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Dining In and Around Pensacola Beach

by Celeste Bracewell on December 16th, 2014
pensacola fish house and atlas oyster house restaurants

Outside the Pensacola Fish House and neighboring Atlas Oyster House in downtown Pensacola

The white sands and turquoise waters of Pensacola Beach are the perfect backdrop for a beautiful Gulf respite. But we humans do not live by dolphins/golf/swimming/fishing/sandcastles alone. Fear not, however, because delicious food abounds. Whether you’re in the mood for casual attire and beach food with the kids or a romantic grown-up meal, the choices are plentiful, so let’s get started!

Pensacola Beach Restaurants

Flounder’s Chowder House, located at 800 Quietwater Beach Road near Margaritaville Beach Hotel and Travelodge, is a great spot for a casual Sunday brunch. Gather the family at a table for eight on the deck, or choose one of several dining areas inside the restaurant. The property has a beach, pier, and playground where the kids can play in the sand. You can’t miss the 55-foot, fully-rigged, M/V Flounder. Retired from shrimping in 1998, it now rests in front of the restaurant. Watch out for the nearby Man-Eating Giant Clam (shell, that is).   On the beach you’ll find a 15-foot Cuban raft with a Russian-built engine that once carried refugees from Cuba to Key West. In the Marlin Bar, a world-record catch 980-pound blue marlin is showcased, and the iconic sailfish sign that directed travelers to Santa Rosa Island since the 1950s now hangs over Flounder’s stage. The bar features beautiful stained glass from, of all places, an upstate New York convent. The huge carved-oak panels over the bar and at the end of the dining area are segments of confessional booths from a church in New Orleans. Beveled-glass panels and stained-glass pub windows are incorporated in the design. Look up or you might miss the vintage Santa Rosa moonshine stills from the thirties and forties while you listen to the live music. The menu is extensive, ranging from fresh seafood and steaks to burgers, tacos, and sandwiches. Save room for dessert, though, especially the triple decker Key Lime Pie, three delicious layers of yellow and green pie stacked high.
Located on the beach, Sidelines Sports Bar and Restaurant, at 2 Via De Luna at the Hampton Inn, is the place to go for a burger on the beach. Voted “Best Sports Bar” in Pensacola five years running and “Best Wings” for six, Sidelines features MLB Extra Innings, NFL Sunday Ticket, NHL Center Ice, NBA League Pass, ESPN Full Court, and ESPN GamePlan. Want more? Then try your luck at pinball! Sidelines opens at 11 a.m. daily and never closes before 10 p.m. The restaurant is often open later, so call for closing time, (850) 934-3660. Follow on Twitter: @SidelinesPBeach, and bookmark the Website,, to check the menu, events, and games being shown. Popular with kids and adults, with tables for eight, Sidelines is the place to go for a casual, fun meal while you root for your favorite team.
Paradise Bar and Grill is a hidden gem on the beach at 21 Via De Luna, behind the Paradise Inn, an old-style, cinderblock motel on the Sound side of the island.   An outdoor affair with fans and sea breezes, the Paradise is known for the live music and beach food: burgers, fried fish and shrimp, served in baskets. The restaurant invites diners to “boat it, bike it, or walk it to the hottest spot on the island!” Sit at picnic tables in the sand or gather at the big bar. The grill takes call-ahead orders, so dial (850) 916-5087 to place your eat-in or carry-out selections. You can dock your boat at the pier and pick up your order for a picnic on the Gulf. A favorite with locals, Paradise is kid-friendly and definitely casual.
At the base of the pier at 41 Ft. Pickens Road, Casino Beach Bar and Grille is an easy walk to delicious food. Want a special dish? Try the tropical salad with grilled chicken, Caribbean BBQ chicken sandwich, sweet potato fries, and conch ceviche. Or, if you’re in the mood for ribs, burgers, or seafood, you’ll find them here. Great cocktails and live entertainment . . . what are you waiting for?
Cactus Flower Cafe’s Boardwalk Cafe, located at 400 Quietwater Beach Road, serves delicious California-style Mexican dishes . . . fresh, flavorful, and healthy. Call (850) 934-5999 for more information or check the Website ( for other locations and menus. Two more Cactus Flower Cafes are in the Pensacola area: 3425 North 12th Avenue and 6881 West Highway 98.
Just the two of you and in the mood to dress up a bit for a leisurely, romantic dinner? The Grand Marlin Restaurant and Oyster Bar, located at 400 Pensacola Beach Boulevard,   is perfect. Enjoy beautiful views of Santa Rosa Sound and sunsets over Pensacola Bay. Fresh seafood specials are offered daily as well as tender steaks and delicious poultry dishes. The oyster bar is a great place to meet for lunch or the daily Happy Hour.   Private dining facilities are available for receptions, banquets, and private parties. Reservations for dinner are recommended. Call (850) 677-9153 or book reservations online at OpenTable.

Restaurants Across the Bridge in Pensacola

A short drive away, McGuire’s Irish Pub with its fun vibe, is located across the bridge in Pensacola’s original 1927 Old Firehouse, at 600 East Gregory Street. An authentic Irish bar and restaurant with lots of interesting nooks and crannies, McGuire’s has a world-class wine cellar and offers   great selections of ale, stout, and porters brewed on the premises, including a popular root beer served draft. Take a tour of the brewery or perhaps take some of McGuire’s yeast with you to use in your next batch at home. The large menu offers variety. A casual reviewer says this: “Can’t beat their steaks and burgers.   They know how to cook it Pittsburg style, burned on the outside and raw on the inside.   And the Senate Bean Soup [as an accompaniment] is 18 cents.” In an aside: “Watch out for the restroom signs lest you enter the wrong one. But once inside the ladies room, you’ll find a mirror guaranteed to make you look skinny. Dollar bills are tacked all over the walls and ceiling. Millions, I suppose, and they audit it every year!” You’ll have to see for yourself to gauge the accuracy of this claim. The Grand Hall offers banquet space for parties of 40 or more. No room fee is charged for wakes, weddings, or bar mitzvahs, and they will work with your group should you need meeting space for meetings or presentations. Call in advance for group reservations: (850) 433-6789. And be sure to visit their Website,, for an accurate (to the second) countdown to St. Patrick’s Day.

The Fish House, Fish House Deck Bar, and Atlas Oyster House are located at 600 South Barracks Street in downtown Pensacola, adjacent to the historic Seville neighborhood, overlooking beautiful Pensacola Bay. Dine at the Fish House, a Pensacola tradition known for outstanding fresh seafood cuisine and world-famous Southern specialties such as Grits a Ya Ya —   smoked Gouda cheese grits smothered with a sauce of fresh cream, sauteed Gulf shrimp, spinach, portobello mushrooms, applewood-smoked bacon, garlic, and shallots. Select from a handpicked wine list of more than 300 wines or enjoy a cocktail at the bar. Locals and tourists enjoy both the indoor and outdoor dining . . . a perfect spot for a delicious Sunday brunch. Craving the most delicious oysters? The Fish House Deck Bar is a great gathering spot with a bandstand, fire pit, and maritime-themed bar. Happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. The Deck Bar features live music nightly and Ladies’ Night with $2 drink every Wednesday. Go next door to Atlas Oyster House for a delightful casual dining experience and sample fresh, delectible Apalachicola Bay and East Bay oysters, raw, baked, or steamed. An award-winning establishment, Acme is also well-known for its sushi.

Another favorite spot, The Oar House at Bayou Chico, overlooks Bahia Mar Marina and is located a short distance from the beach and the Pensacola Yacht Club. Sit outside and watch the gulls and passing boats or soak up a magical sunset on the deck. A bit sunny? Then sip a cocktail and enjoy a meal underneath the tiki roof. The menu includes award-winning crab cakes, delicious fish sandwiches smothered in melted cheese, or authentic gumbo, étouffée, and red beans. The filet mignon is fabulous, as are many other authentic Southern and Caribbean dishes. It’s on a marina near Pensacola Yacht Club.   The Oar House offers lots of fun for kids. The marina offers dry boat storage with huge cranes to move the boats up and down. Children are fascinated by the action, watching as the marina workers fetch a boat from three stories up, bring it out, and launch it in the water. You can call ahead for take-out at (850) 549-4444. And check out the extensive menu and events at the Website:

Dining Around Pensacola’s Seville Square

Dharma Blue, overlooking Seville Square downtown at 300 South Alcaniz Street, features fine seafood and Florida’s finest full sushi bar. The restaurant also offers a private party room that   seats 40. Call (850) 422-1275 for information.

Hub Stacey’s, a casual restaurant also located on Seville Square, is a great spot for eat-in or take-out, especially if you’re attending the Arts Festival or a Concert in the Park. Salads, outstanding sandwiches, wings, burgers: You’ll have plenty of choices.

The Happy Pig at 200 South Alcaniz Street is known as “a BBQ place with taste.” All meat is   slow-smoked with a special rub, and all side dishes are homemade. Call ahead for take-out or to check hours: (850) 912-8480.

Restaurants Located in Nearby Gulf Breeze

Located at 913 Gulf Breeze Parkway No. 20, Aegean Breeze is a MUST visit. Owners Gus and Tina are delightful and serve fresh-cut steaks, fresh local seafood, pasta, sandwiches, and salads with a delicious Greek flair. The menu is extensive, and the quality far exceeds the cost. Well worth the short drive, you can call ahead to check for specials or place a take-out order: (850) 916-0430.

The Bridge Bar is located at the base of Three Mile Bridge in Gulf Breeze, 33 Gulf Breeze Parkway. A friendly spot with great views of sunsets on the large deck, The Bridge Bar is a great place to gather with friends for a drink and popcorn.

Do Not Stop Reading!
Two Special Suggestions

On one Friday night each month, enjoy music, art, and fine food provided by dozens of local businesses. Gallery Night is a festive evening not to be missed . . .wander through shops, art galleries, along the brick sidewalks, and savor the sights and sounds. The choices are so plentiful that you’ll want to return again and again. The dates can be found at

Joe Patti’s Seafood Company, a seafood market/deli/sushi bar/wine shop is not to be missed, located at 524 South B Street in Pensacola (intersection of South A Street and Main Street). Whether you’re in the mood to cook at your condo or you want to pick up some tasty selections to carry home, this is THE place to buy fresh seafood at wholesale prices. You can take a two-hour dolphin cruise, eat in the restaurant, shop for wines, specialty items, even equipment. They will steam your purchases for you. Call at (850) 432-3315 or (800) 500-9929. And check out the Website,, for a full list of all of the fabulous offerings.   A Pensacola tradition since 1931, you’ll return here every time you visit Pensacola/Pensacola Beach.

Before you leave, don’t forget to book another Pensacola Beach vacation so that you can experience more of the fabulous Gulf Coast food. You can find vacation rental listings at

Bon appétit!

grand marlin restaurant and oyster bar pensacola seared scallops

Seared scallops at Grand Marlin Restaurant and Oyster Bar

From → Pensacola Beach

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