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A major draw to any getaway along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the enticing local cuisine found along this picturesque coastline tempts seafood lovers with a delectable array of fresh, boat-to-table cuisine. Paired with dazzling waterfront views, the menus at these top seafood spots in Florida offer a variety of Gulf fish, from red snapper and grouper to mahi-mahi, in addition to stone crab claws and oysters. A combination of coastal gems and Old Florida vibes, read on to discover some of the best seafood restaurants on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House in Destin has made a name for themselves as a go-to seafood spot in Florida, specializing in an incredible array of “Gulf to Table Southern Cuisine”. This spacious restaurant has four decks that tier down to the water to ensure that everyone has lovely water views, perfect for sitting back and watching the action along the harbor and listening to the live entertainment. The coastal cuisine here has a Southern twist, from the Corn and Crab Chowder to the Lobster Mac & Cheese and fresh oysters.
A no-frills restaurant located in Cortez, Star Fish Company is one of the best seafood restaurants in Florida for a reason – they like to keep their dishes simple. You’ll find a seafood market and restaurant in one at this one-stop seafood shop, where you can indulge in anything from wild Alaskan salmon to mahi-mahi sandwiches, Gulf shrimp, and stone crab claws when they’re in season. Pair your meal with coleslaw, cheese grits, or french fries, and soak up the charming commercial fishing atmosphere and Gulf Coast views from the outdoor picnic tables.
One of Florida’s top-rated local restuarants, Hunt’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant in Panama City is considered an institution. They’ve been serving delicious platters of oysters to hungry patrons for over half a century, earning their reputation as one of the best seafood options in the Sunshine State. This laid-back restaurant is family-run and offers a diverse menu of seafood choices, from grouper sandwiches to grilled crab cakes, while oyster enthusiasts will want to put sampling some of their famous three cheese Cajun baked oysters as their top priority.
You’ll want to come hungry when you arrive at Owen’s Fish Camp in Sarasota, as this coastal gem serves generous portions of the area’s freshest seafood from the Bay every day. Nosh on boiled hot roadside peanuts and enjoy the friendly atmosphere, as this Old Florida restaurant is equally known for its Southern hospitality as they are for their enticing seafood items. You’ll have the difficult task of choosing from items such as Fried Soft Shell Crab sandwiches, Pecan Crusted Trout, and Low Country Boils for two.
A small restaurant that packs a lot of punch for its size, Stewby’s Seafood Shanty in Fort Walton Beach is a take-out and dine-in joint that offers an extensive list of locally sourced seafood options. A favorite seafood go-to for locals, come here to dine on oysters from Apalachicola and sample shrimp from the Choctawhatchee Bay. If you prefer to take your dinner to go, order some of their famous seafood gumbo that is often referred to as the best in the state.
Dry Dock Waterfront Grill in Longboat Key is an alluring destination for its views alone, as the tranquil surrounding of this casual waterfront restaurant is hard to top. Nestled on Sarasota Bay, not only is this a picturesque place to soak up the sunshine but the fresh seafood options are a treat for the taste buds. Known to have some of the best grouper sandwiches on Florida’s West Coast, you can also delight at the yellowfin tuna and salmon dinners.
Overlooking the Apalachicola Bay in Eastpoint, Lynn’s Quality Oysters is a hidden gem that features a raw bar, outside deck, and stunning sunset views. Known for their oysters that are harvested from the bay, try the Oyster Margarita with mozzarella, tomatoes, garlic, and basil, or go for The Manning with bacon, cheddar, and mozzarella. The shrimp and crabs are steamed with a choice of butter, garlic, and old bay seasoning, while Granny’s Gumbo and smoked mahi-mahi fish dip are also great choices.
A casual eatery in Fort Walton on Okaloosa Island, Old Bay Steamer serves a collection of freshly-caught seafood that can be enjoyed as a special occasion or a night out with the entire family. You’ll want to dive in headfirst in their generous portions of steamers, with plenty of shrimp, oysters, lobster tail, and crab legs to go around. You can’t go wrong with the crab-stuffed mushrooms or blue crab claws, while the seafood nachos, lobster tail, and Steamers for One combos are sure to entice you.
Offering New Orleans-style cooking in Destin, Louisiana Lagniappe is an upscale restaurant with some of the best water views on the list. Serving seafood enthusiasts fresh seafood for over 30 years, come here to indulge in classic Gulf seafood dishes in true Creole style. Pick the grouper stuffed with soft-shell crab, dine on oysters topped with savory stuffing and jumbo lump crab meat, or go for the spicy barbecue jumbo shrimp.
A neighborhood favorite in Longboat Key, The Lazy Lobster boasts a casual atmosphere and a menu full of high-quality seafood options. The Lobster Mac & Cheese is an indulgent way to start off any meal, while the Lobster “Scargot” and Grilled Ahi Tuna will tickle your taste buds. The Mahi Positano features Mediterranean spices that will delight, while the Stuffed Shrimp Norma with blue crab and lobster entrees will have you planning a second visit.
Fans of clam chowder should put Tony’s Seafood Restaurant in Cedar Key on their to-do list, as this restaurant’s secret recipe has lured in travelers from around the world. Tony has three times won the “Great Chowder Cook-Off” in New England, and his popular dish is now sold in Publix stores across the state. While the clam chowder is what attracts visitors initially, but it’s the succulent seafood dishes like fried oysters, steamed clams, and cajun creole that has them coming back for more.