Good Eats in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama – Go Because of the Seafood #TBEXhuntsville

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GOOD EATS ALABAMA @DownshiftingPRO

It was not one of my finest moments but it was likely one of the most honest moments I’ve ever had. We were a group of travel bloggers and freelance writers perusing the menu of one of the finest restaurant in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.  I spotted what I had been searching for all week: fresh oysters.  I’d learned to appreciate raw oysters at a young age (and to shun cooked oysters).  Something about the oyster liquor alone or with a kiss of lemon juice, has become for me, a sublime experience.  The temptation to have a full dozen of these beauties was more than I could handle.  “Will you be sharing those?” someone asked as they eyed the huge platter of iced oysters.  “No,” I said calmly but assertively.  There was an audible lull in the conversation. “No, really, I wasn’t planning to.” I wanted every one of these beauties all to myself.  One doesn’t come to the coast without savouring exceptional seafood and this region, located on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, did not disappoint. This is the ultimate guide to good eats in Alabama’s Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Update: I have recently returned to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and was able to savoury new dishes and visit newly opened restaurants. All the updated reviews will be highlighted in BLUE. Enjoy more Good Eats in the Gulf Shores!

Fisher's - @DownshiftingPRO - Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

As was customary on these sort of FAM trips, we would order a sampling of appetizers so everyone can taste a little bit.  It’s social, polite, a friendly custom.  I had broken that golden rule but was willing to suffer the consequences.  In the long run, I did end up sharing them as they were pretty huge (as you can see above). 

After all, it was the end of a culinary week in the southernmost point of Alabama, we had had our fill.  We left no crab cake unturned or cocktail unfinished.  We found plenty of good GREAT food and we had a lot of fun deep sea fishing, riding Segways in a state park, visiting a marvellous zoo, taking a sunset cruise and even slammin’ back a bushwhacker or two (you’ll have to read to the end to find out what THAT slushy concoction is)!  Here are a few suggestions on good eats in Alabama.  Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to be exact.

Breakfast in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Sunliner Diner

Go for breakfast but take in the decor. Opened in 2018 this is a throwback to the 1950s with formica tables and colourful padded chairs. You won’t want to miss an all day breakfast menu or treat yourself to an old fashion milkshake, sunday or burger with onion rings.

Website: https://www.sunlinerdiner.com/gulf-shores/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunlinerdiner/
Location: 100 E. 2nd Ave. Gulf Shores, AL 36542
tel: 251-937-6590

The Southern Grind Coffee House

Ultimate Food Guide and Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach - The Southern Grind Coffee House

The name says it all.  It’s all about a great cuppa joe and maybe the Belgian waffles or the Avocado Egg Melt or the Croissandwich.  O.K.  Go for breakfast or lunch because it is exceptional.  The owner is also an artist and had an eye for lovely decor.  Bring a bit of extra cash because the shop is adorable.  Very beach-themed, it had hats, jewellery, nifty signs and great little gifts.
Website: http://www.thesoutherngrind.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesoutherngrind_coffeehouse/
4751 Main St #116, Orange Beach, AL 36561
Tel: (251) 923-3265

Brick & Spoon

Brick and Spoon Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Alabama @DownshiftingPRO

You may think you are going to the Brick & Spoon for the breakfast but really, you are going for the BLOODY MARYs.  They do them well and they have a variety of choices.  To be honest, you can customize them with whatever you want (over 50 options).   I was so very amused when we were offered them first thing in the morning but hey… all in the name of research for my readers.

I absolutely love that they keep tabs on how many are served.  With over 52,000 served, you’ll need to find a location closer to you. This is a franchise with 12 locations scattered throughout the southern United States. Breakfast treats will include Banana Foster’s French toast,  Breakfast Tacos in Fried Wonton Shells with Chorizo Scrambled Eggs and Mango Salsa and tasty Breakfast  Beignets. Considered one of the top 10 Breakfasts in the US by Travel + Leisure, you don’t want to miss this.

Website: http://www.brickandspoonrestaurant.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brickandspoonorangebeach/
24705 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, AL 36561
Tel: (251) 981-7772

Kitty’s Kafe at Pelican Place

Looking for Southern fair or a large selection of Eggs Benedict?  Go no further than Kitty’s.  Billing itself as “Home Style Meals served with true Southern Hospitality”  One of my traveling companions said it best: “This is the place to go when you are missing your local favorite breakfast joint or just have a craving for southern fare like country fried steak, biscuits and gravy, or fried green tomatoes.” Chris from The Amateur Traveler

Website: http://kittyskafe.com/
3500 Gulf Shores Parkway, Suite 100
Tel: (251) 948-5233

Lunch Good Eats in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Playa

Where one restaurant was on my last trip, it has been replaced by new ownership but I am quite familiar with their fine dining option – see Fisher’s in the dinner section. Playa is a new favourite on the island featuring a menu of great Gulf seafood inspired by Latin American and Caribbean elements.

There is a variety of flavours with seafood a main focus of the menu. I was tempted by the Fried Oyster Caesar Salad and the Braised Wagyu Brisket or 16 oz ribeye but alas, I opted for the Crab encrusted fish of the day. Laying in a swirl of whipped sweet potatoes, it was yummy – though a tiny tad overdone for my liking. The portions were perfect.

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What impressed us on this menu was the Red Fish on a shell, the Shrimp and Grits and the Spicy Tuna Bowl. We also loved the Pink Pineapple frozen drinks which were served in a very cute glass. You may need to drop by for happy hour, daily from 3-6.

Website: https://playaoba.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/playaoba/
27842 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, AL 36561
Tel: (251) 981-9891

The Anchor Bar & Grill

The Anchor Bar & Grill Orange Beach AL Ultimate Food Guide and Good Eats in Gulf Shores

I’m not going to lie, the Tuna Poke is the dish you MUST order at The Anchor Bar and Grill.  It was in a large bowl with plenty of tuna and a gochujang mayo to die for.  A close second was the Whiskey Brisket Tots.  Tatar tots like nothing you’ve ever had before.  Have a look at their instagram account you will not know what to order next.  I promise you, you will be back.   Located in Orange Beach, you are seaside on an elevated wharf.  You can watch the sailboats come in while you enjoy a cold brew or a delectable dessert.

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Update: We returned in 2019 to the Anchor Bar & Grill because I made a special request to have their Tuna Poke Salad. Alas, it was not on their brunch menu but we were not disappointed by any means.

I would recommend the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict (the eggs were PERFECT) and the hollandaise on point. If you like REALLY, REALLY spicy chicken wings, order the Chicken & Waffles. They were too spicy for any of our taste but those who want scathing hot chicken wings… this is the place.

As always, the Tasso & Green Tomato Tots was also a winner. You can never go wrong with tater tots and anything southern but I know they bring them to a whole different level.

Website: http://www.anchorob.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anchoroba/
4575 S Wilson Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561
Tel: (251) 200-0250

De Soto’s Seafood Kitchen

A family-owned and run restaurant, De Soto’s Seafood Kitchen will have every southern food option you will desire and then some. Blackeyed peas, lima beans, corn fritters and macaroni ‘n cheese. No Classic dish was missed. Order the Royal Red Shrimp – they are huge! The bacon-wrapped, crab-stuffed shrimp, coconut shrimp and fried chicken were also exceptional. I could not believe how large the pieces of chicken were. The choice of fish and seafood was also pretty amazing. If only we had room in our bellies for all this yummy goodness. I would recommend De Soto’s Seafood Kitchen it if you want a lot to choose from. It’s well priced and the service was very good. The best story was about how being restaurateurs was part of the family history. The owners were also getting ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner to their community. That is a generous offering. Kudos to DeSoto’s

Website: http://desotosseafoodkitchen.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/desotosseafoodkitchen/
138 W 1st Ave, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Tel: (251) 948-7294

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LuLu’s at Homeport Marina

Photo Credit: Amateur Traveler LuLu's Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Photo Credit: Amateur Traveler

There is no question this is a ‘destination’ eatery.  You can bring the whole family to enjoy the food but you may have a bit of a wait.  No problem because there is a three-story rope climbing apparatus, beach toys, face-painting, volleyball nets, live music to help keep you entertained. Didn’t bring your beach toys?  They have a fully equipped sandy beach area (equipped with pails, shovels and other beach toys) plus an arcade.  Owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister Lulu, it stands on its own reputation with its famous Lulu’s Seafood Gumbo, Fried Green Tomatoes and Big Seafood Fry!

Website: http://www.lulubuffett.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lulusgulfshores/
200 East 25th Avenue Gulf Shores, AL US
Tel: (251) 967-5858

The Gulf

Ultimate Food Guide and Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach - The Gulf

I was not yet ready to experience the beauty that is the Gulf Shores of Alabama.  I had no idea the sand would feel like walking on cornstarch (or icing sugar) and the sunsets would be spectacular.  Fortunately, I was introduced to both on the first night there at The Gulf.  This was a dining experience right on the beach.  With a variety of menu items to choose from, the restaurants are located in re-purposed ship containers.  Imagine a stack of containers put together to create a unique setting for a unique food experience.  We had our choice of king crab legs, fish tacos, burgers and salads.

Website: https://thegulf.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thegulfal/
27500 Perdido Beach Blvd
Orange Beach, AL 36561
Tel: (251) 424-1800

Hog Wild Beach & BBQ

Photo Credit: Amateur Traveler Hog Wild Beach & BBQ Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Photo Credit: Amateur Traveler Hog Wild Beach & BBQ Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Traditional BBQ with plenty of choices and combo platters to share.  Voted TOP 10 BBQ IN ALABAMA! TOP 5 Fries (WILD FRIES) in the state! Slow Smoked Meat, House-made Sauces, and Sides Made From Scratch DAILY!  You’ll have a choice of Pulled Pork, Sausage, Crispy Chicken, Baby Back Ribs, and Smoked Wings from the grill.  Choose from a wide selection of sides including baked beans, Mac ‘n Cheese, Southern green beans, sweet potato fries, “Not Your Traditional” Cole Slaw and a side of toast.

Website: http://www.hogwildgulfshores.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hogwildbeach_bbq/
911 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Tel: (251) 213-8716

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Fine Dining – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Perch

Ultimate Food Guide for good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach - Perch in the Lodge at Gulf Shores State Park

Imagine our surprise when we are led to a table with 5 wine glasses at the ready. This is what you will get when you try a meal and wine pairing at Perch. Located in The Lodge at Gulf State Park, it is a Hilton Hotel focused on sustainability, committed to local cuisine and sensual experience. Sit out on the second-floor balcony in comfortable lounge chairs and listen to the water on the Gulf of Mexico. Feel the breeze, if you are cold, there are warm fireplaces and heaters to keep you closer to the natural elements.

During the winter months on the third Saturday of the month, for a very reasonable price, you can have a 5-course meal with wine pairings. The women from Pinnacle wines chose only Oregon wines for the tastings – for a consistent theme for the evening. At the end of the evening, you are able to purchase a bottle of wine on offer. It was very well orchestrated. The food and service were impeccable and the entire evening very sophisticated and enjoyable.

I would love to return and stay at the hotel as it sits above the sand dunes as a gateway to the Gulf Shores State Park.

Website:  https://www.perchgsp.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PerchGSP/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/perchgsp/
21196 E. Beach Blvd.Gulf Shores, AL, 36542
Tel: (251) 923-2924

Ultimate Food Guide and Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Snoke Salt Bison Ribey and Duck Fat Yucca Fries Drizzled with Truffle & Cherry Wine Reduction

Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina

Fisher's at Orange Beach Marina Good Eats in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama @DownshiftingPRO

Saving the best for last, Fisher’s Upstairs was by far my favourite meal in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.  Well, it wasn’t actually a full meal as I opted to have the amazing oysters as appetizers & main course.  They were THAT good.  Truth be told, I did share some of my oysters as a full dozen was too much for me.  Fisher’s Upstairs is a high-end experience.  It was very tastefully decorated with large tables and lighting to create the perfect romantic ambience.  I would suggest this for a special occasion or your last meal on your vacation.  It will leave a lasting impression – I guarantee it.

Fisher's at Orange Beach Marina Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama @DownshiftingPRO

Want something more casual? Have dinner downstairs at Dockside.  The menu is still exceptional (with fresh oysters available). My suggestion is the Alabama Chicken (fried chicken, smoked pecan brown butter rice, collard greens & Alabama white bbq sauce). Call ahead or be prepared to wait. It’s worth it.

Website: http://www.fishersobm.com/upstairs
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fishersobm/
27075 Marina Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561
Tel: (251) 981-7305

The Big Fish Restaurant

It was the grouper that caught my attention. The selection of fish at The Big Fish was pretty amazing: grouper, red, trigger, mahi, catfish and others I’d never even heard about. One of the most appealing menus was the full sushi menu. Although I was tempted, I opted for two appetizers instead: jumbo lump crabcake & the fire cracker shrimp appetizer. Both were very tasty.

I did try my friend’s grouper and I loved it. Another in our party had the filet mignon and she thought it was ok. Not fabulous. I rounded out my meal with a delicious key lime pie and a taste of the brownie dessert (a bit dry for our liking) but the bread pudding was just how my mom made it as a kid. I absolutely loved it with it’s carmel sauce. THAT was a winner for me!

Big Fish has a lovely atmosphere. Don’t let the location in a strip mall fool you, this place is big and was very busy for a Monday night. A definite recommendation from me!

Ultimate Food Guide and Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Sweet Treats & Fun Drinks

The Yard – Gulf Shores

Ultimate Food Guide and Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Huge Milkshakes with layered flavours

Gulf Shores is the location for their flagship store, this young couple opened their first The Yard Milkshake shop. Opening another 3 locations in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, these young entrepreneurs have big dreams of expansion. Featured on Shark Tank in November 2019, they got the chance to work with an angel investor to develop their franchise model. I have no doubt if you see and taste these amazing milkshakes you will be looking for a milkshake shop near you.

Ultimate Food Guide and Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach - The Yard Milkshakes
Cookie Monster Milkshake at The Yard – Gulf Shores, AL

Drop by for dessert for THE BEST milkshakes! These are masterpieces in mason which include whipped cream, plenty of sauce and ice cream. All of them come in a commemorative glass.

Website: https://www.theyardmilkshakebar.com/gulf-shores
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theyardmilkshakebar/
3800 Gulf Shores Pkwy #218, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, United States

Lickin’ Good Donuts

Prepare to be amazed. Whether it’s maple bacon donuts or Kolaches (local Alabama smoked sausage baked in a roll), you cannot go wrong with a sweet treat when you are doing some crafts. We took a quick coffee break and had some awesome donuts from Lickin’ Good Donuts in Gulf Shores. It was a great surprise but I HAD to mention them because those maple bacon donuts made this Canadian gal HAPPY.

Note: they are opened 5 am to 2 pm.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lickin-Good-Donuts-in-Gulf-Shores-2088614001361563/

229 E 20th Ave #14Gulf Shores, Alabama
Tel: (251) 233-3968

Ultimate Food Guide and Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
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Maple Bacon Donuts from Lickn’ Good Donuts in Gulf Shores

Flora-Bama

Technically straddling two states, the Flora-Bama is located famously in Orange Beach, Alabama and Perdido Key, Florida. After our delicious meal at The Gulf, I was keen to have an after-dinner drink.  When one of the hosts suggested a quick tour to the biggest and craziest bar in the region I was game.  “They make the best bushwackers in the area.”  she asserted.  Not willing to turn down a local speciality, off we went to this iconic bar.

A Bushwacker is a secret blend of five kinds of alcohol and milk served frozen in a clear plastic cup with a maraschino cherry on top. Imagine a Wendy’s Frosty with a kick… it is heaven in a cup!

Ultimate Food Guide and Good Eats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Bushwackers at Flora-bama

The Flora-Bama is a maze with stairs going everywhere including five stages for live music and showcases bands of country, rock, dance and beach music. You can relax in any of the areas and select the entertainment of your choice.  When we were there, two different bands were playing and you did not hear one as the other played – this place is THAT big.  If you need a little away time the Flora-Bama has several beach-front bars which were not opened when we were there but I was told there is full bar service available in season.

There are two more things which make a visit here memorable:  (1) a clothesline of bras that have been thrown to the rafters and dangle above your head in one of the main bars. I look-up and was incredulous ar the sheer numbers but had to admit, it was a bit hilarious.   The second and last thing you cannot miss was the signed out front inviting you to Sunday service followed by Sin Night.  I’m told you are allowed to order drinks from the bar during service.  What could be better than a cocktail and a sermon when you’re nursing last night’s hangover?  Need.I.Say.More.

Flora-Bama Orange Beach Alabama

Update: We returned to experience the craziness that is Flora-bama on a Saturday night (check out my Instagram post here for deets). We also came back the next morning for Sunday service. A non-denominational, musical and inspirational service. The most unique part was having a bloody-mary while I sat at a picnic table in the sun. No question about it, the whole experience is worth a visit. Services are at 9 and 11 am every Sunday.

The Ultimate Guide for Good eats in gulf shores and Orange Beach
Bloody Mary & Sunday Service at The Flora-Bama

Website: https://www.florabama.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_florabama/
17401 Perdido Key Dr., Pensacola, Fl. 32507
Tel: (251) 980-5118

The Ultimate Guide for Good eats in gulf shores and Orange Beach
Good Eats in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
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Disclosure:  As an attendee of TBEX Huntsville,  I was a guest of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism office.  We were hosted by both accommodations, attractions and restaurants.  I enjoyed every single meal and all opinions are honest and my own. 

Ultimate Guides to Food, Attractions and Accommodations in the Gulf Shores, Orange Beach & Fort Morgan @VisitALbeaches

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.

15 thoughts on “Good Eats in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama – Go Because of the Seafood #TBEXhuntsville”

  1. One doesn’t come to the coast without savouring exceptional seafood and this region, located on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, did not disappoint. Thank you, amazing post!

  2. Awesome! We are thinking about going to Gulf Shores this summer. I would never have known there were so many options of delicious food there!! The only question is who will keep an eye on our horse farm in Anniston? Well…I need to think about that. Appreciate you sharing.

  3. We are headed home to Ohio from Florida we wanted some good home-cooked food and boy did we get it the best food I have ate in a while reminds me of my mamaws home cooken don’t let the building scare you it’s a hole in the wall good home cooking the staff was very nice also nothing like southern hospitality will come back when we go back to Florida next year

  4. I visited Alabama over 20 years ago and would love to go back one day, especially since I have family there. Looks like they have a ton of delicious food options and the foodie in me now wants to indulge (I love oysters lol).

  5. Gulf Shores/Orange Beach is exactly where I want to go this summer. I’ve already contacted them!! I hope to check out some of these restaurants you mentioned. What a fun FAM trip!!

    • It was awesome. I’m a big believer in the TBEX conferences. Their FAM trips are always exceptional and provide a great opportunity to see little know regions.

  6. I would love to visit Alabama, I have never been but it really sounds like a place I would love. I have always thought that and now with these food pictures, being a foodie who travels for a good meal often, this has to be added to the list!

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