If fresh seafood is what you’re craving, then you won’t be disappointed with the restaurants in Northwest Florida. Many establishments along the Emerald Coast specialize in serving up fresh dishes with the catch of the day, oysters, and crab.
Here are a few of the locals’ favorite places to eat in Northwest Florida and the dishes they recommend ordering:
The Crab Trap, Destin
The best spot for lunch? A Gulf-front seafood restaurant with local art and a beautiful view. The Crab Trap offers a wide variety of menu options including fresh seafood, their signature Hot Crab Dip and daily specials ranging from Bronzed Grouper or Grilled Filet to Alaskan Crab Legs. It’s the perfect spot for groups of friends, date night, lunch after a day on the beach or just catching a game at the tiki bar.
Local Tip: The Hot Crab Dip is a local favorite. Served with pita chips, it’s the perfect appetizer to share with friends and family.
The Gulf, Fort Walton Beach
Ask any local where to eat in Fort Walton Beach and they will tell you about The Gulf. The eatery focuses on local ingredients, and the menu changes daily to reflect the freshest seasonal choices available, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy something new each visit. From local oysters to seasonal fish, The Gulf serves a wide range of tasty seafood. Even though the menu changes daily, you can’t go wrong with whatever you order – it’s all delicious.
Local Tip: Enjoy brunch at The Gulf every weekend from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with an omelette station on Saturdays and live music on Sundays. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, so swing by rain or shine.
Casino Beach Bar & Grille, Pensacola
Looking for a casual but unique restaurant? The Casino Beach Bar & Grille has a relaxed island vibe and a great location nestled at the foot of the Pensacola Gulf Pier, making for the perfect beachfront hangout. The restaurant offers signature island cocktails made from hand-squeezed fruit juices, quality coastal cuisine and delicious shareables. Enjoy everything from sandwiches and burgers to tacos, and even brunch.
Local Tip: The Shrimp and Mango Ceviche and the Ahi Tuna Nachos are two of the signature dishes at this beach-front restaurant. Both are equally delicious.
Dee’s Hangout, Panama City Beach
Looking to indulge in Cajun and seafood? Dee’s Hangout offers both tastes in one place. Located in Panama City Beach, Dee’s serves the freshest seafood you’ll ever lay your eyes on. Visitors from all over and locals alike rave about the flavors created at this unique spot.
Local Tip: Try out their Jambalaya dish. It’s the fan favorite.
Chanticleer Eatery, Santa Rosa Beach
For all the sandwich and soup lovers out there, Chanticleer Eatery is the place to eat. Known for their infamous sandwiches made on fresh, daily-made bread, this place is definitely worth the stop for lunch. Locals call it the “must go-to” place in 30A.
Local Tip: Make sure to get there early to avoid long waits, and leave room for their cookies – definitely the best cookies along the coast!
The Surf Hut, Miramar Beach
The best place in Destin to get a little bit of everything is The Surf Hut. Located in Miramar Beach, this restaurant has the best Smoked Tuna Dip in the Gulf, and their Shrimp & Grits are to die for. It’s got something for the whole family, even for the ones who don’t like seafood.
Insider Tip: Try the option to build your own sandwich with the catch of the day. You’ll be glad you did it.
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