Barnacle Bill’s menu supplies aquatic fare fresh from the Atlantic as well as terrestrial eats and homemade desserts. Begin dinner with the tomato based minorcan clam chowder spiced with local datil peppers ($3.59 for a cup, $4.59 for a bowl) before sending seafaring taste buds to the sweet-and-savory shores of the caribbean mango mahi mahi, grilled and topped with fresh mango salsa ($12.95). Land lubber grub such as the 7 oz. blackened sirloin steak, spiced and topped with blue cheese crumbles, keeps palates high and dry and safe from the threat of mutinous molars.
The Beachcomber Restaurant first appeared on a St. Augustine beach in the 1940s, its colorful walls and umbrellas blending harmoniously with a backdrop of sandy dunes, swaying palm trees, and calm ocean waves. Generations later, locals and tourists alike still flock to its wraparound wooden deck, where they can linger over cups of spicy clam chowder and baskets of fried seafood. Come evening, they chug beer and nibble on chicken wings and fresh local oysters; in the morning, their attention turns to hearty breakfasts of pancakes, omelets, and breakfast burritos. In the kitchen, the staff whips up "Catch of the Day" dinners, grilling fresh fish they caught right by the restaurant using nothing but a lacrosse stick and a dog whistle.
The Top of the Reef plunges diners into dual menus of water-borne dinners and afternoon repasts. Dinner starters, such as the freshly shucked oysters ($7.95–$9.95) or the deep-fried calamari ($5.95), prepare diners to delve further into undersea fare from the dinner menu. The grilled or blackened salmon fillet ($15.95) and deviled crab crakes ($12.95) provide a protein alternative to eating land-dwelling fish, while the broiled twin lobster tails (market price) impress guests by finishing each other's sentences. Lunch options include Cajun fried shrimp ($6.95), fingerling catfish ($6.75), and fried clam strips ($6.25).
The water-adventure lovers at Crazy Fish have expanded their waterfront activity arsenal with an airboat, taking six-to-eight gleeful guests on a one-hour guided tour with the captivating Captain Hurricane Dave. After pushing off in a bright red boat propelled by Paul Bunyan's desk fan, Captain Dave takes groups of up to eight airboat adorers on a trek through the waters, pointing out alligators, porpoises, manatees, and alligator-impersonating marsh birds along the way. Scenic views of the vibrant intracoastal waterway and the occasional eagle sighting thrill turf-dwellers and seafarers alike on this air-powered voyage.
Although it started as a phrase bandied about on spearfishing trips, the “salt life” eventually became the mantra for an entire subculture. The words refer to the casual lifestyle of small beachside towns where diving, surfing, and fishing allow people to connect with the ocean. Salt Life Food Shack celebrates this connection by forging entrees tinged with Hawaiian, Costa Rican, and Bahaman influences.
Located just three blocks from the ocean, Salt Life Food Shack boasts a menu that draws heavily from the sea. Ahi poke, fried soft-shell crabs, and hand-breaded shrimp fill the pages alongside turfier fare, such as st. louis ribs with island-style barbecue sauce and a coastal reimagining of beer-can chicken. Drawing seafood recipes from another hemisphere, the sushi list showcases shrimp and tuna rolls complemented by edamame, which is seasoned with sea salt from the Titanic’s first-class pantry.
The laid-back beach theme extends beyond the sea breeze on the covered patio to invade the dining room’s modern decor, which features surfboards and oceanic artwork along its sky-blue and white walls. An aquarium also inhabits the space, affording diners glimpses of vibrant tropical fish.
Ocean Grille isn’t your typical seafood shack. An iridescent blue bar takes up prime real estate in the middle of the restaurant, bathing the dining room in an indigo glow that emanates from the wrap-around lighting. A slew of HDTVs tilt from the ceiling toward diners. It’s not surprising, that the seaside spot doubles as a nightclub after dining hours. DJs play club music as bartenders pour cocktails for revelers and mermaid bachelorette parties. There’s even complimentary valet parking every night. Diners interested in breathing in some fresh air while ogling land-based panoramas can grab a seat on the outdoor patio, which overlooks grass-covered dunes.
But Ocean Grille isn’t all atmosphere. The menu delights diners with unorthodox eats, such as gator bites, conch fritters, and chargrilled oysters served with white wine, garlic, and butter. The restaurants also pays homage to the classics with grouper sandwiches and grilled tenderloin.