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La Bodega Courtyard Café, Fernandina - 55J

On our recent visit to the historic downtown district of Fernandina Beach, we enjoyed a late lunch at La Bodega Courtyard Café.  Offering southern cuisine in a European Courtyard setting, La Bodega (Spanish for "the deli" is conveniently located only a few steps off of Centre Street on South 3rd Street.

We were fortunate to get a table in their quaint outdoor seating area.  The courtyard includes wrought-iron gates and tiled fountains. The weather was perfect that afternoon in mid October and business was good.  Almost every table was occupied.  Overheard conversations from other customers led me to believe this is a favorite among many visitors.  It is also pet friendly, with several patrons being of the four legged version.

La Bodega‘s menu stated that the owners, Lisa and Michael, grow all their own fresh herbs and garnishes in their on-premise garden.  Specialties include Fernandina Seafood Stew and Ginger Thyme Biscuits.  The lunch menu we ordered from had a variety of salads, sandwiches and seafood fare.  The soup of the day was tomato crab bisque which my husband ordered.  He commented that the bisque was “more tomato than crab”.  That did not stop him from ordering another daily special, a seafood burrito.  This he enjoyed much more.  The burrito was filled with fresh fish, crab meat and rice, and was covered in a tasty southwest sauce.  The quantity was plentiful.  I opted for the club wrap.  It came with a delightfully light coleslaw salad that incorporated fresh fruit.  While the club wrap was good and more than I could eat, the coleslaw was the best part of the meal.  Unfortunately, I had also wanted to try the black bean soup that was a standard on the menu, which they were out of that day.  The freshly brewed ice tea quickly made up for that.  On this warm day in October, it was delicious and refreshing.

A specialty, listed on their dinner menu, is Cajun Spiced Mahi Mahi with a tropical fruit salsa.  It is accompanied by cheese grits, jalapeno collard greens and those specialty ginger thyme biscuits.  La Bodega is reasonably priced for the area with entries up to about $20.  They are open Mon-Sat for lunch, 11:30-2:30 and Tues-Sat for dinner at 6:00pm.

While there are a number of inviting eateries in the downtown area, we are sure to try La Bodega again on a return trip to the island.

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