The neighboring cities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores along the surprisingly stunning coast of Alabama both offer a plethora of delicious dining options! With everything from true Southern comfort foods to delectable sweet treats, there is no shortage of scrumptious offerings at Orange Beach and Gulf Shores restaurants. Order up fresh seafood straight out of the Gulf or satisfy your craving for Mediterranean, Italian, Asian, or Mexican dishes.
The food options are endless! When we weren’t out exploring the beautiful nature of this coastal retreat, we were stuffing our faces with some of the best food in the South. Thank goodness for the endless miles of hiking trails found throughout Gulf State Park and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge! Without the opportunity to burn off some of the many calories we consumed, we probably would’ve gained more pounds than we typically do on a week-long cruise!
And this post is just the beginning! We plan to add to this post each time we visit, because oh yes, we will be going back for more deliciousness. There are simply too many restaurants we didn’t get to, and as such we already have a long list of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores restaurants to try out on our next visit. So many options, so little time! (Update: We did go back for a second visit and added even more great dining options to this list!) So now, here’s an updated look at some of our favorite Orange Beach and Gulf Shores restaurants.
Orange Beach Restaurants
Brick & Spoon
Brick and Spoon is a chain restaurant with locations in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. They pride themselves on their Cajun-Creole breakfast fare, in addition to their build-your-own Bloody Mary menu! Other menu options include sandwiches, salads, burgers, and brunch specialties. For starters, we ordered their cafe beignets served with seasonal marmalade. Sam indulged in their breakfast tacos – chorizo scrambled eggs, romaine, sour cream, mango salsa & cheddar jack cheese, served in a fried wonton shell with a side order of pomme fries.
I went for the baked brie bruschetta – caramelized apples, golden raisins, pecans, balsamic reduction & brie cheese. Holy moly, was it delicious! It’s not hard to see why Travel & Leisure magazine included Brick and Spoon in their Top 10 Breakfasts in the US list! On TripAdvisor, they’re ranked in the top 5 of all Orange Beach restaurants.
Ruby Slipper Cafe
The Ruby Slipper Cafe got its start in New Orleans. The name Ruby Slipper is considered a homecoming, inspired by a powerful sense of homecoming when the owners returned to New Orleans to be with family and friends following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. There are now over 10 locations throughout the southeast, including in Orange Beach, AL.
The Ruby Slipper Cafe brings New Orleans flair to southern breakfast standards, brunch classics, and fresh lunch dishes. Start with a mimosa, coffee concoction, or other signature cocktail. You’ll have a hard time deciding on tempting house specials and a variety of other mouth-watering menu items. Chances are… you can’t go wrong no matter what you order. I ate every last bite of the Bananas Foster Pain Perdu (french bread french toast covered with rum flambeed banana, raisins, and butter caramel sauce). Sam thoroughly enjoyed another one of their signature dishes – the Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes.
GTs on the Bay
Unfortunately it was pouring rain during our visit to GTs on the Bay. This meant we couldn’t enjoy the views of Wolf Bay from their outdoor deck. Even so, their inside dining has a warm and welcoming ambiance fitting of their family-friendly restaurant. GTs prides themselves on offering local favorites in addition to entrees you won’t find anywhere else. Sam couldn’t resist trying GTs famous Totchos – a pile of crunchy tater tots with smoked pulled pork, sliced jalapeños, and smoked Gouda cheese sauce, smothered in a white BBQ sauce.
I went for a more regional dish, the shrimp and grits – large Gulf shrimp sautéed with Worcestershire, garlic, cream and Cajun spices, served over fried Parmesan grit cakes. Try their cajun empanadas, chicken carbonara, or fish tacos, and/or make a trip to their abundant salad bar. GTs on the Bay has a favorable selection of craft beer, in addition to an abundant menu of specialty drinks and cocktails. We’re certain you’ll find something for everything in your party at GTs!
Luna’s Eat & Drink
Seeing as how much we enjoyed GTs on the Bay, we had to check out another one of their sister Orange Beach restaurants – Luna’s Eat & Drink. We heard they had a great happy hour (served daily from 2-6 pm), which is precisely when and why we went! Their claim that they had the largest selection of craft beers in the area only added to our desire to visit.
Accompanying our 5-beer sample flight, we ordered the beer cheese dip – a creamy blend of Swiss, Cheddar, and dark beer, served with soft pretzel bites. And rounding out our happy hour order was the pimiento hushpuppies – fried, fluffy, delicious hushpuppies served with a housemade Blueberry pepper jelly. Talk about an indulgent afternoon snack! Ranked in the Top 10 Orange Beach restaurants on TripAdvisor, you’ll definitely want to put Luna’s on your list! See their full menu HERE.
YoHo Rum & Tacos
YoHo Rum & Tacos had me at RUM! Add tacos to the mix and it’s a done deal! YoHo brings together flavors of the Gulf, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. They offer premium rums, tequila, and signature cocktails which are classically crafted from house recipes.
They’ve got a great happy hour menu. And with waterfront dining within The Wharf in Orange Beach, you’ve got to put YoHo Rum & Tacos on your list of places to eat in coastal Alabama. The firecracker shrimp tacos are phenomenal! Just days before our visit, they added chimichangas to the menu. Sam can vouch that this is a menu item they need to keep for sure!
We had a hit and miss experience at The Gulf restaurant in Orange Beach, but still found it worthy enough to mention. Their location can’t be beat with spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico. Relax under the palm trees with your toes in the sand. Experience a chill vibe, share a communal table, and dine on fresh local seafood and other farm-to-table menu options.
As mentioned, our experience was hit or miss because while the Flounder sandwich was absolutely delicious, the fish tacos were rather lacking. The fish in the tacos was dried out and tough, but the flounder was top notch! We also found it a bit strange that they wanted to charge us for a cup of water, but overall, we still enjoyed our experience.
Gulf Shores Restaurants
There are so many great Gulf Shores restaurants, but hands down our new favorite dining experience is Picnic Beach. The concept is pretty rad – it’s picnic-themed dining both inside and out, complete with grass “carpet” and picnic tables. They got plenty of board games and a selfie station to keep you entertained while you await your order. The food is absolutely phenomenal using the freshest, cleanest ingredients. Whether you’re carnivorous or vegan, there’s something on the menu for everyone. Get ready to dine on smoked prime meats, acai bowls, vegan varieties, fresh fruit smoothies and juices, cocktails, and superior house-made sauces.
I devoured the Gulf Catch Bowl, which is blackened mahi-mahi with broccoli, smoked cauliflower and squash, topped with lime crema, corn and seasonal salsa, cotija cheese, basil, and cilantro (which I left off; I’m not a fan). I could literally eat that meal every day for the rest of my life! Sam chowed down on the Pitmaster Smokey Melt – a smoked pulled pork smothered in creamy queso, Alabama Sweet BBQ sauce and topped with pickled jalapenos and house fried onion straws served on a brioche bun. He ate the whole dang thing and loved every bite!
Woodside Restaurant is conveniently located within Gulf State Park, so once you’ve enjoyed a delicious meal, you can hit the trails to burn of some calories. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week and serves up a delicious brunch on the weekends. See their menu HERE.
We enjoyed breakfast at Woodside prior to a bike ride through the state park. Our son enjoyed the South Island Parfait (seasonal fruit and berries, greek yogurt with honey, and homemade banana bread. Sam ordered the hearty Beach Mouse Trail Breakfast Sandwich (country ham, grilled tomato (which Sam left off), working cow cheddar, and a hash brown patty), while I ordered the Friday (winter) special – the Shore Skillet. The skillet was a delicious scramble of fresh farm eggs, shrimp, crawfish, crab, and goat cheese, served with toast and a hash brown patty. Simply delish!
Woodside Restaurant in Gulf State Park not only offers delicious food and drinks, but they also provide plenty in the way of entertainment. Dine in their screened-in patio, complete with games for the whole family. Outside they offer open air seating and a plethora of lawn games to enjoy. And be sure to check their calendar of events to catch some live music on the outdoor stage.
Though we were based in Gulf Shores during our first visit, we only actually ate at one of the many Gulf Shores restaurants! But boy, do we have a feeling we picked the best one! LuLu’s was hands down one of our favorite dining experiences from our visit to Gulf Shores. Owned by Lucy “LuLu” Buffet, sister of Jimmy Buffet, this bay-side beachy restaurant appeals to people of all ages. While waiting for your table, work up an appetite on the ropes course, visit the arcade, or peruse the gift shop. Check their calendar of events for fun family-friendly activities and live music. There’s always something going on at LuLu’s!
With an expansive menu catering to all, including those with food allergies, you’ll definitely find something you’ll enjoy. Whether you’re gluten free, dairy free, shellfish free, seafood free, egg free, soy free, or dairy free – there are plenty of menu options to choose from. The crab-melt nachos is a meal I’ll remember for a long time. So divine!! Sam opted for a Cheeseburger in Paradise and I simply couldn’t resist ordering a Margaritaville Margarita! It’s required, right?!
The Hangout is a Gulf Shores icon! It’s a recreation of the 50’s era boardwalk that was previously on site. With live music nightly, limbo contests, foam parties, and more, there is always something going on at The Hangout! Its location right along Gulf Shores Public Beach encourages a laid-back and beachy vibe. There are plenty of photo ops to be had at The Hangout. From HUGE adirondack chairs, to a massive shaka sculpture, and a wish wall, you definitely want to capture some fun vacation photos here!
Choose from burgers, fresh seafood, salads, sandwiches, and tacos. Check out their full menu. Their WipeOut Burger is featured in the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.” We were craving seafood and both opted for the shrimp po-boy, which did not disappoint. Up to this point in our trip, we hadn’t had a bushwacker (which is the equivalent of an adult chocolate frosty), so we added these local sweet treats to our order, complete with a rum floater.
Tacky Jacks is another Gulf Shores staple. They have 3 locations throughout the Gulf Shores region. All offer waterfront dining and serve up fun and delicious options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We visited two of the three locations on our most recent visit to Gulf Shores. For dinner on our final night we went to their newest location overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway at the curve on Canal Road.
The place is covered with colorful duct tape marked with names and notes from previous patrons. Of course we had to leave our mark! We started our meal at Jack’s with some cocktails and fried pickle chips. It’s the south, ya’ll! Sam went all in ordering a heaping plate of nachos. I ordered the daily special, which happened to be all-you-can-eat fish. Mmm mmm! The food was good and the atmosphere festive. It’s casual waterfront dining that’s fun for the entire family. Check out their full menu.
Tacky Jacks 2
As mentioned, Tacky Jack’s has 3 locations, with the original in Orange Beach. We visited their second location (Tacky Jack’s 2), down near Fort Morgan for breakfast one morning. Unfortunately it was too foggy and wet to sit outside to enjoy views of Mobile Bay. And while the interior ambiance didn’t immediately wow us, the food certainly did! The hearty farmer’s omelet filled Sam right up, while I fell in love with their pecan pancakes. The portions are enormous, so we both took half our meals to go and got to thoroughly enjoy them a second time!
Best Brewery in Gulf Shores
Big Beach Brewing
If you follow our blog, you’ll know that we love checking out local breweries wherever we go. Therefore a visit to Big Beach Brewing in Gulf Shores was a MUST! They are the southernmost brewery in Alabama. And though they’ve only been open since 2016, Big Beach Brewing is a BIG time operation. Their “tank to tap” system brings fresh, high-quality beer from one of several 300 gallon vessels on display behind the bar straight to your glass! You can chose from one of 12 beers on tap, or select a sample flight to try a few!
Choose from IPAs, Stouts, Cream Ales, and Belgian style beers. They don’t serve food, but you are more than welcome to bring food from home or order delivery from one of several Gulf Shores restaurants nearby. In their open air tap room, have a seat at the bar or cozy up by the fireplace. And if you’re not a drinker, but have friends who are, you can always enjoy a glass of their Big Beach’s housemade lemonade.
Sweet Treats in Orange Beach & Gulf Shores
And this is where the massive calorie consumption comes in! With endless options for sweet treats, you will definitely be able to satisfy your sweet tooth craving at these Orange Beach and Gulf Shores restaurants.
The Yard (Gulf Shores)
The Yard is THE place to go for an indulgent milkshake, also known as a freakshake. These decadent treats have been taking social media by storm and we had yet to try one ourselves… until NOW! At The Yard, you can build your own milkshake or order a specialty milkshake. Check out their sweet menu. Both come in either pint or quart sizes. The specialty shakes come in a souvenir mason jar you can take with you. We ordered the Peanut Butter Brownie Bliss – rich brownie batter ice cream in a peanut butter dripped jar with chocolate chips. It’s topped with whipped cream, peanut butter cups, fudge and peanut butter drizzle, and a fudge brownie on top!
(The second milkshake pictured below (with the doughnut) belong to another patron; we just captured a picture to show variety.) Ours was just a pint-sized specialty shake and we could barely finish it between the two of us. So rich, yet so delicious! And so expensive… these freakshakes don’t come cheap, but it’s ok to treat yourself every now and again! If you’re not feeling a milkshake, The Yard also offers a variety of ice cream flavors served in bowls, cones, floats, and waffles, in addition to doughnuts.
Rum Sisters (Orange Beach)
Update: Rum Sisters Closed its Doors in December 2019 🙁
Rum Sisters takes the cake… literally! These alcohol-infused cakes are a must try during your visit to Alabama’s coast. Rum Sisters works with some of the best distilleries in the world to bring you the taste of some of your favorite spirits in the form of a cake. After some sampling, you’ll want to get some to go. If you’re having withdrawals following your visit to Orange Beach, you can have these divine cakes delivered right to your doorstep, no matter where you live in the US!
Try the Keel Over (a traditional rum cake), the Big O (made with an Irish cream liquor), or the local favorite, a Bushwacker (chocolate and coconut). One of our favorites was the Drunken Monkey (banana bread cake infused with bourbon). I could go on with all of their wonderful cake options, but we’ll leave some unmentioned so you can discover them for yourself. There is not a single flavor we wouldn’t recommend. And trust us, we sampled every single flavor!
Scoops (Gulf Shores)
Scoops is a family-owned and operated old fashioned ice cream parlor with no shortage of sweet offerings. With over 40 flavors of premium ice cream, 4 flavors of soft serve, 24 topping choices, sherbets, sorbets, and 3 no-sugar added ice creams, you can have your dessert any way you wish. Have it served in a cup, cake cone, waffle cone, or specialty handmade dipped waffle cone. Try an old-fashioned milkshake, banana split, or brownie delight. The tough part is deciding what to get! Here’s their full menu.
Truthfully, we had heard that Matt’s Ice Cream was some of the best in town. However, Matt’s was closed for the season during our January visit. Well, if it weren’t for Matt’s being closed, we probably wouldn’t have tried Scoops. So, thanks for being closed, Matt! We were definitely NOT disappointed with the alternative. The chocolate peanut butter ice cream in a hand dipped chocolate waffle cone at Scoops was true ice cream euphoria. So until we try something different, we’d have to say Scoops offers the BEST ice cream in Gulf Shores!
Lickin Good Donuts (Gulf Shores)
Just like above, we had our mouths set to try City Donuts, one of the top-rated donut shops in Alabama. And just like Matt’s Ice Cream, they close shop in winter. Needless to say, we still wanted donuts, so we looked for an alternative and Finger Lickin came through for the win! They offer a huge variety, are as fresh as can be, and were truly finger lickin’ good! So, it worked out that City Donuts was closed, because it allowed us the opportunity to try and help promote another fabulous choice for donuts in Gulf Shores.
BuzzCatz (Orange Beach)
Another sister restaurant of GTs on the Bay and Luna’s Eat & Drink is BuzzCatz. This coffee and sweets shop offers an insane selection of made-from-scratch baked goodies to accompany their locally roasted coffee. Check out their weekly breakfast specials like Flapjack Monday, Tortilla Tuesday, Waffle Wednesday, and so on! They also have a great selection of breakfast sandwiches, quiche, cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies, cakes, and tarts. View their full menu HERE.
Sam was enticed by the candied bacon cinnamon roll and he was unquestionably satisfied with his selection. I opted for a praline pecan muffin. It was the last thing I ate in Orange Beach and it definitely left a lasting impression.
So again, this list is just to get you started. With hundreds of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores restaurants to choose from, there is no way we could’ve gotten to them all! Nor will we ever. But we promise to seek out the best restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach each time we return! And we’ll be sure to update our list for you!
Got any recommendations of places to eat in Gulf Shores and/or Orange Beach for us? Please let us know in the comments section below!