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.
With its impressive wine and beer list, elegant tapas menu, and urbane atmosphere, Cellar 6 enchants sophisticated wine enthusiasts and casual café crawlers alike. Fermentation fans can sip on more than 45 wines by the glass and more than 100 wines by the bottle. A fruity glass of Rex Hill Pinot Noir ($14) makes for a pleasant accompaniment to catching up with an old friend or catching strep from an old man. Cellar 6 also hosts more than 30 beers from American craft breweries and far-flung international beer agencies. Blackened fish tacos ($12) and the Mediterranean chicken flat bread ($12) top a menu of inviting tapas, burgers, and more, and set up mouths for a crème brûlée ($8) or a molten bundt cake ($7) knockout. While guests indulge, local musicians keep ears from developing tongue jealousy. Warm tones predominate the restaurant's brick and wood interior, and outdoor bistro-style dining pleases fresh-air lovers and bipedal palm trees.
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Plush leather and fabric seating permeates Fletcher’s Cigar Bar & Social, where beers and varietals from around the globe flow from glass to palate. The company has a fully stocked humidor filled with high-end cigars from brands such as Cohiba, Cusano, Havana, and Partagás, as well as the exploding cigars popularized by Wile E. Coyote. Though the knowledgeable staffers do not sell Cuban cigars, they outfit tobacco enthusiasts with Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican cigars, as well as accessories such as cutters and lighters. The team at Fletcher's accommodates clients from varying backgrounds, making aficionados and more casual cigar smokers feel at home.
Ambient jazz-piano melodies wind through the air while customers chat and smoke in an environment whose ventilation and air-purification system gives patrons peace of mind and visual access to each other's faces. In the event that conversation lulls, independently controlled 47-inch flat-screen televisions can entrance eyes.