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!


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."

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Santa Rosa Beach

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.

Read more about Bayou Bill's Crab House →

Fort Walton Beach

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.

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