Other recommendations in Destin/Santa Rosa/Seaside areas?
I've been to (and liked) Cafe30A, Criolla, Sandor and Basmati. Looking for some new ideas, both in the price range of those I mentioned as well as some lower-price, family-oriented options.
callahans,crab trap(destin)lalagnaipe,acme oyster house
331 rest. red bar,market cafe(seaside)
We really don't like Crab Trap, don't get the hype about Callahans, and don't really trust Louisiana Laginappe because of the ownership group behind it.
331, the Seabar, and the Red Bar are consistently good in the casual/dive category. We've had some good experiences with Kenny D's- some nice New Orleans touches, and if the kitchen is running behind, they'll comp you some pretty tasty gumbo. McGuire's tends to be decent if you can handle the Irish theming. For pizza, we prefer Ciao Bella's thin crusts.
For ethnic, we've had good luck at Royal Orchid recently, and Nim's is a bit hit or miss, but when they're on, they've got excellent Indian. There is no truly great Chinese in the area, alas. Osaka for sushi/Japanese.
For more upscale, I've liked Cuvee Beach, but I haven't been there in a while.
the previous poster really hit most of the high points.But, i'll add my two cents One time, while eating with my family at Shandor's, Shandor himself came out of the kitchen and gave us pretty much his entire life story (complete with Guiness Book records, an escape from Communist Hungary, shooting people in his kitchen and many other outlandish anecdotes). He is a talker but the Scallops on brown lentils i had there was one of the best dishes i have ever eaten. However, i don't think i could do anything to get my family back after all the chatter we sat through. But man, those lentils were great. Not to say it was not interesting, but it was pretty distracting.
There is a place right on the beach road (30A i think), near blue mountain beach that is pretty humble in terms of decor but is otherwise excellent for basic seafood dishes (i think it is called Lake Place). The Donut Hole in Destin has great rolls (of the thrown variety if memory serves) the breakfast is also very good. There is also a place on the beach road, right outside of Seaside and in the dirrection of Panama City that I think is called The Wheel House which again, is more humble and predates the explosion of finer places that came after Seaside was built. There is also a pizza place a little further down, near the Tom Thumb but before the high rise condos that delivers and has very good pie.
Bad news about Lake Place- it burned to the ground a few months back. The owners and staff were all pretty devistated when it happened. And Sandor closed his restaurant and moved on to parts unknown, last I heard.
For a quick and reasonably priced for 30A lunch, Fabrice's is a salad and sandwich place run by a former Criolla's pastry chef.
re: fl bob
The owner of Harbor Docks also owns part of Camille's in the Crystal Beach area. Haven't gotten there yet, but I've got a couple friends I trust who have enjoyed Camille's.
Harbor Docks also supplies fish to La Paz, and the Red Bar/3-Thirty-1 group if you're trying to stick with what was swimming in the Gulf not too long ago. Dewey Destin's (another good fish sandwich, crab boil and beer dive) seems to supply for Kenny D's as well.
For a fabulous meal, try Cafe Tango on the 30A strip (next to Basmati's). Reservations are a must there!
Harbor Docks is one of our favorite places; they also have a terrific breakfast (contracted out, but made in the house) as does Donut Hole.
For a more family oriented setting and pricing - try Staff's in Fort Walton, or Pandora's in Destin. Seagrove Village Marketcafe on 30A offers tremendous value and delicious food; also recommended is the Smiling Fish Cafe.