Sure, You visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama for the beach. But I have a not-so-secret secret to share. There is an abundance of Gulf Shores restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach that will entice you to get off the beach on your vacation and satisfy your inner foodie. In fact, there are so many places to eat in Gulf Shores that you shouldn’t feel one bit guilty if you spend more time eating than playing in the sand.
Thank you to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism for hosting this trip. Please know that all my content and opinions are my own honest reviews.
Reading: Best food in gulf shores
On my recent epic road trip, I went to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and embarked on a food odyssey that was as epic as my road trip. I’m going to share the eight places that I ate so that you can go on your own culinary journey on your Gulf Shores-Orange Beach vacation. Of course, this is a tiny fraction of Gulf Shores restaurants to visit and I hope to add to this list with each visit. If you have a favorite Orange Beach and Gulf Shores restaurant you’d like to share, let me know. These restaurants are in no particular order.
These Gulf Shores Restaurants are a food lover’s dream.
The Hangout Gulf Shores
This place has beach fun written all over it. From the Pez dispenser art to, the party vibe, the Hangout is just that. The perfect place to hang out. We had a great lunch here and a satisfying introduction to the Gulf Shores food scene for me. I started my seafood odyssey by ordering a Shrimp Po Boy. When it came to the table the only question I had was how the heck I was going to eat that giant thing? I managed after a few laughs from the rest of my table. What a great introduction to gulf coast shrimp. I’ll take more, please!
LuLu’s Restaurant Gulf Shores
Probably one of the most famous restaurants in Gulf Shores is Lulu’s. Rightly so because Lulu is Jimmy Buffet’s sister Lucy. You know “Cheeseburger In Paradise” Jimmy Buffet. Lulu’s is all beach vibe. We were there on a Tuesday night in the off-season and were treated to live music. The decor is colorful and fun and somehow you just feel like all your cares wash away when you step through the door. The service is impeccable, the food was great, most notably the Smoked Tuna Dip we enjoyed as an appetizer. One exceptional note was the process of ordering if you have any kind of food allergy. The manager will talk you through ordering to make sure you are well taken care of.
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Playa Restaurant Orange Beach
Let’s just talk for a moment about the famous Playa Pink Pineapple. This signature drink had us all signing up for the fan club. Refreshing and made out of vodka, fresh Victor Cactus Pear, and pomegranate. It came in a cute pineapple glass that I wished I could bring home. The inside of Playa had a beachy boathouse feel to me. The Playa website claims that the view is the best waterfront view in Orange Beach. I can’t really confirm that since it was cold and very dark when I was there. Everything on the menu is beach-inspired and after seeing that Gulf Shrimp and Grits were a local specialty, I decided to have that. It was delicious with the right amount of cajun spice.
Anchor Bar and Grill Orange Beach
Don’t let the name fool you, the eats at Anchor Bar are anything but typical bar food at least the bar food I’m familiar with. This is top-shelf bar food. It’s fresh with an artisan feel. I had Scallop Tacos and they were amazing. I have never had scallops in a taco, but what an insanely great idea. The Chesapeake Bay Scallops were topped with pork belly braised cabbage, house-made chili crisp, sour cream, and cilantro. Just a tiny hint of heat made your mouth burst with flavor. The side of those crispy tater tots ran circles around any tot I’d had in the past. I loved that we were able to take advantage of the large deck area looking out at Terry Cove. It’s a gorgeous setting!
Woodside Restaurant Gulf State Park
Delectable cuisine located inside a state park? How can this be? Fresh locally sourced ingredients are what you’ll get at Woodside Restaurant located at Gulf State Park. This whole park complex is next level awesome, and Woodside Restaurant fits in with the environmentally-conscious state park perfectly. It’s family friendly and has ample outside seating and is well shaded. We had breakfast there on our second day of the writers workshop. I had an oh so healthy egg white omelet with half an avocado and a cup of fresh berries. Talk about a breakfast that will fuel your day and look pretty at the same time.
Safari Club at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo Gulf Shores
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What comes to mind when you think of Zoo food options? Hot dogs, corn dogs, maybe a hamburger and fries. Well, that is not what you’ll see when you dine at the Safari Club Alabama’s first certified “Green Restaurant” located at the Coastal Zoo. This Gulf Shores restaurant is actually separate from the zoo so there is no need to pay zoo admission if you would just like to experience the restaurant. This is gourmet zoo food with options that include Gulf Shrimp and Grits and Tandoori Chicken Skewers. Here I had the Blackened Shrimp Tacos. Oh Lord! The shrimp was topped with slaw tossed in a mango jalapeño aioli, pickled onions, cotija cheese, and cilantro. They were served with a side of honey tequila braised plantains. Yeah, I’m not sure what half those ingredients are, but they sure made for an unforgettable dish. If you still would like a burger or pizza, you can get their specialty burgers and wood-fired pizzas.
Voyagers in the Perdido Beach Resort Orange Beach
If you crave an upscale dining experience, Voyagers is THE Gulf Shores restaurant for an unforgettable experience. The exceptional atmosphere with white linen tablecloths and neutral accents all in an intimate setting overlooking the Gulf. Everything here is top-notch. You want to savor every step of an evening here. Sip a glass of wine from the extensive wine list. Enjoy a platter of fresh seafood before an amazing entree. Might I suggest the Ostrich Carpaccio or the Perdido Cold Platter with a sampling of seafood that will knock your socks off. I made it my mission to try fresh gulf oysters during this dining experience. As my dinner mates cheered me on, I had my first ever oyster. Not bad. Then I tried a broiled oyster. I must admit I did like the broiled oyster more, but I confess that may have been due to being in my head about eating a raw oyster. Then I selected a Perdido Caesar Salad complete with two quail eggs! For my entree I went with the scallops. This was the second time I enjoyed scallops during my four-day food odyssey. The Plancha Seared Diver Scallops were not just any old scallop entree, these scallops were giant-sized! They were served with roasted root vegetable gratin, smoked bacon, satsuma red pepper chimichurri, and watercress. Those scallops were the best I’ve ever had. Done perfectly, melting in my mouth with the classic scallop nutty flavor. We finished our dinner with an inviting array of scrumptious desserts. Always choosing a French theme, I had a house-baked pain au chocolate with vanilla bean creme brulee. We were even treated to a hello from Chef Brody himself. This last night I spent in Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, Alabama certainly had a fitting food ending.
The Yard Gulf Shores
And last but not least The Yard. Technically The Yard may not qualify for a restaurant option but deserves a mention. If you’re going to indulge in just one sinful delight in Gulf Shores, I highly suggest The Yard Milkshake Bar. Let’s be real here, there’s no shame in treating yourself if you so choose. You don’t have to go all-in, opting for a small cup, but for sake of just saying I did it and the great photo op, I ordered the Peanut Butter Brownie Bliss in a pint. It comes in sundae form, but you can request it as a milkshake. Inside my peanut butter rimmed souvenir pint jar was scoops of creamy, lip-smacking, brownie batter ice cream. It came topped with a giant brownie. This is some serious desert here. It was hard to finish the whole thing since we had just had lunch, but I managed all the ice cream. I had to wrap the brownie up for the second round later. Let me say that brownie was chocolate heaven to the ninth degree. Inside you can find a washing station to wash your pint jar which is a blessing since they are messy! Pro tip: If you need to walk off the extra calories, remember you do have access to over 20 miles of beach for a good healthy workout!
Are you ready to get off the beach and start eating some top-notch food at the Gulf Shores restaurants I suggested? Don’t worry, the beach won’t go anywhere. I promise.
Share your favorite Gulf Shores Restaurants in the comments. I’d love to add them to my wish list.
Are you dining solo? Check out my solo dining tips.
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