When we vacation, we gravitate toward condos and homes for the space. When the kids were younger, we especially enjoyed having a kitchen to prepare simple meals that fit the schedule.
As they got older, though, we enjoy eating out more. Let someone else handle all the messes! On a recent trip to Alabama’s Gulf Coast, we had such a long list of restaurants to try, we only ate breakfast at the condo!
To help you strike a balance between convenience, budget and dining out, we’ve compiled this guide to the best restaurants Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have to offer.
Best breakfast restaurants
The Ruby Slipper Cafe, 24151 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach
The restaurant’s sunny decor and high ceilings are inviting, while the high backed booths balance the openness, creating intimate dining spaces. The Louisiana inspired menu offers sweet and savory items to please every member of the family.
- Savory — a signature benedict (the peacemaker lets you choose two),
- Sweet — the french toast batons (french toast sticks made with brioche),
- Sides — pig candied bacon (trust me on this one)
Brick & Spoon, 24705 Canal Rd, Orange Beach
Serving an upscale southern menu in a casual atmosphere, Brick & Spoon provides diners a relaxed way to start the day. Ranked one of the top ten breakfasts in the United States by Travel + Leisure, we hesitate to recommend one dish over another. But, here’s what we had — and we loved every. single. bite:
- The Caribbean Sampler — an egg dish that’s sweet and spicy. With jerk chicken, grilled pineapple, cheese and mango salsa, it really is a party for your mouth!
- Stuffed French Toast Sliders — made with a battered french bread stuffed with cream cheese and fruit compote, then topped with fosters’ sauce, whipped cream and powdered sugar. It’s sweet — and filling!
- Bananas in Pajamas — crispy banana egg rolls served with fosters sauce. This is fun for kids — awww, who am I kidding? You’ll love it, too!
Best for lunch (or for dinner!)
The Gulf, 27500 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach
Food + Location = Perfection.
The Gulf, a unique dining concept built entirely of shipping containers, can be confusing on first visit. Our tip: find a table and stake your claim (you might share a picnic table with others). Then stand in line either at the fish container or the taco/burger container and order your meal. Everything is made fresh daily, and when a menu item runs out, that’s it for the day. Hence, my recommendation to eat there for lunch (a late lunch means smaller crowds). With a sandy play area, fire pits, and expansive views of the gulf, you can’t find better “decor.”
While the menu changes daily, the Gulf Burger and hand cut fries are always delicious! Other considerations include the fish tacos, homemade hummus and pita chips and the daily mojito!
Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s, 200 East 25th Ave., Gulf Shores
Another great destination restaurant choice is Lulu’s in Gulf Shores. On the waterfront, relax and watch the boats cruise by, listen to live music or let the kids play in the sand. The “restaurant” also has a climbing tower (separate fee), shop, and beach games. Lulu’s is about more than dinner: take a break to enjoy family, fun and food!
One more thing, Lulu’s gets our TOP PICK for families with food allergies. With eight separate food allergy menus and a separate kitchen to prepare foods for those with allergies, Lulu’s gets it — and makes it easy to enjoy a meal out without worry.
Our recommendations include any of the burgers, the Fried Green Tomato BLT, Crazy Sista’s Pulled Pork Sandwich, and the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.
(A note: Reviews often state that Lulu’s is over-priced. If you are planning a quick dinner and don’t want to enjoy a relaxed meal, this might not be the place. If you’re want to kick back and enjoy family time, this is the perfect spot.)
Tacky Jacks, Gulf Shores: 240 East 24th Avenue and Orange Beach: 27206 Safe Harbor Drive
My daughter’s favorite for the atmosphere and friendly staff! With two locations on Alabama’s gulf coast, both waterfront, hang out at Tacky Jack’s to enjoy great food in a funky atmosphere. Built to look haphazard, the restaurant is actually quite organized! Lines can get long at prime dining times, so go for a late lunch or early dinner unless you don’t mind waiting. Both locations offer spectacular sunset views year-round — for free.
One of our favorites was the Mexican Garbage (beef and cheese nachos topped with tomato, onions, black olives, sour cream, jalapeno peppers and salsa). It’s large enough to share — a meal for three if you ask me! The Po Boys are also terrific.
I put this header in quotes, because while the places I’m about to list offer a more sophisticated menu, they’re also quite family friendly. You’ll find people dressing up a bit, but they are not stuffy! Kids are welcome — wanted, in fact. Maybe that’s the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach secret — it’s all about family here.
Fisher’s Dockside, 27075 Marina Road, Orange Beach
Two restaurants in one, Fisher’s offers a casual dining experience downstairs (dockside) — where flip-flops and shorts are expected. Situated on the waterfront, marina views, grassy lawns and wide docks provide the decor at this open air restaurant. While the atmosphere is decidedly casual, the cuisine is still top-notch. Fisher’s Dockside serves burgers, seafood, salads and sandwiches — and some amazing appetizers.
Fisher’s Upstairs (that’s the name) is decidedly more fancy with linen tablecloths and draperies, reclaimed wood, graceful chandeliers. Don’t let that fool you, though, they also have porthole windows looking into the kitchen — watch the chefs cook your steak or seafood dinner!
Both Fisher’s Upstairs and Dockside are recommended by Southern Living Magazine — and me! When eating Dockside consider: Boudin Balls, Fried Green Tomatoes, anything with grits or the special of the day (best red beans I’ve ever had!)
Voyager’s, Perdido Beach Resort, 27200 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach
Voyager’s is another of my daughter’s top picks — she feels so grown up when we eat here, thanks to the upscale decor (sparkly chandeliers) and phenomenal wait staff. They treat her like royalty and she soaks it up!
Even with the white glove service, Voyager’s maintains a friendly, comfortable vibe that welcomes adults and children warmly. We really relax and enjoy dinner here — part of that Alabama Gulf Coast magic!
As to the food, the restaurant is committed to using traceable seafood (they’ll tell you exactly where your fish came from if you ask) and fresh local ingredients. I am particularly fond of the menu’s creativity — unique without being weird. Recognizable flavors used in unusual, but tasty, combinations.
My recommendations include: Pork “Secreto,” a house specialty, the Shrimp and Grits (I am allergic to shrimp — sadly — but others at the table raved about it), and the Gulf Coast Bouillabaisse (same comment — but the smell — oh my!). Of all the places I ate last year, Voyager’s Ostrich Carpaccio earned my “best bite of the year” award, so I have to include that as well.
Most restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are locally owned, delivering local cuisine you’re sure to enjoy. This is hardly an exhaustive list, but it includes my favorites — I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too!
If you’ve been to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, I’d love to know your favorites!
Please give your favorite restaurant a shout-out in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.