Certain restaurants are known for their expertise at turning out signature dishes really well. They've pinned down the ingredients, mastered the process, and gained a strong following as a result. Destin has had much success cultivating great restaurants and creating a substantial market for Seafood. Locals can't get enough of the city's excellent food, and you'll often find them, along with eager tourists, at popular Rick's Crab Trap or at Staff's Restaurant, a major player in the field. Make sure you see what all the fuss is about!

Rick's Crab Trap
This restaurant is well-known for its local seafood. Rough plank walls and draped fishing nets distinguish the interior, and nautical accents add bursts of color. The menu features fish prepared by steaming, grilling, broiling and frying. You'll find crabs of all varieties, oysters, crawfish, shrimp and mussels, along with amberjack and yellowfin tuna. A chicken dish and a hamburger are available for landlubbers, but the majority of the menu is devoted to seafood. Wine, beer and cocktails are served as well, and a number of specialty drinks will put you in the appropriate mood to enjoy Gulf Coast evenings. (850-269-1252)

Buster's Oyster Bar & Grill
Frequented by locals, this casual place is a favorite destination for watching the big game. Sixteen TVs, including two big screens, bring the event to you, and everyone takes part in the festivities. The menu leans heavily towards seafood, which can be prepared in a number of ways, including steaming or broiling. Steaks, sandwiches and hamburgers are available too, along with a children's menu. Buster's is also known for "oystermania," a happy hour event where you can get good deals on oysters by the dozen. Along with drink specials, it pulls in eager crowds who can't get enough of the delicacy. Look for it daily from 5pm-6pm. (850-837-4399)

Crab Trap Seafood and Oyster Bar
A beachfront location on the Boardwalk makes this air-conditioned place incredibly convenient for Okaloosa Island sunbathers. Adorned with surfboards, metal palm trees and wooden fish, the restaurant has a casual feel appropriate to the seafood-based menu. Sandwiches and pastas feature grouper, tuna, and amberjack; seafood baskets brim with fried shellfish. Steaks, chicken and oysters prepared a number of ways are also available. Plus, fresh, crisp salads are a cool way to beat the heat. Hearty eaters will appreciate the all-you-can-eat snow-crab legs special; the servers will haul them out until you cry "uncle." (850-301-0959)

Bayou Bill's Crab House
For more than 15 years, this casual restaurant has brought the bounty of the Emerald Coast to eager diners. An all-wood interior peppered with nautical accents sets the stage for plentiful seafood dinners, whether they're fried, broiled or steamed. Shrimp, scallops and oysters team up with cole slaw, hush puppies and potatoes for a coastal feast, and crabs of all varieties are a special treat. House specialties include stuffed grouper parmesan, and shrimp and rainbow pasta. You'll also find options for the landlubbers, and a full bar serves up beer and cocktails, frozen or not. (850-267-3849)

Fisherman's Wharf
On the harbor, this weathered shingle structure is shaded by huge live oaks. The restaurant's seafood comes directly from fishing boats and is the freshest you could imagine. Mahi mahi, triggerfish and snapper are served grilled or blackened, or you can opt for a fried seafood platter or one of their house specialties. Steaks, chicken and pastas are also available, and you'll find a host of sandwiches as well. If you happen to be fishing, the restaurant will cook your own filets for you and let you reap the benefits of your efforts. Along with beer and frozen drinks, the restaurant has a few signature drinks you should try, including the rum-and-curaçao Emerald Coast Cooler. (850-654-4766)

Maps and Directions

Rick's Crab Trap 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Miramar Beach
Cost: $$
Buster's Oyster Bar & Grill 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American
Neighborhood: Destin
Cost: $$
Crab Trap Seafood and Oyster Bar 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Fort Walton Beach
Cost: $$
Bayou Bill's Crab House 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Santa Rosa Beach
Cost: $$
Fisherman's Wharf 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: DESTIN
Cost: $$
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