Posted on 3/8/2024 by TP

Gulf Flavors: Top Restaurants in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL

Exploring the great along the Gulf Coast of the US is always a great addition to your Alabama vacation. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach both feature diverse, vibrant, and unique culinary scenes, made more interesting by the strong influence of the region's coastal and marine life.Whether you're searching for a great restaurant for a family reunion, birthday celebration, or even a romantic dinner, you'll be spoiled for choice. From laid-back establishments serving Cajun cuisine and finger-licking barbecue to world-class restaurants offering the freshest Gulf seafood you can think of, there are options to please any taste bud.

Whether you're searching for a great restaurant for a family reunion, birthday celebration, or even a romantic dinner, you'll be spoiled for choice. From laid-back establishments serving Cajun cuisine and finger-licking barbecue to world-class restaurants offering the freshest Gulf seafood you can think of, there are options to please any taste bud.

With so many places to choose from, we want to make your life easier. In this blog, we have curated a list of the top restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, just to make sure you won't waste time looking for a place for a memorable culinary experience.Prepare your taste buds for a fun culinary exploration!

Prepare your taste buds for a fun culinary exploration!

Top Restaurants in Gulf Shores, AL

Fish River Grill

Fish River Grill is a traditional seafood restaurant in Gulf Shores. Highly frequented by locals, they are famous for serving authentic southern-style seafood and delicious burgers.

Locals usually mention their homemade hushpuppies, classic po'boys, and generous seafood platters as some of the highlights of the vast menu. The burgers are a big hit, especially the River Burger, Bleu Cheese Bacon Burger, and Hurricane Burger. Among the grilled or fried seafood options, the Cajun Crawfish Pistol Basket, Gulf Shrimp Platter, and Large Bayou Seafood Basket are all sensational. A kids menu is available as well as light appetites.

Make sure to pick one of their refreshing drinks — the Spicy Bloody Mary, Bushwacker, Redneck Pina Colada, and all the Margaritas are a perfect complement to their hearty food options.

The Cove Bar and Grill

The team at The Cove Bar and Grill is dedicated not only to serving great food but also to creating a festive and joyful atmosphere where customers can enjoy pool tables and live music.

They have consistently served amazing comfort food, offering customizable burgers, sandwiches, wraps, tacos, and steaks. A highlight at The Cove is their Tuna Nachos, which are no ordinary nachos – fresh and crunchy wontons topped with chunks of tuna, delicious spicy mayo, and eel sauce. Other hits include the Stuffed Avocado and Cajun Chicken Waffles.

The drinks and brews are also excellent. Additionally, The Cove is one of the only restaurants in Gulf Shores that remains open until after midnight in case you're one of those who enjoy late-night dining.

Original Oyster House

Gulf Shores residents have been enjoying the offerings of the Original Oyster House since 1983, making it a total local institution and one of the oldest family hotspots on the coast.

Their menu features diverse options of oysters, award-winning homemade seafood gumbo, cheesy grits with blackened shrimp, handcrafted cocktails, and superb desserts (don't miss the world-famous Peanut Butter Pie). Moreover, they offer a consistently fresh and well-maintained daily salad bar.

This is a must-visit place to experience authentic local cuisine paired with genuine Southern hospitality in a laid-back, coastal atmosphere.

Sunliner Diner

What about a hint of the good old jukebox nostalgia? Step back in time to the 1950s at the Sunliner Diner, a diner that captures the essence of American dining culture when things were simpler and communities were closer.

Menu options include hearty and indulgent choices: perfectly cooked steak & eggs, eggs Benedict, tuna melt, strawberry sundae, and key lime pie.

The soundtrack is filled with rock and roll tunes, and the entire place is picturesque, offering many photo opportunities. The staff is as friendly as people were in the 1950s, and service is usually swift — all at reasonable prices. A fantastic option for family fun. Plus, nothing beats a milkshake on a warm evening!

Top Restaurants Orange Beach, AL

Moe's Original BBQ

Despite being a growing chain with multiple locations across Alabama, Moe's Original BBQ continues to serve outstanding food without compromising on quality and flavor.

Their finger-licking Alabama-style barbecue and sandwiches are highly popular among locals. Everything on their menu is freshly prepared. The warm and juicy meat, packed with flavor, is better enjoyed accompanied by side dishes like Mac and cheese and baked beans.

The Orange Beach location offers a relaxing ambiance with outdoor picnic tables and daily specials. Situated just a few steps away from the beach, you can enjoy the salty breeze and live music in their backyard. People also appreciate Moe's for its affordable prices and their famous bushwhackers.

Big Fish Restaurant & Bar

First-timers may hesitate to try Big Fish Restaurant & Bar because it's located in a strip shopping center with an unassuming exterior. However, upon stepping in, they discover an elegant and sophisticated setting that serves exceptionally fresh seafood dishes, along with steaks, pastas, and sandwiches.

Their menu is famous for featuring a huge variety of Gulf seafood dishes prepared with Asian flavors -- they even have a sushi bar with a great selection of sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. Must-tries include Blue Crab Claws, Beef Tataki, Sesame Seed Seared Ahi Tuna, and the Grouper Special. You can also select your catch and choose the way you want it cooked — sauteed, bronzed, blackened, grilled, or crispy fried.

The classy decor is perfect for romantic dates or family gatherings and the restaurant's courtyard featuring a wood-burning fireplace sets the right mood for a memorable dining experience.

Bon Temps Poboys

Specializing in authentic Cajun cuisine, Bon Temps will transport you to Louisiana through their fantastic Creole dishes.

In their small shop exuding a private and local atmosphere, indulge in well-crafted burgers and sandwiches. You'll fall in love with their homemade fries, impeccably seasoned, and the highlight of their menu — Louisiana boiled crawfish.

Bon Temps offers excellent lunch specials, making it the ideal spot for a meal before venturing into the dazzling waters of Orange Beach.

Oso at Bear Point Marina

A local gem, Oso at Bear Point Marina boasts a splendid dining space with captivating marina views. The menu's diversity ensures there's something for everyone.

The outdoor seating area is particularly pleasing, offering patrons a chance to witness breathtaking sunsets over the water. Inside, the seating is comfortably spacious, making it ideal for larger groups. Enhancing the ambiance, the soundtrack showcases lively tunes from local bands and singers.

Among the culinary delights are their gumbo, fish tacos, beef tacos, fresh salads, and the Papa Oso — their standout cocktail. Catering to varied tastes, they also offer a range of kids' options as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes. And for those early risers, Oso also makes for a delightful breakfast spot.

Extra Tips to Enhance Your Culinary Experience along the Gulf Coast in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL

You can find it all from starred restaurants to unpretentious seaside eateries with great vibes. There's something for everyone and every taste awaiting you in these amazing Gulf Coast surroundings.

Here are some extra tips to make your dining experience better:

  • Reservations are Key during high seasons: Popular restaurants in Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach can get crowded, especially during peak seasons. Consider making reservations in advance to ensure you secure a table, especially if you have a specific restaurant in mind.

  • Check for Seasonal Menus: Given the emphasis on fresh seafood and seasonal ingredients, some restaurants may have special seasonal menus. These can offer a variety of dishes that highlight the best produce available during your visit.

  • Be Adventurous: While it's great to stick to familiar favorites, consider being a bit adventurous with your choices. Trying a unique local dish or a chef's special can sometimes lead to delightful surprises.

  • Save Room for Dessert: Some of the best culinary experiences end with a sweet note. Save room for dessert and explore the creative options offered by the local pastry chefs.

Explore Local Markets: Delve into the vibrant experience of local farmers' markets and fish markets along the Gulf Coast. The lively atmosphere, fresh produce, and a diverse selection of seafood offer a delightful adventure for every visitor. The joy doesn't end there — return to your vacation rental and transform your fresh finds into delicious meals through the pleasures of cooking at home.

Gulf Flavors Top Restaurants in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL

Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL, offer amazing culinary experiences, ranging from great American food to fresh seafood dishes and Italian classics.

Besides restaurants, there's so much to do and see in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL. In our destination blog, we cover extensive information about both beaches with valuable local tips. Stay tuned for great blogs to make your travel experience even better.

Wondering Where to Stay During Your Trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL?

With years of experience in Gulf Shores, we're experts in making memorable getaways.

Our vacation rentals range from beachfront homes to high-rise condos and are perfect for a home base for your next getaway.

Your ultimate comfort and happiness are our top priorities. Our local staff is dedicated to going the extra mile, ensuring you and your family have a memorable vacation in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL.

When you stay with us, all you need to focus on is letting the coastal beauty whisk you away - rest assured, it will!

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