Restaurants

McGuire's Irish Pub and Brewery

The first thing you notice when you step inside this brewpub is the thousands of dollar bills that hang like foliage from the ceiling. Signed by pleased patrons, they add extra green to the Irish memorabilia already on display. The restaurant's dark wood and brass accents aptly furnish a place where Irish folk music plays and beer is made on the premises. Pub fare, such as fish and chips, shepherd's pie, and corned beef and cabbage, will placate purists, but the menu also offers steaks, pastas, burgers and seafood for those who haven't been initiated into the pleasures of Irish cuisine. Try them with one of the house brews, which include a light, a red, a stout and even a non-alcoholic root beer.

Fish Out of Water

An ocean view and trendy blue-tiled sushi bar enhance this large dining room's appeal. Soft shades of yellow and green dominate the interior, and guests may dine at either a table or semi-circular booth. The kitchen boasts flavorful fish and meat prepared with homegrown veggies and exotic seasonings. The short but intriguing menu might include wild striped bass with butternut squash lasagna, baby carrots, turnips, and apple curry sauce or moulard duck breast with poached quince, polenta, frisse, and orange coriander sauce. An extensive selection of wines is offered, and a limited assortment is available by the glass.

Beach Walk Café

One of the Emerald Coast's most celebrated restaurants, this waterfront eatery serves American cuisine with Asian and European influences. Its chef, Tim Creehan, creates dishes such as tempura-fried grouper with black bean sauce and stir-fried vegetables, oven-roasted pork with shiitake mushroom dressing, or roasted lamb with eggplant and goat cheese rolls. He is also known for his hot crawfish salad, crabmeat spring rolls, white chocolate banana cream pie, and a delightful Sunday brunch. These, along with his other specialties, reveal why he has been chosen as chef for dinners hosted by celebrities such as Amy Grant, Vince Gill and Cybill Shepherd.

Cafe Thirty-A

Gulf Coast architecture figures prominently in this yellow clapboard building, trimmed in white and topped by a metal roof. Inside, exposed rafters and ductwork are painted white, and market umbrellas hang from the ceiling. The menu features oak-fired oven pizzas, and main dishes include grilled swordfish, sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna, grilled rack of lamb, and filet mignon with truffle aioli and foie gras bordelaise. Fishbone, the restaurant's bar, serves up specialty martinis and has a terrific wine list with a number of good champagnes. Outdoor dining is available on the bar's open deck.

Dewey Destin's Harborside

Leonard Destin, who founded the beach town in 1835, happens to be Dewey's great, great grandfather making this restaurant a true Destin establishment that shouldn't be missed. Besides the intriguing history of the restaurant, this seaside eatery has a lot to offer. The harborside location gives patrons the chance to enjoy the ocean breeze and view while savoring fish and seafood dishes and sipping tropical drinks.

Seagar's

Refined and sophisticated, this classy establishment gleams with polished wood and stone. Its culinary emphasis is on seafood, steaks and wine, but the focus extends to spirits and cigars as well. Entrees include Maine lobster, swordfish, Atlantic salmon, Dover sole and steaks in a variety of cuts. Everything is prepared fresh when you order, and Steak Diane is assembled tableside. Premium cigars are available as well, and a decorative humidor made for the Shah of Iran is on display. Diners are often surprised by the quality of Seagar's offerings, but that's no reason for apprehension. On the contrary, each guest is welcomed and treated with the utmost graciousness.

Bud and Alley's

This long-standing local favorite, named for a dog and a cat, is a half hour's drive from Destin but definitely worth the trip. Devoted to fresh seafood, the owners also choose the best ingredients from area farmers. They transform these goods into creative entrees, such as Basque-style seafood stew, grilled duck breast, Florida blue crab cakes and grilled beef tenderloin stuffed with fried oysters. The menu extends well beyond these dishes and constantly reveals new flavors and textures. Whether in the light-filled dining room or outside in the sea air, the cuisine is impeccable. Upstairs, an open-air bar serves drinks and light meals and provides an incredible vista across the gulf.

Marina Café

Recipient of numerous awards, this fantastic restaurant couples imaginative cuisine with impeccable service and a stunning view of the harbor. The menu, which changes daily, culls inspiration from a variety of traditions, resulting in Japanese barbecued salmon, grilled filet medallions with crawfish barbecue, and Dijon and rosemary-rubbed lamb chops. Gourmet pizzas and pasta dishes also feature cross-cultural influences. A cocktail lounge greets guests with contemporary jazz, and the deck is incomparable for outdoor dining. A large wine list and a selection of premium cigars heighten the pleasure of the entire experience. From 5pm-6pm, main course dishes are 2-for-1, and the bar offers excellent happy hour specials.