Saltwater Cowboy’s

Fish Camp / Catfish Parlor | Seafood
Memorable
One of the best
Save

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.

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.

Note: Saltwater Cowboy’s was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew at the beginning of October, 2016, and had to close. It reopened in April, 2017.

What to Eat
Saltwater Cowboy’s, Cheese Rolls
Cheese Rolls
Must-Try
I can in no way justify how much I liked these spongy rolls infused with oily cheese flavor, but by the time the meal was over, they were long gone.
Saltwater Cowboy’s, Red Clam Chowder
Red Clam Chowder
Red chowder is big in the area around St. Augustine, where the custom is to hotten it up by including locally-grown datil peppers.
Saltwater Cowboy’s, Red Snapper
Red Snapper
Whatever fish you choose can be prepared in accord with that day's kitchen special. Here's red snapper, given the dill-cucumber treatment. The creamy-cool sauce was a lovely blanket for the hunky fish.
Saltwater Cowboy’s, Pink Lemondade
Pink Lemondade
Drinks are served in Mason jars.
Saltwater Cowboy’s, Cole Slaw
Cole Slaw
You get a choice of salad or slaw with dinner. The slaw is crisp and cabbagy, scarcely dressed and quite refreshing.
Saltwater Cowboy’s, Alligator
Alligator
The fried gator appetizer (made from alligator tail meat) is reminiscent of moist, tender chicken cutlets that are very mildly flavored. The spicy breading adds some zip, and the orange-lime dipping sauce contributes a sweet Florida flavor punch.
Saltwater Cowboy’s, Pineapple Pecan Pie
Pineapple Pecan Pie
This creamy pie features sweet chunks of pineapple and crunchy pecan pieces, all suspended in an almost-marshmallow-textured cream mixture that's not overly sweet (it might be based on cream cheese).
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday5pm - 9pm
MondayCLOSED
TuesdayCLOSED
Wednesday5pm - 9pm
Thursday5pm - 9pm
Friday5pm - 10pm
Saturday5pm - 10pm
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
5 stops | 55 MILES | 1 hr 24 min

There is no Minorcan chowder on the island of Minorca, nor anywhere else we know other than Florida's northeast coast, where almost all of the world's datil peppers are grown. Datils arrived in the late 18th century in the hands of Minorcans who came to work the once-ubiquitous indigo fields and finally settled in St.…

8 stops | 191 MILES | 4 hr 33 min

Florida's north coast is an eater's paradise, with fare both exotic and familiar. The menu includes fish camp cooking at its finest, pour-your-own pancakes at the Fountain of Youth, fried shrimp that may be the best anywhere, and a four-alarm delicious legacy of Minorcan hot peppers.

Information
Price
$$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Whitey’s Fish Camp

    Fleming Island, Florida

    Great catfish puts Whitey’s on the Florida best-eats map. They’re caught wild, fried whole to perfection, and brought to the table until you’ve had your fill.

  • The Floridian

    St. Augustine, Florida

    Southern food meets sustainable ingredients at The Floridian, home of pickled pepper shrimp, biscuits with pork belly, & fried chicken with hot-sauce honey.

  • Safe Harbor Restaurant

    Jacksonville Beach, Florida

    At Safe Harbor, the fish is as freshly-caught as you’d expect in a fish market next to the water. The menu’s must-eat: spicy blackened shrimp.

  • La Herencia Cafe

    St. Augustine, Florida

    Sit outside and observe the oldest street in America while you enjoy a Media Noche sandwich at La Herencia Cafe of St. Augustine.

  • Good Dough

    Jacksonville, Florida

    Good Dough is a Jacksonville neighborhood bakery that sets a high bar with fried chicken doughwiches and torched crème brûlée doughnuts.

  • Beach Road Chicken Dinners

    Jacksonville, Florida

    Jacksonville’s vintage southern fried chicken house, dating back to 1939, Beach Road serves chicken all ways along with a wide variety of worthy side dishes.