As a Destin photographer, I love talking to clients about where to eat! I’m passionate about finding and supporting the best local restaurants and cringe a little when visitors tell me about the tourist traps they dined at during their stay. Destin is known as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” so there is no shortage of Gulf shrimp, grouper and other fresh fish. But that’s not all Destin has to offer. There is a plethora of restaurants that serve everything from Thai and Italian to Mexican and Irish cuisine. If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Destin, you won’t want to miss these amazing eateries:
Harbor Docks: Amazing Sushi & Seafood
Harbor Docks is my go-to spot for sushi in Destin. You have to try the Backdown roll, which is made with shrimp, cream cheese, tempura, cucumber, spicy sauce and topped with tuna, avocado and crab salad. They also have my favorite Pad Thai in town! My husband and I biked here for lunch one day and dined on their patio, which overlooks the harbor. It quickly became one of our favorite restaurants!
The Local Market: Great Breakfast & Lunch
This casual, funky breakfast and lunch spot is perfect if you want a quick (and delicious!) bite. The breakfast menu at The Local Market includes avocado toast, honey butter chicken biscuit, a breakfast burrito and other tasty treats. For lunch, they have a variety of scratch-made sandwiches, including their famous Cubano, but you also can’t go wrong with the Italiano or Turkey Avocado. In addition to the food, I really love the atmosphere at The Local Market because it feels like a neighborhood gathering spot where you dine inside or outside at picnic tables. Plus they have shelves full of specialty products (think gourmet jams & jellies) and refrigerated cases boasting fresh juice, beers, and other grab-and-go items. It’s part restaurant and part market, which makes for a unique experience. There really is something for everyone!
La Paz: A Must for Taco Tuesday!
You can’t go wrong with Mexican food any day of the week, but we especially love going to La Paz on Taco Tuesday! Street tacos are $2.50 each and you can choose from chicken, steak, and pork. I usually get one of each, but the chicken might be my favorite. I’ve also ordered from the regular menu and love their fish tacos, Caribbean shrimp quesadilla and bacon-wrapped shrimp. They hand pick their fresh fish from Harbor Docks Seafood Market daily and the shrimp comes from the Amison family in nearby Appalachicola, so you know you’re getting the best!
The margaritas are amazing, too! They are made with fresh squeezed citrus and 100% agave tequilas and mezcals. The blood orange margarita is so tasty and refreshing. This is definitely a local hot spot — last time we went, we saw three separate tables of people we knew.
Burrito del Sol: Fast Casual Mexican Food
Family owned and operated, Burrito del Sol serves Baja-Style Mexican food and has AMAZING fish and shrimp tacos! It’s a build-your-own style menu, so you pick your tortilla (or lettuce or chips), then your protein and style (baja, chipotle, southwest, BBQ). With their homemade salsa, guacamole, seasonings and sauces, everything is very fresh and flavorful! Plus they have ever-changing and unique daily specials, so you can always try something new as you relax in this fun, friendly atmosphere.
East Pass Coffee Co: Cutest Place to Get Your Caffeine Fix
East Pass Coffee Co. is an adorable family-owned café that serves great coffee, sandwiches, acai bowls and treats. Be sure to try the Vietnamese Cold Brew, Sunbum Cold Brew or the Coco for Mocha (which is made with their signature coffee, mocha creamer and coconut syrup). With the best brews and bites, East Pass Coffee Co. is the perfect place for a pick-me-up and catching up with friends! They also have a freezer full of Pink Coyote ice cream for sale!
Mimmo’s: The Best Italian food
Mimmo is originally from Siciliy and brings his authentic Italian cuisine to the Emerald Coast. Mimmo’s is a local hot spot with amazing food, great cocktails, and a fun atmosphere. Don’t be fooled by the strip mall location — inside it’s classy, cozy and the perfect place for date night! I especially love their brick oven pizzas and you have to start with the garlic knots! My go-to dinner order is the Pappardelle All’aragosta (papardelle pasta with lobster meat, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms tossed in a vodka sauce). They also opened a location on 30A recently!
Camille’s Cafe & Restaurant
Camille’s at Crystal Beach has a sidewalk cafe and a full restaurant just steps away from the beach. The casual café off of Scenic Highway 98 offers outdoor seating, coffee, smoothies, breakfast, lunch, and sometimes live music. Pick up a cold brew and snacks then walk across the street to the public beach access where you can have a picnic. We also love the restaurant, which serves delicious sushi, seafood dishes, pizzas and more. All of their seafood comes from Harbor Docks Wholesale Seafood Market, so you know it’s nice and fresh! It’s located on the second story of Beachside Inn so you can get a glimpse of the Gulf!
Boshamps: My Favorite Grouper Dish
Boshamps is located on the harbor and serves Southern-style seafood. It’s a fun, casual atmosphere for the whole family. Kids can play in the sand and mom & dad can grab a drink. They host an annual crawfish boil with live music called Bojamz each spring—definitely check it out if you’re in town! My favorite dish here (and possibly in all of Destin) is the pan-roasted Gulf grouper, which is served with a feta cheese soufflé, garlic braised local spinach, housemade Alabama tomato jam and citrus butter. Seriously SO good. Everyone loves Boshamps, so be prepared for a wait!
Beignets & Brew
Located right on the harbor, this cute spot offers New Orleans style beignets, specialty coffee and assorted beers. Enjoy a box of traditional beignets or beignet bites with your choice of dipping sauce: butter cream, blueberry or chocolate. Everything is delicious and the view is stunning!
The Pancakery: Bring Your Brunch Squad
If you want a hearty, tasty breakfast The Pancakery is a great option! The pancakes are HUGE and they have a variety of flavors. I’m a fan of their savory dishes as well, such as the Crab Island Omelette which is made with crab cake pieces and hollandaise sauce. They also serve lunch items and their classic Club Sandwich is a great choice! You can eat inside or on their outdoor patio.
Formula Fresh: Acai Bowls and Smoothies
If you’re craving something healthy, Formula Fresh in Destin Commons is a superfood bar that offers cold pressed juice, smoothies, acai bowls, paleo treats, and healthy grab & go food. It has a modern, bright-white atmosphere which is Instagram worthy!
Marina Cafe: Fine Dining with Happy Hour Food & Drink Specials
My husband is a happy hour aficionado and Marina Cafe probably has his favorite food & drink specials in Destin. Drinks and select sushi rolls are half price, plus they have other delicious food on their happy hour menu for under $7. The Thai barbecued chicken is SO good and big enough for a meal. If you want to get the full dining experience and a great price, entrées are buy one, get one free from 5pm to 6pm. I personally love their scallops and salmon! The view at Marina Cafe is also pretty hard to beat. It’s right on the harbor and has an outdoor deck where you can dine or enjoy a cocktail. We watched the Christmas boat parade from here last year and it was the perfect location!
More Favorite Destin Restaurants:
- Bitterroot. This is a great spot for date night or brunch with the girls! It has a dark, elegant atmosphere and offers more of a “city vibe” compared to the popular “beachy” restaurants in Destin. They have craft cocktails, a chef-driven menu and happy hour specials. The menu changes every so often, so there is usually something new to try! I recently tried the scallops, which were amazing!
- Red Onion. Cute spot serving Mediterranean cuisine. Their classic gyros are great, but if you want to try something a little different order the gyro nachos! The fried pita bread is sprinkled with traditional Gyro meat and toppings.
- The Harbor Tavern. Enjoy a tasty meal on their terrace, which is right by the harbor. I’m a fan of their Mediterranean bowls and popcorn shrimp tacos!
- McGuires. I was skeptical about McGuires when we first moved to Destin because it seemed like a tourist trap. Plus, an Irish Pub isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Destin fare. However, I’ve never been disappointed by a meal here! And it’s a fun atmosphere. We recently tried their Sunday brunch, which was delicious and very reasonably priced. It came with frozen Irish coffee, fresh beignets and huge portions!
- Beachwalk Cafe at Henderson Park Inn is perfect for a special occasion! The beachfront restaurant offers amazing views and delectable dishes!
- Dewey Destin’s. The original location is located right on the water and has gorgeous views of Crab Island. Enjoy the old Florida feel as you enjoy the fresh catch of the day and a gorgeous sunset.
- Louisiana Lagniappe has one of our favorite specials during the winter where “two can dine with a bottle of wine” for $59. Their Gulf seafood is prepared with a Creole flair and pairs perfectly with the waterfront dining experience.
- The Craft Bar has an extensive selection of craft beer and top-quality, chef-inspired tavern fare such as burgers, hearty salads, and amazing side dishes – all with a regional twist. I also love their craft cocktails and happy hour menu!
- The Wine Bar is a must for happy hour with the girls! Grab a seat on the patio and enjoy wine specials, charcuterie boards and delicious small plates.
- Merlin’s. For some casual comfort food, you can’t go wrong with pizza. I suggest getting it to go and having a picnic on the beach! The Pollo Bella or Pesto Chicken are my favorite pizzas. And don’t forget to try the cheese breadsticks!
If you liked this post be sure to follow @tastedestin on Instagram! This profile is where I exclusively post about local restaurants and is used as my food photography portfolio so there are a lot of mouth-watering images and local restaurants featured. Own a restaurant? That’s my specialty, so let me know if you want to improve your online presence or need photos for your social media and/or menus! Contact me today to inquire about your photography needs!
*I try my best to keep up with happy hours, specials and restaurant happenings, but please double check with the restaurant as things are constantly changing.
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