Saint Augustine lost an icon when Opus 39 closed their doors last year. Regrettably, I only ever walked past the restaurant, never stopping in to sample the famously delicious food at infamously high prices. But no sooner had Opus 39 succumbed to the blight of our recession than the Floridian rose like a phoenix out of the ashes. Focusing their energies on creating healthy and hearty dishes from locally sourced ingredients, The Floridian rode the wave of the Locavore and Slow Food Movements to become a new iconic establishment in the changing culinary landscape.
Although you will find many regulars on the menu, The Floridian has a revolving lineup of seasonal dishes. Most entrees are available in various forms; either as a vegetarian dish or with some sort of locally sourced meat. All references to fish are placeholders for whatever the catch of the day may be. There's a distinctive Southern flair to the cuisine but you'll probably find your meal to be on the lighter and healthier side than what you're used to with such dishes.
Being unable to resist a good fish wrap or sandwich, I've tried both the Pescado Fresco Burrito: fresh catch with quinoa, greens, our citrus sweet potato salsa, and datil-chipotle mayo in a whole wheat tortilla; and the Spicy Melt: blackened local Fish with a datil-chipotle mayo, flamed bell peppers, tomato and fresh spinach on whole wheat bread with Wainwright Dairy's cheeses. Both of these I would highly recommended, especially the melt if you're looking for something a little more decadent. I also have it on good authority that the Dixie Burger, in either the beef or vegetarian-friendly black bean and sweet potato varieties, is exquisite. I keep meaning to order that myself but am usually dissuaded at the last second by the white bread bun (which is undoubtedly quite good, as is all the bread here).
The drink situation is a little confusing at first. The bar is in the back and has an excellent selection of Florida craft beers and a good number of wines. However, across the small doorway that leads from the bar area to the dining room there is an invisible barrier: the County Line. See, the Floridian is directly across the street from one of downtown Saint Augustine's picturesque churches and a country ordinance prevents them from serving alcohol beyond that point. But worry not, there is a loophole of sorts. You may purchase beer and wine in the bottle from the bar and bring it back to your table to consume. However, draft beer must be consumed back in the bar area, beyond the range of temptation.
Adding to the fulfilling food and choice drinks is the great atmosphere. With water served in mason jars on rustic furniture, there's a quaint farmhouse type feel to the place. This isn't a meal you'll feel like rushing. The downside is that you're likely to wait if you don't get there early. The Floridian has amassed a large number of devotees among the local populace and it's not hard to imagine why. Consider it a must-do in downtown Saint Augustine. You might find it hard to justify ever going anywhere else.
39 Cordova St.
St Augustine, FL 32084