The Gulf Coast of Alabama is a food lover’s dream come true. If you’re not used to dining on Southern “comfort” foods, you’re in for a very special treat.
After exploring the wonders of Mobile, Gulf Shores, and Orange beach, we suggest heading to some of the many great restaurants in the area. These are some of our favorites:
The Original Oyster House. At this iconic Gulf Shores restaurant on the bayou overlooking the scenic Big Lagoon, you can create your own platter of fresh fish or shell fish prepared just the way you like it along with your choice of sides. Try their house recipe Turnip Greens and Red Beans and Rice. Their Peanut Butter Pie is one of the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama before You Die,” a publication put out by Alabama’s Tourism Department.
After dining, relax on the porch in one of their colorful rocking chairs, or feed the fish, or shop in one of the boutique shops on their boardwalk complex.
Lulu’s at Homeport. In Gulf Shores, this is the place to let the good times roll. There is always plenty of music and you are sure to hear “Margaritaville,” the iconic fun-in-the-sun song made famous by the owner’s brother, Jimmy Buffett.
Try “Crazy Sista’s” version of a hand-pattied burger seasoned with LuLu’s Salty Peppa. Check out their extensive variety of “Gulf Wild” fish, and learn about your dinner. Just check the GSA number on the tag that comes with your fish and you will learn where your fish was caught, who caught it, and from what vessel. Alsp, don’t miss their L.A. Caviar– black-eyed peas which also made the coveted “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.”
Village Hideaway Grill. Another Gulf Shores favorite, this restaurant is located at the luxurious Beach Club Resort (part of Spectrum Resorts). The Village Hideaway offers guests and resort property owners an exciting new gathering place to enjoy delicious food and drinks, games, and good times. They feature creative grilled dishes as well as an extensive selection of craft beers. We found their fish tacos, gumbo, and taco salad to be outstanding.
For even more fun, they offer pool tables, shuffleboard, video games, and flat screen TVs, making it the perfect place to break away from the beach, gather for lunch, or enjoy a fun-filled evening with family and friends.
Tin Top Restaurant and Oyster Bar. In nearby Bon Secour, the Tin Top Restaurant and Oyster Bar is one of those places people drive a tad bit out of their way to dine at. Tucked under live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, this place offers patio and indoor dining and, for oyster lovers, a 45-foot-long outdoor oyster bar. After dining on fresh fish and seafood, make sure to save room for their Traditional Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce accompanied by the Bushwhacker, “an adult milk shake,” made with smooth vanilla ice cream, coffee liqueur, and rum.
Tacky Jacks. In Gulf Shores, Tacky Jacks is one of four in this fun, small chain of restaurants (with a name
like Tacky Jacks, it just has to be good!) This newest Tacky Jacks offers beautiful views of the intra-coastal waterways and toe-tapping, knee-slapping music is often on the agenda. It makes a perfect place to eat for kids of all ages and, if you want to save a few bucks, visit during happy hour from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Their Farmer’s Omelet, listed in “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama before You Die,” is a great way to start the day. It’s stuffed with potatoes, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, sausage, ham, and American and cheddar cheeses. Or try Tacky Jacks Po Boy made with fresh flakey fish on a soft hoagie bun.
Bob Baumhower’s Compleat Angler. Imagine a restaurant named for a book written in 1653 that’s still in print. Bob Baumhower’s Compleat Angler Seafood & Grill is a tribute to the book and to fresh Gulf seafood. This restaurant will get you in the “island spirit” with Bimini Bread and with local oysters at their waterfront locations in Daphne and Orange Beach. Their West Indies Seafood Salad, Conch Fritters, and Alligator Bites are unforgettable.
King Neptune’s. This Gulf Shore eatery has received many awards, particularly for their Royal Red Shrimp (on the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama before You Die” list). But, there’s plenty more to enjoy. Even if you think you don’t like calamari, we suggest you try their fried calamari tossed in a spicy sweet sesame chili sauce. We bet it’ll turn you into a calamari lover.
For a drop-dead delicious dessert, don’t leave without savoring their Fried Cheesecake. This New York style cheesecake is rolled in cornflake crumbs, fried crisp and topped with toasted pecans in a praline sauce and is wonderfully decadent.
The Hangout.This Gulf Shores restaurant is a family place with great food, live music, and non-stop fun. Start with appetizers such grilled or fried Gulf shrimp lightly drizzled in their amazing, spicy-sweet Shaka-Shaka sauce. You cannot go wrong with their Triple Dip–tuna, hummus and spinach artichoke dips served with grilled pita and fresh fried tortilla chips. Their Wipe Out Burger (now called the Big Bama Burger) is on the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama before You Die” and includes a 10.5 ounce beef patty, aged cheddar, Applewood smoked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, red onion rings, and pickles. Delicious!
While you’re waiting for your food you can play in The Hangout’s unique bubble machine. And don’t be surprised if staff members hop on a table to belt out a few bars of a song.
Spot of Tea. In Mobile, this restaurant earns a listing in the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama before You Die” for their Eggs Cathedral and Banana Foster’s French Toast. Both are great any time of the day. Eggs Cathedral is a grilled English muffin topped with crab cake, scramble eggs and their homemade seafood sauce served with blackened Mexican grouper and crawfish with a side of hash brown potatoes. Banana Foster French Toast is made with two, thick egg-battered French toast topped with hot Banana Foster sauce and bananas. It’s served with ham, steak, sausage or bacon. Bring your appetite!
There are plenty more great places to eat in the Gulf Coast area of Alabama. Want more suggestions? In Mobile, check out the winning bacon cheeseburger at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club. Or try and the oysters “fried, stewed or nude” at Wintzell’s (several locations). For a fine dining experience, head to Trellis Restaurant at the historic Battle House in Mobile. – Story and photos by Sandra Scott, RFT Contributor