Florida Beach Bar Food
The 10 Best
For most of us, just traveling to a beach is excitement enough. But if you can make some memories by munching on some exceptional food, your trip has doubled your pleasure. We are listing a few of our favorites from visits around the state. There are 1350 miles of coastline around the peninsula we call Florida. There are probably at least 1350 beach bars and restaurants along our sandy coast, so feel free to add a few to our short list.
Puttin’ On The Grits – Destin, Florida – Up around the bend, along the Gulf shore of Florida is the waterfront town of Destin. The heart of this area is a half mile long strip they call Harborwalk. This conglomeration of restaurants, bars, shops and fishing charters offers plenty of eating opportunities while viewing the blue waters teaming with fish. In the middle of the harbor is Boshamps, a two story upscale waterfront seafood and oyster house with exceptional cuisine. Before you turn up your nose to grits, you must try their Puttin On The Grits dish loaded with shrimp, crab and Spanish mahon cheese grits patties. If you like seafood, you can’t turn this down!
Tuna Tacos – Salty Pelican, Amelia Island, Florida – It’s hard to call the Salty Pelican a beach bar, but it does have a waterfront view and it is on an island. That’s close enough for us! They have a half dozen different tacos, but the rare, seared Tuna Tacos tops our short list of tacos.
Grilled Pastrami & Pesto Sandwich – The Mucky Duck, Captiva Island, Florida – OK, it’s not seafood! But this sandwich will make your day while in the Sanibel-Captiva area. These two islands are a beach goers paradise. The Pastrami sandwich coupled with the pesto and provolone cheese and tomato dressing is not only unique, but delicious. The sandwich is perfect while watching the sunset at The Mucky Duck.
Center Cut Ribeye Steak Sandwich – Snook Inn, Marco Island – Marco Island is on the edge of the Ten Thousand Islands area just south of Naples. Not only does Marco have one of our favorite tiki bars (Kane’s, at Marco Marriott), it has a local’s hangout on the water called the Snook Inn. Besides entertainment most afternoons and evenings, the Snook Inn serves some good food to islanders and boaters who pull up to their docks. Their Center Cut Ribeye Sandwich is served on garlic bread made from hoagie rolls. The steak is tender, flavorful and who doesn’t like garlic bread?!?!
Lobster & Artichoke Dip – Sharky’s on the Pier, Venice, Florida – Tickle your toes in the sand, walk the pier and then sit down at Sharky’s for some Lobster & Artichoke Dip served with grilled flatbread. Almost every beach bar has some kind of dipping dish, but this one will become your favorite. Sharky’s is at the base of a pier right on the beach south of Venice.
Blackened Mahi BLT Sandwich – Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill, Key Largo, Florida – The Florida Keys run a little over 100 miles along A1A from Key Largo to Key West. There are hundreds of beach bars along the way. One such place is owned by former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson. We know Johnson can coach, but his restaurant on the water along Florida Bay serves up some good beach fare. The Blackened Mahi BLT at the Big Chill is superb.
“Key West” Conch Fritters – Waldo’s, Vero Beach, Florida – If you leave Clearwater Beach on Rt 60 and head east, you will end up in Vero Beach on Florida’s east coast. Waldo’s is right on the Atlantic Ocean, nowhere near Key West. This quirky place is huge with their own fresh water pool if the ocean doesn’t call you. “Key West” The Conch Fritters are as good as we have ever had – including Key West’s Conch Shack! We have a favorite place for prime rib in Vero called Bobby’s Bar. You may want to check that out while there.
Fried Flounder Reuben Sandwich – High Tides at Snack Jacks, Flagler Beach, Florida – Don’t ask about their name. It’s longer than their restaurant. This little stop along A1A on the way north to St. Augustine serves one of the best sandwiches we have had. High Tides and their The Fried Flounder Reuben will satisfy any appetite. Try their Seaweed Salad or Cucumber Dill Salad as a side. The Atlantic Ocean is the backdrop for a delicious lunch or dinner along the beach.
Granddaddy Jakes Oyster Stew – Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Bradenton Beach, Florida – This place is located on the pier at Bradenton Beach. You can walk from the beach, drive to the pier or come by boat. However you get there, AMOB serves some of the best oyster stew we have ever had. There is no secret to oyster stew – cream, fresh oysters, butter and some salt and pepper – but whatever the Anna Maria Oyster Bar does to this classic gives it a rich, hearty flavor. Don’t miss this one! If you are lucky enough to meet the owner, John Horne, just mention Elvis Presley – I believe he thinks he may be Elvis reincarnated!
Key West Pink Shrimp – Louie’s Backyard, Key West Florida – We chose Key West Pinks because they are most commonly found in the Keys, but we could choose just about anything on Louie’s Backyard menu. Maybe it is the view of the water where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Gulf, or just the allure of Key West but this restaurant is by far the best in the Keys. They are pricey, but what premium do you put on the ambiance and unique ocean front location. This is a perfect place to get away from the clamor and crowds packing the streets and bars on Duval Street.
These are some of our favorites around the state. During the pandemic, most travel was limited to in-state Florida. We discovered some great places, exceptional food and friendly people.
We know you may have some really great food experiences around the state. Help build our list. Send your best beach bar food to this link.