Initial thoughts on food in Palm Coast, Florida

We have been here a week now, and we do love it. Here is what I’ve found so far.

-Yes, there is good pizza. I have found two places. that are as good as anything you can get in NY!
-I was worried about finding my French butter, I should have worried about cheese. They just don’t have anything much, except at Whole Foods and even then, only very small pieces
-Most small restaurants only serve beer and wine. They don’t get liquor licenses because they are just to expensive and there is a minimum seating requirement.
-Texas Roadhouse and Outback are really awful!!!
-But Cracker Barrel has an amazing breakfast
-Italian restaurants seem to serve everything OVER pasta

We found a good place called Osteria Rustica, although the menu was really weird. All apps were for two and there was a lot of pasta in the app section. But most of the entries came with pasta (on the side)Someone needs to give that chef a lesson in menu planning. But they had excellent veal, which is a big plus and a decent wine list. And we had a fabulous version of tiramisu made with amaretti and almond.

More to come!


Whole Foods??!! What Whole Foods? Jacksonville?

We were in St. Augustine looking at, what we thought was a cheese shop. The owner was very sweet and told us there was a while foods in Ponte Vedra and that it was a nice ride from there. So, yes, almost Jacksonville!

OK. Technically it’s in Jacksonville Beach, just north of Ponte Vedra. It’s just north of Butler Blvd, upon which (at the intersection of 295 a few miles west) is the closest Costco to Palm Coast. That Costco is part of the Town Center Development which is the largest shopping center area in Jacksonville that I know of, and contains among other things the nearest Apple store and the nearest Tesla showroom (I mention that only to give a flavor of the place) although there are examples of most of these sorts of things as well in Orlando (Altamont Springs actually). Altamont Springs is pretty much the same distance as Jax but in the opposite direction. Costco is supposedly about to develop a new store near St. Augustine which will be a lot closer, on International Golf Parkway just west of the new Buck-ee’s. Buck-ee’s BTW has reasonably good BBQ brisket, but I recommend the sliced version without their sauce already added, which is way too sweet for my taste.

Bottom line regarding all this is that Palm Coast is pretty much a white bread wasteland where serious foodie-level ingredients are concerned. I liken it to a suburb of Des Moines in terms of the kinds of things it offers, and you need to drive nearly 70 miles in one direction or the other to improve things much, but even then it’s a struggle. Some of the Asian and Latino places on Colonial in Orlando help, and Super H is supposedly going to open its largest US store on West Colonial soon, but it’s still a long long way from a serious place like NY or Chicago or even Atlanta.

Meanwhile if you find something more interesting please post.

Should you ever happen to be Jonesing for a really good fried fish sandwich try the Bantam Chef in Bunnell. Extremely downscale and the opposite of gourmet but a good sandwich. Not too far from Osteria Rustica. While on the subject of Osteria Rustica, the guy who was chef there and made it’s reputation left a few years ago and opened his own place on Rt. 1 about a mile down from the I-95 intersection in Ormond Beach. Called L’angolo. Was good then – I don’t know what the deal is currently.

Thanks. Interesting about Osteria. You can’t get into that place and the waiter is the kind that always talks about “his” menu, etc. I’ll let you know if I find anything good. Waiting for a new place in Hammock that should open in May. We will see.

I’ve heard about the shape of water place. Count me among the skeptics – he knows nothing in particular about food and hasn’t found a chef yet!!! But passion will carry the day. Hmmm. We’ll see.

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Hi Gwenn,

we’re going to meander down to fl in about two weeks, any new finds? we have to assess the covid situation, not entirely sure we’re going to be eating out (we’re currently just doing takeout here in nyc) but if it seems good, would be fun to meet at the pizza restaurant you discovered!


Hi! Plenty of outdoor dining if you are worried bout Covid, but we are in great shape down here. We have not been back to Osteria Rustica, but we do like La Piazza in European Village. There is a place called Terra and Acquaintances in St. Augustine that we like and there is a very good Italian in Daytona called the Cellar. The Cellar is a little more high end. We ate ate Raintree in St. Augustine the other night and I loved it. I had roast duck on the bone. My husband has escargot that her said were a bit rubbery and and individual beef Wellington. Try Fire in the Hole for more of a real Italian style pizza. Let me k ow your thoughts of you go to any of these. They are NOT NY, though!

Yes, mini HO at Fire in the Hole! Message me here when you’re ready.

hey gwenn, just checking in, we’re in fl, would love to get together for pizza but contracted fairly bad case of covid before leaving ny, delayed 10 days, just here for a quick visit with family and heading out next week for new orleans. probably back in may timeframe.

anyhow, my brother’s office is in daytona beach and he likes zen bistro but says there are a number of good thai places in the area, worth a try if you’re in daytona. Hope you’re doing well, let us know if you’ve found anything of note! best,

Sorry you were sick! Hope to see you in May when you return.

Hi Gwenn,

believe it or not, I’m still suffering from post-covid symptoms. Anyhow, we’re starting to think about our next trip to st aug, end of may, wondering if you have any new finds to report?


Hi! Wow, I hope you start feeling better soon. YES! LLama is fantastic. Peruvian and on A1A so parking is easy. The place is very small and reservations need to be made in advance. The chef keeps a right reign on seating so he’s not overwhelmed.

We also like Terra and Acqua. More modern Italian. Casual. Wood fired pizza, ets.

Upscale Italian in Daytona. Porcini, porcini, porcini. The Cellar.

Let me know what you try!!!

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If we ever drive down to Florida again – and I hope we can soon (baby sitting duties limit our travel) – I’ll definitely spend at least a day in the Palm Coast. As in just about every other area I’ve been to, there seem to be a lot of interesting local places a lot of diversity. Things definitely are looking up for your first impressions.

Yes they are. You just have to look and maybe be willing to spend a bit more. But we have also found some downright terrific red sauce Italian places. Alas, no worthwhile Chinese food or bagels. We also discovered a great meat market in St. Augustine. Got a rack of lamb there and made it Sunday. Probably one of the best I’ve had.

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thanks gwenn, i’ve been meaning to swing by the chop shop, will give it a try! we also haven’t found good chinese food and have been as far afield as jacksonville in our search.

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I may need to take a ride to Chop Shop - I’m craving that rack of lamb!

Discovered a new, well new to me, restaurant in St. Augustine that is my new favorite. Went last night. Great food and service. It’s mainly a fish place but they do steaks and probably the best pizza (wood fired) I’ve had. On par with NY. DH had an appetizer of fried calamari and fried artichokes. I can’t describe how clean and fresh the batter was and the fried artichokes brought me back to Italy. He then had the Ahi served with a miso Burrell blanc and pickled vegetables. I’m not a fish eater but I did love those veges. @vinouspleasure - if you haven’t tried this place, go!


gwenn, we’ve driven by a number of times but haven’t been yet, it’s close to o’steens, one of our favorites. we’re in nyc now, will be down late oct, will give it a try!

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I’ve heard of O’Steens. Need to try that too!!

gwenn, o’steens isn’t fancy, there’s usually a wait for tables but the fried shrimp and fried chicken are wonderful. We haven’t been since the pandemic but plan to return this trip. otoh, not 100% sure it’s worth the trip up from the palm coast. We head to jacksonville a couple of times every trip to purchase cheese and frozen croissant at trader joes, still haven’t found good chinese food in the city :frowning:

on a non-food related note, I was looking forward to playing pickleball in fl this trip but managed to strain my calf, recovery 2-12 weeks. Do y’all play?

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