A huge part of the appeal of a Gulf Coast vacation is dining out at local restaurants that serve the fruits of the Gulf of Mexico—seafood.
Below is a list of some local favorites that offer everything from grilled and fried shrimp and oysters from a top-rated seafood shack to Tasso-encrusted grouper over Yukon gold feta mashed potatoes from a waterfront fine dining restaurant.
Acme Oyster House
216 E 24th Ave., Gulf Shores
First opening in 1910 on Royal Street and later on New Orleans’ Iberville, where it still operates today, Acme Oyster House has begun a new tradition of tastiness in Gulf Shores in the new Waterway Village District along the Intracoastal Canal Waterway.
On any given day, you’ll find raw or chargrilled oysters sold by the dozen and half-dozen, along with entrees featuring a New Orleans flair (jambalaya, seafood etoufée, oyster Rockefeller soup, red beans and rice, po-boys). Platters are generously sized and feature everything from crab cakes to fried or grilled shrimp, fish and oysters.
26189 Canal Road, Orange Beach
Cayman Grill in Orange Beach sits on the Intracoastal Canal Waterway and has plenty of space for groups of all sizes.
When you walk in, you’ll see an exhibition kitchen with a wood burning grill and open-hearth oven. Chefs use ingredients from local farmers and fishermen as well as regional sources to ensure they serve the freshest selection.
If you want something simple, try a wood-roasted pizza. Or, enjoy the fresh catch of the day, soft shell crab, jumbo Gulf shrimp or select oysters. House specialties range from Gulf fish to filet mignon.
Cosmo’s Restaurant & Bar
25753 Canal Road, Orange Beach
Located in Orange Beach in a village-like setting, Cosmo’s is a local favorite.
Here, you’ll find local seafood, pasta dishes, sushi, hand-cut steaks and more. One of the local favorites is the banana leaf wrapped fish, named by the Alabama Tourism Department as one of the “Top 100 Dishes To Eat Before You Die.”
Of course, if you’re looking for fried fish or shrimp, you can find it here. But, if you’re looking for something just a little different, try the pecan redfish or the shrimp and Andouille pasta. If you prefer a steak, the Tournedos are twin four-ounce medallions of beef tenderloin grilled and served over sweet potato cakes, grilled green tomatoes and Portobello mushrooms. Then, it’s topped with roasted tomato relish. Hungry yet?
Doc’s Seafood Shack & Oyster Bar – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
26029 Canal Road, Orange Beach
1140 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores
If you’re looking for a true locals dining experience, stop into Doc’s Seafood Shack in Orange Beach for a meal.
For 32 years, this place has welcomed visitors who are looking for great food in a not-so-fancy atmosphere.
Enjoy a cup of the highly regarded seafood gumbo and a platter of oversized onion rings to start. Then, move on to a plate piled high with shrimp or oysters (or both).
There are also grilled and baked fish and shrimp dishes. And, if you want to bring in your own catch, the good folks at Doc’s will cook them up for you!
13486 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key
While meat lovers will find steaks seasoned and cooked to impress, the cuisine at Fisherman’s Corner, just as the name implies, focuses on seafood.
Creole linguini, pasta Cioppino, fresh seafood dinners, seafood platters, shrimp and grits, crawfish etoufée, New Orleans barbecue shrimp and more highlight the menu here.
Proprietors at Fisherman’s Corner are also proud of their award-winning wine list, recognized as one of the best in the nation by Wine Spectator magazine, so be sure to give it a look. Then, consider a piece of their decadent bread pudding. You won’t leave hungry!
Flora-Bama Yacht Club
17350 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key
Enjoy some chargrilled oysters at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club before moving onto one of the house specialties.
House specialties include blackened trigger, chicken Pontchartrain, hand-cut certified Angus beef filet mignon, sesame-wasabi pea crusted yellowfin tuna and more.
You’ll also find staples like burgers, grilled fish sandwiches, fried baskets and po-boys. A variety of salads rounds out the menu at this favorite locals’ hangout.
Ginny Lane Bar & Grill at The Wharf
4851 Wharf Parkway, Orange Beach
If you are going to be here on a Sunday, stop by the Wharf in Orange Beach for Ginny Lane’s champagne brunch. Southern-style eggs Benedict, Cajun omelet, biscuits and gravy, crab cake Benedict, steak ‘n eggs, Southern comfort, and shrimp and grits are on the brunch menu.
Come for lunch or dinner, and you’ll find everything from bayou grouper to crab cakes and bacon-wrapped shrimp. There are also fried, broiled and steamed platters, pasta dishes, and kid favorites.
You’re sure to enjoy your dining experience at Ginny Lane, but you might also want to check out the proprietors’ other restaurants, Villaggio Grille at the Wharf and Gilbey’s Seafood & Steak at the Publix Shopping Center in Orange Beach.
205 E. 2nd Avenue, Gulf Shores
Tuesdays and Fridays are all-you-can-eat mullet or whitefish days at Mikee’s Seafood, a casual dining favorite of local residents. Enjoy all the fish you can stand prepared fried, broiled or blackened along with sides like beans, greens, and jalapeno cornbread cakes. Yum!
Po-boys, burgers, oysters, shrimp and a host of specialty entrees round out the dining experience at Mikee’s, so named for the chef. And, be sure to save room for a delicious slice of peanut butter pie.
Original Oyster House
701 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
Always attracting a crowd who enjoys a quality dining experience, the Original Oyster House is located at the quaint Bayou Village shopping center in Gulf Shores.
When you get here, you’ll learn about the seafood specials of the day before you order. Some greater starters include fried alligator bites or crawfish tails. The fried green tomatoes are also super yummy!
Of course, there are the deep-fried favorites, but you might also enjoy blackened Mahdi topped with fried crawfish tails and Tasso and Conecuh County sausage cream sauce. Or, how about bourbon grilled Ahi tuna and fried shrimp. You can also create your own platter or indulge in shrimp Florentine or a hearty steak.
Enjoy a homemade dessert (key lime pie or mile-high peanut butter pie) from the Oyster House or walk a few steps over to Matt’s Homemade Ice Cream for a cool treat.
405 East Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores
The only truly on-the-beach (or should I say “above” the beach) dining experience in Gulf Shores, Sea-n-Suds restaurant is an iconic spot for a meal or a cold beverage. Walk up the boardwalk, and you’ll find yourself high above the white-sand beach and looking out over the Gulf of Mexico.
For lunch or dinner, a personal favorite is the shrimp sandwich, loaded with fried shrimp and tartar sauce. If you want something a bit more substantial, you can also enjoy stuffed crabs, fried oysters or shrimp, a seafood platter, a crab claw dinner, a full salad bar, sandwiches and one of the best hamburgers on Pleasure Island.
Shipp’s Harbour Grill
27842 Canal Road, Orange Beach
For a unique waterfront dining experience, head over to Shipp’s Harbour Grill, where you can eat outside or on the top deck and see the beautiful marina just outside.
Visit Shipp’s for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. Or, if you’re too early for dinner, try one of their small plates for a quick snack.
House specialties feature blackened tuna, grouper Pontchartrain, Gulf Coast snapper, black sesame tuna, coconut grouper, snapper pesto, Creole grouper, jumbo lump crab cakes and much more.
You can also indulge your taste for fried seafood, sushi or hand-cut, USDA-certified Angus beefsteak.
For dessert, try the Southern Comfort bread pudding, pina colada cake, drunk brownie or crème brulée. Oh. My. Goodness. This stuff is good!
Hwy. 59, Gulf Shores
26651 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach
14600 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key
Owners of Mikee’s Seafood also own the Shrimp Basket restaurants, where you’ll find the usual fried, grilled or blackened dishes.
Order a fried basket served with shrimp slaw, hushpuppies, fritter and another side. Add a fried stuffed crab for a little extra cash.
Here, you’ll also find seafood gumbo, shrimp etouffee, red beans and rice, raw oysters and more. They’ll even top a salad with some of their seafood delights or provide a steamed platter with new potatoes, corn on the cob and shrimp slaw. Po-boys are stuffed with fried, grilled or blackened shrimp, whitefish, catfish, chicken strips, oysters or crawfish. You can’t go wrong with that!
The Steamer & Baked Oyster Bar
124 W. 1st Ave., Gulf Shores
With the same owners as the Shrimp Basket and Mikee’s Seafood, there is a major commitment to providing quality seafood at the Steamer Baked Oyster Bar.
Located behind Souvenir City in Gulf Shores, The Steamer serves raw, steamed and baked oysters along with a full menu of steamed and grilled seafood.
On the menu are baked parmesan oysters, baked alfredo oysters, baked blue cheese oysters, baked Mexican oysters, baked Bama oysters, baked Rockefeller oysters, baked Cajun crawfish oysters, or a combination.
You’ll also find sandwiches, lobster, steak, crab cakes, chicken and pasta.
27206 Safe Harbor Dr., Orange Beach
1577 Hwy. 180, Fort Morgan
240 E. 24th Ave., Gulf Shores
One of the coolest things about the Tacky Jacks restaurants is that you can drive to the restaurant or arrive by boat. All three locations are waterfront.
When you arrive, order an appetizer of Mexican Garbage, which is the ultimate in beef and cheese nachos. Tortillas are piled high with meat, cheese, tomato, onions, black olives, sour cream, jalapeno peppers and salsa.
Then, order one of their famous Bushwackers, a creamy concoction known as an “adult milkshake.” This specialty drink features silver rum, coconut rum, coffee liqueur and a 151 floater. Oh, and ice cream. Or, if you’d rather get in your vegetables, Tacky Jacks Bloody Mary is made with Whiskey Willy’s and garnished with lime, lemon, olive and picked green beans.
Entrees and platters feature everything from steak and grilled mahi-mahi to oysters, Ahi tuna, shrimp and grits and steamed royal reds.
Wolf Bay Lodge Orange Beach
26619 Perdido Beach Blvd.
A local seafood tradition since 1973, Wolf Bay Lodge opened a new restaurant in Orange Beach a few years ago at Zeke’s Marina. The menu is varied, and the food always good.
Start off with an appetizer of Cha Cha’s crab dip, featuring a sweet Bourbon sauce served hot. Or, some fresh smoked tuna dip. Or, maybe even an order of coconut shrimp. You won’t be disappointed.
Homemade soups include seafood gumbo or lobster chowder. And there’s an extensive salad bar featuring the expected vegetables along with bonus potato and pasta salads.
Sandwiches run the gamut from po-boys to burgers, while entrees feature generous portions of seafood, shrimp and grits, fish of all kinds, chicken, steaks, pasta and more.
Save room for dessert, as it will be hard to pass up the coconut cake or chocolate lava cake.