I Always Say…Orsay! {Even with Kids!}

Restaurant Orsay, Downtown Jacksonville

Ecclesiastes 9:7: Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.

After starting the resident’s only moms club of Nocatee, the third best-selling planned community in the US, I started to see a lot of the same questions pop up on our page by close to 1500 local moms:

Where do you recommend going on a date night in Jacksonville? Is there a nearby restaurant that is your favorite? Are there any good date night restaurants that are also family-friendly?

And to respond, I always say…”Orsay!”

Read below why Restaurant Orsay, a trendy French-cuisine restaurant on Park St. near downtown Jacksonville, will always be my answer {and should always be yours, too!}

I grew up in a small town not far from Philadelphia and I didn’t realize until I moved down South that finding great food would be hard to come by. While there are a few local gems, none can compete with Orsay.

Their cocktails are some of the very best around with Logan almost always getting their Eastbound & Down, a smooth bourbon-based concoction and I’m usually a sucker for their Hey Jealousy drink which combines sparkling wine and gin.

And their dinner menu – beyond delicious! We have never had a meal that we didn’t absolutely love. My husband challenges me to try something besides the Steak Frites because I could literally have it every single night for dinner.

 

We have been to Orsay over a dozen times and stumbled upon it with friends many, many years ago. When we first walked in ten years ago, we were underdressed, overwhelmed and completely smitten. Despite our move to the suburbs of Nocatee, we have never replaced Orsay as our favorite date night spot or as the go-to place to bring out-of-town guests.

 

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But we decided to try something different this weekend. We invited two smaller guests, our boys Landon (5) and Griff (almost 3) and the end product was a sweet family dinner that was surprisingly family-friendly:

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The Trois (Three) Main Reasons to Bring Your Kids to Orsay for Dinner:

(Un): The Adorable Kids Menu

Orsay is not a super inexpensive option for dining, but really, eating out is not inexpensive in general! Our family rarely eats out (maybe once per month or less), so we personally would rather spend that money somewhere with great food that we enjoy than grab a meal at a chain restaurant.

Orsay’s Petite Selections menu is adorable! For $11-16, a child receives a three-course meal: a first course,  an entree course, a dessert course and a drink, like an Arnold Palmer or a Shirley Temple. Landon thought it was so fun ordering off his own menu!

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The menu doubles as a coloring page which helped entertain the kids while they waited for their first course to arrive.

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(Deux): The Kid-Friendly Noise Level

The noise level when walking into the bar area of Orsay is high, so don’t stress about your kids making too much noise. Our boys rotated between talking {very loudly} about their day to us and wanting to watch their tablets.

When we first sat in our seats, I was reminding them to turn down their tablets and to keep an inside voice. Until I realized, their sweet noises were just blending right in! They also have great outdoor seating for a beautiful night where the kids can run around and scream until their hearts are content.

Cheers to a stress-free dinner!

 

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(Trois): They May Try New Food

If your kids are like ours, we order them the same food every time we eat out for dinner: chicken fingers, pizza, or macaroni and cheese.

While they did order the norm at Orsay, they watched my husband and I eat our first course; a cheese plate. Our oldest was so intrigued by the cheese on our board! He asked all about the types of cheeses that we were eating and he tried them both (as I fainted). He learned that he actually loved bleu cheese! He loved to dip the crostini into honey from the cheese plate and I almost fainted when he kept adding pieces of bleu cheese.

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When asked, we will always say that Orsay is the best date night spot in Jacksonville. And now, we will without a doubt visit daddy after a day’s work downtown to dine as a family at Restaurant Orsay.


Trek Difficulty Level: (1); the drive from Nocatee is about thirty minutes without traffic; parking is easy and if your spouse works downtown, it’s a great place to meet on a Friday

Trek Budget: $100; Orsay is not inexpensive but again, we do not eat out frequently, so when we do, we save and only pick the best. For a family four with drinks and tip, $100 is a good guess for the bill.

3 Trek Must-Dos: 

  • Get a family picture under the Orsay wall.
  • Check out the front dining room; while the bar is best for kids, we also love the front room which is great and a bit more quiet for date nights
  • Always say yes to their Vanilla Bean Crème brûlée — it’s life changing!

Landon’s Trek Tip: Skip the kid’s cup with a lid…it’s fun to drink out of the big boy glass cup!

Au revoir! xo The James Family

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