We’re pleased to announce that Azurea–our favorite fine dining restaurant in the Jacksonville area–has achieved AAA Four Diamond status for 2011! It’s nice to see this excellent restaurant finally getting the recognition it deserves. Each year, AAA releases an incredible list of restaurants that we rely on heavily for ideas on new restaurants to try. We are fully confident in AAA’s criteria and we’ve been very impressed at nearly all the AAA Four and Five Diamond restaurants we’ve visited.
AAA Five Diamond restaurants are very rare. There are only three in the entire state of Florida: Victoria and Alberts @ Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, L’Escalier @ The Breakers in Palm Beach, and The Restaurant @ Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. Salt at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island used to be the fourth AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Florida but it has since slipped down to AAA Four Diamond status. By comparison, AAA Four Diamond restaurants are somewhat more plentiful. Still, AAA Four Diamond status is a big honor and we’re excited to report that Azurea, at One Ocean Resort in Atlantic Beach has obtained this milestone. Check out the full AAA restaurant and lodging lists here.
We’ve written about Azurea on numerous occasions, includilng mentions in our lists of the best restaurants for ambiance, special occasion, and best overall restaurant. Azurea basically has it all with great views of the ocean, fresh (oftentimes local) food, and solid service. The restaurant also has a noteworthy Executive Chef named Ted Peters. Peters has been in the Jacksonville area for many years and his food is unique, well plated, and delicious. For more on Chef Ted Peters, check out this article.
So, we feel strongly that Azurea deserves the AAA Four Diamond status and will remain on the list in the future. In closing, we’d like to discuss the particulars of the AAA rating system. AAA rates approximately 27,000 restaurants each year and only a few are chose for the top honors. In order to be considered, restaurants must apply to AAA for a review and must satisfy some initial criteria. nce approved, AAA will evaluate the restaurant with an unannounced visitation, which will focus on five criteria: cleanliness and condition, management and staff, food, service, and decor and ambiance. Luckily, AAA focuses on the most important aspects of fine dining, food and service and assigns 80% of the rating to those two categories. After this surprise evaluation, an interview is conducted with either the owner, general amanager, or restaurant designee. Finally, the restaurant is notified in writing regarding the outcome of the evaluation.
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