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“A great St. Augustine restaurant”

Ranked #105 of 601 Restaurants in St. Augustine
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $20
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Romantic, Business meetings
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Takeout
Reviewed April 21, 2008

Based on favorable TripAdvisor reviews, my wife and I went to the Purple Onion for supper last Saturday. This restaurant is located in an unassuming strip center on St. Augustine Beach. It's small, with no more than 20 tables. We had made "reservations" (which actually only gives you priority for the next available table once you arrive) but were seated as soon as we arrived. Our server was prompt and efficient.

While waiting for our appetizers, we were given the obligatory fresh bread with garlic-infused olive oil for dipping. The bread was slightly sweet and didn't seem like a good candidate for dipping in the olive oil, which had a light, non-garlicky taste. For an appetizer, we chose the Sundried Tomato Pesto Flatbread, a tasty, tomatoey-cheesy concoction hung on a large plank of flatbread. The salad greens were acceptable, the customary field greens or baby spinach. The dressing for my baby spinach salad was an intriguing melange of candied pecans, apples, crispy bacon, & warmed brie. Actually, I think the brie was so warm that it melted away, since all I saw if it was the rind. It all did make for a tasty dressing, though.

At just the right time the entees arrived. I really wanted to get the Sesame Seared Scallops, but selected the tuna entree instead. I really love tuna well-prepared, so I'm a little picky, quality-wise. My Blackened Ahi Tuna did not disappoint. It was served rare, with just the right amount of peppery spice seared in, and served with just enough ginger soy sauce, shredded ginger & wasabi to please most diners. The jasmine rice was subtly sweet; the wok seared vegetables buttery and tasty. My wife had the catch of the day. The mahi was blackened just right, done with a lighter touch appropriate to the milder taste of the mahi. She really liked the mango chutney it came with. Her side dish was delicious, Asparagus with Almond Picada.

After all that delicious food, we certainly didn't have room for dessert. But we did talk to Deidre, one of the owners, who was gracious enough to take time to speak with us in the midst of what had become a busy evening. We never felt rushed while we were there. The place had a low-key, locals-eat-here vibe, and the prices were friendly, too. My wife and I agreed that it was the best meal we'd had in some time. HIGHLY recommended!

4  Thank brodavefla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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525 - 529 of 546 reviews

Reviewed April 18, 2008

We found ourselves at the Purple Olive on the last night of our honeymoon stay. My husband was the one who really lobbied for this restaurant, but with the first salad I fell in love with it as well. The homemade dressing was great. My husband had the seafood bisque which thankfully he shared with me. It was out of this world. Then came the main course..I had beef and he had seafood. They were both wonderful. We were really full at that point, but had to try one of the homemade desserts. Again, just fabulous. We would definitely return to this restaurant our next trip to St. Augustine. Thank you for a wondeful evening.

3  Thank puddlejumper44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2008

We just returned from a wonderful trip to St. Augustine which we topped off with dinner at the Purple Olive on our last night in town. We chose this place based on the reviews we read on TA and we were not disappointed. The service was very good--holla out to Tara! All the staff was very helpful and obviously worked as a team. We never had to ask for water or clean utensils--the staff was very in tune with the needs of the customers. The food was delectable. Everything on the menu is so enticing, we had difficulty choosing. Ultimately, the two of us ordered as if we were a party of four and ate way too much! We started by sharing two appetizers: garlic shrimp (which is served on pasta and could be eaten as dinner) and the spinach salad. The shrimp were fresh and garlicky and cooked to perfection. The salad was divine--fresh spinach with brie and candied pecans (made to order) with green apples & a sweet & tangy dressing. The warm sauce from the pecans is drizzled on top which makes the brie melt--to die for. We chose the blackened mahi tuna & the sesame scallops for our entrees. The fish was delicious and prepared perfectly, as were the scallops. Both dishes were accompanied by sautéed veggies & rice, which were also very good.
No matter what, you must save room for their signature dessert -- or at least order it to go! It was called chocolate pecan gateau (or something like that). It consisted of a chocolate pecan bottom topped with some heavenly other chocolate layer and topped off with a cream cheese & Grand Marnier layer.
I'll be dieting for the next few months....but it was so worth it!
Bon Apetit!

2  Thank dovella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2008

My wife and I had the Early Bird Special. To be fair, it is less expensive and my wife enjoyd it, but I felt the portions were too small. Pay the extra bucks and order off of the regular menu.

2  Thank Laujam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DPHStAug, Owner at PURPLE OLIVE, responded to this reviewResponded April 14, 2008

So sorry to hear you were disappointed at our restaurant. Yes, the Early Bird menu items are a smaller portion, with a lesser price ($10-$12), yet still do come with the same size soup or salad and homemade bread as our regular generously portioned entrees ($14-$23). We do appreciate your feedback, and hope you will dine with us again.
Deidre B Kenney

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2008

My wife and I ate there twice this week. Once we had the Diver's Scallops and once we each had the Duck Breast in a rich Port wine & Mushroom sauce. Both meals were fantastic, creative, loaded with flavor and creativity.

The wine list is very nice. Try the Hidden Jewel Pinot Noir, works wonderfully with the duck.

We will get back to St. Augustine and definitely for the Purple Olive.

Bernie and Pat Rubin

2  Thank BernieandPat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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