Most cities or regions have a popular local dish and Jacksonville, Florida is no different, here shrimp reigns supreme. At the Jacksonville beaches Mayport has a long and proud local shrimp fishing heritage and although the fleet has dwindled in recent years it continues to supply Jacksonville with their regionally famous fresh shrimp and the delicious dishes derived from it.
Shrimp is so popular that Jacksonville has a number of annual seafood festivals which draw large crowds, many of which revolve heavily around Mayport shrimp. Nearly every restaurant in town, as well as markets and grocery stores, provide locals with this tasty treat whenever they desire. If you’re a shrimp lover, however, there are some deliciously special stops not to miss in Jacksonville that sit a notch above the rest.
Located in Jacksonville Beach on Third Street and Beach Blvd is Beachside Seafood. If you’re coming in from out of town and want to eat like a local then a stop here is in order. In Jacksonville they do up shrimp in just about any fashion you can fathom, including Beachside Seafood’s mouth watering shrimp burger. Locals make shrimp everything, from plain old boiled jumbo shrimp to salads all the way to this meal in itself. If you’ve never had fresh Mayport shrimp or a shrimp burger then this is surely the lunch for you. If you want to prepare it to your heart’s content Beachside Seafood also has a market downstairs that provides every size of shrimp fresh off the boats daily in addition to snacks such as shrimp spreads.
If you happen to be looking for a more West Coast spin on Jacksonville’s adored food staple then perhaps you would enjoy a Baja shrimp taco prepared with these same locally caught shrimp straight from the historic fleet. A stop by Paco’s Mexican Grill, situated ocean side at 1st Street North and 3rd Avenue North, will afford you the best Baja shrimp taco in town. Get it as a meal with the traditional Mexican sides or a couple of them alone, my personal choice, and enjoy the beachy atmosphere as you combine the freshness of the local shrimp with the flavors usually reserved for Southern California or Mexico. This is a local favorite, especially on weekend mornings when you can wash it down with a $2 Mimosa or $4 Bloody Mary.
However you elect to taste Jacksonville’s local favorite dish of fresh shrimp make sure you get it done; you will not be disappointed!