Back in November we made dinner reservations at Collage Restaurant for our New Year’s trip to St. Augustine. In mid-December, Collage had once again appeared on the Trip Advisor Top 100 List. Any remaining reservations for the holiday season instantly evaporated.
The moral of this story is simple: if your romantic getaway includes dinner at great restaurants you need to reserve a table as soon as possible.
We were pretty excited about visiting Collage, given the incredibly positive reviews. The TripAdvisor average rating is 5.0, making it the highest-rated in St. Augustine. Everyone seemed to really love the place, and we were hoping that we would, too!
We had arrived a little early and the hostess offered us a glass of wine to enjoy while we waited in their lovely outdoor waiting area.
We selected a very nice California Chenin Blanc/Viognier blend from Pine Ridge Vineyards. Neither of us could remember a wine with this combination of grapes. But we’ll not forget this one, it was a perfect match for our dinners.
As we waited, we noticed that the ground around us was covered with wine corks as mulch!
We were seated right on time in a cozy terra-cotta room. A most interesting chandelier hung from the center of the ceiling.
Our first course was a Carrot Datil Bisque with Bacon. Unfortunately, neither of us captured a photo of it. The flavor was intensely spicy, enhanced by a bacon smokiness. The accompanying bread course was a nice counter to the heat.
Strawberry/White Balsamic sorbet cleared our palates between courses. It’s not often that you recognize that the sorbet is a course in its own right, but this was.
I ordered the Parmesan Brown Sugar Pecan-Crusted Grouper with buerre blanc. The buerre blanc so deliciously combined with the parmesan brown sugar crust and grouper.
Jasmine rice and grilled vegetables nicely completed the plate.
I can still taste it as I write this three days later.
Adriel chose the chef’s special – a pan-seared Branzino filet sauteed in white wine, shallots, garlic, mushrooms, shishito peppers, chicken stock, and butter along with local purple and green baby spinach from Ben Wells Farms and melted cherry tomatoes. This delightful preparation was served over linguine.
Dessert, once again, proved to be a difficult decision.
We opted for the Bougainvillea, their signature dessert. Try to imagine fresh strawberries sauteed in butter, black pepper, and cabernet vanilla sauce poured over an incredible vanilla bean ice cream.
We probably embarrassed ourselves making orgasmic sounds as we carefully savored each morsel, delaying that inevitable last bite.
The service was impeccable. Things appeared and disappeared when they should. Our server, Scott, was unobtrusive, but offered advice when asked.
How could any restaurant top Collage?
Should we have made it our last reservation in St. Augustine out of fairness to the others?
Tomorrow night is Michael’s…..we’ll see!
Collage Restaurant, 60 Hypolita Street St. Augustine, FL 32084
Hours: Nightly starting at 5:00 pm (reservations heartily suggested)
Parking: As with most of downtown St. Augustine, locate the nearest parking garage.
Noise Level: The dining rooms are fairly cozy, so if there is a loud (read that ‘rude’) party near your table, it could be distracting. Otherwise, it’s fairly quiet.
Credit Cards accepted.
Insider’s Tip: Make your reservations as far out as possible.