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Swoop South for Tacos

St. Aug spot does 'em right

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It may have the same eponym as University of North Florida’s mascot, but Osprey Tacos is located well south of campus, all the way across the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine. Tacos are a true bridge to joy and Osprey takes you over it on wingéd feet.

Depending on how fancy you’re feeling, pick between Street Tacos or Boulevard Tacos. Street includes a double corn shell, onion, cilantro and radishes and your choice among classics like pollo asada (grilled or blackened chicken), carnitas and more. Boulevard features a variety of fillings; you can turn it into a bowl for an extra $5. Just walking down the Boulevard gets the creative juices flowing for this chef. Dig into a skirt steak and French fries combo with the San Diego taco or bless your heart with the Southerner: grilled pork belly with bacon jam.

Of the Boulevard choices, the Cuban Taco with pulled pork, mustard aioli, Swiss cheese and prosciutto demanded my attention. Ever curious, I ordered the bowl format. In between layers of rice and bright yellow mustard, there are pinto beans, crisp, grilled carnitas and a garnish of prosciutto. I could’ve sworn I was enjoying a Cuban sandwich. Honestly, I almost started laughing because the flavors were so surprisingly on point. It was amazing as a rice bowl, but I bet it would be even better as a handheld, with a more sandwichy feel. Fusion tacos can be a bit strange, but this one was so fun it’s definitely a must-try. For you seafood lovers out there, let me tell you that I’d crunch happily into the fried Mayport shrimp-stuffed St. Augustine taco again and again. The shrimpy centerpieces of this dish were deliciously golden, arranged on bed of cabbage and sprinkled with pickled onion.

If you like a more traditional route, get the Street Carnitas. Nice and crisp, with a cilantro and onion garnish–just what you’d expect; all it needs is a lime squeeze for that zing.

Restaurants in the Oldest City seem so inclusive and Osprey Tacos is no different. There’s something for vegans and those to strive to be gluten-free. For my vegans, I advise trying the house vegan soy protein in the Street Taco section. It has a pebbled texture, perfect for that ground meat feel, and a house-made marinade that makes sure you’re not left out of the taco experience.

Choose from a variety of Mexican beers and sodas and pop a cold one before grabbing a plank on the large picnic benches outside. Or, for an all-local experience, get your food to go and head over to Old Coast Ales next door. The combination of local beers and tacos make for a perfect afternoon.

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Osprey Tacos, 300 Anastasia Blvd., St. Augustine, 679-4191, ospreytacos.com

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If you have a recommendation, shoot me an email at biteclub@folioweekly.com.

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