The Gulf-front beach communities of South Walton, FL, affectionately known as 30A, are known for their friendly people, clean beaches, small-town feel, and the signature blue, white and yellow stickers stuck on cars across the country. While driving through, the scenery along the stretch of South Walton road might just be enough to make you want to pull over and take a second look. From Grayton Beach to Rosemary Beach, you’ll find charming accommodations, diverse shopping, and local food options from classic Southern fare to bustling rooftop bars to seafood dives. However, if you’re looking for a nice restaurant for a date night or anniversary or even just a reason to dress up and eat some good food with your family, here are seven fine-dining options that are sure to make your mouth water.
Pescado Seafood Grill & Rooftop Bar
Located in the beautiful coastal town of Rosemary Beach, Pescado offers a dining room, inside bar and outside rooftop overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Boasting extraordinary service and cuisine by Chef Ken Duenas, Pescado incorporates subtle coastal colors, clean lines, and soft lighting to create a space that invites and complements the elements and scenery of the Emerald Coast. Come enjoy delicious cocktails, stunning sunset views, and a dining experience like no other.
Located in the 30Avenue development directly north of Rosemary Beach, Cuvee 30A is a 2020 OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award winner and brings celebrity Chef Tim Creehan’s wildly popular cuisine to South Walton. Come savor Tim’s award-winning signature dishes, such as Amy Grant’s Seared Tuna Rare and Vince Gill’s Pecan Crusted Grouper, and a wine list honored with 30A’s only Wine Spectator “Best of Award of Excellence”. As seen on Emeril’s Florida, this DiRoNA awarded restaurant also features their “Best of the Emerald Coast” voted Happy Hour with live music by Beachcomber Music Award winner Space Junkie.
Back in its original location in Grayton Beach, Borago is a local favorite. This classic trattoria with a contemporary flair serves homemade food that is the heart and soul of Italy. Enjoy hearty and robust cuisine that delivers an authentic take on traditional Italian cooking while sipping on expertly made cocktails. In fact, Borago is known for their signature drinks with juice that’s fresh-squeezed by their bartenders daily. Entrees like the Three Meat Bolognese with cheese tortellini and the Grouper Nicoise inspired by the Gulf will show you why this place is consistently voted one of 30A’s hottest spots for Italian cuisine.
Located on the soothing shores of Seagrove Beach, Cafe Thirty-A is a consistent crowd-pleaser. This restaurant delivers casual fine dining in an airy, upbeat yet sophisticated atmosphere and serves up a contemporary eclectic menu of local seafood, meats, poultry and wood-oven pizza. Their award-winning wine list and famous martinis make Happy Hours a hit. While Cafe Thirty-A is consistently voted on of 30A’s hot spots for dining, flip-flops and shorts fit in just fine here. Make no mistake, this is the happening place to be on 30A and, no matter how much your appetite begs for mercy, don’t leave without trying the banana beignets. Cafe Thirty-A is open for dinner seven days a week.
Vue on 30a
Looking for one of the best dining views along 30A? Look no further than Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club’s Vue on 30a restaurant. Located in Dune Allen Beach, this restaurant was voted “Best Waterfront Dining” by Florida Travel + Life Magazine, as well as “Best Place to Watch a Sunset” and “Best Place to Pop the Question” by Destin Magazine. Executive Chef Isley White brings to the table an array of cooking techniques with different spices and flavors passed down to him from family in Jamaica, in addition to his culinary training in the US. The restaurant also features Celebrity Chef Giovanni Filippone from Season 5 of Hell’s Kitchen. Vue on 30a is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 9pm and on Sunday from 11am to 6pm.
Another Rosemary Beach favorite, Restaurant Paradis is a small fine dining restaurant with a comfortable and inviting full service lounge. This hidden gem evokes a warm neighborhood feel and is committed to serving local produce with an abundance of fresh Gulf seafood, prime steaks and fine wine. Paradis draws from rich flavors of the coastal area as well as various other regions to create its tantalizing dishes that change with the seasons. Whether you’ve just came in from the beach or are ready for a night out on the town, the welcoming staff here is happy to have you.
Caliza serves contemporary American cuisine in a relaxed, al fresco setting overlooking Caliza’s stunning pool at Alys Beach. Retreat here after a day at the beach for quality food and drink paired with polished, friendly service. The menu centers on artisan, seasonal ingredients sourced from regional purveyors, showcasing our Gulf Coast locale. Expect an equal mix of healthy and indulgent sharable plates presented simply with bright, bold flavors that let the ingredients shine. The open-air bar is the perfect spot for happy hour, offering artisanal cocktails designed for poolside sipping and a thoughtfully curated list of craft beers and wines by-the-glass.