Now that we’ve officially deemed the 30A area as “our vacation place”–I think I can chime in with my recommendations for the best restaurants in 30A! Growing up, we rarely visited the same vacation spot twice (other than Hilton Head Island) and now we’ve been to 30A about 5 times in the last 3 years. As a disclaimer, we like casual restaurants (at the beach and at home), so while there are plenty of very nice restaurants in the area, these recommendations are on the casual side!
3rd Cup (Rosemary Beach) – Newer to Rosemary Beach as of 2022. This coffee place is amazing and it’s so cute inside too. It’s a bit secluded in the true Rosemary Beach area, but in a cozy little area. The vanilla iced lattes are amazing and they also have sweets like muffins and donuts.
Scratch Biscuit (Watercolor) – Great biscuits and traditional breakfast of eggs, hash browns, bacon/sausage. I especially liked the hash brown “casserole” and the sausage too. Note: they only have drip coffee (no espresso drinks).
Black Bear Bread Co. (Grayton Beach) – I like to stop here on the way out as the finale to the trip! Their biscuits are amazing! The coffee is too. Pastries look spectacular and it’s such a cozy spot, but it gets very busy to plan accordingly.
Big Bad Breakfast (Rosemary Beach/Inlet Beach) – This isn’t a local spot, but it’s so good! It’s off on its own a bit, so it’s easy to park and get in. Awesome breakfast bowls and lots to choose from!
Charlie’s Donuts (Rosemary Beach, Food Truck at Alys Beach) – Sometimes you just need to grab a donut and a coffee. They have excellent espresso drinks and their donuts are good too. The Rosemary Beach shop has a bit more to choose from for breakfast/snacks, but I prefer the donut truck at Alys Beach (currently temporarily closed as of summer 2022)!
The Perfect Pig (Santa Rosa Beach) – If you like breakfast burritos, you have to stop here! It’s been awhile since I had this one, but it’s such a cool local spot. It’s very small inside, so plan accordingly and maybe even grab to go to eat on the beach!
Creative Crepes (Rosemary Beach) – Don’t expect much from the customer service or ambience, but the crepes are really good! I’ve had the breakfast, savory, and sweet crepes and they’re all very good. I especially like the pizza crepe!
Amici 30A (Rosemary Beach) – Our go-to Italian spot! The bread and caesar salad are to die for. I could eat that alone as its own meal! But I also love the fettuccine bolognese or traditional tomato sauce. The pasta is handmade and so fresh! It tends to get pretty busy (and loud) for dinner, so plan to arrive early.
Red Bar (Grayton Beach) – I know, you’ve probably heard of this one. Or maybe your friends had the t-shirts in middle school… I had never gone until last year, but it’s worth it! They have a very limited menu, so if you have a large group or picky eaters, I’d say skip it. But their crab cakes (Friday and Saturday dinner only) and the shrimp and crawfish pasta is so, so good.
Shades Bar & Grill (Rosemary Beach) – Super casual sports bar that has really awesome food and a huge menu! Lots of parking onsite and a pretty big restaurant, so you may have a wait on busy nights, but not nearly as bad as the other nearby smaller spots. Shrimp plate was the best I’ve had in the area! Get the ranch for your fries. We enjoyed the queso too.
Old Florida Fish House (Santa Rose Beach) – This place has an amazing ambience. Their menu has fish and sushi, which is fun. Not my absolute favorite for the food, but the outdoor area is so nice and romantic.
LaCo (Rosemary Beach) – Excellent queso and tacos! Our go-to Mexican restaurant at the beach. Family friendly and good margaritas too! We’ve never had to wait too long. I’d love to try their brunch too!
Great Southern Café (Seaside) – Really great fried shrimp (are you sensing a theme here?) and traditional southern foods. It gets super busy so make a reservation if you can, otherwise you’ll wait an hour+. A really fun, coastal atmosphere. We’ve also had breakfast here and it was good (not great)!
Kilwin’s (Rosemary Beach) – I know, this isn’t a local spot. But I think the 30A area is really lacking in dessert places (minus donuts) and this place has the best ice cream and fudge in the area.
Next time we go, I hope to explore more of the Alys Beach restaurants. That’s one area we haven’t tried! Clearly Rosemary Beach is our favorite place, and I highly recommend staying there or nearby when you visit 30A!