You may not be able to afford anything more than McDonald's or Taco Bell after dropping all that cash on your Super Bowl tickets, but Jacksonville has some fantastic restaurants for those of you with the extra loot.
1201 Riverplace Boulevard, Jacksonville; 396-6200
814-A PGA Tour Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach; 280-9050
Ruth's Chris has locations on the downtown Southbank and in Ponte Vedra. You probably know the drill -- great big steaks, great big sides, great big price tag. In fact, if you can afford to eat here, you've already printed directions from MapQuest.
2940 West University Boulevard; 733-3734
11633 Beach Boulevard; 642-3800, 3930 Sunbeam Road; 260-6100
One of Jacksonville's native-grown eateries (I almost used the word quaint), you can't get a Lubi anywhere else. For the uninitiated, a Lubi consists of loose ground beef on a hoagie roll. They mass produce these things, wrap em in foil, and then nuke them after you've made your choice of toppings. Weird, yes, but also strangely addictive. Don't ask how they can microwave the foil without fireworks, nobody seems to be able to explain it. They also serve another Jacksonville favorite, the giant cherry limeade.
4323 South University Boulevard; 733-1855
9735 St. Augustine Road; 288-8890
9551 Baymeadows Road; 739-3354
3628 St. Johns Avenue; 981-9966
For whatever reason, Jacksonville has a huge Arabic population, and has since before World War II. Outsiders find it remarkable that they have assimilated so well into the countrified background noise of Duval County. If you have a taste for things like hummus, tabbouli, kibbi, labneh, and other Levantine dishes, Jacksonville has a number of truly outstanding Middle Eastern restaurants. Hala was the trend setter, beginning way back in the mists of time with a pita bakery. The Casbah, located in the Riverside/Avondale neighborhood southwest of downtown, offers entertainment as well as the elaborate water pipes often associated with the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. No, they won't put hash in for you, even if you bring it yourself.
14549 Beach Boulevard; 223-1534
Marker 32 is tucked away behind a marina on Beach Boulevard. While this may seem like an inauspicious place to park such a creative, innovative restaurant, it offers an excellent view while you dine. There's no telling what to expect, since the menu changes daily, but they will have something you won't soon forget. Marker 32 has a strong wine list, full bar, and absolutely incredible desserts and breads baked in-house, not dropped off the back of a Sysco truck. If you come to Marker 32, come hungry, but make sure your loan has been approved.
1712 Beach Boulevard; 249-9660
Located just across the Intracoastal Waterway on Beach Boulevard, the Homestead is a converted log farmhouse that has been in business since the Earth cooled. They've always specialized in down-home fare, but following a recent renovation, the menu has been updated and up-scaled. The fried chicken is a trademark, as is the Redneck Pie: alternating layers of mashed potatoes, bacon, and smoked Gouda cheese baked in a pastry shell.
1440 San Marco Boulevard; 396-1949
1430 San Marco Boulevard; 396-1414
Bistro Aix and the Corner Brasserie are located next door to each other, and provide a nice dose of sophistication. Bistro Aix is the brasher establishment, while Corner Brasserie is more relaxed and quiet; but either is an excellent place to take a date. Both offer a creative take on American cuisine with a French twist.
Ying's Chinee Takee Outee
5507 West University Boulevard
Nobody ever eats at the Chinee Takee Outee, but on the other hand, nobody can resist pointing out the sign. Be on the lookout where I-95 crosses University Boulevard.