The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island recently celebrated the opening of its newest restaurant, Coast. Touted as a Modern American eatery with a coastal flair, Coast serves up everything from local seafood to small plates. We’re dying to make the trip to Amelia Island to give the new restaurant a whirl, but until that happens, we’ll happily settle for a Q&A with the man at the helm of the island eatery, Coast’s Chef de Cuisine Niko Anagnostou.
Tell me about your vision for Coast.
Simple and delicious food made from the finest selection of seafood, meats and produce available in the region. I search for true artisan partners who are passionate about their expertise, such as Sweet Grass Dairy who makes our cheese, the Cox Family Farm who produces our aged beef, and the boat captains up and down the coast who bring us New Smyrna clams and help our team to deliver on our promise for serving the best variety of seafood.
How does your Amelia Island location inform Coast’s seasonal menu?
Amelia Island is one of the last of Sea Islands in the vicinity. It’s a secluded island community, surrounded by ocean, water marshes, and natural preserves all teeming with seafood. There’s a touch of Lowcountry here. It’s a laidback, simple way of life, and that’s the attitude I capture in the menu. We’re right on the border of Georgia, an ideal location that lets me source everything from produce from farms in Georgia, to lobster down in Key West. It can all be here in hours.
What is your own connection to the coast?
The coast inspires me. The sunrises are inspirational; the wide beach is a perfect gathering spot to toss a ball to my dog, mingle with friends and take walks with my wife. I think you have the best conversations on the beach. And I love the idea that in Amelia Island, you are never more than a few minutes away from a beach access point, boat ramp, pier, or your secret place to cast a rod.
Best seafood dish for winter months?
In winter, I love cooking a hearty Greek fish stew that my father taught me. Of course, there is no recipe. It’s all about the broth. Sear fresh-caught fish; add sausage, shrimp, garlic, tomato, and whatever else you have on hand. The best part is the bottom of the bowl for the last bread dip of broth.
Favorite destination for seafood?
I head to my own kayak and drop it in a cove by Huguenot Memorial Park just south of Little Talbot Island. It’s a protected cove we affectionately call “The Pond.” I catch flounder, trout, red fish, blue fish, and Jacks, and cook a favorite recipe. It always tastes a little better when you catch it yourself.
Favorite Amelia Island restaurant?
I love a burger dive called Tasty’s. It’s located in our little island town of Fernandina Beach. I’m craving one right now. They have their own meat mixture and a great sauce. The trick is to get it to go, unwrap the foil, add the sauce, then rewrap for a minute and let the sauce seep in. That’s still simple, right?
We’ll take your word for it, Chef!
Ready to make the trip to Amelia Island? Discover Fernandina Beach!
Thanks to Agnes Lopez for the beautiful photos.
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