The Gulf Coast is home to 32 miles of gorgeous beaches, a plethora of awesome fun-filled attractions for all the family to enjoy, and luxury resorts that offer ultimate relaxation. However, a trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach wouldn’t be the same without sampling the myriad of fine-dining options that are scattered along this stretch of Alabama coastline.
Whether you are a seafood aficionado, or perhaps you simply enjoy sampling authentic local cuisine, the Gulf Coast is home to a collection of restaurants that offer everything from quick-eats to fine-dining dishes showcasing the very best of Alabama’s food scene. We have been fortunate to experience a variety of these restaurants, and while the following list barely scratches the surface of the available options, we would argue that these offer a reflection of the quality of cuisine available in this part of Alabama.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach may not be the first destinations you think about visiting to sample an eclectic food scene, but we hope after reading this post you will be inspired to book a trip to the Gulf Coast to sample these for yourselves. Let’s take a look at 12 of the finest restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and as always, we welcome your comments at the bottom on your favorite spots that we haven’t mentioned.
Best Restaurants During an Alabama Beach Getaway
From breakfast spots to decadent dinner restaurants with epic views, the Gulf Coast is home to a collection of eateries that will surely inspire you to visit. While this is far from an exhaustive list, we have decided to feature 12 of our favorite spots, offering a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner locations.
- Brick and Spoon
- Ruby Slipper
- Woodside Restaurant at Gulf State Park
- The Southern Grind Coffee House
- Soul Bowlz
- Picnic Beach
- The Gulf
- Cactus Cantina
- GT’s on the Bay
- Cobalt, The Restaurant
- Playa at Sportsman Marina
- Coast Restaurant
While many of you may consider heading to Alabama’s coastline and finding a luxury condo at The Beach Club or Turquoise Place (we wouldn’t blame you!), and then heading to Publix to self-cater your own meals, you would certainly be missing out on this collection of epic restaurants.
We understand that eating out every meal may not be realistic, but we encourage you to at least consider trying at least one of these spots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner one day and you will likely be ready to return again in the future.
Eating out in Gulf Shores is as affordable as you want it to be – some of the above restaurants offer late afternoon discounts on meals, and of course, for those looking to start the day with a fine breakfast, you can always sample a quick coffee and pastry at one of the many local coffee shops in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Don’t forget to also sample one of the many amazing sweet treat options, including the iconic Yard Milkshake Bar!
Brick and Spoon
Start the day with one of the best breakfast spots along the Gulf Coast. Brick and Spoon offers unexpected twists on classic dishes, eye-opening cocktails and a signature, designed-to-order Bloody Mary. Recognized locally as being a casual breakfast spot with a hint of sophistication, locals and visitors alike can enjoy everything from the infamous “Bananas in Pajamas” sweet treat to a decadent Eggs Benedict which is full of breakfast flavor and a great way to start the day.
Relax indoors or on the outdoor patio area by indulging in a collection of dishes that are unequivocally unique and offer something different to other breakfast spots along the Gulf Coast. You may think that a breakfast cocktail is a little much to start the day, but after sampling the delicious cocktail concoctions, you will soon be convinced that this is in fact the BEST way to start your day!
Address 24705 Canal Rd. Orange Beach, AL 36561 Phone (251) 981-7772 Website Brick and Spoon Orange Beach
An equally delectable breakfast option along the Gulf Coast is Ruby Slipper which is a an award-winning cafe famous for our breakfast, brunch and lunch offerings. Renowned as bringing New Orleans flair to stereotypical Southern cuisine, visitors to the Orange Beach location along Perdido Beach Boulevard can enjoy a variety of delicious options ranging from Eggs Benedict options to fan favorite Fried Green Tomatoes.
A visit to Ruby Slipper wouldn’t be the same without sampling one or more of the Eggs Benedict variations. The infamous “Peacemaker” offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy two of the varieties on offer. The Chicken St. Charles and Eggs Cochon are two of our favorites, while the Bayou Shrimp is certainly reflective of the Louisiana inspired cuisine available here.
French toast, omelettes, pancakes, and other options are available, so you can be sure that there is something to satisfy everyone’s tastebuds.
Address 24151 Perdido Beach Blvd. Orange Beach, AL 36561 Phone (251) 800-7470 Website Ruby Slipper
Woodside Restaurant at Gulf State Park
Visitors to the Gulf State Park can enjoy miles of walking and biking trails, but during your time exploring this haven of natural beauty, head over to Woodside Restaurant to grab a quick bite to eat. Whether you prefer to eat inside, on the patio, or outdoors, you can enjoy a selection of creative Southern cuisine and cocktails using the finest locally-sourced ingredients.
Our visit to Woodside Restaurant saw us enjoy breakfast which offered a refreshing start to the day and a unique alternative to the more frequently visited Brick and Spoon or Ruby Slipper. While both of the aforementioned options offer creative Southern style dishes, Woodside Restaurant focuses their efforts on ensuring the local ingredients are incorporated directly into their options.
Freshly prepared dishes are certainly the highlight, with the Muscle Shoals Omelet or Armadillo Trail Biscuit ‘N’ Gravy two of the best options to choose from. If you don’t have time to visit at breakfast, lunch and dinner menu offerings are also available, with a wide variety of drinks to choose from to enjoy a romantic evening meal on the outdoor deck.
Address 20249 State Park Rd. Orange Beach, AL 36542 Phone (251) 923-3100 Website Woodside Restaurant at Gulf State Park
The Southern Grind Coffee House
If you love coffee shops, our favorite spot along the Gulf Coast is The Southern Grind Coffee Shops. With two locations at The Wharf and INDIGO House, The Southern Grind is a great place to visit if you are looking to enjoy your favorite latte.
However, we are including this in the list of top restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach because the menu options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner offer visitors the chance to sample a delicious meal while perusing the locally inspired crafts that can be found scattered around the restaurant. Recognized as much more than just a coffee house, The Southern Grind offers everything from comfort food to fresh food including, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
Don’t forget to pick up your favorite coffee beans including the infamous Gulf Coast inspired Bushwacker blend. Throughout the year, you can enjoy a variety of seasonal beverages, but the dining menu stays relatively consistent with a number of awesome dishes on offer.
For breakfast, we would definitely recommend the Sunrise Bowl (2 biscuits topped with pepper gravy and 2 sunny side up eggs), or if you prefer to dine at lunch time, the Cheeseburger is always freshly prepared and definitely one of the best burgers available on the Gulf Coast.
Address 4751 Main St #116 Orange Beach, AL 36561 or 22843 Perdido Beach Blvd. Orange Beach, AL 36561 Phone The Wharf: (251) 923-3265 INDIGO: (251) 975-2883 Website The Southern Grind Coffee House
Ready to start the day with a refreshing acai bowl? The best spot on the Gulf Coast to sample a nutrient-packed bowl of wholesome goodness with blend choices of acai, pitaya, graviola and acerola is the wonderfully named Soul Bowlz. The challenge will be picking your preferred bowl from a collection of delicious looking options. The Sunrise is a great choice, but you cannot go wrong with any of the flavorful bowls available.
Each bowl has a layer of the aforementioned blended mixture, and topped with granola, fresh fruits and honey. It’s also interesting to note that these blends are harvested from South America. With two bowl sizes available, you can enjoy a refreshing start to the day, or perhaps you need an alternative to caffeine as a quick pick me up later in the day.
For those that prefer a smoothie, there are a number of flavors available and these superfruit smoothie mixtures are a great way to ensure your energy levels are through the roof in preparation for exploring everything there is to see on the Gulf Coast.
Address 1551 Gulf Shores Pkwy. Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Phone (251) 948-7685
If you are looking to visit a restaurant with a twist, Picnic Beach in the heart of Gulf Shores is definitely a place worth considering. Menu items feature “fresh eats at the beach” and visitors can enjoy everything from a Surf & Turf Burger to a Caribbean Bowl. The vibe throughout the interior of this restaurant offers a relaxing feel, and the proximity to the nearby beach makes this a convenient option to grab a quick lunch before heading back down to enjoy the 32 miles of gorgeous sands.
Gather around a picnic table at the casual indoor/outdoor picnic-themed restaurant, while indulging on a dish that focuses on fresh, clean ingredients, from healthy green drinks to organic cocktails. A trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach frequently will lead you to a restaurant that offers endless amazing seafood options, but for those looking for something just a little bit different, Picnic Beach is a spot that should be on everyone’s radar.
Address 128 E 1st Ave. Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Phone (251) 540-0117 Website Picnic Beach
One of the most unique restaurants along the Gulf Coast can be found in Orange Beach at The Gulf. This uniquely designed restaurant destination is renowned as “a seaside hideaway that exemplifies the casual chic atmosphere that draws people from around the globe each year.”
This restaurant has been constructed from shipping containers, along with other recycled, reclaimed and salvaged building materials. Epitomizing the importance of sustainability on the Gulf Coast, this restaurant does plenty to reduce the carbon footprint along this stretch of coastline. The Gulf is the perfect location to enjoy lunch or dinner, perhaps the highlight being late afternoon prior to the epic sunsets that this stretch of coastline is famous for.
Enjoy Jerk Mahi-Mahi Tacos or a Tuna Poke Bowl, while hanging out at the bar or the communal area that offers breathtaking views across the Gulf of Mexico.
Address 27500 Perdido Beach Blvd. Orange Beach, AL 36561 Phone (251) 424-1800 Website The Gulf
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is not only home to a number of awesome seafood restaurants but also a variety of other options to satisfy everyone’s favorite cuisine. We love sampling Mexican cuisine whenever we travel, and one of our favorite spots in Gulf Shores is Cactus Cantina. With several restaurants in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and nearby Foley, Cactus Cantina is a great option if you are looking to sample laid back, delicious Mexican food in a casual, fun atmosphere.
We have visited several of the restaurants, though our favorite is on Gulf Shores Parkway given it’s proximity to both Gulf Shores and Foley. Enjoy a Cerveza or two, along with stereotypical Mexican dishes that are flavorful and also include a hint of Gulf Coast cuisine with a number of seafood options available. The Shrimp Diablo is one of Heather’s favorites, while the Boom-Boom Shrimp Tacos add plenty of flavor and heat to the menu.
Address 3849 Gulf Shores Pkwy. Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Phone (251) 943-8115 Website Cactus Cantina
GT’s on the Bay
The argument for the best seafood restaurant in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is always going to be down to personal opinion, but in our opinion GT’s on the Bay is perhaps the best option for a well-rounded menu offering everything from the fresh catch of the day to other alternatives that will satisfy those that prefer something other than seafood.
Located along Wolf Bay on Canal Road in the heart of Orange Beach, GT’s on the Bay offers stunning views and bay front dining options, while the indoor restaurant is equally inviting with a large fish tank the center piece of the space.
The Cajun Empanadas and the Firecracker Shrimp are the perfect appetizer, while the self-serve salad bar has plenty of options and definitely a great choice if you visit for lunch. The Catch of the Day is always a favorite, served with either parmesan grits or one of the alternative side options.
For those ready to start their visit to the Gulf Coast in style, order the Tropic Thunder drink which is the speciality of GT’s on the Bay and is a core pineapple filled with tropical rums and fresh strawberry puree.
Address 26189 Canal Rd. Orange Beach, AL 36561 Phone (251) 980-8400 Website GT's on the Bay
Cobalt, The Restaurant
If you are looking to sample authentic and contemporary coastal cuisine while visiting the Gulf Coast, look no further than Cobalt, The Restaurant located under the Perdido Bay Bridge in Orange Beach. Visitors frequent this restaurant both for the eclectic menu on offer, along with the breathtaking views that you will experience overlooking the bay. The outdoor patio seating is a great experience, though you can still indulge in the delectable menu offerings inside the comfort of the indoor space.
This restaurant is also rather unique as it offers visitors the opportunity to arrive by boat, and dock at the numerous boat slips before enjoying the wide selection of local fare on offer. The casual and relaxing atmosphere combined with waterfront dining, live music, and of course, delicious food, offers the perfect setting to enjoy one of the finest restaurants along this stretch of Alabama coastline.
Why not start with the BBQ Gulf Shrimp or Crab and Shrimp Dip, before devouring one of the many entrees available featuring local seafood dishes such as Bronze Gulf Grouper or Gulf Shrimp and Grits. Be sure to save space for dessert as the fresh Bread Pudding and Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee are two of the fan favorites and cap the perfect way to end your visit to Cobalt.
Address 28099 Perdido Beach Blvd. Orange Beach, AL 36561 Phone (251) 923-5300 Website Cobalt, The Restaurant
Playa at Sportsman Marina
One of the chic restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach that offers the perfect blend of sophistication and casual dining is Playa at Sportsman Marina. Recognized as part Gulf Coast classic and part Caribbean getaway, Playa offers visitors delicious coastal cuisine with a few twists to create a unique menu that will surely inspire you to return in the future.
This beautifully designed restaurant in the heart of Sportsman Marina offers a relaxing and romantic atmosphere for guests, and with a diverse menu to choose from, visitors can enjoy a late evening meal with plenty of inspiration from the tropics.
The Smoked Tuna Dip is a great way to start your visit, before indulging in the Redfish on the Half Shell or Island Gulf Shrimp. Regardless of which dish you choose, you can be sure that you will receive impeccable service and enjoy the perfect evening on the Gulf Coast.
Address 27842 Canal Rd. Orange Beach, AL 36561 Phone (251) 981-9891 Website Playa at Sportsman Marina
Whether you choose to stay at the awesome Beach Club by Spectrum Resorts, or perhaps you plan an afternoon trip to Historic Fort Morgan to explore the rich history around this part of Alabama, be sure to plan a visit to Coast Restaurant located inside the grounds of the Beach Club Resort. This family-friendly restaurant offers a unique, fun-filled dining experience for visitors while enjoying the breathtaking views across the Gulf of Mexico.
Guests can enjoy seating on the large outdoor patio area, taking in the Gulf breezes and adding to the flavor of the delicious dishes on offer. The casual waterfront dining experience offers stereotypical seafood dishes, along with alternative options to satisfy everyone’s palate.
The Bronzed option for the daily Market Catch is always a great choice with a Tasso Cream Sauce accompanying the catch of the day. For those looking for something a little different, the Chicken Piccata or the Gulf Seafood Pasta are two appetizing alternatives.
Address 453 Beach Club Trail Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Phone (251) 224-3600 Website Coast Restaurant