Yes, we left paradise a few days ago. 2 weeks of lounging on the beach (perfect weather the whole time!), laughing, playing, talking, being with family and friends and, of course, eating.
It’s always a struggle, each year, fitting in our favorites, with new restaurants but yet, we always manage to do it. Even if it means tossing in a lunch a couple of days.
So, enough chit-chat and let’s get down to Destin eating. (And, I”ll save what I ate for the last picture!)
I don’t even need to say it, but I will – we stopped at Krystal for dinner, on our way down. ;)
Sorry, I only have the aftermath. But, suffice it to say that it was delicious, as usual! Yeah, I said it.
Since the husband’s getting a tad older (and he’s afraid of my driving), we broke our trip up into 2 days. So, we got into Destin around lunch time – since I had all the dinners planned, I threw the kids a bone and let them choose lunch.
They chose Margaritaville – which is in Harborwalk. Which could also be the worst place to visit ever. Between the boats docking there, the water activities, the FREE activities and the restaurants and, oh, did I mention that there’s a hotel that sits there, too…we couldn’t even come close to a space to park. Whomever designed that set up is just a genius. So, no Margaritaville – believe me, I wasn’t heartbroken.
My kids totally redeemed themselves and chose Dewey Destin (Favorite! Crab Island location ONLY, people! Don’t come at me with the “I hated it” when you ate at the Harbor location).
Soft Shell Crab Sandwich
I found it to be hysterical, that later in the week, when my daughter got one that the ladies next to her were saying “there are legs sticking out of her sandwich!”
Fried Shrimp Basket
Crab Cake Basket
Fried Fish Sandwich
I get asked a lot about the best fish sandwich – this was pretty much perfect! Fried grouper – crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. The cole slaw still sucks. And, I’m not a fan of the crinkle fry. ;) But, the hush puppies were the best that they’ve ever been. Super crunchy, lots of jalapeno bits. I could tell that with the lunch crowd they had time to take care with the food.
If you go to Destin and have never been to Dewey Destin (Crab Island location ONLY!) – get there! It’s not fancy but it’s fresh and delicious. What seafood should be.
Because I’m a SUPER nice wife, I let the husband pick our Saturday night dinner. Ever since our winter visit, he’s been craving Fat Clemenza’s (Favorite!) pizza. My suggestion – make a reservation (we did). It’s a small restaurant and you’ll thank yourself (and me) for reserving a table.
Bread and dipping Oil
Finally! Good lighting here!
Tomato Basil Soup
That was MY soup but it was attacked by the hungry hippos at my table. Give them some bread and my soup and it’s like an episode of the Hunger Games. It was still delicious but I think I hyped it so much up, in my head, that it just seemed average this time. Mine is better. ;)
Capricciosa (shared with the girl – we swapped out the ham for sausage. I hate ham. With a deep, seething passion)
I really didn’t want that much crap on my pizza – but the girl was insistent. I really like Fat Clemenza’s pizza – I do wish that the crust was a little thinner. Didn’t stop me from pigging out, however.
Fat Clemenza’s is definitely worth a visit, while in Destin!
And, this is where everyone gets shut out – from here on out, it was my choosing (sort of) and planning. Working everyone’s favorites, idiosyncrasies and new restaurants in.
Sunday – Bric a Brac (new!)
I’m truly a foodie girl, through and through. I’d rather have a great meal, off the ocean than stare at the ocean and have a crappy, overly expensive dinner. I just figure that I’m on the ocean for 5-6 hours a day, I can eat somewhere else. I realize that I can’t convince people to dine inland and that’s okay – just please note that you’re sacrificing taste for a view.
Rant over and Bric a Brac has such a fun vibe – live music, divey, simple menu. Right up my dining alley.
Yep, that’s the menu! (Plus, they have some apps and a burger) I’m not one of these people who can flip through a menu bible. I like things simple.
The salad was pretty boring. Spring mix with some tomatoes. Give me something crunchy, please! I did like the tomato vinaigrette!
I was so proud of my girl for eating the capers!
Fish (I believe it was Mahi)
Blackened Fish (snapper!)
That, right there, is fish perfection on a plate! Grilled perfectly, nice kick, delicious sauce, loved the mashed potato croquette, yummy little roll to the side. Not a thing wrong with it. The husband took a bite of mine and was jealous (even though he loved his). In fact, we ALL loved our meals and we were ALL a fan of Bric a Brac! Get there!
Monday – Crab Island Cantina (want this stated: NOT my choice. )
THAT is the one good thing about Crab Island Cantina. That and we saw some dolphins.
Steak - sort of
Horrible. A whole head of cabbage. The fish was tasteless. No guac! (but, their guac sucks anyway) Wrong ingredients on them. The beans were bad.
I hate Crab Island Cantina – I hated it in the winter and I hated it this time too. I think I’ve talked this one off of my husband’s list. Thank God. He hates Harborwalk parking as much as I do.
Tuesday – Cuvee Bistro (new!)
I was going back and forth with Cuvee – I was obviously interested in their menu. Awesome chef. Funky decor. But, I was worried about taking the kids there. Mostly, worried about taking the kids to an expensive restaurant where they wouldn’t like the trendy food.
I heard about Cuvee’s awesome happy hour – 5-9PM, every night (in the bar area only). Limited menu but half price apps and smaller portion dinners. (Under the bar menu online)
I said “screw it” and we went.
We got a booth, in the bar and what happened from there could only be described as dining nirvana. Our service was impeccable – he was engaging and fun and so knowledgeable about the menu. I was worried that we’d be judged about being there for happy hour only but it was completely fine! (All the cool kids are doing it).
Happy Hour Martini – XXX Martini!
Photo-bombed water bottle
Smoked Tomato and Shrimp Soup
Awesome soup – and, it comes with the shrimp on the bottom of the bowl. Our server poured the hot soup over so that the shrimp remained tender. So…damn…good.
Homemade Bison Sausage Flatbread
I don’t need to tell you that it was perfect, right? Cracker thin, crispy crust – spicy sausage and jalapeno (but, not overly so – my son ate it!). Cheesy. One of the best pizzas/flatbreads that I’ve EVER had. We were sad when the last piece was gone.
Asian Spring Rolls
Black Pepper Yellow Fin Tuna
This whole meal was awesome – every aspect was perfect (even down to the homemade ketchup!) You can tell that Cuvee really is done by inspiration and talent. And, the kicker? One of our best meals of the trip and for well under $100! I can’t wait to go back.
Wednesday – Back Porch
The only reason that I like the Back Porch is because it signals our besties first night in! That’s it.
Our server was cranky. You could tell that she was pretty much over the summer season. She was about 5 seconds from an attitude adjustment throat punch. ;)
Grilled Fish (of some sort – sorry, days are running together!)
Kid Crab Legs
The girls and I split some apps. Hmm…the shrimp was underwhelming. No spices. The pickles were average. And, the seafood nachos were downright nasty. Shredded fish was the leading flavor there.
If you want a great view, this is your place. If you enjoy crap food, this is your place.
Thursday - Stewby’s! (Favorite!)
I just love Stewby’s. If you’re staying in Destin, it’s a little bit farther out (Fort Walton Beach) but traffic’s already a bear anyway so what’s a few extra minutes for impeccable food?
Stewby’s is like Dewey’s but with better sides. They have really nailed the art of making sure that every piece of the meal is important.
Chicken fingers with baked beans and cole slaw
Soft Shell Crab Sandwich
Grilled Fish with fried onions
I love Stewby’s but I didn’t love their fish tacos. Keep in mind, that I am a snob when it comes to fish tacos. There was too much cole slaw and the cheese should go away. Fish tacos should be well seasoned fish (fried or grilled is okay), pico with lots of lime, smidgen of cabbage, drizzle of lime cilantro sauce and guacamole. Fried onions were awesome. As were the hush puppies…and the baked beans…Stewby’s still has my heart. I’ll forgive them for the fish taco fail.
Friday – Rick’s Crab Trap – All you can eat crab!
This is Rick’s Crab Trap (no website, which I hate) – it’s in Surfside resort. It’s not to be confused with the Crab Trap. I mean, I don’t know why anyone would get confused over that. ;)
We go here to get our crab fix (even though we’re aware that Destin isn’t catching any snow crab legs) – all you can eat crab for $42.99. I think the price went up by $6, since last year. However, being as just one pound of crab is $26+, the all you can eat price is still a great deal. Especially if you’re with crab pigs.
The inside of Rick’s Crab Trap DID smell better and they look like they’ve done some work. I’m still not super impressed with their menu and our server wasn’t as on top of it as our chic last year was!
Crab Legs (yes, everyone else, including me, got crab legs!)
Seriously, can there be complaints about crab?
Poor guys didn’t stand a chance.
If you’re out, just looking to consume a lot of crab, this is it. If you’re looking for a fabulous dining experience for any other reason, skip it.
Saturday - Floyd’s (FWB)
I’m not a fan of Floyd’s. This is another one of those “the view is awesome” restaurants.
Cheeseburger (noting a pattern with my son? Cheeseburgers and steak!)
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Fried Grouper Sandwich
The fish sandwich was pretty good. The fries were awful. The cole slaw was puke inducing. I think they mix it with an overload of ranch dressing.
I’m going to push to kick Floyd’s off of our list next year.
Sunday – Dewey Destin (again – yah!)
I <3 Dewey Destin.
Smoked Tuna Dip
Grilled Fish (I believe Amberjack)
Crab Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
I don’t need to tell you that they were delicious, right? Cause they really were!
(So few pictures because we were all ordering the same things!)
Monday Breakfast – Harbor Docks
We rented a pontoon that day so we needed something to tide us over til dinner! Tired of the other Destin breakfasts, we went to Harbor Docks.
Very small menu but…I’m good with that.
Breakfast Sandwich with sausage
Breakfast Sandwich with bacon
I liked that the eggs were still runny. The bacon was crisp. My only complaint is that my bread was HUGE and wasn’t properly toasted.
You get this view. Breakfast is reasonably priced. Big portions. And, you don’t have to fight a huge crowd. Harbor Docks is a win for breakfast.
Monday Dinner – McGuire’s (woohoo!)
I apologize ahead of time for the crap lighting but that’s really McGuire’s fault. ;)
Senate Bean Soup
I’ve been to McGuire’s 8+ times and I’ve never had the bean soup! It was so damn good and I’m not even a fan of bean soup.
Shrimp Scampi Alfredo
Reuben Egg Rolls
I had the Reuben egg rolls and the wedge salad (plus, shared some soup). McGuire’s gives you, not only great food (a lots of it!) but a fun dining experience. (And, I got a new shirt and wine glass – score!)
Tuesday – Jackacuda’s (new!)
I’ll admit it. I was really excited to try Jackacuda’s. They have fun and funny facebook posts. I love that their menu is fresh and innovative.
Jackacuda’s is in HarborWalk. Or in “never going to find parking” area. The husband had to park in China (after he dropped us off, the gentleman!) – let’s just say, this restaurant is the only thing that got me to Harborwalk again.
Our server was awesome there. They revamped the place. It doesn’t smell like dead fish anymore. The sushi bar is gorgeous.
Will it live up to the hype?
The American Burger
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Surprisingly, those were my husband’s. I took a bite and while they were really good fish tacos (probably the best that I’ve had in the Destin area), they were still missing guacamole. ;)
My friend who got the fried fish – hated it. The whole basket. His fries, the first time out, WERE rubbery and cold. The second batch was 100% better but he’s not a fan of the garlic like I am. I tried his fish – it was pretty much tasteless and I understand why he didn’t like it. He said the biscuit tasted like nothing, too. I know some people will say “well, he ordered the wrong thing.” My thought is that if you’re offering it on the menu, it should taste good. You shouldn’t serve something that’s mediocre.
Soy sauce for sushi
My best friend and I split the sushi. I did like them both but they weren’t rolled very tight. When you tried to pick them up for one bite, they would fall apart.
So, Jackacuda’s has mixed reviews. If it weren’t in Harborwalk, I’d want to go again. But, I can’t say that it’s worth the hassle of parking and fighting carnival crowds to go.
Wednesday – Hurricane Oyster Bar (Grayton Beach)
I’m in love with Hurricane Oyster Bar. I think we created some new followers, this trip, too.
Plus, they have a really great happy hour – I got this amberbock for $1!
Crab and Lobster Bisque
Just as perfect as I remembered it!
Hurricane Debris Nachos
I managed to grab a couple. The husband and daughter took advantage of the fact that I was eating soup and gobbled them all up.
Pan Seared Grouper
Okay, I lied – those tacos are different but I have no clue how! :)
Shrimp and Grits
I must have been a southern belle in a past life because I love me some cheesy grits! It was absolutely delicious. I shoveled a bite into the husband’s mouth and it was like I was feeding him poison. He doesn’t share my love of cheesy grits.
Hurricane Oyster Bar was a perfect meal – can’t wait to go back! Yes, it’s in Grayton Beach (and they only accept cash) but it’s worth the 30 minute drive!
Thursday – we cooked in the condo since the hubby and I renewed our vows on the beach! Stopped at Blalock for fish (red snapper, flounder, shrimp, soup) and Sarah K’s for sides (crab and shrimp mac’n’cheese and baked potato casserole) and a filet. One of my favorite meal days and I’m sorry I didn’t take pictures!
Friday – Stinky’s Fish Camp (favorite!)
It’s become a tradition to end our Destin trip with Stinky’s Fish Camp. While it signifies the end of the beach, it also means that we’re about to get a really great meal.
Crackers and “bean” butter
Blue Crap Bisque
It was very good but could have been just a smidgen thicker.
It’s sooooooooooo good.
Fried Fish and Shrimp Basket
My friend said that THIS is how a fried fish basket should taste.
Holy crap! My Crawfish Pie was so stinkin’ (get it?) good. Taste bud explosion. It was like a pot pie – so, crispy crust, tender crawfish tails (and crunchy ones on top!), creamy sauce with a nice heat – then, in the middle is a hidden white cream center. And, there was a big old jalapeno sitting right there. It was perfection. My husband, who ordered Stinky’s Stew, wouldn’t quit taking bites of mine. Crawfish pie sounds weird but it was amazing.
Stinky’s has a fun gift shop, too – I now have 3 t-shirts and a coffee travel mug. (I might be a coffee cup addict).
Stinky’s is in Santa Rosa – super close to Destin. They only have valet (which is awesome!). And, it’s a perfect dining experience. Home run every time.
I’d love to say that that’s the end of our eating journey but we had 2 lunches and a teeny breakfast stop in there, too.
Service was a little shaky here but there was a convention in town and they got hit pretty hard, pretty quick. I’m glad we were there first. ;)
The boys wanted a greasy burger. This is like Steak’n’Shake but on steroids.
Loaded Tater Tots
Yes, I may be a cuisine queen but I love me a frickin’ tater tot. I had to smack hands to keep the piggies at bay.
Hartell’s is good for greasy diner food – I would never add it to a dinner list. But, keep in mind, pretty pricey for some burgers (being as you’re in Baytowne Wharf and all)
Look no more! This is it. Pizza Perfection. EVERY bite causes me to think “damn! That is so good.” The crust is perfect. Crispy but a smidgen chewy. Love the sauce. Super cheesy. It’s what every other pizza should aspire to be.
We got mozzarella, goat cheese and cajun sausage (I wasn’t protesting toppings that day).
My mouth is watering just posting that (of course, it could have to be that I’m back in dieting mode – no fun eating)
The Irish CAN do pizza – if you’re sick of seafood and want some just incredible pizza, go to Vinnie McGuire’s (located directly to the left of McGuire’s – you’ve probably never even noticed it)!
And, because we got sucked into the sign (and I’ve always wanted to stop) for cronuts, the girls and I ventured to Camille’s our last morning.
Cutest place EVER. Seriously. I now want to go for dinner.
Breakfast Sandwich (my girl was hungry)
It was HUGE and only $6!
I thought it was kind of tough. Servatti’s (that’s a Cincinnati thing) doughssants are much better.
And, because my bestie loves her some sprinkles – cronut with sprinkles
She agreed with me. :)
Camille’s was quite jumping in the AM – lots of foot traffic, dogs, runners and those of us who just want cronuts and mimosas. ;)
I’ve scoped out the dinner menu and I wouldn’t be opposed to adding it to THE list next year.
By the way, I haven’t mentioned Krispy Kreme. The boy (that would be my son) was super pissed that they were under construction in the winter and he couldn’t get donuts then. Well, the hog made up for it, this summer!
I’ve come to a conclusion about Krispy Kreme. The only thing that’s good are the HOT fresh glazed. Their other donuts are crap. Rephrase – SMALL and crappy. Servatti’s is 100% better. By trip #5 (yeah, you read that correctly – we went to KK 5X!), I didn’t even eat a donut. I was over them.
My son, however, was so sad-faced with the last box.
The last KK trip, I got Shake’s frozen custard. A junior concrete with blueberries! Um, yum!
Sorry – I started eating!
The guy working there was crazy nice! So helpful. And, the custard was delicious – creamy and cool. Loved it.
Okay, I swear that’s “all” for our eating adventures in Destin. I guess I don’t need to tell you this but the first food we had in Cincinnati was Skyline. You can take the girl out of Cincinnati but you can’t take Cincinnati out of the girl. I would post a picture but we got it to go and it’s just not that attractive after traveling.
Let’s sum up – FAVORITES
Bric a Brac
Hurricane Oyster Bar
Stinky’s Fish Camp
Some of my favorite, memorable food dishes from the 2 weeks…
Dewey Destin – Fried Grouper sandwich and Stuffed Shrimp
Bric a Brac – Blackened Snapper
Cuvee Bistro (everything!) – Smoked Tomato and Shrimp Soup, Buffalo Flatbread and Grouper Quarters
McGuire’s – Senate Bean Soup and Reuben Egg Rolls
Hurricane Oyster Bar – Crab and Lobster Bisque and Shrimp and Grits
Stinky’s Fish Camp – Crawfish Pie
Vinnie McGuire’s – pizza!
My advice for Destin eating – get off the beach and stay away from Fudpuckers! ;) (My daughter called it the Walmart Restaurant) Go to the where the good grub is!
Only 50 more weeks, Destin! Wow, that hurts.
And, because I love my family so much and we had such a great time – here we are in our yearly Destin selfie glory!