Where To Eat In Pensacola

When it comes to finding the best restaurants in Pensacola for a remarkable dining experience, you’re in the perfect spot! Pensacola boasts a vibrant food scene, offering a variety of options to satisfy every palate. From a local favorite or two with the freshest local seafood to authentic Irish fare in the heart of Pensacola, you’ll discover why these restaurants have diners coming back for more.

Pictures of key lime pie, boxtys, shrimp rap, and shrimp tacos.

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.

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.

Flounders Chowder House sign.

Jeff ordered Coconut Shrimp which came with their tasty Island Pina Colada Sauce and was served with lemon, French fries, and delicious pineapple coleslaw.

Platter of coconut shrimp and coleslaw with a glass of water.
Coconut Shrimp $25.99

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.

Plate of spicy shrimp tacos.
Firecracker Shrimp Tacos $18.99

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.

Slice of three-layer Key Lime pie.
Key Lime Pie $6.99

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. Indulge in their renowned Bushwacker and savor the experience, complete with live music to enhance your visit.

Building made out of stacked shipping containers.

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.

Sun setting over a bay.

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.

Grouper topped with capers and a side of asparagus.
Grouper Piccata $32.00

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.

Ahi tuna on top of a bed of salad greens.
Ahi Tuna Salad $19.00

Our friends opted for the Fried Shrimp and Chips – jumbo shrimp fried, grilled or blackened, served with coleslaw, fries, cocktail sauce, and lemon.

Tray of fried shrimp and fried potatoes.
Shrimp and Chips $24.00

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.)

Man and woman in front of a statue of a pirate.

To get things started, we ordered 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.)

Smoked tuna dip on top of lettuce and diced tomatoes.
Smoked Yellowfin Tuna Dip $12.99

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.

Fried catfish, French fries, and coleslaw.
Cajun Fried Catfish $16.99

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.

Hand holding a shrimp wrap.
Cajun Shrimp Wrap

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.

Fish platter with shrimp and rice.
Mixed Sampler $26.99

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.

Fish House

The Fish House is located downtown at 600 S Barracks Street, Suite 112.  It is located on the 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.”

Gouda shrimp and grits.
World-Famous Grits à Ya Ya $21.95

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).

Salad with strawberries, red onions, blueberries, cucumbers, and almond slices.
Strawberry Salad $13.95

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.

Slice of triple chocolate cheesecake.
Triple Chocolate Cheesecake $7.95

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!

Sign for McGuire's Irish Pub in front of a green and yellow building.

Dollar bills are tacked to the ceiling and walls throughout the restaurant which makes for quite a sight.

Walls and ceiling of a pub covered in one dollar bills.
Money, money, money – MONEY!

But that’s not the only reason to go to McGuire’s. The authentic Irish pub food and ambiance are also worth the visit. The waiters and waitresses look as though they just got off a plane from Ireland. Dining there is a great experience and the food is impeccable to boot!

Entrance to a wine cellar.

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!)

Fried mashed potato balls and dips.
Irish Boxtys – $9.99

McGuire’s is renowned for its steaks, offering the exceptional quality of U.S.D.A. Certified Prime Steaks that you won’t find at your typical local grocery store.

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.

Steak dinner with onion rings and a baked tomato topped with chees.
16-ounce New York Strip $49.99

I ordered McGuire’s Ultimate Chef’s Salad which is made with crisp lettuce, red onions, grape tomatoes, red & yellow peppers, cucumbers, carrots, pepperoncini, 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.

Large cobb salad.
McGuire’s Ultimate Chef’s Salad $15.99

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.

Casino Beach Bar and Grille sign.

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.

Ahi tuna poke bowl with carrots, radishes, and avocado.
Ahi Tune Poke Bowl $18.95

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.)

Shrimp tacos and fried potatoes.
Grilled Shrimp Tacos on Flour Tortillas $16.95

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.

Brownie sundae with whipped cream and spoons.
The Lauren – vanilla ice cream, brownie, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, peanuts, and a cherry $9.95

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.

Two men and two women standing near a beach.

Casino Beach Bar and Grill is located at 41 Fort Pickens Road and is open from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm daily.

Cafe Bistro

If you are craving a smoothie, Cafe Bistro at 39 Via de Luna Drive is where you want to go.

Tropical smoothie in a plastic cup.
24-ounce Tropical Breeze $7.99

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. Executive Chef James Briscione beat Bobby Flay in a culinary showdown 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.

The Grand Marlin Praline Basket with Crispy Pecan Praline Basket/ Vanilla Bean Ice Cream/ House Caramel & Chocolate Sauces and Seasonal Berries.
TGM Signature Praline Basket $9
Crispy Pecan Praline Basket with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, House Caramel & Chocolate Sauces, and Seasonal Berries

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.

Joe Patti seafood shop.

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 condominiums.

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.

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