The westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle, Pensacola’s coastal setting has helped give rise to a wide choice of exceptional seafood restaurants.
From freshly caught seafood and farm-to-table cuisine to craft breweries and hip bars, Pensacola is a haven for dedicated gastronomes. Many of its restaurants are located close to the city beach, but venture inland and you’ll find plenty of popular eateries too. In particular, if you’re a fan of food from the ocean, the city is – pun fully intended – your oyster. Here are 5 of the best seafood restaurants that Pensacola has to offer.
A giant fish motif perched under a roadside sign leaves passers-by with no illusions over the type of fare you can expect at this renowned Causeway restaurant. Serving up fresh local seafood and live music since 1958, Bluegill is where to come for traditional seafood in a relaxed, fun atmosphere, with regular music performances taking place at the eatery’s own outdoor Wharf Amphitheatre. Menu staples include perch, bluegill, haddock, shrimp, and, the venue’s signature dish, flaming oysters, all to be wished down with ice cold beer.
The Grand Marlin of Pensacola Beach
Overlooking the picture-postcard Santa Rosa Sound, this waterfront dining destination combines a chilled Caribbean island-esque ambience with top-quality cuisine – where shorts and flip-flop wearing punters heading back from the beach are as welcome as suited office types seeking a working lunch. There’s a shucked-to-order oyster bar in the main dining room and an exterior bar offering cocktails and dramatic vistas. The menu features a wide range of refined seafood dishes, caught and prepared on the same day to take advantage of the abundance of local bounty.
The Fish House
You can’t get much closer to the water without being in it at this award-winning restaurant, where guests dine on the dockside pier while soaking up views of Pensacola Bay and Seville Harbor. Just steps away from historic Seville Square, the eatery serves up an inventive menu of seafood selections, sushi, and a handpicked wine list. Ask a regular and they’ll wax lyrical about the Grits a Ya Ya, a southern speciality of smoked Gouda cheese grits smothered with a sauce of fresh cream, shrimp, mushrooms, and bacon. Adding to the atmosphere is a full bar with live nightly music. Inside and outdoor dining are both available.
The District: Seville Steak & Seafood
Situated in the heart of Downtown Pensacola Historic District, and surrounded by some of the city’s most popular nightlife spots, The District has received widespread acclaim for its extensive menu of top-quality seafood and house dry-aged steak. One of the newer additions to Pensacola’s thriving restaurant scene having only opened in 2018, as well as its enticing cuisine the restaurant also offers a chic upstairs lounge where patrons can enjoy a glass of wine, craft beer, or cocktail.
Atlas Oyster House
A casual waterfront eatery overlooking the picturesque Pensacola Bay, just steps away from its sister restaurant The Fish House (see above), The Atlas does what it says on the proverbial tin and serves up a conveyor belt of fresh, locally-caught oysters to a loyal fanbase of patrons. As well as oysters, the restaurant also offers delectable dishes and delicacies including calamari, edamame, sushi, mahi mahi and gumbo. There’s also a full bar with an extensive wine list and hand-crafted beers.