Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Sep 17, 2009 08:17 AM

Anything new and exciting on Highway 30-A near Rosemary Beach/Seaside/Destin?

We are spending a week in one of our favorite places, Rosemary Beach, and I'm wondering if there are any new and interesting restaurants or seafood markets (our last visit was over a year ago). I saw online that there is now a casual seafood place at Alys Beach (George's I believe is the name). Any new recommendations? Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. George's was great for lunch. Fish tacos! Yum. Try the restaurant at Caliza Pool at Alys Beach---it's stunning . I had a drink when I was there in April but didn't have a chance to eat there but I hear it's excellent.

    3 Replies
    1. re: HabaneroJane

      I haven't been down there in ages, so I'm not sure what is "new" versus "old, but in preparation for an upcoming trip down there, I've come up with a list of places that seem to be generating a lot of positive buzz:

      Stinky's Fish Camp - excellent fried shrimp, po boys, casual seafood -

      Seagrove Market Cafe - people say they now have the best fried shrimp along 30-A -

      JC's Off the Hook - great seafood, casual atmosphere -

      Shorty's Surfside - a new favorite casual waterfront hangout for beach watching and seafood eatin' -

      Restaurant Fire - interesting twists on familiar dishes; a favorite "ladies lunch" place down there according to a recent poll -

      Smiling Fish Cafe - people seem to be in love with this place - I think it's fairly new and ultra-casual -

      Restaurant Paradis - a brand-new upscale restaurant that is garnering universal buzz from folks down there -

      People seem to also very much like an upscale place called Cafe Tango, but they don't have a website.

      I also have on my list George's and Caliza, which was already mentioned. and of course Cafe Thirty-A and Bud and Alley's, but I know those have been around for longer.

      1. re: mikeh

        I loved Restaurant Fire. Had lunch there and had their version of a Cuban sandwich. Everything, including the pickles, were made fresh. Fantastic!

        People kept telling us to go to Cafe Tango, but not for food, for drinks after dinner. Never made it because I either ended up at Red Bar, the wine bar in Seaside whose name escapes me, or Bud and Alley's, which by the way, I was told was overrated food wise but I had dinner there one night in the main dining room and it was excellent. Delicious fresh fish.

        Speaking of fish, Fish Out of Water at Water Color Inn was superb.

        1. re: HabaneroJane

          Cafe Tango is my favorite dinner spot down there, bar none! They have only wine and beer for drinks, and a very small bar area, so I wonder if you are confusing it with another place. The food is definitely worth checking out, but you have to have reservations as it is very small.

    2. I've heard good things about Shorty's in the old D&K's space in Grayton Beach for casual food. Smiling Fish has been around for a while now, but it's easy to miss since they're a lunch place that only does dinner once a week. I still love Fabrice's for their pastry case and tuna 'burger'.

      1. Thanks so much HabaneroJane, Mikeh, NancyH, & Beachmouse. We can't wait to escape from Miami and get up there next weekend. Now I have a whole new list of places to discover for lunch & dinner.

        1. Laura and I stayed at Grayton just two months ago and there is this little pizza place called The Pickle Factory you should try. Not the largest pies but way yummy. Melt in your mouth crust.....really. Not crackery, almost like phyllo [sic] dough, and unique toppings.
          Tell Chef you want to try one of his "babies". If it's take away he might just ask if it's going to a good home.

          Pizza Place
          6408 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32818

          3 Replies
          1. re: benedpo

            Just back from 1 week at Seagrove. Seagrove Market: convenient, quick, nice people--grilled fish sandwich was undercooked and not fresh, bread was way soggy; fried fish sandwich was crispy outside and cooked right inside, but same soggy bread, Red Bar: loved eating outside, my grilled fish sandwich was ok not great, companions fried shrimp poor boy had "iodine"tasting shrimp; Shrimp Basket: good but watery oysters (due to heavy rains), good fried shrimp poor boy, great view, great service; Taco Bar (?)name(?) at Seaside: small servings, good fish taco, shrimp taco, greasy carnita; Stinky's Fish Camp: poor boy fried shrimp tasted of iodine, soggy bun, interesting but small mango slaw, mediocre fish sandwich;not go back again; Cafe Tango: lovely place, small, inviting, great waitstaff, average food for top rate prices, house salad dressing would be a great cheese ball,but overwhelmed the delicate greens, escolar (a new type of fish, sometimes called butter fish) was slightly over cooked and both dishes were with an ill conceived amaretta sauce (they will talk you into it over your gut your gut on this one) the other with too much "stuff" on it, creme brulee was ok, not great; for $70 expect more. But the folks were really, really nice. Bud and Alley's: 3 meals--best shrimp poor boys, only one where there was not the slightest hint of iodine taste in the shrimp, came with greens that were perfectly dressed; 1 fish sandwich...overcooked but good bun, and perfectly dressed greens, so so tartar sauce and remolade sauce; dinner was a fish dinner with mashed potatoes and an arugula salad and tiramisu dessert, in spite of recent poor reviews, this was best meal we ate was fresh,cooked right, beautifully sauced, great by the glass wine choices, and decent tiramisu, green salad crisp, but dressing was a tad overpowering; Best and shrimp bought at Shrimpers --out on 98-- and cooked by us..simply steamed--.really, really fresh shrimp and fish, much better than from Goatfeathers. Did not get to 30A or places east or to Smiling Fish or to Fire.

            Cafe Tango
            14 Vicki St, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

            Smiling Fish Cafe
            37 Town Center Loop Unit C8, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

            Stinky's Fish Camp
            5960 W County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

            1. re: alabella

              Wow! alabella - what extensive reviews! . . . we're "new" locals. You've tried an abundance of places! VERY unfortunate about the "iodine" tasting shrimp . . .definitely NOT a good thing! 'Means it's old and borderline off . . . Do NOT eat shrimp when this happens!
              I hear Smiling Fish at Gulf Place will soon be open for dinner 5 nights/week!
              'Heard lots of good things about Cafe Tango, too.

              1. re: bonjour2u

                We just returned from 2.5 weeks in Destin and environs on Saturday. That "iodine" you are noticing is sodium polytriphosphate, which is a chemical preservative/stabilizer applied to virtually all commercial shrimp that is sold. We encountered much more of this than usual this year; I think cost and overfishing are having a big impact on the local seafood and fish sellers. The only place we ate at that served never-frozen and non-chemicalized shrimp was Nick's in the Sticks.

                I am sorry that your dinner at Cafe Tango wasn't wonderful - ours was, though the shrimp was not as pristine as we are accustomed to there. I have to disagree with you about the Pistachio Crusted Fish - I adore the dish and the Amaretto Beurre Blanc - but that's why we all have our own tastebuds! Did you try the Tuna Mojama? It is one of my favorite things to eat in the whole world - Tuna Salumi!

                We also had a disappointing meal at Stinky's, which has always been a favorite. The manager did her best to make it up to us, so we will try them again next year. Glad we skipped Seagrove Market - they seem to be wildly inconsistent.

          2. Way old now, but in case you go back...

            Trattoria Borago
            80 E. Highway 30A
            Grayton Beach, Florida

            Pizza By the Sea
            88 Watercolor Way
            Watercolor, Florida 32459
            Watercolor Crossings Shopping Center
            *Voted "Best Pizza in South Walton" for 2008 and 2009 and Best Kid-friendly dinning in 2009.

            For the Health of It
            Natural Food Store
            2217 Scenic Highway 30A
            Blue Mountain Beach, Florida 32459
            Highpoint Shopping Center

            The Red Bar
            70 Hotz Avenue
            Grayton Beach, Florida 32459-5879

            2 Replies
            1. re: Khotso98

              V on 30A, in Seagrove has a fantastic, airy, modern design with an open kitchen. The menu has lots of seafood and a short ribs dish and even chicken and waffles. We enjoyed all of our food tilefish, redfish, arugala salad, scallop and beet app. Some dishes were better than others and the desserts were outstanding--we had a key lime frozen pie and a blue berry shortcake. I found the wine list really thoughtful at many price points.
              They really just opened, about 4 months ago, but I think there's lots of potential there.

              1. re: jangita

                Thanks for posting. we're heading down and will give it a try. Also heard Marie's is good.