Literally tucked away in the historic and picturesque former Hotel Alcazar in historic downtown St. Augustine, Florida (now called the Lightner Museum) is Café Alcazar. This stylish St. Augustine restaurant inherited not only the name of its host (listed in the National Register of Historic Places) but all its bygone elegance.
If the decadent atmosphere of Turkish baths, 3-story ballrooms, and the former largest indoor swimming pool in the world at its time doesn’t sweep you up, the unique menu will.
From classically-prepared appetizers like escargot ala Alcazar to local dessert favorites like Key Lime pie, this restaurant has it all. Enjoying this luxurious and historical restaurant is a must during any trip to our St. Augustine resort.
Location, Location, Location
Visitors to St. Augustine make sure to put the Lightner Museum on their list of “Must See” historic attractions and landmarks. This Spanish Renaissance Revival-style building, built in 1887, is now housed in was once a hotel called the Hotel Alcazar, a retreat for the well-off who, in true aristocratic fashion, traveled south for the winter.
The building and museum offerings are worth the visit on their own. The grounds welcome you with an epic open courtyard decorated with swaying palm trees that make you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time and are a glamorous guest staying at the Hotel Alcazar.
However, if you’re famished after your travels (even if it’s from Jacksonville or Daytona Beach), you can’t miss the fine dining opportunity in the old luxury hotel’s pool at the Café Alcazar.
Not poolside but in the pool! Yes, the Café Alcazar occupies what used to be the world’s largest indoor swimming pool in its heyday at the Hotel Alcazar. In the tradition of glam hotel guests from that bygone era, you’re about to dive right into a delectable dining experience at this one of a kind St. Augustine restaurant.
From appetizer to dessert (and all the entrees in between), the Café Alcazar’s epicurean objective is to impress the taste buds with gourmet creations made from fresh ingredients both local and organic. While relaxing live piano music further immerses diners in the sophisticated Old-World ambiance, don’t worry about tuxes and furs. The dress code is very casual as is the menu in many ways.
Classy fare like the café’s very own Escargot Alcazar, snails prepared traditionally with white wine, garlic butter, and Asiago cheese, served with toast points, are balanced in the appetizer category with more down-to-earth selections like hummus served with veggies and pita bread.
The cafe is only open for lunch (except for a monthly 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm dinner service on the first Friday) so expect a traditional menu of lunchtime favorites like soups, salads, sandwiches, micro pizzas (on pitas), and paninis. It even has mix-and-match combos of its yummy soups, salads, and (half portion) signature sandwiches if you want to sample a light lunch of everything.
If you prefer a heavier meal, two popular entrees are the Shrimp Giovani (fresh local shrimp baked in a mélange of breadcrumbs, sherry, and Asiago cheese served over linguine) and Artichokes Giovani (imported artichokes baked and prepared the same way above).
Make sure to leave room for dessert, Café Alcazar has artisanal-crafted desserts like Tres Leches cake topped with fluffy whipped cream and drizzled with warm caramel sauce and Key Lime pie served with raspberry and lime sauce which are excellent complements in flavor.
Literally A Hidden Gem
Café Alcazar is literally a hidden St. Augustine restaurant gem tucked away inside the Lightner Museum (formerly the Hotel Alcazar) at 25 Granada St. in St. Augustine, Florida.
It is open for lunch only Monday to Friday from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm so make sure to schedule appropriately during your stay at our St. Augustine resort so you don’t miss this delightful dining experience at the heart of St. Augustine history itself!