Gilligan’s Tiki Bar
Gilligan’s Tiki Bar on the Hampton Inn’s beachfront pool deck is a great place to catch a sunset. They serve six kinds of draft beer, blended cocktails, and have a flat screen television for games. They have free oysters every Wednesday in the summer and are open seasonally 11am to sunset.
There are several great dining options in the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel. All the food is great, especially the burgers. If you want to splurge try the Steak Dano. It’s named after their chef Dan Dunn who is one of five local celebrity chefs. It is an 8-ounce filet mignon with fried lobster and shrimp, wild mushrooms, baby bok choy and garlic herb mashed potatoes. Chef Dano cooked at the James Beard House in New York several times. You can read about it here on our Toes in the Sand Blog.
The Hilton hotel also serves up the best Sunday brunch on the beach. They’ve received a couple Best of the Bay awards from a local newspaper. There’s always free jazz and an all you can drink Bloody Mary bar. You can read all about it here on our Toes in the Sand Blog.
If you like sushi, the Bonsai Sushi Bar at the Hilton serves the best sushi in the city. If you’re a tuna lover don’t miss the ATL Volcano. It’s rolled with spicy tuna and cucumber and then topped with more tuna, avocado, spicy mayo and eel sauce. Be sure to follow up with a Yomi Yomi roll consisting of fresh tuna, salmon, yellowtail, cream cheese, and scallions, flash fried and then served with cucumber salad and ponzu sauce. Follow this link to read about Chef Dot Chap and his award winning sushi on our Toes in the Sand Blog.
You’ll also find Latitudes Pool Bar on the Hilton’s beachfront pool deck. Check it out of you are looking for good times, cocktails and quality casual meals.
Riptides is located in the Holiday Inn Resort hotel. They have 20 flat screen high definition televisions so it is a great place to catch a game. The chef understands the importance of chowing down while cheering for your team and isn’t afraid to pile it on. The burgers and wings are awesome. They have a burger so big that if you finish it you get a free beer. Riptides Tiki Bar located on the hotel’s beachfront pool deck is the biggest tiki on the coast. You can read about the cool guy who built it on Toes in the Sand Blog. Riptides hosts crawfish boils at the tiki bar every weekend in the summer. You can also read about this spicy Cajun tradition here on Toes in the Sand Blog.
Located ‘soundside’ this beach bar is a favorite hangout among locals and visitors alike and has an excess of funky charm. As the folks at Visit Florida say, “It’s as real as swamp full of gators, as laid back as juice-in-the-blender and as high-spirited as a hurricane. If you’re looking for a peachy place to people watch, grab a grouper sandwich and tap your toes to live tunes, this piece of old-time Florida is bound to float your flip-flops.” The food is simple, good and cheap. Fried green beans, quesadillas and the Cuban sandwich won’t disappoint.
If you are looking for some great affordable food we recommend you check out the Dog House Deli. This local favorite has been around for three decades. They are best known for their franks and have over a dozen kinds of juicy signature creations served up on yummy steamed buns. They also serve a great breakfast, sandwiches, chilli and bread pudding. Don’t miss the bread pudding. Click here to read about Dog House Deli on Toes in the Sand Blog.
This is a lively and large waterfront restaurant located sound side on Pensacola Beach. They have lots of outdoor seating, some of which enables you to have your toes in the sand while you eat. There is even a beach volleyball court. The menu includes southern and American favorites such as fried food in baskets, burgers, seafood, steaks and pasta. They have an indoor pub style bar for the adults and an outdoor playground for the kids. Cheap martinis and free appetizers make Tuesday nights a favorite with the locals. If you sit at the bar, be sure to say hi to Dedrick. Many Pensacola Beach locals claim he’s the nicest bartender on the beach.
Pensacola Beach is located on Santa Rosa Island, which is a barrier island. Barrier island is just a geographical term for giant sandbar. With water on every side the possibility of more then one kind of beautiful view is what makes this place so special. So while you’re here it’s a great idea to spend some time enjoying the active pace of island life ‘soundside’. Hemingway’s Island Grill is one of the many a great places to do this. You can read all about what they offer on our Toes in the Sand Blog.
This is a great little Italian restaurant at the far end of the Soundside Market across the street from the Hilton hotel. This is a good place to get take out if you want to enjoy some quality Italian food in your room. If you want to eat there the indoor dining room is romantic and atmospheric. If you sit on the small outdoor patio you can enjoy views of Pensacola Bay. All the pasta dishes are great. Take note that if you order the ‘spagasagna’, which is a giant plate of spaghetti topped with lasagne, the portion is big enough for a family of four.
This funky little place is located in the colorful strip mall east of the Paradise Hotel and is known for having good cheap breakfast.
Peg Leg Pete’s
If you’re craving some seafood, make sure you check out Peg Leg Petes. This is one of the most popular restaurants on Pensacola Beach, and as a result there’s usually a line up. However, table waits are well managed with portable buzzers and there’s a comfortable bar called the Underwear Bar under the main restaurant where you can enjoy a cocktail in the meantime. It’s a family friendly place with a playground for the wee ones. The kids food that comes in a sand pail. How fun is that? They’re known for their oysters which are amazing, but the chicken parmesan and the artichoke dip won’t fail you either. We recommend you start with a dozen Oyster Rockefeller and some peel and eat shrimp.
This funky little shack of a restaurant is located on the water at the end of the Portofino Boardwalk. The food is simple. They serve good burgers and great fries. Their yam fries are especially good. They have bars stools around the edge of their patio which are the perfect place to perch and watch the endless activity in Pensacola Bay.
The Grand Marlin
This is a great choice if you’re looking for fine dining. They have a fresh seafood menu that changes daily and the environment is first class. Their deluxe deck is a great place to watch a sunset. The outdoor bar is an ideal place to cozy up with some locals especially during their daily happy hour from 3pm-5pm. Don’t miss $5 burgers on Sundays. You must sit at the bar to enjoy happy hour specials. They also serve a Sunday Brunch that will not disappoint. Click here to read about The Grand Marlin on Toes in the Sand Blog.
This funky laid back family restaurant is a favorite with locals in the know and might be the best place to get a New York steak in the area. It’s located just off the main road in Gulf Breeze, Florida. The Head Chef is also the owner of the restaurant and is known to come out and chat with his tables.
The Fish House & Atlas Oyster House
This is one of the most popular restaurants downtown Pensacola. Their dining room and patio has great views of the Three Mile Bridge. You can expect your meal to be amazing. They’re known for seafood but the steaks are top notch as well. If you are adventurous try their famous Grits a Ya Ya.
Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen & Tap Room
This busy place offers live music, over 200 beers on tap and awesome pizza served until 2am. The best thing on their menu is their hand cut fries which are fried in duck fat. On Tuesdays drinks are $3 from 7pm to 3am.
McGuire’s Irish Pub
This is a very popular local restaurant that is known for having over a million dollars stapled to their walls. The atmosphere is fun and the food is really great. The portions are huge and you can get peanut butter on your burger. They are known for great steaks and pub food.
Five Sisters Blues Cafe
Black musicians like B.B. King played in smoky clubs on the historic streets of the Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood in downtown Pensacola. Today you can soak up the vibe with the best southern food in the city at Five Sisters Blues Cafe. This is the place to go for brunch if you are craving chicken and waffles. The fried chicken is the best around and the classic southern sides are sure to please.
This fine dining restaurant occupies the ground floor of a historic building overlooking Plaza Ferdinand in downtown Pensacola. It’s located right across the street from where Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States, planted the first American flag on Florida soil. Their chef, Irv Miller, is one of five local celebrity chefs. If you are looking for a great steak in a fine dining atmosphere don’t miss Jacksons.
In search of a quaint spot to dine where the locals hang out? You won’t be disappointed at Dharma Blue! Just a short drive from the beach to historic Downtown Pensacola, it is a lovely Victorian cottage set adjacent to Seville Park. Dine indoors or out. They have lunch and dinner specials, sushi nightly, and a great cocktail bar. Click here to read more about this hidden dining treasure on our Toes in the Sand Blog.
Got BBQ on the brain? How about putting some in your belly? The Happy Pig is a must do for all BBQ lovers. Just follow the wonderful smoky aroma to a trendy little spot in historic downtown Pensacola. Every table has a large variety of specialty BBQ sauces to accommodate both Texan and Southern palates alike. They offer nightly specials, beginning with Happy Hour Monday thru Friday. If you are feeling adventurous and more than a little hungry, ask about the “Port-In-Nator Challenge”. Click here to read more about the Happy Pig on our Toes in the Sand Blog.
The Global Grill
This popular fine dining restaurant offers a tapas menu and elegant romantic atmosphere.
This is the best place for sandwiches in historic downtown Pensacola. It is also a lively bar if you are looking to get out and about.
Cactus Flower Cafe
This is the place to go if you are looking for fish tacos and sangria.
Located on the pier at the bottom of historic Palafox Street. Their bay front patio is the perfect place to rest with a great martini. Time it so you can soak up the sunset over Pensacola Bay. Their menu is trendy and fresh.