In the heart of St. Augustine, there exists a place dedicated to providing the best locally sourced food prepared with style and panache unique to the area. The Floridian celebrates our state’s culinary scene with great success and dishes both creative and familiar. The staff is dedicated to reflecting seasonality in the menu, each ingredient being harvested by carefully chosen farm partners at the height of flavor and on your plate without the use of any artificial preservatives.
Outside there’s cafe seating for when the weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy the breeze from the Matanzas River. Inside is just as comfortable with each table not quite matching and a different set of matched salt and pepper shakers on each table. The inside atmosphere reflects the eclectic culture of Florida as a whole. On one wall an alligator in grayscale opens its mouth wide, but flipped on its axis to make an inverted V of reptilian hunger. Above, a rowboat dangles from the ceiling alongside a variety of mismatched chandeliers like glass buoys floating on the coastline. The maritime theme is repeated in the color scheme of the restaurant. Blue walls to summon up a vision of the ocean while well varnished wooden tables and flooring give the impression of being on board a voyage destined for deliciousness.
Seafood Florida Style
The menu offers a great variety of dishes all crafted around the Southern seafood tradition. However, not every dish need come lathered in buttermilk or cooked with bacon fat. The chefs are more than happy to accommodate any dietary restriction. The Cornbread Stack is what caught our eye, which seemed like just enough classic cuisine whipped into a modern dish. While we waited for it to arrive, we sipped water out of mason jars and checked out the scenery. Recently, the local ordinance has changed which allows them to serve alcohol in the main dining area where we were seated. Before the change, patrons would have to order at the bar in the rear and walk it over to the table. The bar is located exactly 100-feet away from the Grace United Methodist Church across the street.
The Stack arrived with an impressive flourish. Two massive slices of cornbread, baked with cheese and several kinds of peppers on top of which sat a big filet of mahi-mahi, the fish of the day. For added color and extra taste, there was a layer of house-made pickled vegetables drizzled with a chili-cumin aioli. The first bite was the grainy sweetness of the cornbread paired with the zesty tang of the pickles with a background of the rich, light meaty essence of the fish encrusted with just the right amount of spice. The moist cornbread provided the right amount of balance to the dish and was incredibly filling to boot; each slice was sautéed to golden brown perfection before being served. The bottom layer of cornbread had the best flavor after soaking in the juices from the mahi-mahi and pickled veggies.
If you’re a fan of locally sourced food, then The Floridian is a definite must-visit. Each bite will have you reaching for the next until the plate has been completely polished off.
The Floridian is located at 39 Cordova Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084, 904.829.0655, thefloridianstaug.com
Hours: Lunch 11:00-3:00, Dinner 5:00-9:00 / 5:00-10:00 on Friday and Saturday, CLOSED for Lunch on Tuesday