Head Chef Miriam Sosa culled from South American and Caribbean traditions when she built her menu of Latin dishes at the fast-food eatery Latin Chicks. Sosa’s Peruvian-style pollo a la brasa—coal-fired chicken—headlines the menu and makes appearances with fries, in salads, and once on Jimmy Kimmel Live. For a sweet treat, she also presents a choice of filling and topping for churros, including strawberry, cream cheese, and guava.
North Beach Bistro is more than a restaurant?it's a legacy. The upscale eatery was the vision of renowned chef Tony Pels, who trained with culinary giants such as Wolfgang Puck and Michel Richard, and chef David Seavey, whom Pels mentored for 15 years at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa. Pels passed away only two months before the restaurant's opening in June of 2008, leaving executive chef Seavey to carry on his tradition of culinary creativity and generosity.
Spurred on by this responsibility, Seavey combines the freshest ingredients with a genuine love for his fellow Floridians. The Jacksonville native crafts hearty and flavorful surf 'n' turf entrees such as the bistro bouillabaisse with Mayport shrimp, sea scallops, mussels, calamari, and fresh fish or chargrilled Black Angus ribeye with sauteed mushrooms and port wine sauce. Reddish-gold fixtures in the bar emanate light that's as warm and welcoming as the chef himself. DJs and live music keep the space vibrant, and the dining room's wood floors and spot-lit art give it an air of sophistication. Weekly trivia nights arm guests with knowledge that makes an ideal conversation starter or helps pass the time while stuck in an elevator with Ken Jennings.
For the cooks at Lila's Seafood & Steaks, no imitation seafood can ever compare to the real thing. That's why they never rely on imitation crabmeat; instead, they sell real snow crab legs by the pound and stuff mushrooms with actual blue crab and crab stuffing. Crab only skims the surface of Lila's selection, which ranges from conch fried into fritters to mussels coated in housemade seasoned butter.
Equally choosy about beef as they are about seafood, the cooks shape certified Angus cuts into half-pound burgers and 16-ounce T-bone steaks. To end feasts on a sweet note, the culinary team creates several housemade desserts, including peanut-butter pie, a more satisfying dish than peanut-butter cups that you pretend are tiny pies.
III Forks in the Tapestry Park area is a classic chain steakhouse, offered in only a handful of cities in the country. The modern Jacksonville outpost of this semi-casual eatery is stylish, energized and swank, with a tasteful menu that includes beef, freshly caught seafood and locally-sourced ingredients. With wood floors and gleaming walnut furnishings, III Forks has several dining rooms to choose from across the sprawling facility, including the Trophy, Poker and Wine Room – the latter is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glass walls that house over 1,500 bottles. Each is the epitome of classic, romantic, business and casual-elegant dining, with recessed lighting fixtures and varying wall and floor décor. Filet mignon, double cut pork chop and Chilean sea bass are top picks here, with sides like sautéed spinach and roasted mushrooms. Texas Pecan cake and chocolate ganache round out delectable meals.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House, located in the heart of Riverside inside the Crown Plaza Hotel, is the epitome of chophouse luxury. From its white linen tablecloths to its spectacular view of downtown Jacksonville and the Intracoastal River from the walled glass windows, the elegant tray ceilings, recessed amber lighting and deep brown leather booths speak to a style and class few restaurants possess. Whether you’re after a business dinner or a birthday, Ruth’s Chris won’t disappoint. Start with the signature Chop Salad, a julienne of iceberg lettuce, baby spinach and radicchio that’s tossed with red onions, mushrooms, green olives, bacon, eggs, bleu cheese and more. Signature steaks include the petite filet, ribeye or New York strip cooked to perfect doneness, while pescetarians can go for the Caribbean lobster tail or fish of the day.
Music ricochets off the walls as a live band jams out on Burro Bar’s stage. The bar swells with noise as the music from the band mingles with the socializing guests sipping craft beers from breweries such as Bold City Brewery, Intuition Ale Works, and Green Room Brewing. A calendar of events keeps a rotating list of musical guests on the roster, averaging about four shows a week.