens are Not vegetarian. They got HamHocks in ’em. Guess I shoulda known, this is the Deep South afterall. But dang! Shouldn’t they offer a meat free alternative. Love me some collards and don’t wanna eat my piggy friends!!
    Yes, you can get some vege dishes here and there (Thai. Indian. Oriental) but why o why NO real vegetarian organic?
    We’ve got plenty Yogis in this town now so come on and give us some really good food with No Eyes or

    • You know, you probably wouldn’t know it by my posts, but I am actually a pretty picky eater. I have been trying to get better, but it’s hard to break 30 years of bad habits!

    • Yep. As a vegetarian, I was a bit sad that nowhere on the list had much to offer us–though I know a vegetarian who loves TacoLu, so they must have something good (Burrito Bros has tofu tacos!).
      There are plenty of great places (e.g., Moon River (all pizza places–but only a few also have things for vegan peeps), the tofu & tempeh hoagies at Mellow Mushroom, foreign foods, Chamblin’s Uptown, etc.), however, it’d be hard to make a list of best veggie-vegan-friendly restaurants ever since we lost Heartworks.

  4. Dr. Frank Addison says:

    At TacoLu, the $10 Taco ($4.99) is absolutely the best. We love the Bangin’ Shrimp Quesadliia – it’s very filling. The tortilla chips are made (deep fried, salted & kept warm) on-site and the salsa is the best in the southeast, hands down. Enjoy the patio, even in winter with the heaters, for a terrific casual dining experience.

  5. Herb Kennedy says:

    M shack is perfectly fine but for me the go to place for a burger in Jax is Cruisers Grill on 3rd Street in Jax Beach. When you sit down order a large fries to share and get the ranch dressing, and trust me you will want extra ranch. Then order the cruiser burger with cheese. You will not find a better burger in town.

  6. Thank you all for your comments!! You have no idea how hard it was for me to pick just 5 restaurants. I had a spreadsheet going with all of my choices and had to slowly narrow it down! So, if you ever are in need of a food suggestion, just shoot me an email or write me a post on Facebook/Twitter. All of my friends do it, so feel free to ask away!

  7. Safe Harbor? Really? Save yourself the time and drive the extra 1/4 mile and go to Singleton’s. The selection is better, the food is better, and the atmosphere is better. Don’t expect upscale decor though, it’s not called Singleton’s Seafood Shack for nothing! But trust me, everything is much better at Singleton’s.

    • Robert Goggin says:

      That was true 20 years ago but the quality and quanity at Singletons has gone down hill for years.

  8. METRO DINER should be on this list! Best breakfast in Jax 🙂 A few favorites: Yo Hala on the Square (stuffed French toast), Charleston Shrimp & Grits, Huevos Racheros, Fried Chicken & Waffles…the list goes on…

  9. You should also have added Moxie to your list, pretty amazing stuff and always changing their menu to fit the what their produce suppliers have in season

  10. I was vegan for a while and my favorite place to go was Cafe Freda in 5 point across from European street. Amazing options that range from vegan to vegetarian to gluten free and they always have awesome specials. European Street also has awesome veggie and vegan options

  11. I have to say that all of you are wrong for the best burger. Ted’s is and will be the only place to get the juiciest hand packed to order burger in town. They actually cook your fries to order from a real (not frozen) potato. The double breaded onion rings are even better.

  12. All excellent suggestions. I definitely agree with the poster about Cruiser’s… you could put that ranch on shoe leather and it would be amazing! However, at the top of my list is Biscotti’s!!! Simply amazing!!! Fresh food made with the most incredible ingredients, superb wine list, and desserts… mercy me, the desserts!!!!

  13. Mike, you must not have been recently. Singleton’s has gone up on their prices by 30% with no change in food quality or atmosphere. I know it is supposted to be a dive. Safe Harbor has better food, prices are very reasonable, and with the changes at Safe Harbor, I forsee Singleton’s closing over the next few years. As a live-long resident of Jax, I will never recommend Singleton’s to anyone as long as Safe Harbor is in business.

    • Erin, thanks for your comment. I’m not trying to put down Singletons or anything, but I just don’t get all of the hype. We went there once and haven’t gone back. The prices were high and the food was average. We tried Safe Harbor once and were hooked, we go there almost every Sunday now. The food is so fresh and the prices are not outrageous. Love that place!

  14. Erin, I visited Singleton twice; I’m not impressed at all. They are overpriced bad seafood at a rundown dump. I’m an avid and picky Seafood consumer. And I agree with you that Safe Harbor is Jacksonville ‘ s Jem for seafood. The freshest seafood at a reasonable price and nice location. And likewise; Its foreseeable that Singleton will be out of business soon; if they don’t change.

  15. Taco lu is just trendy and over priced. Their margaritas are terrible. Epic burger has amazing burgers, I havent tried mshack but I will now. 🙂

  16. Thanks for the list. Never been to Safe Harbour so I’ll have to give it a try. Jacksonville does have some great restaurants so picking 5 would be pretty hard. I’m not that big of a fan of M Shack. Mainly because I think it is over priced. I think 5 Guys is better for a quick burger. But, my favorite burger is the whiskey smoked burger at Blind Rabbit. Also, I’ve heard their veggie burger is pretty good too for the vegetarians out there. Huge fan of French Pantry and Maple Street!

  17. BarbieHoo says:

    Somewhere online I read of 2 girls starting a bakery. I thought it was on Edgewood. Have you heard of it or have any information.

    I’m hungry for good fresh bread..

    • Is it maybe Knead? They are on Edgewood and are fairly new. They serve breakfast/brunch/lunch in addition to their bakery items. I have been there a few times and I love it!

  18. Teri Stanley says:

    Hi, my boyfriend and I are visiting Jacksonville for the first time and I’m doing my research on places to eat, I’m so excited about the maple biscuit company and was wondering if you knew anywhere in Jacksonville for good chicken and waffles? (Southerners I apologize)
    Also any random awesome places to visit for lunch or dinner would be super help ful we love Indian, Mexican, Italian, and Thai

    Any help would be AMAZING

    • Seth Resler says:

      Hi Teri! This would be a great question to ask the members in our Facebook Group. You can join here. Have a great trip!

    • Hi Teri,
      The best authentic chicken and waffles would have to be Metro Diner. Moxie does my favorite ones, but theirs is a more contemporary take on the dish.
      Some of my other favorite places in town are Greek Street Cafe (Greek), Ariana Kabob (Middle Eastern, great hole in the wall), Si Senor (Mexican), Green Papaya (Thai), and Fusion food truck (THE BEST Indian food in town), 13 Gypsies (tapas), Orsay (French), Safe Harbor (seafood), German Schnitzel Haus (German), and Sweet Theory and Motion Sweets for desserts.

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