Michael’s Tasting Room serves up traditional tapas in a classy atmosphere

Michael’s Tasting Room is a classy joint located in historic downtown St. Augustine. 


Chef Michael Lugo and his wife Stephanie were lured by St. Augustine’s charm in 2002 after getting married here. Fulfilling a childhood dream, Lugo, originally from Puerto Rico, opened up Michael’s in 2006. The restaurant specializes in traditional Spanish tapas: Think of them as social appetizers where all are invited to partake of the varied tastes in a convivial setting. 

Lugo took a whirlwind culinary tour to Mediterranean Spain to immerse himself in the region’s traditional fare. It was here that he picked up the inspiration for many of the tapas on his menu. 

There are a total of 60 seats inside the easy, elegant dining room and outside on the covered courtyard. A private room for 20 is at the ready for events. Beer and an award-winning wine list is available to compliment your meal. 

Over time, Michael’s has evolved into a full-service restaurant that offers soup, salads, sandwiches and main plates that feature seafood, duck, chicken and meat. There is a childrens’ menu upon request. 


How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere? 

Casual fine-dining experience with impeccable service. All the walls feature original paintings by international painter Roz Jacobs. We tried different wall art and finally settled on Roz. The decor reflects the Spanish culture the cuisine is built on. 

What is your food philosophy? 

We dip into the local bounty with vegetables and seafood. The food is fresh and innovative. Some dishes are inspired by my Puerto Rican grandmother. During my culinary tour in Spain, I had a culinary rebirth and my senses were stimulated. The menu reflects this experience. Our award-winning wine list mirrors my philosophy. I want my food and wine to be approachable. 

What types of cuisine do you specialize in? 

Mediterranean Spanish. It is influenced by cities such as Barcelona and Valencia. Ingredients are highlighted and showcased. The menu changes seasonally to compliment locally sourced foods. For instance, the sweetness of the red pepper works nicely in the winter months. 

What is you signature dish? 

The goat cheese terrine on the tapas menu. This is not only the signature; it has been with us since the beginning 11 years ago. A terrine, related to the pate, is served with olives, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes with a PX sherry reduction. For the main plate, I’d recommend the braised short ribs with yuca monfongo — a Puerto Rican dish with plantains as its main ingredient. 

What would you recommend for a first timer? 

Make a reservation for our chef’s table. Call us 24 hours in advance and talk to our culinary team so we can create a personal 5-course meal. We want to cater to you and make your experience superb. 


Price Range: $-$$$ 

Location: 25 Cuna St., St. Augustine 

Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday | 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday 

Contact: 810-2400