Five Seafood Spots That'll Bring You Back to Alabama's Beaches

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

I was fortunate enough to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast twice in the past year. This was happiness to me, because I only travel to places that guarantee a meaningful and exciting food adventure. If this adventure means fresh seafood that was caught within mere miles, I will eat to my heart’s content – and I did.

The Gulf in Orange Beach, AL
The Gulf

Gulf Shores restaurants serve impressive fresh and local seafood, whether it’s raw, broiled, deep fried, stuffed into tacos, or stirred into soups.

Some of the restaurants, like Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s, participate in the Fish Trax program, meaning you can trace the source of your seafood, including location, captain and boat.

LuLu’s is a family-friendly restaurant that touts “crazy fun” featuring an arcade and a jellyfish jumper. You can have fast and casual seafood like a shrimp basket or Mahi Mahi sandwich. I enjoyed snapper made a few different ways, all mouthwatering. Catering to special allergy/food needs while serving the freshest fish, they offer a dairy-free menu, gluten-free menu, seafood-free menu, shellfish-free menu, soy-free menu and egg-free menu.

I really like eating outside with a waterfront view. The Gulf, a unique outdoor-only restaurant on the beach, serves one big, fat, messy grouper sandwich that I was happy to stuff my face with. Served with the crispiest French fries while gazing at the Gulf of Mexico, this is casual at its best. The Gulf is one of the most unique eateries in the area, as the gift shop, kitchen and offices are constructed from shipping containers.

Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina

Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina is one of the places that will always remain on a must-visit list for many good reasons. Divided into upstairs fine dining and downstairs casual, you can feast on the freshest oysters or the most succulent piece of fresh fish.

Fisher’s sources most of its food locally and sets high standards for the seafood that comes in the door, turning away more than they accept. Fish is never frozen and is always purchased whole. This is truly a food lover’s restaurant. The shrimp and grits is a standout – the shrimp are plump and fresh, and the tasso tomato gravy is tasty served over the most comforting grits. Get the blood orange margarita with sea salt foam. You’ll never forget it!

If raw tuna excites you the way it does me, take a look at this from the Flora-Bama Yacht Club in Orange Beach. On other occasions I’ve tried their lion fish sashimi – not something you’ll find most places, as the lion fish is a non-native nuisance species that takes a bit of processing to make edible. You can have full dinners or just nosh on appetizers like their amazing Greek shrimp nachos or chargrilled oysters. I attended a party there and visited the tuna more times than I want to admit, accompanied by all the right sauces.

The Beach House Kitchen & Cocktails is a casual cafe with outdoor seating, perfect when you have spent a whole day sunning or running around shopping and kayaking, and just want to relax with a good margarita and a casual meal.

You can order easy casual meals, comfort food like crawfish mac and cheese, or full dinners. I loved the grilled fish tacos coupled with a from-scratch margarita, made with Camarena Reposado Tequila, fresh lime, triple sec and smoked sea salt.

I also got to visit some of the locations where the seafood is processed. I witnessed shrimp caught within the hour being flash frozen, which keeps it at its freshest. I visited a blue crab processing plant, and was amazed at the labor of love it takes to bring succulent blue crab to market.

About an hour and a half outside of Orange Beach, I stood at the dock where Murder Point Oysters are harvested and ate an oyster that was just taken out of the water. They are small, sweet, delicate and exceptional. You can find Murder Point Oysters served at Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina and they are possibly the best oysters I’ve ever eaten.

Feast on all the seafood you can while visiting Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and know you are eating the freshest seafood, always with a great fishing story behind that crab cake or blackened grouper.

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