Established more than a century ago as a lavish getaway for society's upper crust, Jekyll Island Club Hotel has been restored to its Victorian splendor to give modern guests a taste of classical American luxury. Each bright, inviting room features two plush double-beds or one ample queen or king bed, along with a cozy sitting nook with overstuffed chairs eager to support guests as they enjoy their complimentary breakfast, share an evening cocktail, or play a game of full-contact Battleship. Channel your inner railroad tycoon while relaxing amid the kempt fields and lush magnolia trees that line the resort's expansive grounds. Or discuss the merits of Teddy Roosevelt's monocle while feasting in the Grand Dining Room or one of the club's many other featured eateries.
Comfort-fare titans at The 4th of May Cafe conjure a hearty hodgepodge of overstuffed sandwiches on home-baked bread, local seafood, and fluffy omelets to fill regulars’ stomach vacancies throughout the day. The breakfast menu rousts slumbering appetites with seafood omelets ($7) that cradle fresh, local shrimp and crab together with onions and peppers. Chefs fry or grill the lunch-and-dinner menu's chicken fingers ($3.99) before dressing them in blackening seasoning, buffalo sauce, or an adorable onesie. Slices of meatloaf ($10) arrive at tables beneath blankets of brown gravy, and crab-salad rolls ($8.99) wield blue crab, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and purple onions. Cuban sandwiches ($9) bridge hoagie-roll halves with roasted pork loin, honey-maple ham, monterey jack cheese, and a handful of suspension cables.
The chefs at Ship 2 Shore Seafood & Steaks fry, grill, broil, or blacken fine meals using highest quality ingredients from land and sea. Aquatic hankerings can be sated quickly without eating a child's sandcastle by ordering the mussels appetizer, which chefs free from rocks before sautéing ($8.99). The seafood trio lets diners collate a three-piece dream-squad from options such as shrimp, scallops, oysters, clam strips, and fish ($15.99; $12.99 for seniors), while the 16-ounce T-bone steak delights carnivores with a slab of high-quality certified Angus beef ($19.99). Kids' meals proffer a smattering of shrimp, clam strips, corn dogs, or mac 'n' cheese ($4.99 each) that tots can nosh from the safety of their under-the-table forts, while homemade peanut-butter pies end dinners on a sweet note ($2.99/slice).
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.
You're probably thinking, "That sounds great, but I've never bought a car or a computer without first reading the Wikipedia definitions for car and computer—I'm not about to buy a Groupon either without a briefing." Well, neither would we, and since this is everyone's first Groupon, allow us to briefly explain how it works.
From its majestic outpost, with views of the Intracoastal Waterway, marsh and marina, Jacksonville Beach’s Marker 32 sports a bay of glass windows, white table linens and light teak colored dining tables. The truly elegant eatery has two stories, with the second serving as a perfect place to take in a sunset dinner. Fresh local ingredients, prepared daily from scratch, make up the majority of the menu, including a cast iron-seared beef tenderloin, shrimp and Andouille fettuccine and pan roasted duck breast. This is upscale Florida dining at its best, with rich desserts and the sort of understated but elegant décor that makes Marker 32 perfect for date night.