There is a reason Destin is called The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village. From its beginnings in the late 1940s, Destin fisherman have been privileged to partake in some of the most legendary fishing anywhere in the world. Today, people come from far and wide to fish the waters and to enjoy the numerous seafood restaurant options Destin has to offer.
In this article, we’re going to share with you the truly local seafood restaurants serving up seafood caught from the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf to Table) on the very day you sit down at their tables. Visitors are often surprised to find there are plenty of restaurants in town that offer seafood that either are not fresh or not caught locally. This article only has restaurants with locally caught seafood and the restaurants themselves are almost never chains as a result.
These restaurants are not listed in any order of favoritism, so read about each of them and decide for yourself which one has the right mix of atmosphere and delicious seafood for you.
Offering two locations with two totally different atmospheres, Dewey Destin’s is a true staple in the world of seafood restaurants in Destin. At both restaurants, the catch is locally caught and sourced every single day and brought straight to the restaurants to be served up.
Crab Island Location
The first of two locations in Destin that Dewey’s has to offer is the one overlooking Crab Island. This location is extremely casual, serving up lots of grilled and fried fish, shrimp, and more in plastic baskets with hefty portions of fries and hush puppies as standard side items. You order at the counter and find a seat at one of the many picnic tables lining the two docks over the water and the staff will shout your name to find you when the food is ready.
This is a fantastic location to catch the sunset in the evening and because of its location right on the water, you can even ride or drive a boat here. Many people tie off to the poles, order some great food, and head back out on the water to Crab Island.
Consider the possibility of inclement weather at this location because there is only a limited amount of seating available in the enclosed portion of this location.
If you’re looking for great seafood that’s affordable, quick, and sure to satisfy the whole family, this is the Dewey’s location to come to. Bring the entire family because the atmosphere here is very casual and kid friendly.
Destin Harbor Location
The second of two Dewey’s locations in Destin is right on the Harbor. This rendition of Dewey’s is a bit more upscale, but not too much so. You definitely would want to come here showered up after a long day at the beach instead of in your swimsuit like you could at the other location.
If you’re looking for seafood offerings of more than the standard fried fish and shrimp, you’ll be pleased to find a catch of the day option that will include seasonal fish like snapper, grouper, and more. Appetizers include offerings like hot crab dip and some of the signature entrees include yellow fin tuna and mahi mahi.
There’s an outdoor patio and indoor seating available at this location, so if you’d rather be in the AC or right on the Harbor watching the boats come in and out you certainly can do either one. \
You can also take advantage of the Cook Your Catch option where, after a long day of fishing on your charter boat, they’ll cook up your catch for you just right and serve you two sides along with it. This is an incredibly unique feeling to reel up your catch, carry it up to the restaurant, and then suddenly it’s right in front of you cooked to perfection.
Arguably one of the nicest seafood restaurants in Destin you’ll find, Boshamps is a relatively new restaurant as compared to Dewey’s, having been around since 2013 but that does not discount their amazing food and service.
Their location is raised above the Destin harbor which perfect views of the sunset from their huge outdoor deck (with an outdoor bar!) so not only is their food and their service top notch, but the views don’t get much better than this really anywhere on the harbor.
On the menu you’ll find huge portions of fried and grilled locally caught fish and shrimp, and they have fantastic oysters as well served in a variety of styles. In addition to that for those members of your party, there’s a whole helping on non-seafood dishes like patty melts, burgers, tacos, and more.
Down from the outdoor deck is a sandy beach with a big play area so while you’re enjoying your drinks and waiting for your meal, the kids can keep playing.
Boshamps is certainly more expensive than other seafood offerings, but this is a classic case of getting what you pay for. The restaurant is very nicely decorated with great staff offering great service and the outdoor deck offers up such a wonderful atmosphere that every penny is worth it.
Located directly along the water on the Destin Harbor, The Boathouse is another true staple of Destin having been in business for over 30 years. This restaurant is almost entirely outdoors, but has a warming, rustic atmosphere that is kid friendly as well.
After a long day at the beach, you’re probably looking for somewhere that is relaxed, offers great service, and has good food. The Boathouse definitely meets all of that criteria. Plenty of locals visit this spot, so you’re definitely in good company.
One of the unique aspects of this restaurant, beyond it being right on the water, are the dollar bills signed and stapled to the walls. Every dollar has its own unique story, and you are certainly welcome to add your own to the walls.
As the name suggests, you can’t go wrong with a round of raw oysters here and you’ll see plenty of people with a plate full of them. There is live music here every day of the week and cold beers are cheap to make for a completely casual but enjoyable experience.
In addition to oysters, you’ll also find plenty of other great seafood entrees and food options for the kids like chicken fingers, hot dogs, and more.
Of all the places we’ve discussed so far, this is the only one not located directly on the Destin Harbor, but this restaurant has arguably the best location of them all. Situated right on the edge of the beach, the views here from anywhere in the entire restaurant are incredible thanks to the gorgeous emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The restaurant sits high above the beach, so you get a great, unobstructed view of the water and the activities of the beach below.
Another Gulf to Table certified restaurant, The Back Porch is extremely popular and will often have a line out the door in the summertime, and for good reason. The portions are nicely sized, prices are very reasonable, and the quality of staff and service is very high. For locals, The Back Porch is a restaurant everyone knows and enjoys.
Because the restaurant is right on the beach, the kids can go down to the sand and play while you wait for your table and your food. There’s a downstairs bar ready to serve up drinks while you wait because like we said, there can be a line out the door many evenings. Without a doubt, the wait is worth it because of the location, the view, and the quality of food. The entire experience here at The Back Porch is fantastic.
As you can clearly tell, Destin is awash with great local seafood restaurants. There are many more to share and experience with you, but these are what we feel are some of the top restaurants that you absolutely have to check out. We hope you enjoy your stay in Destin and we can’t wait to see you again!