For the size of the island, there are a ton of restaurants on Amelia Island. You won’t find any of the fancy high dollar restaurants on this list. Don’t get us wrong, some of them are very good. Some of them are terrible. What you will find is 8 of our favorite hidden gem Amelia Island restaurants. Think of this article as a “Diners, Drive Inns and Dives” Amelia Island edition. You also won’t find any of the ultra popular restaurants that you likely already know about, like Salt Life or Sliders Seaside Grill. Many of those restaurants are good, but this list is about finding new places you might not have tried. Before we begin, if you are looking for a place to stay, bookmark our Guide to the Best Amelia Island Vacation Rentals. On to the food!
Our Favorite Hidden Gem Amelia Island Restaurant: Timoti’s Seafood Shack
We decided to start the list with our top pick. If you are doing the, “Where do you want to go?” “I don’t know, where do you want to go?” never ending loop, stop right now and drive to Timoti’s Seafood Shack. You won’t be disappointed. Serving fresh and local caught seafood, this Amelia Island restaurant isn’t even really a restaurant. You order at a walk up window on the side of the building and find your way to one of the many outdoor seating areas. They have craft and local beer, wine and various specialty cocktails to take back to your table while you wait. Everything is good here, but if it’s your first time, you have to try a shrimp dish. There’s just something magical about eating shrimp at seafood shack on the same island where the shrimp was caught. Farm-to-table is trendy right now, but we prefer boat-to-table.
Review Scores: Google (4.7/5), Tripadvisor (4.5/5), Facebook (4.8/5), Yelp (4.5/5)
The Happy Tomato Courtyard Cafe and BBQ
ThIs hole in the wall sandwich and BBQ spot is a block off the busy restaurant district in Fernandina Beach. This tucked away gem often has just a short wait when the well known restaurants are over an hour. The outdoor courtyard where all the seating is looks like a hidden garden. This isn’t a big place, and they are only open until 4:30, so it’s more of a lunch spot. We love their salads and the Max Sandwich. It is a Pimento Cheese sandwich stuffed with pulled pork. Get here early and try it for yourself!
Review Scores: Google (4.7/5), Tripadvisor (4.6/5), Facebook (4.8/5), Yelp (4.5/5)
Cantina Louie is located right off Highway 200, in the heart of Fernandina Beach. This isn’t your typical generic Mexican restaurant. The food is flavorful and delicious, but the drinks steal the show here. The wide variety of house made margaritas and tropical drinks are some of the best on the island. The nachos and fajitas can’t be missed, but the more than a dozen different tacos aren’t far behind. Whether you are in the mood for steak or seafood, Cantina Louie has you covered with a refreshing drink to go with it.
Review Scores: Google (4.5/5), Tripadvisor (4.5/5), Facebook (4.7/5), Yelp (4.2/5)
PJD’s Beer and Wine Garden
PJD’s Beer and Wine Garden is the highest rated bar/restaurant on Amelia Island, by a lot. To be honest, they hardly have any food, just a few sandwhiches and an appetizer or two. PJD’s didn’t get the ratings it did based on the food. The drink list here is huge, with a wide variety of craft beer and wine that offers a little something for everyone. The bartenders are some of the best in the business, a fact that is brought up frequently in the many, many 5 star reviews. They don’t really have a website, so there’s not a way to check what they have before you go. The best thing to do is just go check it out for yourself and see why everyone raves about it.
Review Scores: Google (4.9/5), Tripadvisor (5.0/5), Facebook (5.0/5), Yelp (4.5/5)
Review Scores: Google (4.8/5), Tripadvisor (5.0/5), Facebook (5.0/5), Yelp (4.5/5)
T-Rays Burger Station
Review Scores: Google (4.7/5), Tripadvisor (4.5/5), Facebook (4.9/5), Yelp (4.5/5)
Hola! Cuban Cafe
Review Scores: Google (4.7/5), Tripadvisor (4.5/5), Facebook (4.8/5), Yelp (4.6/5)
Review Scores: Google (4.5/5), Tripadvisor (4.5/5), Facebook (4.9/5), Yelp (4.5/5)