The weekend is always a good excuse to meet up with friends for a leisurely brunch. And here in my hometown of Jacksonville, there’s no shortage of great, local restaurants serving up brunch favorites. When the fall season comes around, football fans get ready for the big games with a hefty brunch and cocktails, myself included. Here’s a look at some of my top picks for eight of the best spots for a Jacksonville brunch.
Biscotti’s — best Jacksonville brunch spot for early birds
There’s nothing wrong with being an early bird for a Jacksonville brunch on the weekends and Biscotti’s opens at 8 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday morning ready to help you start the day off with a great meal. Located in Avondale, this small, bistro-style restaurant is a popular spot with locals as the menu consistently features breakfast and brunch classics like Quiche Lorraine, a Blueberry Pecan Waffle and their signature dish — Sweet Potato Pancakes served with pecan honey butter.
For parties of two, ask to be seated at a sidewalk table and greet the neighbors (and their dogs!) as they pass by on their morning walks.
Blue Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar — best Jacksonville brunch spot for seafood
In Jacksonville’s Avondale neighborhood, the Blue Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar is the ‘go to’ spot if you’re in the mood for seafood to start your day. Enjoy one complimentary mimosa or Bloody Mary as you look over the menu with made-to-order omelets, elevated breakfast burritos and a brunch staple – shrimp and grits. Seafood fans can enjoy the shrimp & crab eggs benedict, fresh seafood dishes like the blackened mahi and jumbo crab meat, or enjoy a half-pound platter of fried shrimp. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, go for the Bananas Fosters French Toast.
Be sure to book a reservation in advance, as Blue Fish is a popular brunch spot for groups celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and more.
Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant – best Jacksonville brunch spot for ocean views
Celebrate the weekend over mimosas overlooking the ocean when you stop in for brunch at the Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant. With eight different juices paired with champagne, bottomless mimosas here are $15 with the purchase of an entrée. And speaking of entrées, favorites include the Avocado BLT, the Grand French Toast with hot Grand Marnier syrup and the Crab Cake Benedicts.
And if you’re in the mood to spend the night, book one of the hotel’s 23 rooms and enjoy the ocean views from the rooftop. Recognized in 2005 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the Historic Hotels of America, the Casa Marina Hotel dates back to 1925 and the early days of Jacksonville Beach.
Reservations are highly recommended for a weekend Jacksonville brunch.
Hoptinger Bier Garden & Sausage House — best Jacksonville brunch spot for beer
With 65 beers on tap, Hoptinger Bier Garden & Sausage House in Jacksonville’s 5 Points neighborhood is a local hotspot for brunch on the weekends — especially on football gamedays. Choose a local craft beer or try a Magnum Flight featuring samples of 18 beers of your choosing as you settle into the lively atmosphere surrounding you. In the mood for a Bloody Mary instead? Think outside the box with the addition of the ‘Create Your Own Bloody’ menu featuring garnishes like a cheeseburger slider, shrimp, onion rings, chicken wings and more. With plenty of televisions set to all the sports channels and comfortable seating, don’t sleep on Hoptinger’s food menu!
Brunch favorites here include the ‘Two Hand Sammy,’ a flaky croissant filled with eggs, bacon, cheese, a chive cream cheese, caramelized onions and French fries. While it may refer to using two hands, most choose to use a knife and fork instead. The ‘Steak in a Sack’ is a pita filled with sliced steak, peppers, onions, eggs and melted provolone…you can’t go wrong with this one either.
Prati Italia — best Jacksonville brunch spot for Italian
Located at the St. Johns Town Center on Jacksonville’s Southside, Prati Italia is home to breakfast and Italian favorites for brunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Choose from handmade pasta, Roman-style pizzas and ricotta ravioli, or go with the Cast Iron French Toast served with tiramisu custard. Perfect for breakfast and lunch, Chef Tom Gray’s signature Chicken and Waffles are plated with maple mousse and delicious pepper jelly. To. Die. For.
This Sunday Jacksonville brunch gets kicked up a few notches with the addition of live music outside on the restaurant’s covered Lakeside Pavilion. With local musicians and bands featured each week, grab a table outside and enjoy the music.
River & Post — best Jacksonville brunch spot for rooftop views
One of the newer hot spots for a Jacksonville brunch is River & Post, along Riverside Avenue and just one block from the St. Johns River and the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. Located on the ground floor of an office building, you’ll find plenty of weekend parking and a creative brunch menu. Here, try the Chicken & Waffles dish served with hot honey, maple syrup and pickled relish, or satisfy your sweet tooth with Bread Pudding French Toast. If you’d rather have seafood, you can’t go wrong with the blackened fish tacos, a grilled salmon salad, or a fried seafood platter.
When you finish your meal, make your way to River & Post’s rooftop bar for another mimosa or cocktail and admire the amazing views of Jacksonville’s skyline and river. It is one of my favorite views in all of Northeast Florida.
Taco Lu — best Jacksonville brunch spot for tacos and tequila
When locals think of Jacksonville Beach and tacos, they immediately think of TacoLu. Open since 2008, this family-owned and operated taco joint named after their daughter Lucy, features brunch on Saturdays and Sundays with breakfast tacos like the Bacon, Egg and Cheeseburger, Chorizo and Eggs taco, and there’s never a shortage of Huevos Rancheros.
And don’t worry, you can still order off of the everyday menu during brunch hours! Don’t miss trying the legendary $10 taco (that’s really only $4.99) made with filet mignon, cotija cheese, jack cheese, pico de gallo on a flour tortilla. As the TacoLu team says, this taco should be $10, but it’s not! Another signature dish good anytime of the day is their Mexican Street Corn served off the cob with tons of creamy cotija cheese. And of course, the tequila is always flowing at TacoLu with plenty of margaritas and signature cocktails.
Town Hall Jacksonville — best Jacksonville brunch spot for catching up with friends
In the San Marco neighborhood, Chef Tom Gray’s Town Hall Jax is an inviting, quiet spot to relax and enjoy a great brunch with friends. With a focus on seasonal and sustainable ingredients, the menu changes throughout the year and you’ll often find menu specials, so be sure to ask when you visit.
The restaurant’s lounge area is perfect for catching up with friends over drinks or local, craft beer. The high-top tables for two allow for a quiet, dining experience, perfect for conversation and good food. For a bite to eat, the mushroom and house-made ricotta omelet is always a great choice. And don’t pass up ordering the Town Hall “Loaded” Fries served with truffle-balsamic and black garlic aioli – delicious! From mimosas, handcrafted cocktails and even handcrafted sodas, the Town Hall team is incredibly knowledgeable on pairing drinks with your meal.
So, now that you know the scoop on where to have brunch in Northeast Florida, where are you going to eat? Jacksonville’s food scene is vibrant and ever-changing with new, local places opening on the regular. Enjoy dining local and discovering more about the area during your next visit, especially if you love to indulge in a Jacksonville brunch.