We take at least one vacation to the beach, some beach, every year. A ‘vacation’ to the boys means the beach; we travel to other places, it’s referred to as ‘a trip’.
Every trip, I make notes of restaurants that we like and those we don’t. I decided to share our favorites, or not favorites, with you this year.
We vacationed in Orange Beach, AL this year. Now, if you’re not familiar with the area, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Perdido all run together on Alabama’s coast. It’s a beautiful stretch of beach. We usually go to the San Destin, FL area, but with kids the 1+ hour shorter drive time makes a huge difference. The Orange Beach area is quieter than San Destin and there’s not as much to do, but all we really want to do is unwind and relax so this is perfect!
So below are the restaurants we visited and the good, bad and ugly of each!
Cobalt is one of my most favorite restaurants. They offer a variety of foods salads, sandwiches, pizza, pastas and hearty fish, pork, steak, entrees. You may have a wait but they also have great unique cocktails. I recommend you enjoy the Pineapple Mojito as you wait. The view is awesome; it looks out over the bay. I highly recommend visiting Cobalt!
Sea n’ Sand
On a scale of 1 to 10 it’s a -5, that’s negative 5!!!! Skip It!! It’s horrible! Such great potential with the beach location but the food was gross, nothing homemade.
Doc’s is ‘da bomb’…’da bomb diggity’ GO!! Love it! I usually stay away from restaurants that fry, but after eating grilled, blackened and broiled all week, Big Daddy was craving fried shrimp. The sign at Doc’s proclaims “Best Fried Shrimp in the Civilized World!” Well, they ARE!!! Doc’s is an old restaurant that has expanded over time, it’s unassuming. You don’t have to get dolled up to go. The first night we tried to go there was an hour wait, so we went for a late lunch the next day and was seated immediately. They offer fried, broiled or blackened shrimp, fish, oysters, and all the usual sides, slaw, hushpuppies, fries.
The seafood platter was gone so quickly I didn’t have time for a picture!!
Good lunch place, good kids menu – They have a variety of foods to choose from. They offer appetizers, salads, poboys and sandwiches. They also have steamed or fried baskets, and grilled blackened or pan-grilled platters. It’s good, it’s fried, not my favorite, but not my least favorite. I’d go (if I couldn’t get to Doc’s.)
Franco’s Italian Restaurant was good. We had a sampler platter with spaghetti, ravioli, cheese manicotti and seafood lasagna. The seafood lasagna was outstanding. The boys got a pizza and it was really good as was the salad that came with both entrees. I would eat there again for the seafood lasagna alone, but the spaghetti, ravioli and manicotti was average.
Franco’s in Orange Beach, AL
This salad was awesome!
This pizza was good too, slightly sweet crust, yum!
Another one of my very favorites (and a favorite of almost everyone apparently). Expect a wait, even at 4:00 pm! They have daily happy hour from 3 to 5:00. One of the few places I found with sushi. They have a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and pasta. Entrée range from steak to seafood, catfish, tuna, pork and chicken. One of the few places that I feel actually ‘make’ their food instead of buying it pre-made off a truck. They have a large patio and live music and I just think this place is killer! You can also shop at Maggie’s Bottle and Tail while you wait. Put it on your list, it’s a must! The fish is good. The steaks are good, the shrimp is good. The mojitos are killer, everything’s good. Go! (but expect a wait!)
Shop at Maggie’s Bottle and Tail while you wait!
Enjoy cocktails while you wait!
The Happy Hour sushi needs a little working on, but it’s ok.
The appetizer crab cakes were awesome, all meat, very little ‘filler’ and great remoulade sauce!
The walls are painted bright unconventional colors and decorated with artists paintings of dogs that are for sale.
Tacky Jack’s is awesome; cool atmosphere, there was a live band the day we were there (at lunch). They offer dining inside and out. They also have parasailing, jet skiis, boat rides and a souvenir shop next door, everyone is super friendly. But back to the food, they have the best fish tacos! I get them every time I go….with a Bushwacker! You MUST get the Bushwacker. This is Alabama’s cocktail of choice much like the Hurricane is for New Orleans! They offer salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, seafood platters. They even serve breakfast, but I’ve never been at breakfast. I recommend this restaurant… and the Bushwacker!
We ate at Live Bait the last night we were in Orange Beach. It was across the street from our Condo. We were tired, hungry, didn’t want to wait and didn’t want to drive far. It was full at the time, but we didn’t have to wait to be seated. Typical bar type restaurant. They have an area for live music but no one was playing this night. They also have TVs everywhere. I was wishing there was a good game on to watch. Wesley got fried shrimp and they were really good. I couldn’t resist the appetizer Greek Seafood Nachos. They were awesome, Big Daddy ended up eating a lot of them, it was a huge portion. Expect a restaurant remake of this dish! I’d go back to Live Bait.
This was the rage a few years ago, but frankly, I’m over Louisiana Lagniappe. Actually, I never thought it was all that. It’s just kind of 1980’s cheesy touristy something. We’ve eaten at LL in Orange Beach and in Destin and it’s okay, it’s just not awesome. I mean, it’s better than Sea n Suds. They have grouper, shrimp, steaks, burgers. I’m not a fan, I can’t go on!
Hazel’s may have been good ‘back in the day’ but it looked and smelled like a cafeteria. I know they’re known for great breakfast. We stopped in to get a menu for dinner. No! Negative! Not happening!
So that’s it for now on Orange Beach restaurants. Check back I’ll be updating this list!