There is no shortage of fantastic dining options in Destin, but if you’re looking for the places locals eat, then this is your guide. Of course, many of the local favorites are now well known by visitors and locals alike, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still go.
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We’ve broken this guide out into breakfast, lunch, and dinner as depending on the time of day there are different options you might consider. Many of these restaurants on this list offer both lunch and dinner, so even though we’ve listed something in the lunch option it’s worth going for both, generally.
With that in mind, crowd levels vary heavily at each of these restaurants depending on the time of day and the season in Destin, so it‘s wise to go at off-times of the day if you want to beat crowds.
With their menu inclusive of food items fit for any time of the day, the donut hole stands as one of the longest running staples in Destin dining. This place is extremely popular for good reason, so unless you’re one of the early birds to show up in the mornings, you can expect to wait in an extended line that will often stretch into the parking lot.
There is an extensive selection of freshly baked goods such as donuts and cakes available every day made locally by them, but again you want to be there early as once they’re gone, they are gone for the entire day.
The donut hole is one of those classic diners where your coffee cup never seems to run empty and the portion sizes are immense. They’re also famous for their Key lime pie which is stacked high in a carousel fridge that you’ll see whenever you walk in the front door. It’s such a staple that even if you’re not a key lime pie lover, you need to at least try a bite.
There are plenty of food options available on the menu and they’re all served throughout the entire day, so whether you want breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast, this is your place.
As you probably already gathered from the name, this is a classic breakfast spot offering all the Staples such as eggs and bacon, French toast, waffles and other decadent assortments of all your favorite breakfast items.
This restaurant is a little on the small side and just like the Donut Hole, we’ll fill up rather quickly in the morning. So if you’re not an early riser, be prepared to wait for a table even for small parties.
Another attractive offering at this restaurant is the ability to get some of your favorite morning time drinks such as mimosas and adult mochas.
The Pancakery has been around for a number of years now and has established itself as a solid breakfast option in Destin.
If you’ve been to Destin over the years you probably remember a breakfast restaurant called Another Broken Egg, which is now Crackings.
None of the appeal or flavor from Another Broken Egg was lost in the transition to Crackings, so we’d still definitely recommend this place.
Crackings is planted right in the heart of Destin and offers a considerably larger dining room than the Donut Hole or The Pancakery, so if you have a larger party or are going at a busy time of the day this would probably be your best bet.
Another solid breakfast spot where your coffee cup doesn’t seem to run dry, the service is reasonably quick and you can get all your favorite breakfast staples, Crackings is definitely a place you’ll find locals and visitors alike enjoying a great breakfast.
Dewey Destin’s (Crab Island Side)
With two locations quite near each other, Dewey Destin’s has totally different vibes between the two locations, which actually is a good thing. Both of their locations in Destin offer fantastic locally caught Seafood, and the original Dewey Destin’s location (which is this one) Is a counter-serve, laid back dining situation.
Uniquely grandfathered into modern laws due to its historic age, this restaurant is actually situated directly over the wate. Modern restaurants cannot be built like Dewey’s is with the kitchen and seating areas over the water. Depending on the level of surf the day you go, you can often see the waves of the bay splashing underneath you.
You’ll be sitting on docks that extend out over the water with views of crab Island, which is an unbelievably stunning view no matter the time of day.
Not only this, but you’ll often have people arriving by boat who have been spending the day at Crab Island and are looking for some freshly-caught local seafood. It’s also not unheard of to be sitting enjoying your meal at Dewey Destin and spot Dolphins playing out towards Crab Island.
This particular Dewey’s location, as we’ve already mentioned, is far more laid-back and perfect for lunch or dinner, but it is definitely not a dinner situation that you’d choose if you’re expecting a server and an air conditioned dining room. If you’re after fantastic food with gorgeous views at a true Destin locals favorite, then Dewey Destin’s is without a doubt your best bet.
Burrito Del Sol
You really can’t go wrong with your local burrito spot and for us in Destin, Burrito Del Sol is that spot. This restaurant originally started in Fort Walton Beach, but opened a location in Destin that has been busy ever since it opened in 2016.
The restaurant itself boasts a vibe that doesn’t feel too far from a burrito joint, despite being just across the street from the Destin harbor.
Your choices are relatively simple, but packed with flavor. Choose from the staples like a burrito or tacos, and pick your favorite styles. Everything from baja to southwest to bbq, all of which are fantastically delicious. Then, you can load down with their delicious house hot sauces.
It’s one of those places you’ll want to go back multiple times to try each of the styles and configurations.
Exactly as the name suggests, Local Market is both a unique market and a fantastic place to grab a bite to eat.
You’ll find everyone from seasoned Destin fisherman who seem to know everyone in there to people like the Mayor of Destin chowing down at Locals Market.
Boasting a ton of great sandwiches and side options, it’s one of the best dedicated lunch spots. They’re now open for more than lunch, but it really is a fantastic place to pop into when you’re after a solid sandwich with a portion size that won’t leave you hungry.
Not only that, but a portion of their proceeds go to feed people in and around the Destin Area via an organization called American Lunch. So cool!
Destin is absolutely chocked full of fantastic dinner options ranging from upscale stakes houses to coveted Italian restaurants and a fantastic Irish pub.
Kicking off our list of dinner restaurants is a Destin staple Italian restaurant called Mimmo’s. It’s a small restaurant that is almost certain to have a wait, but it’s absolutely worth it. The dining experience is fantastic with a great ambiance, huge portions, and a great selection of wines to compliment your meal.
The appetizers like their garlic knots and rolls are so good they’ll be gone the instant they arrive at your table. Then, pick from a sizable selection of staple Italian dishes that are simply unmatched in the Destin area.
Mimmo’s is a popular place for Destin locals to go for celebrations like birthday parties, anniversaries, and when you’re after a quality dining experience. You simply can’t go wrong with Mimmo’s so make sure to savor the experience.
McGuire’s Irish Pub
It wouldn’t be possible to make a list of the most popular restaurants in Destin without including McGuire’s.
You’ve probably seen their iconic green neon lights traversing the roofline of their enormous building near the Destin Bridge, or you’ve perhaps even been there already.
No matter what time of the day or night, McGuire’s is packed with folks who have come to love their enormous portions, delicious bread and bean soup, and the fantastic atmosphere that perfectly matches a real Irish pub, with a little flair of fun. Watch out for the signs on the bathrooms!
McGuire’s touts their steaks and rightfully so. Their meats are incredibly delicious and cooked to perfection every time. Their steak burgers are gargantuan and immensely delicious.
Even relatively basic items like chicken thighs are packed with flavor and although it’s considered an appetizer, you could definitely eat it as a standalone meal.
The restaurant is massive with a labyrinth of seating rooms and large tables, so if you have a big group definitely consider McGuires.
And, although it’s not always available, McGuires has an upper outside deck with live music that will often be open in the summertime.
Relatively new to the Destin dining scene is Boshamps, but it’s become a trusted staple for locals and visitors alike.
Similar to Mcguires in the massive portion sizes, Boshamps focuses primarily on seafood offerings with locally caught seafood options varying from fishes of all sorts to shrimp and more.
They’ll even cook your catch for you if you go fishing near Destin and want them to cook it up right for you.
Boshamps has an incredible outside deck that spans out over the Destin Harbor, giving unparalleled views looking West into the gorgeous sunsets. On certain days, they’ll have live music out on the deck.
Best of all for families, there’s a playground near the outside deck so you can let the kids play while you enjoy a drink and the sunset before your delectable food hits the table.
Whether you’re looking for quick bites for lunch or fantastic local seafood options for the entire family for dinner, we hope these restaurants make for some good eating on your Destin vacation. Don’t worry if you didn’t get to all of them in this visit to Destin since we know you’ll be back next year!
Other honorable mentions:
- Marina Cafe
- Harbor Docks
- Pazzo Italiano
- Camille’s at Crystal Beach