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I moved to Jacksonville, Florida about 6 months ago, and I’m a terrible chef. Naturally, that means I should eat out a lot. After eating at a lot of different restaurants in Jacksonville, I have decided on a few favorites of mine. This is only the first list of many, so stay tuned for more information.

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French food is probably my favorite style of cuisine, so I’ll mention a French restaurant in Jacksonville first. This restaurant is located by the Avondale area of Jacksonville, Florida. Every great restaurant needs food, service, and sanitation. Not a lot of places focus a lot on their aesthetic, but if it becomes relevant then I’ll bring it up. For anyone who doesn’t eat French food often, there’s a wide array of things you can order. My favorite dish, which a lot of people think is gross, is escargot. It’s basically snail in butter and garlic. I know I talk a lot about “French” proportions, but Orsay breaks the mold.

The chefs guarantee that you’ll be full by the time you leave, and each dish is priced so affordably that you likely won’t have to order very many. It’s a great restaurant for families overall, because your kids can even split a dish. That’s how filling they are. From my perspective, a restaurant needs three key things in order to be great. A Jacksonville restaurant needs to serve great food, the waiters have to be great at their jobs, and the inside of the restaurant must be very clean. Getting food poisoning is the last thing anybody wants, and it can kill as well. From my perspective, all each one of the restaurants on my list is great.

Because of that, don’t come in expecting me to have anything negative to say about them. Only positive things, because that’s the kind of feedback that hard working restaurant staff need to keep them going. Chefs are likely some of the hardest working citizens. Food quality is definitely great here, and it only serves to underscore the wide selection of food that Orsay offers to begin with. A lot of French restaurants that I have been to really just serve the barebones typical French food, but Orsay goes above and beyond. I’m pretty sure the owner is from France, because it seems like he’s really familiar with all of the food.

The menu is full of these super accurate descriptions that make your mouth water, and it’s almost enough to make me order everything on the menu. Only things stopping me now are my wife and weight. Next up, there’s the amazing service. Each waiter has the whole entire menu memorized, and they’re experienced enough to be able to remember what the last few customers ordered. I like that each one of the waiters has their own personality and offers different suggestions, but at the same time they’re all really friendly and helpful.

To emphasize just how seriously the owner takes Orsay’s sanitation, I’ll provide you guys with a personal story of mine. One time I was feeling so confident that I actually asked the owner if I could see inside the kitchen. I worked with a Jacksonville hood cleaning company for some time, so I could probably provide him with some helpful tips on keeping the interior of the kitchen maintained. If there’s one thing that Orsay does perfectly, it’s the cleanliness. For more info, look at the positive online reviews on yelp and google.

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That was a long one. Fortunately, I covered a lot of important details that are prevalent in all restaurants. That way I won’t need to keep repeating myself and saying the same info over and over. V Pizza serves the greatest pizza I have ever eaten. Naysayers will just cry that this is hyperbole, but I assure you that there’s no pizza like one from a wood stove. All of the ingredients that V Pizza’s chefs use are fresh, and you can really taste it with every bite.

Again, there are those three things that I mentioned earlier. First of all, the food here is obviously good. I’d never suggest a restaurant to you guys if it wasn’t my favorite. Jacksonville has a lot of restaurants, but not all of them can operate quite as well as V Pizza’s staff. The kitchen is open air, so you can look inside and watch the chefs work their magic. I’m glad to say that the kitchen basically operates like a well-oiled machine.

The chefs work well together, and never get in the way of each other. On top of that, they never crack under pressure. Staying afloat in one of the most popular pizza places in town can be difficult, which is why V Pizza picks the best chefs. There are plenty of great reviews, so don’t just take my word for it. Make sure to be in the in the Southbank area of Jacksonville for some great food.

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The last Jacksonville restaurant I’ll mention is Fionn MacCool’s. This one’s found just across the water from Southbank, and V Pizza. I’m bringing this restaurant up last because it’s more of a bar, and I thought that it doesn’t really apply to as many people as a normal restaurant would. Fear not, the food is just as good at Fionn MacCool’s as it is at any restaurant. Fear not, as that same quality also applies to the drinks. I’m not much of a drinker, but more than a few drinks on the menu caught my eye.

Whoever designed the drink menu really had uniqueness and originality in mind, and it certainly paid off in the end. I’m not sure how often a business would conduct vital meetings inside of a bar, but if you were going to then I would suggest Fionn MacCool’s. The waiters are very polite and helpful, creating a professional atmosphere that’s tough to replicate and cannot be forced. I enjoy all of these restaurants overall, and I’m sure you will too. Just read the many great reviews online, and then tell me no.