25 Best Restaurants in Destin, FL

Best Restaurants in Destin, FL

Welcome to the captivating paradise of Destin, Florida.

This place is a jewel where emerald waves gently kiss the sugar-white beaches.

Each day concludes with a sunset that paints the sky in shades of pink and orange.

The seafood in Destin is nothing short of divine, offering an explosion of flavors from the gulf directly to the plate.

There are countless eateries dotting the seaside city, each boasting its unique charm and ambiance.

These establishments offer not just food, but also a unique experience, serving up culinary adventures for every visitor.

Join me, as we embark on a gastronomic tour of the best restaurants in Destin, Florida.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Mayra Albright, Tamika Gilreath, Jermaine Lincoln, Ricardo Murphy, Jennifer Kinsey, Marcus Brown and Philip Gates.

Taqueria El Rinconcito

Every time I crave a taste of authentic Mexican food, my feet automatically lead me to Taqueria El Rinconcito.

You might mistake it for a simple food truck stand, but step inside and you'll find a delightful indoor area.

It's cool, thanks to the air conditioning, and spotlessly clean, even in the restroom.

They also offer outdoor seating if you prefer a breath of fresh air while indulging in your meal.

The real star at Rinconcito is the food, of course!

They serve up some of the best Mexican tacos you'll find in Destin or Fort Walton Beach.

Even the tortillas sing of authenticity, their flavors revealing the handmade touch.

My personal favorite?

The pork belly, or buche, tacos.

They pile the meat so high, you'll wonder how to tackle it all!

And don't get me started on their salsa verde.

It's so incredible, that you'd want to ask for extra.

It's worth it, trust me!

Whether you're a taco lover or a fan of tortas, Rinconcito has you covered.

Plus, there's a veggie/salsa bar available for those who love a little extra kick in their meal.

And did I mention their fantastic customer service at Taqueria El Rinconcito?

It’s an icing on the already delicious cake!

In my book, it's a solid 10/10.

Taqueria El Rinconcito · 307 Mountain Dr, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Mexican restaurant

ORO Italian Street Food

Ever tried to spot a little Italy in the bustling heart of Destin, Florida?

Look no further.

Tucked away in Destin Commons, you'll stumble upon a culinary gem that's taken my tastebuds on a trip to Italy without the hefty airfare - ORO Italian Street Food.

My taste buds were instantly tantalized by the vast array of mouthwatering pizzas they have on offer.

The unique and classic flavors all seemingly compete to be my favorite.

But pizza isn't their only specialty.

The sandwiches and desserts are equally delightful.

The fresh in-house bread and the crust from heaven - baked fresh and perfectly crunchy - make you want to savor every bite.

Yes, the pizzas might be a tad small and the price steep.

But let me tell you, the experience and the flavor explosion make every penny spent seem worth it.

But the food alone isn't what makes ORO Italian Street Food shine.

Their warm, friendly service, delivered with genuine Italian flair, sets them apart.

Their attention to detail is commendable.

Not only did they take my order with a smile, but they also served it right at my table, later checking in to ensure I was enjoying my meal.

You won't find this level of service just anywhere!

I’ve shared pizza and cannoli with my son from this Italian haven in our City Food Hall, and let me assure you, the dessert is a must-try.

It's impossible to resist their authentic Italian street food.

And it’s not just me; my son loves it, too.

I’ve tried the Arancini, and the Bianca Pizza; the freshness of the ingredients and the dough is unbeatable.

And the Nutella Canolli?

Absolutely divine!

ORO Italian Street Food · 4237 Legendary Dr H100, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

East Pass Coffee Co.

East Pass Coffee Co. is the place where my mornings unfold, where I rediscover the joy of a simple breakfast.

As a small-town gem in Destin, it's my go-to spot for a delicious, quick meal and a fantastic cup of coffee.

The real treat awaits when you step foot into this charming cafe.

From the moment you walk in, you're greeted with warm smiles and a welcoming atmosphere.

Every member of the team is super nice, greeting everyone like they are old friends.

One of my personal favorites is their heavenly cold brew coffee.

It is rich, well-balanced, and just the perfect way to kick-start a day.

But the star of East Pass Coffee Co. is the peanut butter banana toast.

It's nothing short of amazing - a real explosion of flavors in every bite.

The balance of the creamy peanut butter against the ripe bananas is a delightful contrast.

Another dish not to be missed is their breakfast sandwich.

It's equally as delicious and leaves you wanting more with each bite.

For a change, I often go for the avocado toast with an egg.

It's hearty, savory, and simply phenomenal.

Apart from the food and beverages, this place also sells branded merchandise at reasonable prices.

From cute coffee mugs to trendy t-shirts, you can take a little piece of East Pass Coffee Co. home with you.

East Pass Coffee Co. · 529 Harbor Blvd Unit 104, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Cafe

Kwench Juice Cafe

Let me tell you about my favorite little oasis in our city, the Kwench Juice Cafe.

The interior is a delight to the eyes, with a grass wall and a bench, perfect for those 'Gram moments.

The freshness of their offerings is what keeps me coming back.

My usual picks, the "Gulf" and "Cacao" bowls, are bursting with robust flavors, thanks to the top-notch quality of their fruits.

The acai, in particular, has the perfect consistency and an incredibly enticing taste.

The servings are quite generous, and while the prices might seem a bit steep, believe me, every bite is worth it.

It's not just about the bowls at Kwench Juice Cafe, though.

The juices, like the Glow and the Goldenroot, are my other favorites.

Their exquisite blend of flavors is nothing short of genius!

And if you're a smoothie person like me, you'd absolutely love the Tropical and the Orange and Banana smoothies they whip up.

Kwench Juice Cafe · 981 US-98 Unit 4, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Juice shop

PB&J Bistro & Café

Every local knows there's something comforting about a good PB&J, but let me tell you about a PB&J of a different kind - PB&J Bistro & Café.

It's nestled right here in our own city, and trust me, it's an experience you don't want to miss out on.

PB&J Bistro & Café is where I discovered my new favorite sandwich - the caprese, a heavenly combination of flavors that never fails to satisfy me.

Oh, and their sweet potato fries?

I can assure you, they're a class of their own.

I've never been much of a dessert person, but their cinnamon, lavender, and honey steamer has me hooked.

But let's not forget the pièce de résistance - the sweet potato gnocchi.

This is a dish I find myself craving time and again.

The depth of flavor crafted by the skilled hands of Chef Phil is something you just can't get enough of.

Paired with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, it's the perfect end to a long day.

PB&J Bistro & Café · 4237 Legendary Dr Unit H-100, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Blue Mahoe

You know those spots that become your regular go-to?

Well, Blue Mahoe is one of them for me.

The moment you push through the restaurant's door, a wave of warmth and friendliness envelops you.

Never have I had a meal there without feeling like I'm part of a big, happy family.

Now, let's talk about the food because, at Blue Mahoe, it's a topic worth discussing.

There's just something about how the chef, a native Jamaican, seasons every dish to absolute perfection.

It makes the whole dining experience truly unique and memorable.

One of my all-time favorites is the Bourbon Street - a delightful combination of chicken and waffles that's to die for.

However, I can't skip mentioning the Crab Croissant, another must-try dish that's become an essential part of my visits.

Of course, the dining experience isn't just about the food.

It's also about the service, and Blue Mahoe has this covered.

Yes, the exterior of the building may need a little sprucing up.

But, once you step inside and experience the culinary magic, you'll see where the focus truly is - on delivering an unforgettably delicious meal.

And, as for the prices, they're worth every penny.

Blue Mahoe · 300 Harbor Blvd Unit D, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Breakfast restaurant

Taste of India Destin

When I think about the best culinary experiences I've had, the Taste of India in Destin certainly tops the list.

Just last week, I was yearning for some warm, rich curry, and knew exactly where to satiate my craving.

The first bite of their fantastic curry was like a burst of flavours and unlike anything I've ever tried.

The warm and golden ambiance of the place just added to the whole experience.

They are the sweetest and always go the extra mile to make sure you're satisfied.

On one occasion, I accidentally left my takeaway on the table.

It's the little gestures like these that make you want to go back.

And let's not forget the food at Taste of India Destin.

It's made fresh when you order and is worth every second of the short wait.

The chicken Korma is creamy, smooth, and has a delightful flavor that still lingers on my taste buds.

Pair it with fresh and crisp butter naan, and you're in for a culinary treat.

To wash it all down, I highly recommend the smooth Mango Lassi.

Taste of India Destin · 385 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Indian restaurant

Lone Wolf Pizza Co

There's no other spot that quite hits the spot like the Lone Wolf Pizza Co does.

Every time I step foot into this pizzeria, it feels like coming home.

The warm, inviting ambiance immediately wraps you in a comfortable embrace, and the aroma of baking pizza dough is absolutely intoxicating.

Starting off with appetizers is a must for me.

The cheese sticks are gooey, cheesy, and utterly satisfying, and the wings are finger-licking good.

Slathered in a tangy sauce and served with a creamy, delightful ranch, they're the perfect preamble to an unforgettable pizza experience.

Though they offer an array of options, my heart is always captured by Josh's Moon Pizza.

The medium-sized pizza is laden with fresh, flavorful toppings.

The pesto and balsamic glaze blend seamlessly, each ingredient enhancing the other's taste.

It's a dance of flavors that turns every bite into a celebration.

And it's definitely a hearty feast, leaving you comfortably full and satisfied.

The service at Lone Wolf Pizza Co is the cherry on top.

Lone Wolf Pizza Co · 960 US-98 Suite 112, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Pizza restaurant

Domo Izakaya

Do you ever just stumble upon an unexpectedly amazing place that you never knew existed?

That's exactly what happened with me and Domo Izakaya.

I landed here one night, totally by accident, and it turned out to be an experience that completely redefined my palate.

From the moment I walked in, I was taken by the warm, inviting atmosphere.

Their Thai tea was, hands down, the best I've had in over a decade.

And then there was the food - each dish an explosion of flavors, textures, and culinary creativity that transcended anything I've eaten at even the most revered Michelin-starred restaurants.

Their short rib ramen was a revelation - the meat, tender beyond belief, nestled in a broth so rich and flavorful that I found myself savoring every single mouthful.

The pork bun garnished to perfection, was like a fluffy taco and could easily have been a meal on its own.

And their garlic hamachi roll?

The best sushi roll I've ever had.

The memory of that meal still brings a smile to my face, and it's spoiled me for every other restaurant.

One piece of advice – don’t forget to save room for Domo Izakaya's matcha tiramisu.

It's a gargantuan dessert, not too sweet or heavy, but oh-so-tasty.

Domo Izakaya · 753 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Ramen restaurant

Fish On Seafood House

Ahoy there!

If you've ever found yourself wondering about the best seafood spot in the city, pull up a chair and let me tell you about my favorite haunt.

It's a place known as Fish On Seafood House, nestled just off the beaten path.

When you first step into Fish On, the warm and airy atmosphere greets you as a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The menu, oh, the menu!

It's a seafood lover's dream come true.

The fish tacos are a crowd favorite.

Fresh from the gulf, the flavor and texture are simply unmatched.

If you're in the mood to try something a little different, the Shrimp n grits are guaranteed to thrill your palate.

The crab cakes here are the best I've ever had, a testament to the kitchen's skill and uncompromising quality.

The unexpected surprise, however, has to be the shrimp and lobster spring rolls.

Delectable is the word!

Don't even get me started on the creamy cheesecake with its yummy compote – a perfect way to round off your meal.

It's not just about the food, though.

Fish On Seafood House is the kind of place where you can unwind without feeling rushed.

Fish On Seafood House · 791 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

The Harbor Tavern

Imagine a typical evening in Destin, the sun setting over the Gulf, painting the sky with hues of orange and pink.

Now, picture yourself lounging on a terrace, sipping a refreshing mojito, and taking in this breathtaking view.

If this sounds like your kind of evening, then welcome to my reality of living near The Harbor Tavern.

This easygoing joint has quickly become my go-to for both its stunning marina views and a mouthwatering menu.

The sundowners here never fail to impress me - from the tangy Aperol spritz to the classic mojito, each cocktail is crafted to perfection.

I often find myself getting lost in the mesmerizing sunsets, drink in hand, forgetting all about my day's worries.

But it's not just the drinks that have won my heart.

The food offering at The Harbor Tavern is nothing short of divine.

Their tacos are packed full of flavor, and the poke bowls are refreshingly light, making the perfect dinner on a warm Destin evening.

The generous portions ensure that I never leave hungry.

What truly sets The Harbor Tavern apart for me, though, is its relaxed atmosphere.

The open-concept dining room invites in the cooling sea breeze and offers an uninterrupted view of the daily sunsets.

It's not just lunch or dinner that this spot is perfect for; even the hot Destin afternoons are made enjoyable with their hummus plate.

Served with hot pita, cucumber salad, arugula, and pickled onions, it's the ideal snack to cool down in the midday heat.

The Harbor Tavern · 306 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Bar & grill

Brian's Boardwalk Grill

Picture this.

You've spent a long day exploring the Harbor Village in Destin, and suddenly, your stomach grumbles loudly, demanding attention.

You're not in the mood for anything fancy, just some laid-back, hearty and affordable grub.

That's when you stumble upon a culinary oasis - Brian's Boardwalk Grill.

I first discovered this gem on one of my usual strolls along the Harbour Walk.

It's a no-frills, outdoor seating arrangement, which is perfect for those of us who enjoy people-watching while savoring our food.

You can't help but feel engaged with the vibrant local life as passersby keep you company.

I can't resist ordering the fish and shrimp tacos whenever I visit Brian's Boardwalk Grill.

The shrimp, though only two pieces, are packed with flavor that will leave you craving more.

And let's not forget the homemade hand-cut fries!

They're a delight, both tasty and plentiful.

But if you're not a fan of seafood, fear not - this place serves a mean cheeseburger.

I had it once when I was craving everything 'beef.'

Cooked to perfection, the burger, coupled with the fresh hand-cut fries, offers a satisfying meal that hits the spot every time.

The best part about this place is that it offers great food in big portions at reasonable prices - a rare find in a tourist hotspot like Harbor Village.

Among other delightful offerings, the signature Italian and the huge burger are worth a mention.

Brian’s Boardwalk Grill · 98 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Destin Chicken Company

Sometimes, you just find yourself craving something comforting, something delicious, and something that tastes like home.

That's when I head to Destin Chicken Company.

It's not just a chicken shop, it's a community favorite that satiates our taste buds with its delicious offerings.

I remember the first time I ordered online from Destin Chicken Company.

My meal was hot and ready for pickup as I arrived, which was impressive!

I decided on the chicken and waffle sliders, a unique combo that I hadn't seen elsewhere.

It was a symphony of flavors in my mouth, each ingredient playing its part to perfection.

The chicken was cooked just right - crispy on the outside and tender on the inside – the kind of chicken you dream about.

If you're a fan of BLTs, then you need to try their version with chicken and avocado.

My spouse, a hard-to-please eater, loved it.

It was a refreshing take on a classic sandwich that we both thoroughly enjoyed.

Also, let's talk about their sides.

Their onion rings and Cajun fries are a hit!

Destin Chicken Company · City Food Hall, 4237 Legendary Dr, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Merlin's Pizza

As soon as you step through the door of Merlin's Pizza, the mouthwatering aroma of melting cheese and freshly baked dough envelops you.

It's a smell that is both comforting and exciting at once.

This humble pizzeria has become a cornerstone of our community, bringing people together with its delightful variety of pizzas, pasta, and more.

Coming here is always a treat.

A favorite for my family and me is the Meaty Feast Deluxe pizza, loaded with an assortment of meats that make every bite a pleasure.

The dough is soft, flavorful, and has a great chew.

And the Seafood pizza?

It is an absolute marvel with its blend of fresh seafood.

But the star of the show for us, time and again, is the Tuscan pizza.

Every slice is a euphony of flavors, with just the right amount of seasoning that leaves you craving for more.

And let's not forget about the garlic butter cheese bread.

It's the best I've ever had, hands down.

The gluten-free cheese breadsticks are also to die for!

My partner, who is gluten intolerant, agrees that Merlin's outshines most other pizzerias we've tried.

Even I, who am usually disappointed by gluten-free options, find them absolutely delicious.

Merlin's Pizza may be small, seating around 50 people, but it packs a big punch in terms of flavor and quality.

Merlins Pizza · 1251 Airport Rd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Pizza restaurant

Ruby Slipper Cafe

Every once in a while, you stumble on a place that zest up your culinary experience, Ruby Slipper Cafe is one such place for me.

Located just around the corner, Ruby Slipper Cafe has become my Saturday morning routine.

I mean, who wouldn't fall for signature omelets and Southern brunch fare paired perfectly with a cocktail, right in the heart of a relaxed atmosphere?

I'll never forget the first time I savored their Summer shrimp special.

A dish so delightful, it was like an explosion of flavors in my mouth.

But it's not just the shrimp that's worth a comment.

My heart belongs to their avocado toast.

Elevated with so many extra flavors, every bite is a surprise package of deliciousness.

And let's not forget the drinks.

I must admit, I have a soft spot for their blueberry lavender mimosa.

It may not be the best I've ever tasted, but the tangy, floral notes have a way of growing on you.

A testament to its popularity, Ruby Slipper Cafe often gets busy, and you may find yourself waiting a bit for your orders.

If you've been to the one in New Orleans, you'd feel right at home here.

It's buzzing, it's vibrant, and it's the perfect antidote to the tourist trap of donut holes elsewhere.

Ruby Slipper Cafe · 34902 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Brunch restaurant

Red Onion Organic

Living in Destin, I am always on the lookout for the rich and diverse culinary scene.

Just recently, I stumbled upon a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of our city, and it's called Red Onion Organic.

Imagine a place so warm and friendly that it feels like home, coupled with a menu that makes your taste buds dance with joy.

Their dishes are a remarkable blend of Mediterranean flavors, and everything is prepared with such care and attention to detail.

I still remember the first time I ordered their appetizer.

The hummus and pita, a simple yet classic dish, was packed with flavor: creamy, perfectly seasoned, and oh-so-delicious.

The main course is where Red Onion Organic truly shines.

Their Shish Kabab platter and Lamb Burger are simply out of this world.

Tender, juicy, and seasoned to perfection, each bite is a journey to the Mediterranean itself.

And let's not forget their nachos - they are seriously to die for!

Crunchy, flavorful, and absolutely mouthwatering, they are a must-try for any food lover.

Red Onion Organic also caters to dietary requirements, making it a fantastic place for those who are gluten-free.

Almost everything on their menu is naturally gluten-free, save for a few items like the feta cheese rolls, pita, and meatballs.

I must say, their butter filet mignon is an absolute delight.

Paired with Greek fries, tzatziki, and hummus, it's a meal you won't soon forget.

Their service is the cherry on top.

Sometimes, the food might take a tad bit longer to prepare, but trust me, it's worth every second of the wait.

Red Onion Organic · 529 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Vinny McGuire's

When you're craving an authentic New York-style pizza in Florida, one place never disappoints: Vinny McGuire's.

Nestled in the heart of Destin, this laid-back pizza parlor has been my go-to spot for years.

What sets it apart?

Stepping inside Vinny's is like stepping into a cozy neighborhood pizza joint in Brooklyn.

The low, red-light ambiance sets a chill vibe perfect for both a casual hangout and an intimate dinner.

The tables are well-spaced, allowing for quiet conversations, not to mention the fun practice of leaving a dollar bill stapled anywhere around the place.

It's a tradition that gives the place a unique character.

The pizza, of course, is the shining star.

The options are simple - a 12" small pizza for $20 or a generously sized 18" large pizza for $25.

With your choice of Italian red sauce or alfredo and three free toppings, the combinations are endless.

Now, don't get me wrong, nothing truly beats a pizza slice from Brooklyn, but Vinny's comes darn close, surpassing any pizza I've had in Atlanta.

On my last visit, I ordered a large pizza with Italian red sauce, mozzarella, and spinach.

For my toppings, I chose fresh basil and crimini mushrooms.

The result?

A piping hot, cheese-pulling masterpiece of a pizza that was as delicious as it was Instagram-worthy.

The crust had the perfect amount of flop and thickness, and the flavors were spot-on.

The service at Vinny McGuire's was polite, and the food was worth the short wait.

Vinny McGuire’s · 29 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Pizza restaurant


There's nothing that gets you jumping out of bed on a lazy Sunday morning quite like the anticipation of a hearty breakfast at Crackings.

Nestled right in our neighborhood, this longtime family-owned gem is famous for its homestyle breakfast, brunch, and lunch dishes that never fail to impress.

The first thing you'll notice when you walk into Crackings is the warm, inviting atmosphere.

It's the kind of place that exudes a relaxed, homely vibe, the perfect setting for a leisurely brunch.

And then there’s the food.

The offerings at Crackings are as diverse as they are delicious.

If you're in the mood for something uniquely tasty, the lobster grits come highly recommended.

It might come across as a small serving, but don't let the size fool you.

It's luxuriously rich, packed with flavor, and surprisingly filling.

The restaurant tends to get busy around breakfast time, especially on weekends, so I'd advise you to join the waitlist before you plan your visit.

If you're bringing kids along, consider arriving a bit earlier, say around 9 am, to beat the morning rush.

That way, you can skip the long waits and enjoy your meal in peace.

Crackings · 979 US-98, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Breakfast restaurant


Now, I have had my fair share of dining experiences around the city, but let me tell you - Bitterroot has a charm like no other.

Nestled right here in our little municipality, it has everything a food lover could possibly ask for.

Here's a little sneak peek into my night at Bitterroot.

The food was an absolute delight!

From the Nutty Goat Flatbread, which was so scrumptious that it had me hooked, to the Salmon Florentine that melted in my mouth - every dish at Bitterroot was crafted to perfection.

The taste of the dishes was as alluring as their visual presentation.

Let's not forget about the desserts at Bitterroot.

The homemade ice cream was so heavenly that it instantly transported me into a sweet culinary paradise.

What made our night even more special was the custom-made drinks the bartender crafted just for us.

It was a perfect balance of creativity and taste.

Bitterroot · 4463 Commons Dr W Unit 10-A, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Louisiana Lagniappe

Imagine a sultry evening, the sun dipping low over the harbor and turning the world to gold.

This is just another night at Louisiana Lagniappe, a hidden gem right here in our own backyard.

If you're a seafood aficionado like me, then this upscale waterfront venue is a must-visit.

The moment you step into Louisiana Lagniappe, you're greeted with a tropical decor that instantly puts you in the vacation vibe.

I love to request a table on their patio, where the harbor views are stunning.

The ambiance is just right - lively yet laidback, making it an excellent spot for both romantic dates and family dinners.

Now, let's talk about the food!

The menu is a tribute to Louisiana-style seafood, and they definitely nail it.

The blackened scallop appetizer is my personal favorite.

It's an extraordinary blend of flavors with the scallop, pineapple, and butter.

As for the main course, I can vouch for the Bayou Grouper.

It's easily the best meal I've had in a long time.

The experience isn't just about the food, it's also about the little things.

The restaurant serves fresh hush puppies to start you off, which is a delightful touch.

Your main course comes with a salad and twice baked potatoes, and it's a hearty meal that leaves you satisfied.

A dining experience at Lagniappe isn't complete without watching the sunset from their patio.

The view is simply breathtaking, and it's a picture-perfect moment every time.

For the sweet end note, do not miss out on their key lime pie.

It's the perfect tangy-sweet finish to an amazing meal.

Louisiana Lagniappe · 775 Gulf Shore Dr, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

El Pollon Destin Florida

Trying new eateries is a hobby of mine, and I recently stumbled upon El Pollon Destin Florida as I was meandering through a local shopping center.

The sign outside boasting of authentic Peruvian chicken caught my eye, and I was instantly transported back to my travels in Lima, Peru, where I had first developed a taste for their cuisine.

That day, I decided to relive my Peruvian culinary adventures and dropped in for lunch with a friend.

We chose the 1/2 chicken meal, which came with two sides.

This isn't your usual fast-food joint.

At El Pollon Destin Florida, every meal is freshly prepared, and you might have to wait a few minutes for your order.

The green beans and chicken had to be cooked, and they certainly took their time, but the wait was definitely worth it.

The chicken was cooked to perfection and brimming with flavors.

The green beans were fresh, crisp, and lightly seasoned, which complemented the chicken well.

But the revelation of the day was the yuca fries.

This vegetable, similar to a potato, was fried to a golden crisp and was lighter and less dense than your usual fries.

They served it with two kinds of sauces - one mayo-based and the other a spicy jalapeno.

I opted for the former and it turned out to be the best decision.

El Pollon Destin Florida · 4418 Commons Dr E, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Rutherfords 465

There's something magical about a leisurely Sunday brunch on a sunny lakefront, and luckily, that magic is alive and well at Rutherfords 465.

As someone who's experienced quite a number of dining establishments in the area, I can say without a doubt that Rutherfords has a charm that's tough to match.

The Grill, as we locals often call it, offers an amazing brunch menu, which is a godsend for all those lazy Sunday mornings.

You can't imagine the joy of sipping a cup of coffee with a side of gorgeous lake views.

Now, I must mention the steak nachos.

They might not be the best if you're a carnivore with a big appetite.

The steak flavors are on-point, making it a worthwhile indulgence nonetheless.

If you're into burgers, then you're in luck.

Their burgers and fries combo is something to write home about - juicy, perfectly cooked, and just the right amount of seasonings.

An added bonus of dining here is the beautiful golf course that surrounds the restaurant.

It's always immaculately kept and adds an extra touch of sophistication to the whole experience.

And as a golf enthusiast, you will love the time spent on the greens post-meal.

Oh, and don't forget to try the rose beer!

It's an absolute delight, especially when the Florida heat is at its peak.

Trust me, it's a godsend on a scorching afternoon.

In the evenings, Rutherfords 465 is quite the social hub, and you're bound to make a few new friends over a pint or two.

Rutherfords 465 · 465 Regatta Bay Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

The Grande Vista Bar & Grill

You wouldn't believe what I stumbled upon during a casual evening stroll on the resort pier.

A little offbeat and somewhat hidden, the Grande Vista Bar & Grill at the Emerald Grande is a spot that catches you by surprise.

It's a tad bit dated, you might say, but there's a kind of old-world charm about it that grows on you.

It's quiet and has a laid-back vibe that seems to say, "Relax, you're on vacation!" And that's exactly what I did.

I grabbed a seat, ordered a meal, and just enjoyed the serenity of the place.

Their menu had quite a variety, even for a non-seafood eater like me.

I must say, their Chicken Tenderloins were a revelation, as were the Fish Fingers.

But the star of my dining experience was the grilled shrimp - possibly some of the best I've ever had.

One thing that really stood out was their pricing.

Compared to other nearby eateries, they were a bit cheaper - which was quite a relief!

And I must commend their bartender.

The drinks?

Poured strong and just right.

The Grande Vista Bar & Grill is a good spot to enjoy a quiet dinner, maybe even a bit of a romantic date.

If you're looking for a high-energy, upbeat atmosphere, you might want to look elsewhere.

But if you're like me and enjoy a laid-back dining experience with good food, the Grande Vista Bar & Grill is a no-brainer.

Grande Vista Bar & Grill · 10 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Bar & grill

Pazzo Italiano Destin

It was one of those typical Friday nights when a sudden craving for Italian cuisine hits you.

That's when I decided to visit Pazzo Italiano Destin, a gem in our city famously known for its wood-fired pizzas and Italian entrees.

The moment I walked in, I was hit with an aroma that instantly transported me to the rustic streets of Italy.

The chill dining room, elegantly chic and contemporary, buzzed with a friendly hum.

And the full bar, with its impressive collection of wines and spirits, was the icing on the cake.

I was all set to experience a culinary journey like no other!

The fried calamari was the first stop in this delicious journey at Pazzo Italiano Destin.

The crispy, tender calamari instantly became the highlight of my evening.

The pizza, hot and straight from the wood-fired oven, was pure bliss.

The thin crust carried a hint of smoky flavor that paired well with the generous toppings.

And finally, the dessert!

The Nutella calzone was a grand finale to my meal.

Crispy from the outside and oozing with Nutella from the inside, it was, indeed, to die for.

Pazzo Italiano Destin · 34904 Emerald Coast Pkwy #114, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

Dewey Destin's Seafood Restaurant

An afternoon spent at Dewey Destin's Seafood Restaurant feels like a mini-vacation.

With its casual dockside ambiance and a view that overlooks the picturesque Crab Island, it's no wonder this seafood haven is a must-visit spot.

Trust me, there's nothing like savoring a plate of fresh, Gulf-caught seafood while gazing at boats bobbing in the harbor.

Oh, and if you're in the mood for seafood, Dewey Destin's Seafood Restaurant is an absolute delight.

I usually get there around 5:45 PM on Fridays – it's the perfect time to beat the crowd and enjoy a leisurely meal.

The seafood here is as fresh as it gets, straight from the Gulf to the kitchen.

Every bite is a flavor-filled journey that reminds you why you love seafood in the first place.

The food isn't the only winner here.

The view of Crab Island is an absolute treat.

Whether you're dining in or just stopping by for a quick bite, the beautiful vista adds to the overall experience, making it even more memorable.

And while the seafood is undeniably the star of the show, the chicken tenders shouldn't be overlooked.

Though they don't necessarily stand out from the crowd, they are consistently good.

The fried shrimp and crabcakes, on the other hand, are simply fantastic.

The menu also offers corn and red potatoes, although, between us, I’d say they could use a little more flavor.

But what really seals the deal for me is the atmosphere.

Casual and breezy, with a dining area right on the water - it’s the perfect place to unwind after a long week.

Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant · 9 Calhoun Ave, Destin, FL 32541, United States
★★★★★ · Seafood restaurant

Final Thoughts

Destin, Florida, is more than just its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife.

There's always a new flavor to discover, a new dish to fall in love with.

That’s the beauty of living in this sunshine-soaked paradise.

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