O’Steen’s Restaurant Ranked Among Florida’s 15 Best Seafood Restaurants

Little has changed at Restaurant O’Steen since it opened in 1965 on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine.

This dining hotspot was recently named one of 15 Best Seafood Restaurants in Florida by Voyages to discover. A few others on the list include Flagler Fish Company at Flagler Beach; Safe Harbor Seafood Market and Restaurant in Atlantic Beach; and Owen’s Fish Camp in Sarasota.

“Nothing has changed. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” said Timmy Colee, one of the restaurant’s three co-owners.

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Happy guests – which include a mix of locals, returning visitors and first-time holidaymakers – are all treated to dishes that have been on the menu for 57 years. These recipes, such as St. Augustine’s famous fried shrimp and Menorcan clam chowder, were family recipes of Virginia and Robert O’Steen, the original owners.

After many years, the restaurant changed hands to Lawrence “Lonnie” Pomar, who ran it until January 2018. The new partners are Timmy Colee, Bobby Fales and John Cleary, all of whom have worked at O’Steen since over 40 years each.

Staff and co-owner Johnny Cleary grab fresh green beans during a recent shift at O'Steen's Restaurant.  This popular eatery sources local vegetables for its house menu.

O’Steen’s Best Menu Item: Fried Shrimp

In its ranking, Trips to Discover said, “O’Steen’s has found the perfect recipe with its delicious seafood dishes and fun, casual atmosphere. A favorite for locals and visitors alike where long queues are a constant, this 50-plus-year-old seafood restaurant is known for its fried prawns, while Menorcan clam chowder and a side of hush puppies are also very popular.

“Our most ordered item has always been the fried shrimp, Colee explained.

Colee said they eat 300 pounds of locally caught shrimp a day. The kitchen also sources local produce for its sides, including cabbage for its coleslaw and other vegetables, such as yellow squash and green beans.

And the St. Augustine datil pepper, a locally grown spicy staple that traces its heritage back to the Minorcans who settled here in the 1700s, is featured in many recipes – from crab cakes to sauces.

The fried chicken also rose to fame last year when the YouTube channel Mashed, with 1.19 million subscribers, named O’Steen’s as one of eight places for “the best fried chicken in the South”.

While lines can be long for a table at this popular restaurant during peak season, orders can be placed in advance over the phone and customers can use the convenient pickup window.

“We offer our customers a good product at a fair price,” Colee said. “If we didn’t eat it, we wouldn’t serve it. We are simply carrying on this tradition.

When guests step inside, they step back in time to the nostalgic days of Florida. There is a lunch counter on the right where locals and visitors can saddle up and chat with the friendly staff. At each place setting, silverware and napkins sit on a paper placemat that depicts St. Augustine landmarks like the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

The famous O'Steen's Restaurant sign on Anastasia Boulevard.  O'Steen's was recently named one of Florida's Top 15 Seafood Restaurants by tripstodiscover.com.

O’Steen’s Restaurant is located at 205 Anastasia Blvd., St. Augustine on Anastasia Island. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Arrive early to queue. Reservations are not available. Free parking is available on site, with ample parking behind the restaurant. Cash or local checks are accepted – no debit or credit cards. Visit oseensrestaurant.com to see the menu. Call 904-829-6974 to place a takeout order.

See the full list of winners online at triptodiscover.com.

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