You’re never short of places to eat in Destin Florida, an area of 30A with a smorgasbord of choice and plenty to suit every tastebud and social scene. And whichever Beach Luxury Vacations rental you’re staying in, you won’t be disappointed. From the most amazing margaritas and shrimp tacos in the best Destin Mexican restaurant to oyster shacks on the beach, and live music venues with great food, these are the top Destin Florida restaurants to explore while you’re here, whether that’s with friends, family or a loved one. If there’s one thing that Destin Florida restaurants know how to do, it’s serving great meals with a good dollop of entertainment.
Top Destin seafood restaurants
1. Backporch Destin
Address: 1740 Scenic Hwy 98, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5. Happy hour: 2pm-5pm. Mains average $35
The Back Porch started life on the Destin food scene as a humble A-frame shack in 1974, gradually building its reputation (and size) as one of the best Destin restaurants on the beach for raw oysters with a side of surf and sunsets. Come here for the crab claws and signature amberjack sandwich, stay for the amazing Gulf views.
2. Destin Crab Trap
Address: 3500 Scenic Hwy 98 East, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4. Happy hour: 3pm-5pm. Mains average $30
Another of the most amazing Destin Florida Restaurants on the beach is The Crab Trap, a seaside staple that has been serving locals and holidaymakers since 1991. Watch the local surfers hang-ten as you tuck into the likes of Alaska crab and locally sourced shrimp, grouper, mahi-mahi and amberjack (plus more). It’s one of the best restaurants in Destin FL for soaking up that beachy atmosphere as you sip cocktails at the tiki bar, nibble on appetisers as you gaze at the sprawling scenery of the Emerald Coast, and watch the kids play on the beach as you order one of the restaurant’s delicious desserts.
3. Lulu’s Destin Florida
Address: 4608 Legendary Marina Dr, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4. Happy hour: 3pm-6pm. Mains average $18.
With rope courses and a beach arcade, it’s all about having a good time at this family-friendly spot on the waterfront (one of the best restaurants in Destin FL for fun). Dishes – from fried Blue Crab claws and jerk chicken sandwiches to big sharing combos and stacked cheeseburgers – are made from scratch, and there’s a good kids’ menu. Live music sessions are often held here too, so you can jam while you order a post-prandial signature cocktail – LuLu’s World Famous Bushwhacker, perhaps, a rum-based floater with coffee liqueur. And don’t forget to grab a t-shirt from the shop as a souvenir of your meal in one of the best Destin Florida restaurants.
4. Destin Boathouse
Address: 288 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4. Mains average $25
Possibly one of the coolest Destin Florida restaurants for oysters, live music and beer. Dishes range from gumbo and meaty sandwiches to hot dogs and prime rib – but it’s the seafood Boathouse Buckets you’ll want to order as you sit down with friends or the kids: think snow crab clusters, shrimp, crab claws, mussels, oysters, and new potatoes and corn. If you’re around between 11 am-3 pm on Sundays, they serve an oyster brunch; and throughout the year, fishing tournaments (see their website above for more details).
5. Gilligan’s Destin
Address: 530 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4. Mains average $14
One of the more informal and affordable Destin restaurants on the water, Gilligan’s on the Harbor is all about exerting yourself on the Emerald Coast before grabbing a quick and wholesome bite (Louisiana red beans and rice, fresh shrimp po’ boys, mahi-mahi) on the patio. Families love it, and it’s popular with locals. Note that their season runs from March-November.
Top Destin Harbor Boardwalk restaurants
1. Destin Marina Cafe
Address: 404 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5. Happy hour: 5pm-7pm. Mains average $45
Anticipate thoughtfully presented entrees and delicious wine pairings at this fine Dining Destin FL restaurant. Fresh fish, prime steaks, sushi and wood-fired pizzas are a few of the delights on the menu – and don’t miss cocktail hour. This is one of the best restaurants in Destin FL for dates; a great, dimly lit, atmospheric option for a romantic meal or special occasion.
3. AJ’s Destin Florida
Address: 63 Defuniak St., Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549
Tripadvisor rating: 3.5. Happy hour: 5pm-7pm. Mains average $20
Fishing rodeos, dolphin cruises, live music… Destin seafood restaurants like this are must-visits when on holiday in the area. Take your pick of tacos, burgers, baskets, ribeye, soup, sea spider rolls, sushi and more – and wash it down with beer and sake. The place oozes character and is one of the best seafood restaurants in Destin FL for the finest Florida fun.
4. Margaritaville in Destin Florida
Address: 76 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 3.5. Mains average $20
Another of the best places to eat in Destin FL for partying with friends is Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, right in Harborwalk. Again, it’s all about the live music, island-style food, dancing and social atmosphere long into the night – but bring the kids too if you want a fun meal out. Jimmy Buffett would certainly approve.
5. Boshamps Destin FL
Address: 414 Harbor Boulevard, Destin, Florida 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5. Happy hour: 3pm-6pm. Mains average $35
A family-focused ethos is deeply ingrained in this seafood and oyster house, which has been going since 1985. Even the name – a blend of the owner’s initials and labradors’ names, Bobo, Otis, and Shug, is personal. Come here for the excellent authentic food, but also a welcoming atmosphere and a passion for things done right, in a casual and true-to-heart way. In terms of Destin seafood restaurants with soul, this is it.
Best family-friendly places to eat in Destin Florida
1. Fudpuckers Destin FL
Address: 20001 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4. Mains average $22
This theme park of a venue is easily one of the top restaurants in Destin Florida for fun – families love it. There’s an alligator park where you can see, feed, watch live shows and have your picture taken with a gator. Older children are catered for with regular teen nights, and there’s a shop so you can take something home with you. Ever tried alligator tail? It’s on the menu, along with all your favourite staple grills – and buckets of beverages.
2. Lapaz Destin
Address: 950 Gulf Shore Drive, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4. Mains average $20
What the best Destin restaurants are good at is displaying character and, if you’re looking for a Mexican restaurant Destin FL, be sure to pop into this retro outpost on Holiday Isle. Offering a combination of Tex-Mex and Gulf seafood, it’s the place for tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, and generally fantastic southern street food. Celebrating an occasion at your Beach Luxury Vacations house? Hit this restaurant and cantina up for a catered fajita buffet. In the mood for Cinco de Mayo next May? Enjoy live music with Cadillac Willy, $5 margaritas and tequila promotions, plus great food through lunch and dinner here.
Destin Florida restaurants for nightlife
1. Bric a Brac Destin
Address: 824 Gulf Shore Drive, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5. Mains average $20
Bric a Brac goes big on its nightclub (Fridays and Saturdays, 11pm) but families are well catered for in its restaurant – which enjoys a clubby vibe. Bric a Brac scores highly for a well-rounded American menu offering the likes of shrimp and crab chowder, cheesy bell peppers stuffed with beef, rice and veg, and homemade bread and butter pudding doused in bourbon sauce. A live band plays Thursday-Saturday nights, and the funky interior (Mardis Gras beads, murals, kitsch paraphernalia, neon lighting) is reason alone to visit for your social media feed.
2. Graffiti Restaurant
Address: 34902 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin, Florida, 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5. Happy hour: 4pm-7pm. Mains average $27
Looking for a pizza Destin FL restaurant? Graffiti is a live bluesy music venue that ups the offering on pizza. You can create your own by combining the restaurant’s signature hand-tossed dough, homemade Alfredo sauce, and pick of toppings from pepperoni to capers to gouda. Or choose a ready-made gourmet option, named after some of America’s finest: James Brown (red sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, onion, sausage, bacon, ham, beef, black olives, pineapple, jalapenos and mozzarella) – or the Michael Jackson, perhaps. Other eats range from fettucini bolognese to wild buffalo meatloaf.
4. Mcguire’s Destin FL
Address: 33 US-98 Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5. Happy hour: 3pm-6pm. Mains average $25
No good seaside town is complete without an Irish bar and this Destin Irish Pub is one of the best. With neon Shamrocks, a ceiling cloaked in green dollar bills (signed by guests), live Irish entertainment and a house brewery, it couldn’t be more authentic (they do also have a pretty sizable wine cellar). Stop by for a stout and a steak – or traditional pub fares like burgers, fish and chips and Irish potato skin – before you dance and make merry with like-minded fellows.
Destin Commons restaurants
Address: 4463 Commons Dr West, STE A
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5. Mains average $22
A high-end and happening venue – yet reasonably priced. Expect the likes of arancini, whipped ricotta dip, snapper puttanesca, and short rib flatbread with mushroom, arugula and white truffle cream at one of the best Italian restaurants Destin FL has to offer. Bitterroot has also earned the title of Best Date Spot 2021 if you’re looking to impress your partner on holiday.
2. Pazzo Italiano Destin
Address: 34904 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin, FL 32541
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5. Mains average $28
With a wood-fired oven, lots of sleek woods, and exposed bricks, this Italian restaurant is a great Destin pizza option for something a little different. One of the best Destin restaurants for authentic cuisine, Pazzo Italiano was born of two friends who wanted to offer Italian food but in a sophisticated way – from burrata to saltimbocca – and the traditional favourites like calzones, salads and carbonara.
Great restaurants near Destin FL
1. Emeril’s Destin
Address: 435 Grand Boulevard, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Tripadvisor rating: 4. Mains average $34
From Destin best seafood restaurants to Sandestin best steak restaurants, the food Destin FL and surrounding areas offer can be as experimental or familiar as you like – like at Emeril’s, in Miramar Beach. Highly acclaimed chef Emeril Lagasse, whose culinary career traversed from cooking as a youngster in the kitchen with his mother to opening 21 restaurants across the States, has an outpost on Miramar Beach, Emeril’s Coastal. It’s certainly up there with the best seafood restaurants in Destin FL as there is a big emphasis on fish, understandably, owing to his childhood fondness for the sport (he would go out with his father and help cook what they had caught) – plus the availability of catch on the Gulf. Expect your favourite dishes but elevated and presented with flair.
2. Acme Oyster House Destin
Address: 90 Seascape Drive, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Tripadvisor rating: 4. Mains average $20
When you order an oyster at Acme, you’re taking a bite out of history. One of the most storied and best seafood restaurants in Destin FL, Acme started life as Acme Café in the French Quarter of New Orleans, long before the band was ever formed. It was renamed Acme Oyster House at 724 Iberville after a fire destroyed it in 1924 and soon became a last-call stop for troops before they headed out to sea. After thirty years of overall success, the oyster house opened on the Gulf. So order a dozen raw oysters, wash them down with an oyster shooter, and enjoy being part of the Acme story at one of the best restaurants in Destin FL.
3. Seagars Destin
Address: 4000 Sandestin Blvd. South Miramar Beach, Florida 32550
An AAA-Four-Diamond steakhouse Destin FL with over 600 wines and a location in South Walton’s Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. Traditional elegance oozes out of every nook and cranny; from the clubby interiors and sommelier service to the accompanying pianist and the elevated menus, Seagars is a smooth player as one of the best restaurants in Destin FL. Think New York grill but with an elevated twist – chateaubriand, Japanese A-5 Wagyu, Steak Diane, but also truffle fries, French onion soup, Seagar’s signature Bananas Foster, and Osetra caviar. Note that there’s a dress code – that’s just the sort of place this is.
4. Tommy Bahama Destin Restaurant
Address: Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, 525 Grand Boulevard, Sandestin, FL 32550
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5. Happy hour: 3pm-6pm. Mains average: $32
Craft cocktails, lomi lomi dishes, airy ceilings and tropical plants… Tommy Bahama in Sandestin is all about kicking back with a signature beverage and enjoying a slice of island time. There’s something for everyone on the menu, and happy hour includes small plates (like macadamia crusted goat cheese and fish tacos). It’s easily one of the best Destin restaurants for key lime pie – the locals love it.
These are the best restaurants in Destin FL for every budget and style – whether you’re on holiday with Beach Luxury Vacations two days, two weeks or two months. We’ve also included a couple of restaurants near Destin FL which we think you’ll really love. If you don’t fancy the walk, you can hire a golf cart from our recommended pick of local companies. For more holiday information, including what to see and so, visit our Ultimate Guide to Your Dream Vacation on 30A Florida.
Looking to let a holiday home? Contact the professional team at Beach Luxury Vacations.