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Best Restaurants In Gulf Shores/Orange Beach

Updated: Oct 2, 2023


An assortment of seafood appetizers from Cobalt in Orange Beach

As it is with most vacations, food is important. (Or is it just with mine?) It might even be one of the aspects you most look forward to and don’t mind spending money on. This is the case for me. I consider myself a foodie, and some might even call me "too critical" or my tastes "high falutin." I would argue that this isn't a negative quality but a helpful one, at least in this case, because I'll never recommend a restaurant that I think is terrible.


During your southern Alabama vacation, you'll likely spend most of your days on the beach in the hot sun, which means that breakfast, lunch or dinner will be your next priority. So, since I ALWAYS have an opinion about food and will hopefully be visiting this area fairly often, I thought I would create a list in alphabetical order for you (that I'll be adding to each year) of my favorite places to eat near Gulf Shores.



What You'll Find In This Post:


 

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Price Breakdown

While the restaurant prices near Gulf Shores and Orange Beach could be more expensive than the eateries you have at home due to it being a popular vacation spot, they're still fairly cheap when compared to other touristy beach areas. This pricing guide will give you an overall idea of how much each restaurant costs so that you can plan your budget accordingly. That said, it's always a good idea to do additional research, so take a look at the websites, menus and food prices for each place before going.


$ - $10 or less per meal

This category mainly includes dessert shops and breakfast spots.


$$ - $10-$25 per meal

This category is made up of your everyday meals that won't break bank but will still make you feel like you're on vacation.


$$$ - $25-$45 per meal

This category consists of restaurants that are perfect for dinners or your typical weekend eats that will often have outdoor seating overlooking the ocean.


$$$$ - $50 or more per meal

This category is for those fine dining experiences, perhaps for a romantic evening or another special event.




Best Restaurants

Before we get started with the list, I want to share some background on why I've chosen the restaurants that I have. Usually my blog posts regarding the food in a certain city are only based on how good the food is, but for this post, I'm also taking into account the atmosphere and including some restaurants that aren't expensive and still have good food so that families have options.


The other main reminder I want to give you when it comes to the restaurants in Gulf Shores is that most of the food isn't going to be healthy. Why is this the case? I think there are two main reasons: 1) You're in the south and on the Gulf Coast, so many dishes are seafood and fried; 2) You're in a hot vacation spot, which means people likely aren't there to be healthy anyway.


All of this doesn't mean that you can't find healthier meals, though. It might just require you to do a little more research on the restaurants if you're trying to mitigate cheat meals. Additionally, it doesn't mean that the dishes that are more unhealthy don't taste good. Rather, they're named or shown within this list for a reason.


Three types of fries from Bleus Burgers, including parmesan truffle, beer cheese and gumbo

Bleus Burger

Tuesday-Saturday (11AM - 9PM); Sunday (11AM - 4PM); Monday (Closed)

Price: $$


As you can probably guess, Bleus is known for its burgers. This pub-type stop has a variety of combinations and flavors to choose from, and overall, the burgers are good and very filling. But my favorite menu item was the fries. We ordered an appetizer with three types of fries: parmesan truffle, gumbo and beer cheese. All of them were flavored so well! I also ordered Bleus’ homemade tater tots with my burger, which were unique and tasty. And, just as a cherry on top, the aesthetic of the place is exciting and … very very blue.


My Favorite Menu Item: Try at least one of the specialty/gourmet fries.



Creole cheesecake with nuts and caramel sauce from Cobalt in Orange Beach

Cobalt, The Restaurant

Open Daily (11AM - 9:30/10PM)

Price: $$/$$$


Cobalt is well-known in the area and very busy! Located in Orange Beach by the beach, it has outdoor and indoor seating with a small stage for live music. We had to wait to be seated for a while since you can’t make a reservation, so we ordered drinks and a lot of appetizers. (See the first photo in this blog post!) Everything we had here — oysters, BBQ shrimp, crawdad and andouille pasta, creole cheesecake, fried apple pie, etc. — was scrumptious, and the outdoor atmosphere was enjoyable.


My Favorite Menu Item: The Firecracker Shrimp appetizer was delish, so get it for the table to share!




Island Wing Company

Open Daily (11AM-10PM)

Price: $$


Located in southern Alabama and in Florida, Island Wing Company has a slogan that says "Get Baked — Not Fried. Nothing in the restaurant has been fried, which means that the dishes are likely healthier there since they're baked, steamed or grilled. For example, according to the menu, the "crispy baked wings are 60% lower in fat & calories as compared to fried wings."


Island Wing Company is more than just wings, too. You can order a salad, burger, quesadilla, sandwich, mac & cheese, flatbread and other fish and chicken dishes. In my opinion, it's the perfect affordable place to go with your family if you have kids or a group in which everyone likes different foods. Additionally, the restaurant prides itself on its extensive craft beer list and cocktail choices.


My Favorite Menu Item: I suggest you try some of the wings. The sauces are good, and it's kind of cool to eat some that are baked rather than fried.



Lamb lollipops from fine dining restaurant Perch in Gulf Shores

Perch

Wednesday-Sunday (5PM - 11PM)

Price: $$$


I can explain this restaurant in one short, incomplete sentence: a small menu with expensive, small plates that are entirely worth every penny! If you’re not very hungry and want to have an evening drinking wine or cocktails with friends and eating some food on the side, Perch would be the ideal place. It's only open during dinner time, and there's outdoor seating with a view of the ocean, so you can watch a beautiful sunset if you get there at the right time.


Don’t be turned off by this explanation if you are really hungry, though, it’s still worth the visit! Just be prepared to spend more money. All of the dishes are fairly unique or include interesting flavors. For example, I had “Lamb Lollipops & Honey Roasted Carrots” (Incredible!). We also tried a shrimp appetizer, and others in my party had filet mignon and tuna dishes.


As a final note, try to book a table in advance via the Perch website. It can get busy!


My Favorite Menu Item: As mentioned, I loved the Lamb Lollipops & Honey Roasted Carrots plate.




Scoops Ice Cream

Open Daily (11AM - 11PM)

Price: $


Scoops Ice Cream is a go-to spot for tourists and locals. Here you can get ice cream in a cone or bowl, sundaes, a float or other cream and soda drinks, a Banana Split, brownies and ice cream, and other desserts. From classic to more unique flavors, there are a lot of ice creams to choose from, so take your time looking through them all while you're in line and feel free to ask for a taste of the ones you're considering.


And speaking of a line, there's often a long line out the door of Scoops because of its popularity. The good news is that the workers are efficient, so you won't be waiting for too long. The bad news is that, depending on how busy it is, you might not be able to find seating outside if you were planning on hanging around to eat your ice cream.


My Favorite Menu Item: I'm obsessed with coffee ice cream, and I love Scoops' Cappuccino Crunch.

 

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