Living on the coast, we can almost stumble upon a plate of great seafood just by walking down the street.
But while seafood is easy to find, there are always local favorites that seem to rise above the rest.
Below are 10 of the most talked about seafood restaurants in Pensacola, each with something unique to offer.
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Where: 400 Quietwater Beach Road, Ste. 14
Café Nola has brought Louisiana cuisine to Pensacola Beach. Restaurant owner Cy Whitney grew up in Gonzalez, Louisiana and focuses on the authentic Cajun dishes he remembers from childhood. Some of Louisiana favorites include New Orleans Shrimp, Kidney Beans and Rice, Crawfish Stew, and Jambalaya.
Where: 15 Brent Lane, Pensacola, and 3974 Avalon Blvd., Milton
The Fishing Hole has been serving the Pensacola area for 10 years and opened a location in Milton just a year ago. This is a traditional southern style seafood restaurant that offers a relaxed and cozy atmosphere. The original menu started off simple enough, with mullet, catfish and tilapia being the three biggest draws.
Now the menu features mahi mahi, grouper, red snapper, plaice and oysters in addition to chicken and pasta dishes.
The fish house
Where: 600, rue S. Barracks
The Pensacola Fish House has been around for over two decades and is well known beyond the Panhandle as a great seafood restaurant, attracting over 500,000 visitors a year. The award-winning restaurant offers an inventive menu with daily seafood selections, sushi, sautéed Gulf shrimp and its famous Grits á Ya Ya.
Where: 1500, avenue Barrancas.
Kingfisher Sandwiches is a seafood sandwich restaurant that sources the best local ingredients available and prepares all of its meals from scratch. Some of the local favorites on the menu are the crab cake sandwich, fish sandwich, mullet, and shrimp burger.
Where: 6399 N. Ninth Avenue.
John Seafood is a relatively new seafood restaurant that opened on North Ninth Avenue last year. If you’re looking for another place to eat Cajun cuisine, be sure to add this one to your list. On the menu, you’ll find Cajun-style seafood porridge and lots of fried fish.
Peg Leg Pete’s
Where: 1010 Fort Pickens Road
Peg Leg Pete’s is a pirate-themed seafood restaurant that has a kids’ area to keep them busy and a raw bar. It opened in 1991 and only sold oysters, shrimp and sandwiches. Today, the restaurant is a sister business to Sidelines Sports Bar, Maria’s Fresh Seafood Market, and LaFitte Cove Marina. Locals love the restaurant for its great prices, unique atmosphere, live music, and the fact that you can pull your boat up to the marina and dock for lunch. Entrees include snow crab, mahi-mahi, grouper, lobster, shrimp, oysters and more.
Where: 400 Pensacola Beach Boulevard, Pensacola Beach
Le Grand Marlin is an upscale seafood restaurant that offers a daily menu featuring locally caught fresh seafood. The atmosphere inside was described as tranquil and relaxed, despite its more upmarket appeal. In 2018, the restaurant made OpenTable’s list of America’s 100 Most Picturesque Restaurants and most recently one of its former chefs competed in Food Network’s Beachside Brawl final.
Some of the menu favorites include the Crispy Lobster Fingers, Grouper Piccata, Lime Lobster Tails and TGM Signature Praline Basket.
Paradise Bar and Grill
Where: 21 Via De Luna Dr., Pensacola Beach
The Paradise Bar and Grill on Pensacola Beach is an award-winning restaurant with an open-air bar — mandatory for most beach bars — and it’s located just behind the Paradise Inn. Paradise is another place where you can boat, walk or drive and it frequently hosts live music from local bands to enjoy with your drinks and meals.
Locals enjoy the shrimp po’boy, mahi-mahi basket, and shrimp salad.
Shaggy’s Pensacola Beach
Where: 701 Pensacola Beach Blvd.
Shaggy’s Pensacola Beach is a waterfront bar and grill that offers a mostly seafood menu with a casual vibe, dog-friendly atmosphere, frozen daiquiris, and an extensive craft beer menu. Some of the local favorites include Fish Tacos, Shrimp Tacos, and Bahama Rockfish Grill.
Where: 41 Fort Pickens Road, Floor 2
Drift is a new restaurant on the beach in Pensacola that takes a modern twist on the traditional coastal restaurants scattered along the beach. This is a more upscale restaurant that focuses on coastal cuisine from crudo (Spanish and Italian for “cru”), small plates, prime steak, craft cocktails and, of course, seafood. Some of the favorites are the lobster macaroni, ahi tuna steak, coconut crab cakes and crab benedict benedict.
Captain Joey Patti’s Seafood Restaurant
Where: 1124 Garden St W.
Captain Joey Patti’s seafood restaurant started after one of Joe Patti’s sons and daughters, Joey and Josie, and opened around 1989 and has served Pensacola ever since, with a small hiatus after Hurricane Sally hit ripped the roof off the original location in 2020.
Joe Patti’s fans have eaten here before or have a good idea of the quality of food served at Joey’s. The recipes are still the same ones Josie created decades ago, and the seafood is as fresh as you’d expect from Joe Patti’s.
Some of the most popular dishes include Basa/Swai, Salmon Salad, Seafood Platter #2 and Signature Dish, Prawns and Oysters.