I. Introduction

Gulf Shores, Alabama, is well-known for its beautiful beaches, friendly locals, and some of the best seafood in the country. However, with so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming for visitors to decide where to go for their seafood fix. This article is intended to provide a comprehensive guide to all the seafood hot spots in Gulf Shores, from the popular restaurants among the locals to some lesser-known places that only the insiders know.

II. A Local’s Guide: Where to Eat the Best Seafood in Gulf Shores

When it comes to finding the best seafood in Gulf Shores, it’s always a good idea to listen to the locals. Here is a list of the most popular seafood restaurants in Gulf Shores among the locals:

  • Acme Oyster House: Known for their oysters (raw, chargrilled, or fried), po’boys, and other seafood offerings, like shrimp and crab cakes. Locals recommend the chargrilled oysters.
  • The Hangout: A lively restaurant with live music, games, and an impressive seafood menu, including crab legs, shrimp, and fish tacos. Recommended by locals for their fun atmosphere and excellent food.
  • Sea-N-Suds: A family-owned restaurant serving classic seafood dishes, such as fried shrimp and oysters, crab claws, and clam chowder. Locals love their Gulf shrimp and raw oysters.
  • King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant: A waterfront restaurant that offers a variety of seafood plates, sandwiches, and salads, plus live music on weekends. Locals recommend the fried shrimp and hush puppies.

Don’t forget to try the following insider tips:

  • Go early, or be ready to wait, especially during peak season. Most of these restaurants do not take reservations, and they can get crowded quickly.
  • If you’re not a fan of fried food, ask for grilled or broiled options.
  • Be prepared to get messy. Eating seafood often requires lots of napkins and hand-washing opportunities.

Here’s a closer look at the menus, prices, and atmosphere of each restaurant:

Acme Oyster House

Located in the heart of Gulf Shores, Acme Oyster House is a popular spot for both tourists and locals. The atmosphere is cozy and laid-back, with exposed brick walls, wooden floors, and large TVs showing sports games. The menu features a wide variety of seafood dishes, from raw oysters to po’boys to seafood platters. Prices range from $10 to $40, depending on the dish and portion size.

The Hangout

The Hangout is a colorful and lively restaurant offering classic seafood dishes and some creative, fun options, like the Hangout Fries (topped with crab meat, shrimp and cheese sauce) and the Grouper Taco. Prices are reasonable, with most dishes costing between $10 and $20. The restaurant also has a gift shop, a playground, and an outdoor seating area with sand pits.


Sea-N-Suds is a no-frills seafood joint on the beachfront, serving classic dishes like fried shrimp and oysters, seafood gumbo, crab claws, and raw oysters. The outdoor seating area offers great views of the Gulf of Mexico. Prices are affordable, with most dishes costing under $20.

King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant

King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant is a waterfront restaurant that offers traditional seafood dishes, such as fried shrimp and catfish, crab cakes, and seafood gumbo. The prices are fair, with most dishes costing around $20. On weekends, the restaurant features live music, and diners can enjoy their meals while watching boats pass by on the Intracoastal Waterway.

III. Off the Beaten Path: Hidden Seafood Spots in Gulf Shores Recommended by Locals

While the above-mentioned restaurants are great options for seafood lovers, they can get pretty crowded during peak hours. For those who prefer a quieter atmosphere or more unique dining experience, here are some hidden gems recommended by the locals:

  • Ginny Lane: Located in the Wharf in Orange Beach, Ginny Lane is a casual yet upscale restaurant known for its fresh seafood, cooked-to-order steaks, and impressive drink menu. Locals recommend the pan-seared tuna and the shrimp and grits.
  • The Steamer Baked Oyster Bar: A cozy restaurant with a waterfront view, The Steamer is known for its baked oysters (topped with bacon, jalapenos, cheese, and more), but also serves other seafood dishes like lobster tails and shrimp scampi. Locals recommend the garlic crab claws and the seafood platters.
  • The Gulf: An outdoor restaurant and bar made out of shipping containers, The Gulf offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and a unique dining experience. The seafood menu features dishes like fish tacos, shrimp po’boys, and raw oysters. Locals recommend the blackened grouper sandwich.

What makes these places special is not only the quality of food but also the atmosphere and the sense of community. The restaurants are often owned and operated by locals who take pride in their work and strive to deliver the best possible experience to every customer.

IV. Gulf Shores Insider: Discovering the Best Seafood Eateries in Town

To get more insights into the Gulf Shores seafood scene, we talked to a local seafood expert, Captain Johnny Greene, owner of the charter fishing business Distraction Charters.

Interview with Captain Johnny Greene:

Q: What do you think makes Gulf Shores seafood unique?

A: The Gulf of Mexico provides a unique environment for seafood to thrive. The warm waters, salt content, and variety of marine life contribute to some of the best seafood in the world. Gulf Shores restaurants use fresh, locally-sourced seafood to create dishes that are both delicious and sustainable.

Q: What seafood dish would you recommend to a first-timer in Gulf Shores?

A: You can’t go wrong with raw oysters or shrimp! These two dishes are staples in Gulf Shores seafood, and they allow the customer to taste the freshness and quality of the seafood without too many distractions.

Q: What’s your personal favorite seafood restaurant in Gulf Shores?

A: I have to say, my favorite restaurant is The Steamer Baked Oyster Bar. They have a unique atmosphere and a fantastic seafood selection. And of course, you can’t beat their baked oysters!

V. Tasting Gulf Shores: Exploring the Must-Try Seafood Restaurants for Locals

If you’re looking for some restaurants that the locals absolutely love, here are some top options:

  • Cobalt: A popular spot for locals and tourists alike, Cobalt is a seafood restaurant located at the Caribe Resort. The menu features a variety of seafood dishes, including sushi rolls and charbroiled oysters. Locals recommend the red snapper and the lobster mac and cheese.
  • The Flying Harpoon: A seafood joint with a fun and funky atmosphere, The Flying Harpoon offers fried and boiled seafood dishes, po’boys, and boiled crawfish (when in season). Locals recommend the fried alligator bites and the shrimp and crab beignets.
  • Lulu’s: Owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister, Lulu’s is known for its seafood baskets, seafood gumbo, and live music. The restaurant is located on the Intracoastal Waterway, offering both indoor and outdoor seating. Locals recommend the shrimp basket and the crab melt.

VI. Seafood Crawl: Following the Local Route in Gulf Shores for Coastal Cuisine

To truly immerse yourself in the Gulf Shores seafood scene, consider embarking on a seafood crawl adventure. Here’s a suggested itinerary:

  1. Start with brunch at Sea-N-Suds and try their famous Gulf shrimp omelet.
  2. Move on to King Neptune’s for lunch and order the fried shrimp and hush puppies.
  3. Head to The Steamer Baked Oyster Bar for happy hour, and enjoy some baked oysters and crab claws.
  4. For dinner, go to Cobalt and try the charbroiled oysters and crab cakes.
  5. End the night with drinks and live music at The Hangout.

Following this route will allow you to experience some of the best seafood that Gulf Shores has to offer while exploring different neighborhoods and atmospheres.

VII. From Fisherman to Plate: The Best Seafood Joints in Gulf Shores According to Locals

For those who care about sustainability and supporting local businesses, here are some restaurants that source their seafood locally:

  • Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina: A restaurant and bar that offers the freshest seafood, sushi, and craft cocktails, Fisher’s also has a dockside bar and marina that sells fresh seafood to go. Locals love their snapper throats and blackened tuna.
  • Cosmo’s Restaurant & Bar: A casual yet upscale restaurant that focuses on fresh, Gulf seafood and hand-cut steaks, Cosmo’s is owned by locals who care about sustainability and community. Locals recommend the blackened shrimp and the crab cakes.
  • Big Fish Restaurant & Bar: A seafood-focused restaurant that sources its fish from local fishermen and offers a variety of dishes, from seafood fettuccine to fish tacos. Locals recommend the spicy grilled shrimp and the grilled fish of the day.

Supporting these restaurants not only means that you’re eating delicious seafood, but it also helps the local economy and the Gulf fishing industry.

VIII. Conclusion

Gulf Shores is a seafood paradise, and with this guide, you’ll be able to find the best seafood places in town, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned local. Remember to listen to the locals, try some of the lesser-known spots, and support the restaurants that source their seafood locally. With this insider knowledge, you’ll be able to taste and experience the best of Gulf Shores’ coastal cuisine.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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