To get to Safe Harbor, you need to drive around a corner and to the end of 2nd Avenue. If you get to the water and are among a group of empty boat trailers, you’ve found it — a little building right on the Waterway
We arrive just before 5. The place is beginning to fill up. All around are signs about not saving tables and making sure you keep aisles clear, so I’m sure it’s a madhouse during busier hours.
The menu and specials sign stops us at the front, and we’re entranced with all the fresh-from-the-water options. Specials are particularly alluring, because we can see the just-caught red fish glistening in the ice-packed case behind it. Options for fried, blackened, and grilled come with just about any kind of fish you order.
We came for shrimp — we are in Florida, after all; and Mayport shrimp are famous. We get ours in a two-item basket that contains both blackened shrimp and fried calamari. I could devour two full baskets of just the shrimp. The plump, perfectly cooked pink crustaceans are more spicy than sweet. The calamari are chewy and fresh, lightly battered and camouflaged among French fries that are the same color.
Red fish in fish tacos is blackened with a kick, nicely balancing the sweetness of the fish along with mango salsa. A dollop of lime crema is all it needs.
The only thing that doesn’t wow us is the crab dip, served with simple crackers. It is overwhelmed with mayo.
The market operated for 25 years as a wholesale distribution company before opening its restaurants in Mayport and Jacksonville Beach.
When we leave, the place has completely filled up, with more trickling in to try and beat the early 6 PM closing time.
|Sunday||10:30am - 9pm|
|Monday||10:30am - 9pm|
|Tuesday||10:30am - 9pm|
|Wednesday||10:30am - 9pm|
|Thursday||10:30am - 9pm|
|Friday||10:30am - 9pm|
|Saturday||10:30am - 9pm|