The Sun-Ray Cinema at 5 Points, formerly known as Riverside Theater and 5 Points Theatre, is a historic single-screen movie theater in the Riverside section of Jacksonville. Originally opened in 1927, the large room was specifically designed to accommodate live theater as well, in the event that talking movies didn’t take off as expected. Over the years, the theater was opened and closed numerous times as a performance center, a night club and general cinema house, until the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission approved it as a Jacksonville landmark and remodeled the space several years ago. Colorful murals give vibrancy to the updated space, while comfortable seating and long wooden tables in front of each row act as wonderfully modern touches, allowing each guest to set down food and drinks easily. P, pulled pork sandwiches and a host of not-seen-everywhere snacks make for a unique experience inside.
Havana-Jax Café in the Arlington section of Jacksonville is an authentic Cuban restaurant, where the staff speaks fluent English and Spanish and caters to both regulars and newcomers looking for the delicious Cuban food. With ochre walls, jade and burgundy tablecloths and large booths, Havana-Jax is as colorful to look at as the menu is to eat. A large center bar keeps things lively, while dishes like ropa vieja, paella and palomilla steak – a marinated and seared Angus steak, grilled with onions – draw in the hungry set. Simpler desserts include flan, rice pudding and egg custard, making for a well-rounded meal that’s popular with the local neighborhood, while still drawing visitors looking to enjoy the long-time staff and quality food.
Latin House Grill has a Caribbean feel, from its food—goat stew, plantains, and shrimp soup—to the beach scene and palm trees painted on the restaurant's walls. For those who want to substitute the Caribbean for Jacksonville's west side, the eatery offers open-air seating on a breezy porch. Here, diners savor tropical lunches and dinners, rounded out by pours from the full bar.
La Cena Ristorante, a fine dining restaurant in the heart of downtown Jacksonville, is a cozy spot for intimate conversations and delicious food. It's a well-hidden gem with an extensive wine bar, burnt sienna textured walls and a downstairs main dining room that has only a few tables. Pastas and sauce are made fresh daily, and the skinny breadsticks and gorgonzola salad are local favorites. The menu is large and complex, and includes little side notes, jokes and anecdotes on everything from why parmesan isn’t served tableside to the fee for splitting an entrée. Dishes like the chicken scallopine, spaghetti carbonara and puttanesca make it obvious why downtowners flock to this Italian eatery. La Cena offers a flourless chocolate mosse, an extensive Italian wine list and an owner/chef who will alter dishes based on dietary restrictions.
Since opening in 1980 as a German deli, European Street Cafe has steadily increased the scope of its menu to accommodate an eclectic mix of French, American, and Mediterranean influences. In addition to a beer selection that features 20 drafts and 150 bottles from foreign and domestic producers, the bistro-style eatery?s four locations ply patrons with hot and cold sandwiches. Bavarian bratwursts and spicy kielbasas appear alongside corned-beef sandwiches and pitas with homemade tabbouleh. Taking care to offer vegetarian and gluten-free alternatives, chefs pile sandwich ingredients upon the diner's choice of bread, including pumpernickel, sourdough, and ciabatta. Beyond the ever-expanding menu, certain locations also lure in passersby with trivia nights that test visitors' knowledge of food-fight physics.
The Tent Hookah Lounge transports guests to the palm-lined shores of the Mediterranean with a smorgasbord of Middle Eastern cuisine and wisps of fragrant flavored hookah smoke. Belly dancers twirl on Friday and Saturday nights and live singers croon in Arabic as guests lounge amid plush crimson sofas and floor seating, and nibble on kibbeh, hummus, and gyros.