Dining venues that welcome the kids, serving everything from chowder to chateaubriand.
Pensacola has much to offer families and adults looking for a dining experience beyond the usual fried seafood and kitschy tourist traps so often found in beach communities. We were surprised to find everything from simple, fresh seafood to innovative cuisine with international influences. Some of our favorites are listed below.
Flounder’s Chowder House
800 Quietwater Beach Rd., Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
Spilling out onto a sandy beach overlooking Santa Rosa Sound, Flounder’s is one of those open-air beach bar/restaurants with non-stop Jimmy Buffett music in the background or a live reggae band. This kind of place can’t help but get your vacation vibe going. In addition to a large menu of award-winning fresh gulf seafood grilled over hardwood, Flounder’s has a large pirate’s ship playground on the beach for little ones, an arcade with paid and free games for the teens and a beach volleyball court
McGuire’s Irish Pub
600 E. Gregory St., Pensacola, Florida 32501
Who knew? Here’s a large Irish pub that has won numerous Golden Spoon awards and also been honored with Wine Spectator Award of Excellence year after year. Housed in a 1927-era Pensacola firehouse, the ceiling and walls of McGuire’s are papered with more than 250,000 one-dollar bills signed by the pub’s Irish patrons (or those moved to be Irish when there), collected over the past 28 years. Renowned for its award-winning steaks and the occasional wandering bagpipe player, McGuire’s serves up seafood and plenty of Irish standards, in addition to a “Leprechaun’s Menu.
The Fish House
600 S. Barracks St., Pensacola, Florida 32502
A local hotspot overlooking the Seville Harbor Marina, The Fish House is an attractive restaurant offering classic seafood, some with a bit of Asian flair. We didn’t get to sample any of the beautiful creations from the sushi bar, but we’re still dreaming about the signature Grits a Ya Ya – grilled shrimp on a bed of wilted greens, portabella mushrooms and smoked gouda cheese grits. The kids’ menu features the ubiquitous chicken fingers (fried or grilled), popcorn shrimp and even a petite filet
Joe Patti’s Seafood
524 S. “B” Street, Pensacola, Florida 32501
Though not exactly a restaurant, Joe Patti’s merits a mention as a supplier of just-off-the-boat seafood for locals, restaurants, and Pensacola visitors who want to carry out or ship home just about any imaginable fresh fish. This large storefront even contains a gourmet shop with prepared foods, deli items and desserts, a wine shop and a take-out sushi bar with delicious creations made from the catch supplied by the boats out back. Joe Patti’s has been a Pensacola institution since 1935, and it’s easy to see why so many visitors order on-line once they’re back home
400 S. Palafox St., Pensacola, Florida 32503
Jackson’s is a must if you’re lucky enough to score a babysitter for the evening. Housed in a circa-1860 brick building overlooking one of downtown Pensacola’s most prominent squares, Jackson’s urbane sophistication would easily fit any large cosmopolitan city. Chef Irv Miller and his talented young sous chef Alex McPhail have received national recognition for their “modern Southern Florida coastal cuisine.” The wait staff is friendly yet professional, the ambience is lovely and the food is out of this world.
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