The foodie scene on the Alabama Gulf Coast is full of unique restaurants offering fresh, local deliciousness. After spending a few days devoted solely to eating my way around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, here are the places I think you shouldn’t miss.
Plan for a Full Breakfast on the Alabama Gulf Coast
I’m not a huge breakfast person, but if I lived on the Alabama Gulf Coast, I would be.
Southern Grind Coffee House at Indigo is directly across from the beach and the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Here you’ll find options for breakfast and lunch, as well as gelato, baked goods and even home décor. The bright interior is beautifully decorated in ocean hues, making it the perfect place to start your day at the beach.
I had the Jalapeno Potato Scramble – eggs scrambled up with seasoned potatoes, cheddar cheese, peppers, onions and jalapenos. With a side of toast and bacon, this was a hearty breakfast with tons of flavors. And Southern Grind offers one of my favorite coffee options: Nitro Cold Brew, an extra-caffeinated coffee infused with nitrogen.
The Ruby Slipper Café was my favorite meal on my recent visit – and not just for the amazing food and delicious breakfast cocktails. I also loved the friendly service and the story behind the store. The Ruby Slipper Café was founded in New Orleans where the owners were “inspired by a powerful sense of homecoming when returning after Hurricane Katrina.”
With locations across the Gulf Coast, the Ruby Slipper Café is known for its incredible Eggs Benedict options including shrimp, pork, chicken, corned beef and salmon. Can’t choose just one? Order the Peacemaker, which allows you to mix and match any two benedicts.
I sampled everyone’s food at my table and recommend the Pig Candy Bacon (made with brown sugar – it’s TO DIE FOR), corned beef hash, stuffed French toast, and the Chicken St. Charles Benedict (fried chicken, poached egg and cream sauce over a buttermilk biscuit). Get an order of French Toast Batons for the table – crispy, sweet and delicious!
And don’t forget your morning drink! Try a fresh berry mimosa, a Morning Margarita, or an Irish Cream Coffee. As a big fan of breakfast cocktails, I loved the tag line on their coffee mugs: “You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.” Now that sounds like a beach vacation mantra if I’ve ever heard one!
Hot Spots for Lunch and Dinner
You can’t beat The Royal Oyster to satisfy your fresh oyster cravings! This small restaurant feels more like a roadside stand with its welcoming deck and wide selection of oysters. Among my favorites were the chipotle bourbon and the parmesan. Their oysters are locally sourced from Shellbank Selects Oyster Farm, which I had the opportunity to tour and try my hand at shucking an oyster!
While I only enjoyed dessert and wine at Bill’s by the Beach, I can safely say that the hospitality and beachview location is worth a visit for any meal! Bill’s offers a wide variety of dining options, including brunch, soups, salads, tacos, sandwiches, pasta, meat and seafood. (I mean, just check out their Loaded Bloody Mary!) After sampling all their desserts, my best bite was the Tropical Bread Pudding, topped with hot buttered rum sauce and salted caramel and vanilla bean gelato.
You might have heard of the world-famous Flora-Bama Lounge on the border of Florida and Alabama. But did you know it has a sister site across the street? The Flora-Bama Ole River Grill is a family-friendly sports bar-themed restaurant that has recently completely overhauled its menu. I had the opportunity to sit with Chef Jon Gibson and sample some of his creations like the Fried Mac ‘n Cheese Balls, Big Earl’s Shrimp & Grits, Sweet Tea Chicken Club (my personal favorite), and a Cobb Wedge Salad that everyone at the table agreed had the BEST buttermilk ranch dressing we’ve ever tasted. They also serve a fantastic Bushwacker – the signature drink of the Gulf Coast area!
Fisher’s Upstairs continues to be one of my favorite spots for fine dining in Orange Beach. When you want a quiet night out with your significant other, Fisher’s offers top-quality dishes and fabulous cocktails accompanied by a warm, classy ambience.
Stocking Your Vacation Rental Kitchen
Maybe you don’t want to eat out for every meal during your vacation. Below are two places where you can stock your vacation rental kitchen with fresh, local foods.
Head to Burris Farm Market at The Wharf in Orange Beach for your fruits, veggies, soups, sandwiches and desserts.
Blalock Seafood & Specialty Market in Orange Beach has fresh seafood, meats, seasonings, sauces, dips, crackers and more. Do not miss their tuna dip – it was so good I had them pack me some on ice so I could take it home on the plane!
There’s a reason the Alabama Gulf Coast is home to the World Food Championships.
Whether you’re eating out or cooking in, you’ll find plenty of options for locally sourced, incredibly delicious food.