There’s something magical about dining al fresco
. Does it somehow enhance the flavors of the food? Perhaps it’s just the allure of dining with a beautiful view or the ambiance created by lights strung across a cozy courtyard that we enjoy. Or quiet simply, it might be feeling the warm air as you sit in the shade of an oak tree as opposed to a cold, air-conditioned restaurant (although we do appreciate that AC on a hot summer day). Whatever it is that makes outdoor dining so appealing, on Amelia Island you have a wide variety of al fresco dining options.
- If you’re looking for a romantic courtyard, look no further than Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro where Chef Ricky serves fresh seafood and savory entrées in his private brick courtyard. Maybe you can even snag a seat on the 2nd floor balcony with a sunset view over the harbor.
- Sliders Seaside Grill is the perfect place for multi-generational parties. With a gorgeous ocean view, a can’t-miss tiki bar and a children’s outdoor playground, there’s something for every age.
- Hidden away behind the main restaurant, Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant Grill and Cantina (shown in main image) has a large brick courtyard where you can cool off with a refreshing margarita under the shade of the magnificent oak trees dripping in Spanish moss.
- Burlingame Restaurant offers fine dining al fresco. Chef Chad creates seasonally inspired, modern American food with a twist and the option of dining on the back deck takes this upscale restaurant to the top of our list.
- Tucked into small courtyard off South 3rd Street is one of Amelia Island’s best lunch spots. Don’t let the name Happy Tomato fool you – they serve up some of the island’s tastiest BBQ. (And be sure to save room for a delicious homemade cookie for dessert!)
- On the south end of the island, there are two sister restaurants located in the charming shopping area of Palmetto Walk. Bar Zin, a quaint little neighborhood American bistro, has both porch and patio seating, while its sister restaurant, Cucina South, offers a few outdoor tables to enjoy Italian specialties and brick-oven pizzas.
- If the lush, outdoor garden seating isn’t enough to win you over, then the traditional Spanish and Portuguese flavors at España Restaurant & Tapas will have you coming back for more. It’s hard to resist a pitcher of sangria and a table full of shareable tapas from Chef Roberto.
- A restaurant with decor as eclectic as its menu, the ambiance of Café Karibo’s large garden courtyard will have you order dessert just so you can linger longer. And next door, you can extend your meal with a cocktail on Karibrew’s back patio.
- Serving up fresh seafood basketes in a casual setting, Timoti’s Seafood Shak is a hit with families, featuring a large pirate ship playground and picnic table seating. Don’t miss your chance to dine on the island’s favorite crustacean - you can get locally caught shrimp fixed a myriad of ways here!
- With a name like The Patio Place, there’s no doubt this is a laid-back outdoor dining spot on Amelia Island. Part creperie, part wine bar and bistro, this patio was created for long chats with good company.
- The Florida House, a historic bed and breakfast in downtown Fernandina Beach, is also home to Leddy’s Porch. Indulge on southern specialties like fried chicken or enjoy a lazy Sunday brunch in their picturesque courtyard complete with a mermaid fountain.
- Located at The Shops of Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Marché Burette is a French-inspired market and deli. Their covered porch overlooking the lake is also home to seasonal theme nights like Beer, Brine & Swine (Thursdays), the Low Country Shrimp Boil (Fridays), and Steak Out (Saturdays).
- Walking by 29 South Eats you’ll notice the chef’s garden growing a variety of staples which are incorporated into their “extraordinary casual farm to table cuisine,” but it’s the charming front porch tables that will draw you in.
- The Surf Restaurant & Bar has served up tasty seafood with a side of ocean breezes and live music on their deck since 1957. If you’ve been to Amelia Island before, you’ve most likely dined at The Surf!
- Pi Infinite Combinations bakes up NY-style pizza with interesting combinations like curry, goat cheese and shrimp or brie and prosciutto. Plus, their charming courtyard is Fido-friendly.
For culinary events like this weekend's upcoming Fish to Fork
at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, check our Food & Wine Travel Guide
. Explore the full list of Amelia Island’s outdoor dining options