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“Not The Best Night for Reef” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Reef

Reef
4100 Coastal Hwy, Saint Augustine, FL 32084-1419
904-824-8008
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Ranked #116 of 484 restaurants in Saint Augustine
Price range: $15 - $29
Cuisines: American, Seafood, Eclectic, Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Delivery, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Saint Augustine, Florida
1 review
“Not The Best Night for Reef”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

Read the good reviews and was looking forward to our dinner at Reef. Unfortunately, they were out of all of their specials, no mahi, no scallops, no seafood trio. The servers were polite but very overworked, there were 2 of them handling the entire restaurant so it was difficult to get drink refills, ask questions, etc.

The biggest shocker of the night was the 2 hostesses that were dressed like they were going to a club. One of them had on a very short, very tight mini skirt that showed her entire rear end whenever she moved. It left absolutely nothing to the imagination and I was very glad my daughter wasn't with us this evening.

I ended up getting a shrimp dish that was very tasty, but took a very long time to come out.

Overall, I'm not sure I'd give Reef another chance. They seem to over seat their servers, they under order the food for their specials and If I wanted to see girls dressed in skimpy outfits, I'd go to a club.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeremy T, General Manager at Reef, responded to this review, January 2, 2014
Greetings,
Let me start my apologizing for the hostess wear as this has been addressed.
Unfortunately we did run low on a few items as the weekend was a bit busier than we had expected and come Sunday evening we began to run out of a few things.
We do offer the freshest available ingredients and sometimes is a bit challenging on a holiday to get deliveries.
We were a bit short handed on employees as one of our servers had gotten sick and could not work.
I assure you this was out of the ordinary circumstances and this is not how we operate.

In hopes of a second chance

Warmly,

Jeremy Ticehurst
General Manager
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425 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Any
English first
Nashville, Tennessee
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great birthday dinner”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013 via mobile

Our trip to the Reef was for my husband's 30th birthday. He wanted good seafood in an environment that was a little more upscale than casual. There were 7 of us and we all thought the appetizers were delicious, especially the fried green tomatoes, our drinks were good, and our dinners were great, too! Our server, Laura, was great and gave us enough space to not feel rushed, while still being attentive to our needs. Great experience and my family and I will definitely be coming back.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeremy T, General Manager at Reef, responded to this review, January 2, 2014
Hello,
Let me start by saying Happy Birthday and thank you for choosing The Reef for your special day as I do realize St Augustine does have many choices for dining.
So happy to hear Laura made this memorable.

Hope to see you back soon.

Warmly,

Jeremy Ticehurst
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falls Church, Virginia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Lefty Laura provided us great service and yummy food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013

We had reservations and didn't have to wait around for our table to be cleared and the table was in the back of corner of the restaurant with windows on both of the walls we were backed up to, which would have provided a great view of the beach if it wasn't so dark out.

(Lefty) Laura was our waitress and she was awesome and completed the night. I would highly recommend requesting her as she was willing to do exactly what we requested and knew exactly what we were looking for on this night out. She was perfect, 100/100 stars.

We started with appetizers, 2 crab cakes (you only get one cake, and our party of 7 did well with the two - they are decently sized), fried green tomatoes, and spinach and artichoke dip. I loved the crab cakes, everyone enjoyed them; the popular favorite was the green tomatoes. The spinach and artichoke dip was tasty and came with darkened bread in unusual slices. None of us were expecting the bread to look the way it did, but it still paired well.

I almost forgot, most of us had a round of drinks and the online menu does not list them online; I'll do my best to recite them. I had the Pirate's Float or something like that and it was the favorite of most. I can't exactly remember what it was, but I remember it had some kind of rootbeer liquor, a splash of coke, and some kind of rum. This was awesome. It lasted me throughout the night as it was strong, but it didn't taste it at all. Another drink was the Bourbon Apple Manhattan, which was good. The last drink that wasn't wine, that I can recall was the Southern Hospitality, which was really fruity and girly, but exactly what she wanted.

For dinner, a couple people ordered the fried shrimp (you pick a side) which looked amazing and from what I was told, tasted amazing. 14 massive shrimps! They looked great.

Grilled Jumbo Sea Scallops or Diver Scallops (salad) were ordered and they were indeed jumbo. Another dish with a happy customer.

Mahi (with a side) was ordered and that plate was licked clean before anyone else was offered a bite, so I will take a venture and say that this was another dish well enjoyed.

I had the Coconut Curry Chicken (also available with shrimp) (with a salad) and this was goooood! I enjoy spicy food and was afraid that this was going to let me down and be another dish at another restaurant where they're afraid to spice the food. Wrong! This was awesome! The taste was wonderful and everyone that tasted it, really enjoyed it. I will caution, that if you do not enjoy spicy food, eating more than a forkful may be challenging.

Crab cakes were also enjoyed by someone for dinner (aforementioned appetizer) and they were pleased with those (comes with a side).

The last meal was the Shrimp and Lobster Risotto (salad) and everything here was cooked to perfection and the risotto was very tasty.

Most people that received sides took fries and they were tasty with a nice golden brown color. Rice pilaf was ordered and that received no complaints and my only complaint was that I didn't even get offered any! Safe to say that was good... Spicy cheese grits were ordered and I heard they were spicy, but after a couple bites of ,y coconut curry chicken, I wasn't going to taste a little spice in the grits (which are just gross anyways... grits?? eww...)

For salads you had a choice of house, caesar, or greek. The caesar was good, but a little heavy on dressing for my taste. A request was made for anchovies (not by me, again, gross!) and they were delivered promptly by Lefty Laura! One greek salad was ordered and it was "delish".

1 small dessert was provided for a birthday boy at no charge - a brownie with vanilla ice cream. The ice cream was good, but the brownie was a tad bit burned.

My only complaint would be that there was live music, which is something I can do without at pretty much every restaurant, and I try to run away and hide in an area where I don't have to shout at the person across from me. This was on a Friday night and the people at the bar were all turned to hear the musicians. I paid absolutely zero attention to the performers throughout dinner, but noticed that the volume level in the restaurant elevated in our room as everyone tried to be heard. Obviously, based on my review, this is not something that should turn you away from the restaurant, but something I felt that should be noted.

Overall, all of the food was amazing, our drinks were great, and the service Lefty Laura (she's a lefty if you couldn't figure that one out - we had a few lefties at the table) provided us made for a perfect night.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeremy T, General Manager at Reef, responded to this review, January 2, 2014
Good Morning,
Wonderful to hear your party was well taken care of and enjoyed everything.
We are looking forward to a return visit soon and may I suggest letting the hostess know you would like to sit on the North side of the dining room, I think away from the music will make a perfect evening for you.

Thank you again,
Jeremy Ticehurst
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Augustine Beach, Florida
Top Contributor
183 reviews 183 reviews
118 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 78 cities Reviews in 78 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
“Wonderful view, nice food and very good service.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

We've eaten at the Reef three or four times over the years. We live south of St. Augustine and the Reef is about 6 miles north of St. Augustine and probably 2 miles north of Vilano Beach so it requires some effort to go there for a meal. However, it's always been worth the trip. We stop for dinner on our way to a performance at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall the other night. I had horseradish parmesan grouper. I chose the datil pepper cheese grits as a side. The entre came with green beans. I ordered a Greek dinner salad ala carte. My wife had the datil lime chicken with rice pilaf as her side. For those of you who don't know datil - it's a locally grown hot pepper with a tasty sweetish flavor. It is a HOT pepper similar in heat to habeneros so it's easy to over do it. The Reef does not make this mistake unless you simply don't like hot peppers. The detail pepper exactly the right boost to the cheese grits and my wife, who is not as big a fan as I am of hot peppers, thoroughly enjoyed her chicken. The grouper I had was a very nice piece of fish, fresh and cooked just the right amount of time. I found the horseradish parmesan crust slightly too salty for my taste, probably from the parmesan, but very tasty despite that with just a hint of zip from the horseradish. The green beans were fresh and steamed just right. The cocktails were large and nicely prepared. There is an ample selection of wine and beer. The service was superb. The Reef does not make the mistake of assigning to many tables to one server and clearly is selective in hiring its staff. The only warning I would give is that this is a seafood oriented restaurant. The dinner menu has 2 steak entrees, prime rib, 2 chicken dishes and duck so if you are allergic to seafood or don't like it you may find that the menu is somewhat limited if you eat out often.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeremy T, General Manager at Reef, responded to this review, January 2, 2014
Good Morning,
Thank you for taking the time to post kind words as we do take pride in our establishment and to hear positive thoughts makes it all worth while.

Always,
Jeremy Ticehurst
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Outstanding”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2013

The Reef is just down the road from where we are staying in Vilano Beach. We read mixed reviews but the menu looked good so we decided to try it. It was absolutely perfect! We were seated right away and greeted by two servers... One in training Scott and Jeremy his trainer. They were both wonderful, but Scott certainly doesn't need any more training. From the hot wonderful bread, to the mushrooms stuffed with prime rib and cream cheese and the tomato soup the appetizers did not disappoint. Our mains were very different but all arrived at the table at the same time, piping hot, and without much wait after our apps were cleared from the table. The crab legs were deemed the sweetest ever eaten by my mother-in-law, and the grouper and filet were outstanding according to my partner. The cheese grits with datil peppers were the best we have had while in the south. I am not a seafood person so had the coconut curry chicken pasta ....delicious. My only negative is that the bourbon bread pudding was a tad on the dry side.. But the blueberry creme brûlée was given top marks. Oh and the view was incredible...we were there in time to watch the moon rise over the ocean. Worth the money. Will be back if in town.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeremy T, General Manager at Reef, responded to this review, December 18, 2013
Hello,
Great to hear our training is up to par.
We look forward to your return visit and keep in mind our Happy Hour is 7 days a week with discounted appetizers and drinks as well as all you can eat crab legs on or Sunday brunch.

Warmly,

Jeremy Ticehurst
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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