Beach Walk Café at Henderson Park Inn
Beach Walk Café at Henderson Park Inn is a fine-dining establishment right on the white beach that comes with perfect Gulf views from its spacious veranda. For special occasions, the restaurant can organize a ‘Toes in the Sand Dining Experience’ where your table is set up on the beach itself. At this venue, the highly-skilled chef proposes creative, scrumptious dishes. Favorites include filet mignon and seared snapper. To wash down the food, Beach Walk has an extensive wine list.
I just finished writing a post on my blog (thegoodlifedestin.com) about 5 great ways to splurge on your Destin vacation. This photo is the "Toes in the Sand" dinner at Beachwalk Cafe in Destin #bucketlist #destinbucketlist #destinbeach #beachwalkcafe #beachwalkcafedestin #hendersonparkinn #destinbeaches #sunsetbeachdinner #destinfinedining #emeraldcoast #dinneronthebeach
Vintij Wine Boutique & Bistro
Vintij Wine Boutique & Bistro has been going strong since 1998, despite hiding in a strip mall across the street from an outlet mall. The entrance is marked with a stained-glass window of brightly-colored squares created by the staff. The glass mural is paired with a wall made out of wine crates and painted in bold, matching colors. This well-stocked wine merchant offers innovative dishes made from first-rate ingredients, often accompanied by a suggested wine. Every Thursday, Vintij also organizes themed wine tastings.
Vintij Wine Boutique & Bistro, 10859 US-98, Destin, FL, USA, +1 850 650-9820
Caribbean Joe’s is a simple, small place run by an energetic and friendly couple. You’ll receive a genuinely warm welcome even if you arrive slightly disheveled straight from the beach. The food is freshly-prepared, the bread baked on the premises and the sides are homemade. It’s all about the sandwiches here. Try the popular Cuban panini with pork tenderloin on crisp Cuban bread or the tequila lime-steak burrito with marinated Angus beef, before adding the tasty black bean and corn side. Caribbean Joe’s is ideal for lunch or a light dinner.
Caribbean Joe’s, 517 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL, USA, +1 850 269-0318
McGuire’s Irish Pub
McGuire’s Irish Pub is a fun and friendly pub with wholesome cooking. It is renowned for soft and sizzling steaks, delicious shepherd’s pie and the 18 cent white bean soup. The generous portions are accompanied by a selection of beers brewed on the premises or cocktails served in a jar. For creative visitors, DIY Bloody Marys are available at Sunday brunch and include choices of meats, cheeses, vegetables and seasoning. Before leaving don’t forget to staple a one dollar bill to the walls – apparently the total value of all the hanging and stapled bills is close to USD one million.
McGuire’s Irish Pub, 33 US-98, Destin, FL, USA, +1 850 650-0000
A short drive outside Destin, hiding in an unpromising-looking shopping mall, is Sushimoto, considered by many as the finest sushi place in the area. It’s sushi with an innovative twist. Popular dishes include rainbow roll with boiled shrimp and cucumber inside, and tuna, salmon, whitefish and avocado on top; or surf ‘n’ turf roll with steak and boiled shrimp. There are plenty of alternatives for non-sushi fans like a selection of tempura and yakisoba noodles with egg, cabbage and a choice of meat.
Sushimoto, 11394 US-98, Miramar Beach, FL, USA, +1 850 424-5977
The Red Bar
The Red Bar is a local institution with quirky decor, gregarious crowds and live music. This funky shack offers a minimalist menu of six to eight options. As a result, the food is hot and delicious despite the crowds. The menu targets fish and seafood lovers, with dishes including black grouper and pasta with shrimps. The Red Bar is famed for its Bloody Mary – designed to wake you up for brunch. Most nights have live jazz, as well as a DJ late on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Red Bar, 70 Hotz Ave, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, USA, +1 850 231-1008
Buck’s Smokehouse was set up as an old-school barbecue spot, serving first-class smoked dishes including smoked pork, beef, chicken and fish. This is a no-frills place with a relaxed vibe, where your food comes wrapped in paper and all the attention is on the food itself. The pulled pork is tender and full of flavor, enhanced by the choice of four good sauces. The generous portion of smoked ribs is a house special that’s best enjoyed by getting your hands dirty. This spot is the ideal place for a break from the seafood.
Buck’s Smokehouse, 303 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL, USA, +1 850 837-3600
The Lousiana Langniappe has been serving Gulf seafood with a Creole flavor since 1984. Located in Sandpiper Cove, the restaurant offers good harbor views and has highly attentive service. The Langniappe is famous for its hushpuppies but exercise restraint to focus on the mains with fresh seafood and steaks on the menu. Try the blackened shrimp and the house special: stuffed grouper.
Louisiana Langniappe, 775 Gulf Shore Dr, Destin, FL, USA, +1 850 837-0881
The Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House
The Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House is a local institution with a 40-year history that sits right on the beach, making it great for sunset-watching. But it’s not just about the views. The restaurant, famous for inventing the amberjack sandwich, takes pride in its Gulf seafood offering. Try the fresh Appalachicola oysters, served raw or baked. Other popular choices include the Gulf snapper and Gulf grouper sandwiches, firecracker shrimp and smoked tuna dip. Save some room for the signature key lime pie.
Dewey Destin’s Seafood
Dewey Destin’s Seafood is a little difficult to find but you’ll be glad you made the effort. It is a nondescript shack over the water which overlooks Crab Island. This casual and relaxed restaurant offers a large selection of excellent local seafood served grilled, fried or blackened. Fried shrimps and crab cakes are particularly popular. Look out for the wide choice of ‘catch of the day’ fish. Pick a sunny day to make the most of the splendid sunset views from the picnic tables outside.