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Coming Week is Annual Amelia Island Restaurant Week

Amelia Island Restaurant Week

Food is an every day need but during a vacation experience it becomes a major part of the day. During the year you may stand and munch quickly at your kitchen counter or be a fast food addict for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but when on vacation it’s usually a sit-down experience. During the year you may limit the food varieties to what is considered healthful or nutritional, but on vacation you step out of that pattern and experiment and yes, even go overboard. In our little B&B we smile every time when we ‘forgetfully’ put a side dish of bacon on a vegan or vegetarian’s plate and watch the plates come back to the kitchen with the bacon gone! We also are constantly aware that the first question of any guest after the initial introduction to their suite’s comforts is: “Where do you suggest we have dinner?”

Food is a major part of life’s pleasures obviously and I admit that I don’t fully understand people who eat for no other reason than giving the body the needed energy. I don’t know if it’s my burgundian come-down or just a gene mutation, but creative cooking with interchangeable ingredients is one of my great passions.

And that passion is feeling much better lately. Until a couple or three four years ago, we hardly went out to restaurants here on island, as we were of the opinion that what we prepared at home was far superior to what was served in most of our establishments. Call it arrogant but after many years residing in the Caribbean Restaurant Capital of St.Martin with more than 400 restaurants to choose from, we found Amelia sorely lacking for gourmands.

Going to Jacksonville was never an option, so feasting on magret de canard, bouillabaisse, rable de lievre, chateaubriand, Seafood Lasagna or and Indonesian Rijst Tafel, was mainly a home experience among friends.

Well that is no longer the case.

Oh yeah we still do weekly dinners at our and friends’ homes – the next one will be a true to New Orleans cuisine Jambalaya, after I did a oversized Paella last week -,  but on many levels the dining experience on this island has magnificently ranked itself upward in recent years, pulling us out of our homes several times a month.
Of course various dining experiences at the Ritz were always exceptional. So where established cuisines such as Le Clos, Joe’s Second Street Bistro, Espagna, Marina and the former Beech Street Grill. Personally I was never impressed by the Restaurant options offered at the Plantation so now I am looking forward to the new offerings promised as part of the Omni Re-imagination process.

It all started happening about 4, maybe 5 years ago when a new influx of chefs discovered Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach and restaurants like Café Karibo, 29 South, Lulu’s at the Thompson House  and Merge opened their doors, augmenting cuisine to a completely new level. And with their arrival a number of existing restaurants took on the challenge to become better and more eclectic.

Around the same time the Tourism officials on the island introduced a Restaurant Week event to be held in January to attract tourism in the quiet season by having a selection of restaurants offer a variety of attractive Prix Fixe Menu Options. Good move. At our little Inn on the Beach we have actually a fully booked house for most of the restaurant week with 4 out of 6 suites specifically booking for that event. And that is good destination marketing.

2013 Amelia Island Restaurant Week

This year’s Amelia Island Restaurant Week, the 5th Edition now, actually stretches over 10 days and start on January 18 to end on January 27.  19 Restaurants participate in this year’s event that will feature special fixed menu (priced at either $20.13 or $30.13) to includes three courses and a non-alcoholic beverage.

A list of participating restaurants follows below and and a Printable Restaurant Week Menu can be downloaded Here
• 29 South Eats (904) 277-7919 Eclectic
• BarZin Bistro & Wine Bar (904) 310-6620 American Bistro Cuisine
• Baxter’s (904) 277-4503 Steak & Seafood
• Brett’s Waterway Café (904) 261-2660 Casual Seafood & Steak
• Bonito Grill and Sushi (904) 261-0508 Asian Fusion
• Café Karibo (904) 277-5269 Eclectic American Cuisine
• Crab Trap (904) 261-4749 Seafood
• David’s Restaurant & Lounge (904) 310-6049 Fine Dining
• Espana Restaurant & Tapas (904) 261-7700 Spanish & Portuguese
• Falcon’s Nest (904) 491-4242 Casual Dining
• Horizon’s (904) 321-2430 Eclectic Cuisine
• Le Clos (904) 261-8100 French Cuisine
• Lu Lu’s at the Thompson House (904) 432-8394 American Cuisine
• Marina Seafood Restaurant (904) 261-5310 Casual Seafood Dining
• Merge (904) 277-8797 Eclectic Cuisine
• PLaE (904) 277-2132 Fine Dining
• Salty Pelican Bar & Grill (904) 277-3811 Seafood and Burgers
• Sandy Bottoms (904) 310-6904 American
• Sliders Seaside Grill (904) 277-6652 Seafood & Steak

Amelia Bites Consumer driven Restaurant Review Website

Amelia Bites Consumer driven Restaurant Review Website

Introducing AmeliaBites.com

In the excited anticipation that maybe in the next 3-5 years we will see another completion of the world’s great cuisines represented on our island – we’re still hoping for some establishments that offer authentic Greek, Middle Eastern, maybe some Cajun Creole and Caribbean/Cuban Cuisine. Soulfood would be great as well and a true Indian Restaurant would definitely get my attention. Indonesian would probably be asking a bit too much, so I’ll continue preparing an Indonesian Rijst Tafels on rare occasions.

With food taking a more central position in our lives, both as a visitor destination and a growing need among ourselves, Team Searchamelia decided to develop a website that is totally focused on Amelia Island’s food and beverage offerings and night life entertainment. To make it more interactive we developed a review engine that is totally and purely driven by consumer reviews.

In a world where peer reviews decide on the popularity of an establishment, this new website has been running in beta mode for a while now and has already attracted many comments and ratings.
There is still some cosmetic work and some last minute updates to be done on the site, but we decided to launch in advance of the 2013 Amelia Island Restaurant Week which starts January 18 and ends on January 27.
Please leave reviews and comments and we will randomly raffle of a lunch or dinner for two on us from every week’s comments harvested. Stay tuned to learn about many other exciting things we have planned for AmeliaBites.com
Note to Restaurant owners
Please check all posted information pertaining to your establishment and let us know by email if anything needs corrected or added.
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