Located on the Florida panhandle, Fort Walton Beach is a small city that also includes Okaloosa Island. Like any city along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Walton Beach has an outstanding fresh supply of fish and seafood, and this is evident in the dishes served in the restaurants in this city. It is no surprise that there are many excellent seafood restaurants in this city, and there are options for all occasions with a diverse selection of cuisines on offer featuring seafood. Here are the 10 best seafood restaurants in Fort Walton Beach, FL.
10. Hightide Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar
Hightide Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar is a casual eatery that has earned an excellent reputation with the locals. It is known for the friendly staff, the high-quality ingredients, and the retro vibe. The highlight for many diners is a trip to the oyster bar as there is an excellent selection of fresh oysters and other raw seafood. A highlight of the menu is the various shrimp dishes, as these have received great praise from former diners. This restaurant is open from 4 pm to 9 pm seven days a week.
9. Old Bay Steamer
Located on Santa Rosa Boulevard, Old Bay Steamer is a casual seafood restaurant that serves seafood that has just been caught. It is famous for its steamers which diners can enjoy in the low-key setting. Other dishes on the menu include fish of the day, lobster tails, shrimp, and crab cakes. There is an excellent wine list and desserts have received praise.
8. The Shack
Open from 11 am to 8 pm daily, The Shack is located on Miracle Strip Parkway SW. This waterfront hangout has a relaxed dining room and a roomy deck, so diners have the option to eat inside or outdoors. This venue is famous for its steamed crabs, seafood plates, and creative cocktails. Diners have praised the freshness of the food and the quick service.
7. The Gulf on Okaloosa Island
If views of the water are something that you would like to enjoy during your meal, then a wonderful place to eat is The Gulf on Okaloosa Island. This bayside hangout on Marler Avenue has multiple indoor and outdoor dining areas, all of which boast views of the bay. Most of the menu consists of seafood dishes that are made using locally-sourced fish and seafood. However, there are also some meat and vegetarian options on the menu. To wash down their meal, diners can choose from the extensive cocktail list. Former diners say that this establishment has a great vibe and that the staff is friendly and helpful.
6. Rick’s Crab Trap
A family-owned seafood joint, Rick’s Crab Trap is a low-key restaurant on Eglin Parkway NE. Locally-sourced ingredients are used to create Southern seafood dishes, which diners have praised for their freshness and flavor. Some examples from the menu include fried catfish, steamed oysters, po boys, crab legs, and homemade crab soup. The staff is friendly, the service is quick, and the atmosphere is welcoming.
5. Giovanni’s One89
There is a homely feel to this seafood bistro on Brooks Street SE. It is an Italian restaurant, with a seafood-focused menu. The menu also features traditional Italian mains and pizzas. The setting is welcoming, which means that diners can enjoy a relaxed meal. Diners can moor their boats at the dock, and there is an outdoor seating area with a tiki bar that is even more casual than in the dining room. On Sundays, they have a buffet brunch service.
4. Juno’s Sushi- Steak and Seafood
Those who enjoy the flavors of Japanese cuisine should try Juno’s Sushi- Steak and Seafood. It is an excellent venue if you have both seafood enthusiasts and meat lovers in your dining party, as the menu has something for everyone. This casual Japanese restaurant serves traditional Japanese cuisine, such as sushi, teriyaki, and hibachi. Diners can wash down their food with sake or plum wine. There are also some Korean BBQ dishes on the menu, which is served tabletop.
3. Magnolia Grill
An excellent seafood restaurant to try if you are on a romantic night out or you have something to celebrate is Magnolia Grill. This is a quaint and upscale eatery that is set within a historic house on Brooks Street SE. The menu consists of a combination of American fare and Italian cuisine, and seafood features highly on the menu. Some of the seafood options include seafood pasta dishes and blackened shrimp salad. There are also meat options on the menu, so there is something to suit every member of your dining party. Save some room for a dessert as these are exquisite. Due to the popularity of this restaurant, it is best to book a table in advance.
2. Dock on The Island
A family-friendly place to eat is Dock on The Island, which is on Miracle Strip Parkway on Okaloosa Island. One of the best features of this restaurant is the views across the water, which creates the perfect ambiance for a relaxed meal. The menu consists of American comfort fare, with a strong focus on seafood ingredients. In addition to the seafood dishes, the pizzas are a popular option at this restaurant. Dock on The Island has a full bar, so it is also a fantastic place to hang out for a light meal and a drink with friends due to the lively vibe in the evenings.
1. Stewby’s Seafood Shanty
The best seafood restaurant in Fort Walton Beach is Stewby’s Seafood Shanty. Although this is only a casual shack venue with picnic tables and a drive-thru option, this establishment has the best reputation in the area. The freshness of the locally-sourced fish and seafood is one of the main reasons why people favor this restaurant above others in the area. You will find Stewy’s Seafood Shanty on Racetrack Road NW.
Written by Dana Hanson
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