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Where do the locals eat?

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HOUSTON, TEXAS
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Where do the locals eat?

Tons of chain places in Destin but where do you eat if you live here? Just moved here and can't take another tourist trap meal. Just looking for good food, decent prices and nice service. Help!

Cleveland, OH
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1. Re: Where do the locals eat?

I am not a local, but I visit Destin every year and the closest we get to chain eats is coffee from Waffle House. Here is my short list of best choices:

Callahans Restaurant & Deli (850) 837-6328 791 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541. Pick-your-own beef meat case, fresh fish, homemade sides. Crowded at peak times, fair prices.

Jasmine Thai. 4424 Commons Drive East, Destin, 32541, Phone / Fax: (850) 269-0185, Website: www.jasminethai-destin.com. Excellent, inexpensive Thai food (food service seafood though). We asked for hot and they made it hot!

Dewey Destin's - turn north just on the east side of the Hwy. 98 bridge in Destin and look for the sign on the left. They serve seafood baskets and sandwiches. The seating is outside on a dock by the bay. There is now a second location on 98 that is not as well regarded as the original - our visits to this new edition this year were disappointing. Stick with the original.

The Donut Hole. 635 Highway 98 East, Destin, FL 32541-2456, (850) 837-8824. The food is ok a little pricey for what it is – but the donuts are fantastic. Family friendly, moderately priced (but not cheap).

Camille's at Crystal Beach

2931 Scenic Highway 98, Destin, FL 32541, Contact: Phone: 850-337-8860

Business Hours: Monday-Friday 6:30am-3pm, Saturday and Sunday 7am-3pm

Food Served: American, Regional, Seafood, Steak, sushi.

Owned by the same folks who own Harbor Docks. We've had a couple of good meals here.

Harbor Docks. www.harbordocks.com; was the old faithful for 8 years, 538 Highway 98 E, Destin, FL 32541, Phone: (850) 837-2506. Has had some ups and downs in the past few years. We had a nice lunch there this year, and hope they've got their issues turned around. They used to catch all of their own fish and seafood, but that does not seem to be the case any longer.

Silver Sand Breakfast. Located in the Harbor Docks premises, this is a separately owned and manned concession – 80-something Mr. Ship makes real biscuits the old fashioned way! We always try to make at least two breakfasts here. 5:30am-10:30am, 7 days.

790 on the Gulf, (850) 650- 4853, Destin 2996 Scenic Hwy 98, Destin, FL 32541 (Inn at Crystal Beach). cajun themed and gently priced; our experience in 2010 was mixed and marred by a lousy server. I'd be willing to try it again.

Harry T's Lighthouse, (850) 654-4800, Destin, 46 Harbor Boulevard, Destin, FL. We enjoyed our three meals there in 2010, though a lot of stuff (other than the fish and seafood) does come out of a Sysco package. Service was exemplary.

Boathouse Oyster Bar, 288 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, 850-837-3645. Waterside shack selling gumbo and poboys. Raw oysters looked amazing in 2010. Gumbo was tasty as were sandwiches.

Pandora's. 1226 Santa Rosa Boulevard Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, (850) 244-8669. We haven’t been in a few years, but locals love it. Weekly prime rib special is hard to beat, Wednesday and Sunday: Includes: Cup of French Onion Soup, Salad, Prime Rib Au Jus and Choice of Potato or Rice $14.95. Fish/seafood are fresh and priced commensurately with the area. They have a second location east on 30A (near Red Bar).

Kenny D’s 2964 Scenic Gulf Drive, Miramar Beach, FL 32550, ph: 850-650-0755. Though our first experience with this classic diner car that serves N’Orleans inspired food was kinda meh, we had a great time there for a happy-hour-into-dinner in 2009 with a bunch of friends. Casual, nice happy hour, modest pricing. We’d go back if others wanted to go there.

(Vin' tij) Wine Boutique, , (850) 650-9820. Wine tastings on Weds. Rt 98 in Miramar Beach. Eclectic menu and optional wine flights with meals, full retail wine market with decent pricing and nice food.

Sushimoto 11394 US Hwy 98 W, Miramar Beach, Florida 32550 850-424-5977. Sushimoto (located next to Melting Pot Restaurant) says that it is South Walton's only exclusive "sushi" restaurant featuring a full menu of creative and traditional Japanese sushi and sashimi, noodle dishes and seafood and chicken tempura. Meal(s) Served: Lunch and Dinner. We haven’t tried it yet.

Aegean Restaurant, 11225 US HWY 98, Miramar Beach, FL 32550, (850) 460-2728 aegeanfl.com/p/miramar-beach-location.html. Greek fare at affordable prices in the heart of Miramar Beach - hummus, Dolmades, Mousaka, gyros, Spanakopita and more! Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Locals say nice things; we haven’t tried it yet.

If you are willing to venture east about 12-17 miles, you can sample these places:

Louis Louis Phillipe’s new restaurant in the old Café Provence - west end of 98, 1.5 miles east of 30A/98 intersection (Gas Station with Subway) – is similar to (closed) 331 Café and The Red Bar. Eclectic décor, excellent food and service. No credit cards, personal checks accepted, ATM on premises. My favorite choice in the area.

Santa Rosa Beach Club. 4801 W. Co Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach FL 32459, Tel: 850.267.1240. For food enthusiasts, the exec chef is Sandor Zombori – for non-food enthusiasts – this man is a culinary treasure – go eat! Closed for renovations but re-opening in March 2011. http://www.santarosaclub.com/.

Red Bar in Grayton Beach is good for sandwiches and such, and is also reliable for live music while you eat. Red Bar 70 Hotz Avenue, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Scenic Hwy 30A (and you should), turn toward the Gulf when you get to Grayton Beach. When the road deadends, take a left. Red Bar is right there on the right. 850-231-1008

BORAGO 80 East Highway 30-AGrayton Beach, FL 32459

Please call for reservations and hours of operation, 231-9167 From Destin/Sandestin: Take highway 98 east, turn right on highway 30A (past the Donut Hole), go 7.8 miles and Borago will be on the right immediately after the four-way stop of 30A and highway 283 Seven days a week open at 6:00pm. We’ve had mixed experiences, but when they are “on”, they are fantastic. House-made pasta.

Shorty’s. 63 Hotz Avenue, Grayton Beach 850-231-0455 – sushi! Café food, full bar – took over for D&K Café (across the street from Red Bar) and made it their own; locals are giving it rave reviews. Seafood isn’t local, but fish is and was delicious in 2010. Good food, fair prices, excellent service.

Café Tango 14 Vicki Street Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459Phone:(850) 267-0054; All 7 days 6-10pm. This was my favorite restaurant in SOWAL/Destin, etc – beautiful food in an intimate setting. Reservations are a must. I’ve corresponded with the new owner, who has kept Walter’s menu and kitchen staff; though we didn't get there this year, I'm hearing good things. If you go, make sure to get the Tuna Mojama appetizer!

Fire

55 Clayton Lane, Grayton Beach, Florida 32459 (1 block north of 30A next to Frank's Cash and Carry); 1 block North of 30-A on 283, tel 850.231.9020

Lunch - Monday through Friday 11:30a - 2:30p

Dinner - Monday through Saturday 5:30p

Brunch - Sunday 11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Dress is sporty to business causal. Food is generally excellent; some service issues in 2010. Priced commiserate to quality – neither cheap nor excessive.

Hurricane Oyster Bar

Our hours are Monday-Saturday from 11AM-10PM, closed on Sundays until Memorial Day.

Our Lunch Specials are Monday- Friday from 11AM-3PM.

Happy Hour is from 3-6PM.

37 Logan Lane, 231.0787. We’ve had mixed experiences here, but the happy hour can’t be beat and the food has mostly been outstanding.

EL MERCADITO - Tacos, Burritos, Tamales and the best pressed and hot Cuban sandwich, Santa Rosa Beach right next to the U.S. Post Office on U.S. Hwy 98W. El Mercadito is a family owned Convenience Store and Latin Deli with a lunch counter in the back that serves a variety of hot sub sandwiches to eat in the store or to take out. The convenience store has a great variety of cold drinks and packaged snacks, spices, teas, salsas and processed foods from Central and South America. Is not a restaurant kind of place it works very similar to a latinoamerica style luncheon that is you get your drink from the cooler and wait to be called to get your food from the counter (self service) then sit and enjoy your meal, sometimes expect to wait 5 minutes at the most and by the way is a good place to practice or improve your Spanish. “Great Quesadillas” stuffed with shredded beef, shredded chicken or carnitas asadas.

Shoo Mama's Bar & Grill Old Jambone’s location next to El Marcadito, opened in 2010. Open 11a-11pm, serving lunch and dinner, bar. The owner posted this info on SoWal.com: “good food, reasonable prices, a comfortable atmosphere, the menu has been developed with the most popular local flavors in mind. There will be plenty of seafood dishes. For landlubbers, there will be a good selection of chicken and meat dishes, as well." The locals have been praising it highly; our experience at dinner this year was very positive; we'll be back.

House of Klaus, 14 Clayton Lane (same development as Hurricane Oyster Bar and Fire), (850) 231-2865. Awesome burgers, tasty fried shrimp and HOMEMADE ice cream to die for. They've expanded their menu, but we only had the amazing ice cream this year. Low prices, great service. And a friendly proprietor named Klaus!

Basmati's Asian Cuisine,(850) 267-3028 Santa Rosa Beach, 3295 W County Highway 30a, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459, http://basmatisthirtya.com/ . Pristine, approachable food (Asian and not) at our 2010 and 2011 lunch visits. A little pricey for dinner, but quality ingredients prepared well.

Smiling Fish Café 850-622-3071, Gulf Place, Corner Hwy. 30-A and 393. Our dinner this year was fabulous. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., Dinner: Tues-Sat 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Al Fresco Gulf-View Dining. http://www.smilingfishcafe.com/

MARIE’S BISTRO & CATERING 2260 W 30-a, Santa Rosa Beach, Fl. 32459 (850) 278-6856 – located where Blue Orleans and Ken’s Bistro used to be – make sure you get there! We enjoyed a delicious lunch, and then took a bunch of sushi with us for eating dinner in transit to home. (850) 837-7538. www.mariesbistro.com. Mediterranean cuisine and sushi and it's all good - fresh ingredients, freshly prepared. Open Tuesday- Saturday from 4 to 9:00pm and for lunch - check their website or call for hours.

Enzo’s Italian Restaurant on County Road 393 S. ¼ mile north of 30A, 850-267-3003, http://www.myenzos.com/. Lunch Monday to Friday 11:00am until 2:00pm Dinner Every day 5:00 pm till 9:00pm or later. We had a lovely meal here a few years ago and haven’t made it back. We need to, but couldn't fit it in this trip. Menu now has more fresh fish and seafood entrees than I’d remembered. I hear great reports from the locals.

Nick's on 30A - so bummed to miss their grand opening last week, but should be wonderful - local, fresh fish and seafood at fair prices.

For Fort Walton Beach, I can say the following:

High Tide Restaurant & Oyster Bar. 1203 Miracle Strip Pkwy Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548-6207(850) 244-2624. Local bar and grille with great service and gently priced, fresh eats. My friend John derides this as a pick up joint, but our 2010 lunch left us smiling.

Wat Mongkolratanaram of Fort Walton Beach

741 MAYFLOWER AVENUE

FORT WALTON BEACH, FL 32547

TEL : (904) 863-2906

FAX : (904) 863-1513

Sundays 9 am – 3 pm

Thai Charity Food Court:

Hwy 98 to Beale, Beale to Lewis (as you near Sam’s Club which is on the west side of Beale…but take a right at Lewis) , take that right turn on Lewis and the venue is 1/2 mile on left drive in (Landmark : WAT Buddhist Temple with flags on flagpole) be sure to*drive into the grounds to the back lot*, otherwise you might not notice where this takes place...lots of parking in rear which is where the access to food booths are This is the best of home cooking by the most accomplished home Thai cooks from our area…just a wonderful experience…we left with bundles of stuff for eating over the next few days…and the prices are really surprisingly low…Top recommendation for a best kept area secret!!!

The Bay Cafe, 233 Alconese Avenue Southeast, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548-5832, (850) 244-3550 (no website) is tucked beneath the Brooks Bridge; coming from Okaloosa Island, you actually have to detour through what is now a shopping center parking lot (Publix) to get to it. Fresh food at fair prices with great service.

Santa Rosa Beach...
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2. Re: Where do the locals eat?

Sinkys Fish Camp, Fire , breakfast at Hibiscus, Cafe Thirty-A,Fish Out Of Water,Cafe Tango,Johnny McTighes Irish Pub, Borago's

and OF COURSE My favorite red bar and its sister louis louis (same menu ) but go to red bar for atmosphre

Of course these are all on 30A and when tourist season hits its a mix...

if in destin Fish Bar....

for drinks/bar all local folks - red door saloon on harbor

forgot shoo mammas

Edited: 27 February 2011, 03:47
Hernando, Florida
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3. Re: Where do the locals eat?

I eat lunch out alot more than dinner. Rarely go out for breakfast except on Sundays where we will hit Callahans or Harbor Docks.

My fav lunch spots are close to my office. Pompano Joea has a grreat soup and sandwich special for $7.99, I usually sit at the bar. If I'm in the mood for a burger I go to Buffalo Jacks. 790 has good lunch specials everyday. Pizza is Landshark. If I feel like a blackened tan I go to McGuires and get the most awesome Rueben on the planet with their great microbrew.

Dinner we go to Marina Cafe for special occasions, never had a bad meal there. Italian is LaFamiglia. Sushi is Osaka. Bonefish may be a chain but their food and service is excellent, we like to sit at the community tables in the bar area. McGuires again for the smoked prime rib. Louisiana Lagniappe has a great two can dine for $39 with a bottle of wine Mon-Thur, the grouper mueniere is exceptional.

Service plays a big role in our choices, Destin has a hard time staffing year round with attentive servers.

Bon appetite!

mississippi
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4. Re: Where do the locals eat?

Nice lists, folks! Thanks!

Santa Rosa Beach...
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5. Re: Where do the locals eat?

Joe you sold me on L.L.

Cleveland, OH
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6. Re: Where do the locals eat?

Where is fish bar?

Hernando, Florida
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7. Re: Where do the locals eat?

Fish Bar = Zampieri's

HOUSTON, TEXAS
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8. Re: Where do the locals eat?

THANKS - ONE AND ALL!!! Especially "plays with food".

This list will be our start guide to non chain, local owned business.

State College...
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9. Re: Where do the locals eat?

My favorite new restaurant is Santorini's in Fort Walton Beach, at the corner of Eglin Pkwy. and Yacht Club Drive. Nothing fancy, but delicious and reasonably priced Greek food, plus Italian and American entrees and sandwiches.

Cleveland, OH
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10. Re: Where do the locals eat?

You are most welcome. During the winter, at least, Famiglia's does not serve fresh/local fish or seafood but Joe isn't the only local to rave about them and the pasta and meat dishes looked and smelled wonderful when we visited them last year. But when I'm in Destin, it's all about the fish and seafood for me. Ditto McGuire's - our last visit there (in 2010) had some goofy stuff happen, but it can be a fun and tasty locally owned choice if you aren't fixated on fish and seafood. Love their Reuben Soup!

Saw a BP sponsored ad on TV tonight (in chilly Cleveland Ohio) featuring Destin and a local travel broker - thought that was kinda cool.

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