Saltwater Cowboys

Review by: Michael Stern

Saltwater Cowboys in St. Augustine, FL | What to Expect

This colorful restaurant was designed to look like a salt marsh fish camp from a hundred years ago. Looking around at the weathered wood floors, bentwood chairs, and dusty swampland bric-a-brac on the wall, it is hard to believe that it isn’t, in fact, a century old. One thing that never changes is the sunset over the marshes and the intercoastal waterway: a spectacular setting for supper, or for waiting for a table for supper, as you likely will do at this very popular place that takes no reservations.

What to eat at Saltwater Cowboys

Seafood stars on the menu, from freshly-opened oysters to fancy preparations, including a slew of such deep-fried cracker specialties as gator tail, catfish, cooter, and frog legs. The first thing the waiter does is to announce what fish are fresh that day; on my visit in mid-April, they had red snapper, mahi mahi, and yellowfin tuna. You can get them broiled or grilled however your like.

The day I visited, the blackboard preparation was to smother the fish with a cucumber dill sauce that was very good on the meaty snapper. Alongside the meal comes a basket of unctuous cheese rolls, no doubt made from some ersatz buns but transformed into a very naughty addictive breadstuff by the infusion of oil and cheese.

Fish-Camp-Fare-Frowners can select from a menu of open-pit barbecue, including ribs, chicken and shrimp. Other people’s plates looked good, but for me, this setting demands seafood.


What To Eat

Red Clam Chowder

Red Snapper

Pink Lemondade

Cheese Rolls

Cole Slaw


Pineapple Pecan Pie


Saltwater Cowboys Recipes


What do you think of Saltwater Cowboys?

2 Responses to “Saltwater Cowboys”

Bill Brown

June 20th, 2009

We were driving down a residential street and stopped in a line of about 15 cars. People on foot were passing us and I finally asked them where they were going. I thought they were going down to watch the sunset, or maybe Kenny Chesney or Rascal Flatts were in concert at the end of the road. They said “we’re going to eat.” I knew then that had found us a “winner.”

We found a place to park as though we were special with the help of the parking attendant. Saltwater Cowboy’s is rustic but beautiful. We sat around on an outside wrap-around porch with drinks purchased from an open window. Everyone was in a good, festive mood. The service/waiter was superb. I had the red chowder (recommended on this site) and it was FANTASTIC. My sons had the baby back ribs and couldn’t get enough of them. I thoroughly enjoyed the catfish and my wife loved her coconut shrimp.

When we returned home, someone said, “oh, our favorite restaurant in St. Augustine is Saltwater Cowboy’s.” That made my day, because my goal is to return from a trip and if someone says, “did you go to….” I can say yes. Thanks!


Susanne Hupfer

June 18th, 2009

Though it’s a bit of a drive from St. Augustine’s historic downtown, I was glad I made my way to Saltwater Cowboy’s for an old-fashioned Florida dining experience. Judging from the crowded parking lot and bustling activity inside, this is a popular spot with locals. Made to look like an old-time fish camp, with rustic wood interior and furnishings, Saltwater Cowboy’s is a casual, homey place to sample the flavors of Florida’s vernacular cuisine while watching a beautiful sunset over a salt marsh.

I had my first experience with fried gator tail here: it is served as a moist, tender cutlet, coated with spicy breading and fried (not unlike a white-meat chicken cutlet), and served with a deliciously zesty orange-lime dipping sauce. If you’re timid about trying the alligator, ask to try a bite — they’ll call back to the chef that they’ve got a “gator taster”! The boiled shrimp are sweet, tender, and undoubtedly fresh off a Florida shrimp boat.

Some classic Southern pies are a good way to end the meal. The pineapple-pecan pie is surprising in that it is nothing like “pecan pie”: it consists of pineapple shreds and pecan morsels suspended in a creamy mixture (maybe cream cheese based). Whatever the ingredients, it is different and delicious.


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