Island Cat Paws -
RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS
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St. Simons Island

Sals

    This is a casual, comfortable, busy little Italian restaurant named after the owner, Sal.  One of the reasons this restaurant is so good is that Sal is almost always there, behind the bar.  Sal is on sight, working the tables and making sure that his customers are happy.

Sal, who is no spring chicken, recently fought anothre boxing match for charity.  Video of the fight is on a television monitor over the bar. 

My favorites at Sal's are the eggplant Parmesan and the cannoli.  Don't leave without trying the cannoli.   If you're too full, get one and take it home with you.


Sal's has great lasagna as well. 

We have also tried the caprese salad and mussels.  It was so good, I forgot to take a photograph before we had eaten most of it. 

Give Sals a try if you're visiting the island.





 








 









Bonefish  
   Bang Bang Shrimp   
    Scallops Wrapped in Bacon
     Lobster Rangon
     Coconut Shrimp

  The Lemon Drop martini isn't bad either.


 
Ocean Lodge  
   
We've given Ocean Lodge try after try, thinking that they would get it together, but it just looks like it's not going to happen.  This is a great building in a beautiful location, one of the best on the island, but they just can't get their food together.  If you would like to have drinks and appetizers there, go for it, but we just can't recommend the food.  The last time we ate there (week of 28 October, 2015) the food was cold, some of it overcooked, and they charged us twice for the same bottle of wine.The mussels are very good.

Update: August 2016.  Ocean Lodge has yet another chef, so we'll probably try it.  Again, the building is just beautiful and the restaurant is in an outdoor space at the top of the building (4th floor).  It's a very large patio and a fun place to go.  They just can't get the food to match the restaurant or the location.


Tramici
     
  Tramici has great pizza.  They also do a Pizza and Movie deal where you can get a slice of pizza, a glass of wine, and a movie ticket to the theatre across the street.


Tramici's new remodel.






































Coastal Kitchen 
   
Coastal Kitchen used to be one of our regulars.  it is one of the few restaurants on the island that is actually on the water and you can sit outside and look at the boats in the Marina.  it's just a beautiful location.

As of July 2016, Coastal Kitchen came under new ownership.   They have the same menu, but the quality of the food is not as good.  And, they posted on the door a sign that said they would not honor coupons given out by the former owner.  Nothing so wrong with that, it just sets a negative tone before you've even gotten in the door.  I mean, how much would it cost to honor those coupons? 

We'll definitely give it another chance, but the first two times I was there, it was disappointing.


 
Halyards 
   Halyards used to be a great restaurant.  You could always go there when you wanted to be pampered and assured that every dish and every appetizer would be wonderful.  Unfortunately, they've had to downscale.  They now serve A CHEESEBURGER.  I'm sorry, but this saddens me.  And, the quality of the other choices on the menu have gotten worse.

The last time we ate there, the pot stickers (which used to be exquisite) were warm, not hot and tasted like they had been in the kitchen for a while, waiting.  This never used to be the case. 

The prices haven't changed, just the quality of the food.

The atmosphere is still great.  it's a nice restaurant, but the downscale is disappointing.  it's not even one of our regulars anymore.
 
 

Half Shell
    Half Shell is a restaurant in the Village where the little Mexican place used to be, near Barbara Jean's.  It doesn't have the ambiance of a Halyards, but the food is good.  I had an Asian salad that made me want to go back for more.  You can add chicken or shrimp.  At the hairdressers'...somebody was raving about the cheeseburger.



10/31/13
Last night, we had crab cakes with sweet potato fries and it was all just great.  I'm still waiting until I lose 20 pounds so I can try the cheeseburger. 

1/2015

We had the crabcakes the other day and they are not as good as they were in the past.  They were served with no presentation and with a third of a teaspoon of sauce smeared on the plate.  I'm still rooting for this place.  I like the owner, but it seems that the attention to detail in the food has declined as they have been open.

Del Sur

     Just can't recommend this one.  We tried it when they first opened and it did nothing for me.  The food is heavy and mine was almost inedible.  Maybe we'll try it again.  Some people rave about it. 

Mellow Mushroom
  This is a new restaurant on the island, not even opened yet.  My partner tells me it serves sandwiches and pizza.  We don't really need another sandwich and pizza place on the island, but we'll see.

February 2015

It's alright, but not really worth it.  it's a kid's place.  Sitting outside on the terrace might be fun in the summer, but the food's nothing more than mediocre.

We tried this again, and the pizza was really good. It still isn't one of my favorites - cold ambiance, you feel like you're in a diner, not my taste. 

Westin Hotel, Jekyll Island

The restaurant at the Westin has a marvelous view, but that's about all.  Opened with much fanfare and great expectations, this restaurant is overpriced for the area and the food is just terrible.  Even the dessert was inedible, and believe me, I don't often say that.  I suppose we will at some point try again, but not soon and I'm not sure at all.  Give this one a miss, or just go and have drinks.

JEKYLL ISLAND

Jekyll Island is only a short drive from St. Simons and a great experience.  There are several mediocre restaurants there, and a few really good ones.  The best are the Diningroom at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Courtyard at Crane, and Latitudes.

It's worth a trip just to see the "cottages" built on the island in the early 1900s.  And, the beach there is second only to the beach at Sapelo Island.

Courtyard at Crane
Great restaurant in a house built 1916 on Jekyll Island.  This is the salmon salad with goat cheese, raspberries, blackberries and bibb lettuce.  They also serve a house "vegetable" bread that's home made and fresh and warm.

Nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc as well.  We've been there several times in the past few months and the food has been spectacular.  It's also a beautiful building.


 AMELIA ISLAND/FERNANDINA

The Salty Pelican

This restaurant is right down near the pier at Fernandina.  It's casual, friendly, and has wonderful food.  I am a sucker for sweet potato fries and these were so good.  I also got a pulled pork taco which was to die for.  This is a great lunch choice.
















The Salty Pelican Menu
http://www.thesaltypelicanamelia.com/menu/

AMELIA TAVERN

In the historic district of Fernandina Beach, Amelia Tavern is lively and fun.  They have a quirky wine list, but turns out a very good selection.

I had the sweet potato pasta with peanuts and it was really good.

Fernandina is about an hour's drive south of St, Simons, but well worth it.









JACKSONVILLE

Jacksonville is about an hour and a half from St. Simons and well worth the drive while you are in the area.

BB'S
     This restaurant is in Jacksonville, but if you're out for a drive, it is well worth it.  The Asian salad and the Chicken Sandwich are to die for, and the desserts alone are worth the drive.  The bread pudding is something you will remember - simple and absolutely delicious.  I can't say enough nice about this restaurant, and the staff is friendly and interested.  Treat yourself.


http://www.bbsrestaurant.com/where-do-all-those-sweets-come-from/#comment-727
 








The sister restaurant to BB's is Biscotti (owned by the same women).  Biscotti's was voted by the New York Times Travel Magazine as one of the 4 best places to eat in Jacksonville. 

OHHHHH, you have to try the Grand Marnier Cake.  It's to die for.






SAVANNAH

Garibaldi's Restaurant
315 Congress Street

In the South, everybody keeps things dark in the afternoon.  It's a great relief in the heat.
Savannah is 70 miles from St. Simons Island and a great day trip if you're visiting the area.

Garibaldi's has been serving in Savannah for decades and it's worth a visit.

These are the mussels.



And the poached pear salad.




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