It?s 2 a.m. and the thump of dubstep still pours out onto Blue Water Island Grill?s second-story balcony, drowning out the din of laughter and clinking cocktails. Although this casual eatery caters to late-night revelers, it doesn?t shirk cuisine: chefs marinate fish in creative sauces, such as soy and tomato-basil concasse, and serve dishes with tropical flourishes such as mango coleslaw and Chiquita-banana-signed napkins.
Located off Jax Beach, RipTides Bar and Grill draws in beachgoers and neighborhood patrons with their live entertainment, outdoor patio, and 11 HDTVs. Inside the dining area, servers deliver a menu of American food including house made mac n' cheese topped with chopped bacon and toasted bread crumbs and crispy plates of fish and chips with house made tartar sauce.
Culhane's Irish Pub features all the favorites from traditional Irish pubs like Fish 'N Chips, Dingle Fish Pie, and Guinness Beef Stew to American-inspired dishes such as burgers and shrimp wraps. Guests can wash down the flavorful dishes with one of the 24 beers on tap or sip on an exclusive whiskey or wine. The authenticity of the pub shines through since it is managed by four sisters born and raised in Limerick, Ireland. The sisters keep guests entertained by offering trivia on Wednesdays and Thursdays, supplying live karaoke on the weekends, and airing ESPN games on the TVs.
The couples eating Valentine's Day dinner at Buddha Thai Bistro would have been flooded with rose pedals, if not for the gauzy tapestries that hung from the ceiling and held them aloft. The eatery's ceiling is a canvas that changes with the seasons, sporting hundreds of folded paper sculptures for the Thai New Year or colorful streamers for other celebrations. Though the decor fluctuates, Buddha Thai Bistro's commitment to flavorful cuisine remains constant. In the kitchen, seven varieties of curry simmer with meat and vegetables, fried rice sizzles alongside eggs and glass noodles, and extra spices lend a sobering kick to drunk-man noodles, served for lunch or dinner. A new vegan menu offers dishes such as soy shrimp and papaya salad and tofu egg rolls, and a robust wine menu helps diners pair reds, whites, and sakes with their meals.
The Gourmet Grouper was born out of a fruitful business partnership between veteran seafood-market owners John Shuler and Jason Arteaga, along with Christina Monas. The three set out to create a curated supermarket utterly unlike mega-groceries—one that could provide shoppers with a tailored selection of high-quality meats, seafood, and drinks from both distant climes and local markets. "We wanted to build a grocery store that we would like to shop at," John told the Beaches Leader. Along with his childhood friend and business partner, Jason, he procures gourmet goods from his network of local and worldwide farmers, fishers, and food artisans. The result is a smorgasbord of upscale groceries that tempt shoppers with fine cheeses, dry-aged Montana beef, Gulf stone crabs, and Louisiana crawfish. The goods are ideal for planning an elegant dinner party. Seasonal potatoes and vegetables can accompany lobster tails or Chilean sea-bass filets alongside craft beers and fine wines. The market even has artisanal snacking covered with gourmet pickles crafted by local picklesmith Tim Baker, who locks the fresh veggies' flavor into delicious stasis with careful brining and mild witchcraft.
Though the chefs at Urban Flats spend every day baking gourmet flatbreads in their stone hearth, the task rarely bores them. They keep life interesting by crowning the whole-wheat bases with locally sourced and seasonally rotating ingredients such as curried chicken, breaded eggplant, and diced red peppers. Thankfully, the culinary variation isn’t limited to the flatbreads. Urban Flats also offers a full slate of wines that range from fragrant whites to spicy reds.