If you're looking for some great places to eat in Pensacola, you've come to the right place! Pensacola has a vibrant food scene, with something to suit every taste.
Being the beach lovers that we are, we had to go to Pensacola to check out the food scene. And we were not disappointed! Pensacola has a great mix of restaurants, from casual beach bars to fine dining.[feast_advanced_jump_to]
Researching Where To Eat
Before embarking on our trip, we did a little "research" to determine where to start. Our research consisted of reviewing the comments and recommendations on TripAdvisor.com and polling friends and acquaintances on Facebook. Being in the South, we have plenty of friends who love going to the beach and have recommendations.
Another thing we like to do at the beginning of our trip(s) is to take a food tour. Food tours are not only a great way of learning about the destination, but also to learn about restaurants that we might want to revisit while on the trip.
Below is where we ate along with our recommendations, as well as more recommendations that we did not have a chance to try.
Flounders Chowder House
Flounders Chowder House was recommended by a few of my friends. People rave about their clam chowder on TripAdvisor.com, where it is ranked #6 out of 31 restaurants in Pensacola Beach.
Jeff ordered Coconut Shrimp which came with their tasty Island Pina Colada Sauce and was served with lemon, French fries, and delicious pineapple coleslaw.
I ordered their Firecracker Shrimp Tacos which are made with crispy fried shrimp served on top of lettuce, pico de gallo, Jack cheese, cilantro, along with guacamole and cumin-infused sour cream. (The order of three tacos does not come with any sides.) It did come with Firecracker Sauce on the side that I was able to pour over the tacos. With the sauce, those tacos packed some serious heat.
The item that we recommend that you order at Flounders is a slice of Key Lime Pie. It has not one, not two, but rather three slices of Key Lime pie stacked together. The back side of the "slice" is generously coated with whipped topping. It's a dessert perfect for sharing among three or more people.
Flounders is located at 800 Quietwater Beach Road and is open from 11:00 am until 12:00 am Monday through Thursday, from 11:00 am until 2:00 am Friday and Saturday, and from 10:30 am until 12:00 am on Sunday.
Red Fish, Blue Fish
Ranked #2 on the list of places to eat in Pensacola Beach is Red Fish, Blue Fish. While the name evokes fond memories of Dr. Seuss, you won't find green eggs and ham on the menu. Word has it they serve the Bushwacker on the coast.
Instead, once you walk past the red and blue building built out of shipping containers, you enter an outdoor seating area that overlooks Santa Rosa Sound. It's a fabulous place to be when the sun is setting.
Jeff ordered one of their signature dishes, the Grouper Piccata, which is made with white wine, lemon and caper sauce, and served over a bed of rice and asparagus.
Craving some greens, I ordered the Ahi Tuna Salad which was made with organic mixed greens, shredded carrots, radish, sesame seeds and wasabi peas served with a sesame ginger vinaigrette.
Our friends opted for the Fried Shrimp and Chips - jumbo shrimp fried, grilled or blackened, served with coleslaw, fries, cocktail sauce and lemon.
Red Fish, Blue Fish is located at 5 Via de Luna Drive #B next door to Water Pig BBQ. RF,BF is open daily from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm.
Peg Leg Pete's
It's hard to believe Peg Leg Pete's comes in at #8 on TripAdvisor because when you go, there's a chance that there may be a 2-hour wait to get in. (Tip: Go for a late lunch or early dinner to avoid the long wait.)
To get things started, we order the Smoked Yellowfin Tuna Dip which was served on a bed of lettuce with fresh diced tomatoes and packets of crackers. (This was perhaps the favorite item that we and our friends had during our culinary exploration of the area.)
Jeff ordered the Cajun Fried Catfish which were dusted in cajun spices and crisply fried. The catfish was served with French fries, cole slaw, and a side of cajun sauce.
I ordered a cajun shrimp wrap and a side salad. While I had no problems eating the wrap, I recommend their Shrimp Po Boy instead.
Our friends split a sampler platter which included grouper, shrimp, and large sea scallops, and was served with rice pilaf, sugar snap peas, garlic toast, and sides of dill sauce and garlic butter.
Peg Leg Pete's is located at 1010 Ft Pickens Rd and opens daily at 11:00 am and closes at 10:00 Sunday through Thursday and at 10:30 pm on Friday and Saturday.
The Fish House is located downtown at 600 S Barracks Street, Suite 112. It is located on Inner Harbor Channel and is a pretty lively place. The wait time for dinner on a Friday night was about 1 hour.
Their signature dish is World-Famous Grits à Ya Ya. It's described on the menu as "Spiced Gulf jumbo shrimp top a sauté of spinach, portobello mushrooms, applewood-smoked bacon, garlic, shallots, and cream over a heaping bed of smoked Gouda cheese grits." Honestly, I found it to be "just okay."
I found myself with plate envy when the rest of the party ordered the Strawberry Salad (fresh spring greens tossed in strawberry vinaigrette with fresh strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, shaved onion, and grape tomatoes; finished with crumbled feta and toasted almonds).
If you are a dessert lover, their Triple Chocolate Cheesecake is a winner. It's made with an Oreo cookie crust that's filled with a layer of milk chocolate cheesecake, topped with a layer of white chocolate cheesecake, and drizzled with a dark chocolate ganache.
The Fish House is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm and Friday through Saturday from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm.
McGuire's Irish Pub
We had heard from several people that we had to go to McGuire's Irish Pub and that the restaurant had millions of dollars hanging from the ceiling. All that we heard was true!
Dollar bills are tacked to the ceiling and walls throughout the restaurant which makes for quite a sight.
But that's not the only reason to go to McGuire's. The authentic Irish pub food and ambiance is also worth the visit. The waiters and waitresses look as though they just got off a plane from Ireland. The service and food are impeccable to boot!
We got there early to avoid the crowds and started our lunch with an order of Irish Boxtys - Irish Boxtys -garlic mashed potatoes hand rolled in herbed bread crumbs and flash fried. They were served with salsa, guacamole dip, and a horse radish sour cream sauce. (I recommend that you try these potato treats!)
Another thing that McGuire's is known for is their steaks. Jeff ordered a 16-ounce New York Strip (Prime) which was served with creamed spinach, baked tomato, a couple of onion rings, and a small loaf of bread topped with honey butter. Jeff rates the steak as excellent and cooked well, and a hearty portion that could easily be shared.
I ordered McGuire's Ultimate Chef's Salad which is made with crisp lettuce, red onions, grape tomatoes, red & yellow peppers, cucumbers, carrots, pepperoncinis, bacon, smoked turkey, kosher ham, Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, and a hard-boiled egg. It was one of the heartiest salads I have eaten and it did not disappoint.
McGuire's is located at 33 Harbor Boulevard and is open daily from 11:00 am - until close (usually 2:00 am). McGuire's is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Casino Beach Bar & Grille
For truly beachside dining, Casino Beach Bar and Grill is a great choice. Ranked #2 out of 45 restaurants in Gulf Breeze (while the address is technically Gulf Breeze, it's all Pensacola), this is a great spot for lunch or dinner.
Jeff ordered the Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl with avocado, sprouts, sushi rice, radishes cucumber, seaweed salad, toasted sesame, carrots, beets, daikon root soy glaze, and wasabi aioli.
I opted for the Grilled Shrimp Tacos on flour tortillas with fries, slaw, pineapple pico, cotija, jalapeños, radishes, sriracha mayo, and cilantro lime cream. (These were very messy to eat.)
Three of us decided to splurge a little with our caloric budget and split The Lauren, the only dessert on the menu that has a full description. It was a pretty nice way to end our meal on Pensacola Beach.
If you like "people watching," you will probably like Casino Beach. It's located next to the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier and you will probably see people from all walks of life (like us!) passing by.
Casino Beach Bar and Grill is located at 41 Fort Pickens Road and is open from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm daily.
If you are craving a smoothie, Cafe Bistro at 39 Via de Luna Drive is where you want to go.
Cafe Bistro is located in a small shopping strip across the street from Emerald Isle. They are ranked #1 of 3 for desserts in Pensacola according to TripAdivsor. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dessert and are a quicker option than nearby Native Cafe.
I enjoyed this Tropical Breeze Smoothie while the rest of the gang went fishing in Pensacola. I was in and out within 10 minutes while nearby diners at Native Cafe had an hour's wait for breakfast.
Other Dining Recommendations
Angelenas - Fans of Food Network have probably heard of this Pensacola upscale restaurant. Chef James Briscione beat Bobby Flay in a culinary show down with his crawfish tortellini stuffed with andouille sausage bathed in crawfish sauce.
Angelena's is known for its Italian cuisine with Gulf Coast roots. Dining options include dining in the restaurant, selecting from their "Grab & Go," and placing an order for family meals to go.
They are open for dinner Monday through Saturday starting at 4:00 PM. For dining in, I recommend that you first make a reservation and put on your "nice clothes" for this establishment.
Angelena's is located at 101 E Intendencia Street.
Coffee Cup Restaurant - This restaurant recommendation came via Facebook from someone who went there multiple times during her trip to Pensacola.
Coffee Cup Restaurant is also located in Pensacola proper at 520 E Cervantes Street and is opens at 6:00 am Monday - Saturday and at 7:00 am on Sundays. (It closes at 2:00 pm daily.)
Menu items include breakfast classics, build your own omlet, eggs Benedict, quick lunch, salads, and seafood.
The Grand Marlin - The Grand Marlin is another upscale restaurant that you will want to get dressed up for. It's located just north of the Pensacola Beach Bridge Toll Booth at 400 Pensacola Beach Boulevard.
Ranked #4 out of 31 restaurants in Pensacola Beach, this is another restaurant that you will want to make reservations and dress up for.
In 2018, The Grand Marlin was listed among the 100 most scenic restaurants in the US, and with its location on Santa Rosa Sound, it's easy to see why.
Menu items include items such as Crispy Lobster Fingers, Fresh Shucked Gulf Oysters, Shrimp and Grits, Grilled Ribeye, and their signature Praline Basket for dessert.
The Grand Marlin is open Monday - Thursday from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm and on Fridays from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm. On Sunday, TGM is open for brunch from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm and opens for dinner at 2:00 pm (until 9:00 pm).
Joe Patti's - An institution in Pensacola since 1931, Joe Patti's is a seafood shop where you can get fresh caught seafood, novelty items in their retail store, wine, and on some days, hot beignets from the stand in front of the store.
You can get them to steam your seafood and then take it back home or to your condo to enjoy.
Joe Patti's is located at 524 South B Street and is open daily from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm.
Native Cafe - If breakfast is your favorite meal, you're in luck at Native Cafe. It's open from 7:30 am until 2:30 pm Tuesday - Sunday (closed on Monday) and they serve breakfast all day. I went one weekday morning and the wait was going to be about an hour.
Native Cafe is located at 45A Via De Luna Drive across from Emerald Isle condominimums.
Keep in mind that YOUR experience will probably vary from our experience, for better or for worse. We would love to hear about your favorite places to eat in Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Gulf Breeze.