Satisfy Your Seafood Cravings on the Alabama Gulf Coast

When I head to the Alabama Gulf Coast, I can't wait to sink my toes into the warm sand and feel the sun warm my skin. The sound of the waves rolling in to shore soothes my soul, and I look forward to sleeping with my balcony door open so I can hear them as soon as I wake up.

The Gulf in Orange Beach

But a beach vacation wouldn't be complete without fresh seafood, a personal obsession that I indulge in every time I get near the coast – any coast. So I set out to discover some of the Alabama Gulf Coast's best seafood restaurants, and I was not disappointed.

The Gulf, Orange Beach

I am an avid fan of dining al fresco, and when I can eat out overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, I'm one happy camper. Throw in a fried grouper sandwich served up on a brioche bun with a side of fresh-cut fries, and I'm in heaven. All this and more are available at The Gulf, an eclectic, open-air, waterfront restaurant constructed out of storage containers. Walk through the door, and you'll find yourself in the restaurant's main dining space, essentially a large picnic area. There's also a “beach” with seating, more tables and toys for the kids.

Menu selections include burgers, sandwiches and salads, as well as a variety of sides. Try a seared tuna sandwich, a lamb chop salad or the restaurant's signature Gulf burger. It's all cooked to order and served fresh.

Cayman Grill, Orange Beach

Located along Wolf Bay, Cayman Grill prides itself on creating fresh seafood dishes using locally sourced ingredients as well as regional sources. It certainly worked for the dishes I tried. I sampled the crunchy goat cheese appetizer served with fig and honey jam and raspberries. I would have been happy eating these all night. Instead, though, I moved on to the scallops with a side of mushroom risotto. Again, I could have eaten this all night, but the body wasn't willing. Therefore, I wrapped up my dinner with the chocolate truffle cake. If you are a chocoholic like me, then this is the dessert for you. It simply melts in the mouth.

While you are waiting for your dinner, take a moment to walk out back and enjoy the beautiful views of the bay. Or, you can watch the stingrays in the 8,000-gallon tank that sits center stage in the middle of the restaurant. If you're lucky, you'll stop by during feeding time.

Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores

Original Oyster House, Gulf Shores

A Gulf Shores mainstay since 1983, the Original Oyster House is a casual, laidback restaurant filled with eclectic décor, a multitude of dining spaces and a menu filled with traditional coastal favorites. My choice was Josh's Blackened Shrimp and Grits, which included more than a dozen grilled shrimp partnered with the creamiest cheese grits I've ever tasted. Everything was so good, I was a bit in mourning when I finished. Even though I couldn't eat another bite, I certainly wish I had a few more left on my plate.

When visiting the Original Oyster House, keep in mind that it is very popular so it will be very busy during normal meal times. Therefore, plan to arrive a little earlier or plan to wait for a bit. If you do have a wait, just remember that it is truly worth your time.

Of course, these three restaurants are just a small sampling of what you can find in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to whet your appetite. All along the Alabama Gulf Coast, you'll find many more quality restaurants to satisfy your seafood cravings.

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