Pensacola is known for its beautiful beaches, sugar-white fine sand, and historic downtown area. However, touring Pensacola can make you work up quite an appetite! If you’re looking for a bite to eat, we highly suggest that you stop by any of these places during your stay. From relaxed beachfront restaurants to quaint cafes and bars, this list has the best restaurants in Pensacola that every tourist simply must visit.
Leisure Club Coffee Bar & Restaurant
Suite A, 1151 Office Woods Dr., Pensacola, FL 32504
This award-winning coffee and brunch bar is well-known for its tasty selection of craft beer and cheeses. This is also a good spot for vegans, as it has vegan-friendly options that are every bit as delicious as its other offerings!
A popular spot for brunch because of its bottomless mimosas and Brunch Trio options, fans recommend Bagel with Smoked Salmon and Garden Frittata. The latter is a favorite with vegetarians, as it’s made in-house with zucchini, portobello mushrooms and Colby jack cheese.
Order one of the amazing lattes to go with the key lime pie or biscuits and gravy. Don’t forget to try its Intelligentsia coffee and fine wine to elevate your dining experience. We recommend the Angeleno, a decadent shaken and iced drink made with four shots of espresso, East Hill Honey, and cream.
Union Public House
309 S Reus St., Pensacola, FL 32502
This craft pub is known for serving rustic, inventive Southern plates and its commitment to using sustainable, humanely harvested fresh ingredients for its dishes.
Locals recommend ordering the Scotch Egg, made with a pork crackling crust and avocado mayo. Its take on the humble Frito Pie – made with smoked pork, cheese sauce, and BBQ – is worth ordering, too.
Our favorite main from the menu is the Crispy Pork Shank, served with smoked potato mash, sauteed brussel sprouts, and bacon and onion marmalade. All of these recommended dishes are rich and savory items, perfect for pairing with an ice-cold beer or a pisco sour.
The Palace Cafe
130 E. Government St., Pensacola, FL 32501
Known for serving contemporary Creole cuisine, the Palace Cafe will make you feel like you’re right in New Orleans’ French Quarter with its quaint ambiance. Get a table here after exploring the Seville Quarter and refresh yourself with the coffee and beignets.
Craving fresh shellfish straight from the waters of the Sunshine State? Try the Imperial Oysters, a decadent dish made with creamy crab and scallop-baked oysters finished with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese. Another tasty oyster appetizer to order is Oysters Seville, a baked dish made with bacon, finely chopped shrimp, and onions.
If you’re looking for a light but flavor-packed lunch, you can’t go wrong with the sandwiches on its menu. We recommend ordering the Fried Shrimp, Crawfish Tails, or Oyster Po’boy New Orleans Style. These hearty New Orleans-inspired sandwiches are dressed with the Palace’s French remoulade and served with your choice of sweet potato fries, French fries, onion rings, pub chips, fresh fruit, or coleslaw.
400 S Palafox St., Pensacola, FL 32502
If you want to splurge on one of the best places to eat in Pensacola, you can’t go wrong with the steaks, chops, and lobster served at Jackson’s Steakhouse. The restaurant’s refined interiors and high ceilings date back to the 1860s, so dress up to the nines and get ready for a delicious dinner – you’ll find out for yourself why it’s considered one of Florida’s top 25 restaurants.
Start your meal with the delicious French Onion Soup or Lamb Lollipops made with parmesan garlic sauce and shaved brussel sprouts. The superb steaks are made from wet-aged, grain-fed beef and served with garlic confit and an all-natural demi-glace.
Pair your appetizers and entrees with a bottle from its premium wine list. Don’t be shy – ask your server what they recommend to go with your selected dishes! Don’t forget to save room for the decadent Chocolate Mousse or tangy Key Lime Phyllo Purse for dessert.
Carmen’s Lunch Bar & Tapas
407 S Palafox St., Pensacola, FL 32502
This downtown Pensacola spot serves savory tapas, homemade sandwiches, and fresh salads in a relaxing atmosphere. Reviewers recommend starting your meal with the gluten-free Thai Yellow Curry Crab Chowder, a refreshingly spicy soup made with local jumbo lump crab, coconut milk, ginger, and fresh herbs.
Craving tapas to pair with beers or a bottle of wine? The Spanish Crab Pepper Poppers has earned raves from locals and vacationers alike. Made with sweet peppers, jumbo lump crab, chorizo sausage, and Manchego cheese, each rich bite is a delight to the palate!
The Grand Marlin of Pensacola Beach
400 Pensacola Beach Blvd., Pensacola Beach, FL
Enjoy a leisurely meal with a view of the Santa Rosa Sound at the Grand Marlin. It serves the freshest seafood, as well as vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. Not sure what to order? Visitors recommend trying the Fresh Shucked Gulf Oysters, served with a cocktail sauce or red wine mignonette. The BBQ Oysters are a savory twist on this Florida favorite, made with pepper jack cheese, garlic, and special BBQ butter.
For entrees, you can’t go wrong with the Blackened Fish Tacos. Served on corn tortillas with jalapeno slaw and pico de gallo, it’s a dish that truly highlights the best of Gulf seafood. We also recommend adding lobster tails or crab cakes to your entrees and salads for an even heartier plate.
Joe Patti’s Seafood
524 S B St., Pensacola, FL 32502
Now here’s a venue where you can shop for what you’re going to eat and take some home to prep, too! Known for friendly service, you can pick from this fish market’s fresh catch of the day and have the restaurant prepare it for you. Enjoy freshly prepared sushi and seafood entrees in this market’s casual atmosphere.
Maine lobster, smoked salmon, and tuna are just some of the tasty options you can have cooked, prepared, or even hand-rolled into nigiri for you. Visitors recommend the Blue Angel Roll, Frank’s Special Roll, and the Pensacola Special Roll if you’re in the mood for Japanese. Pair these fresh rolls with beer, sake, or wine, all of which are available on-site.
Because there’s a wine shop and bakery inside, you can plan your own feast and let Joe Patti’s staff take care of the rest. It’s also a great spot to shop for seafood to take home and share with your friends and family.
Flora-Bama Yacht Club
17350 Perdido Key Dr., Pensacola, FL 32507
The Bushwacker is the unofficial cocktail of Pensacola, made with rum, Kahlua, and white creme de cacao. Treat yourself to this creamy and refreshing drink at the open-air Flora-Bama. It also has a great oyster bar and live music, making it the perfect spot for chilling after a day at Perdido Key.
Chill with a Bushwacker (or three, who’s counting?) and any of the Flora-Bama’s scrumptious bar chow options. Those who prefer simple and clean flavors will adore the Seared Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi, served with Creole Wasabi, hoisin sauce, and sriracha mayo. More adventurous palates will enjoy the Firecracker Coconut Shrimp, a dish made with coconut-crusted Gulf shrimp, in-house firecracker aioli, and sweet chili sauce.
Casino Beach Bar
41 Fort Pickens Rd., Gulf Breeze, FL 32561
Looking for a laid-back spot to enjoy lunch after your swim? The Casino Beach Bar is just a short walk from the shoreline and is one of the best places to eat in Pensacola Beach. Enjoy the happy hour deals and fresh seafood selections with a beachfront view.
Locals swear by the Grilled Fish Tacos or Grilled Shrimp Tacos. These are made with fresh seafood and your choice of flour or corn tortillas served with slaw, pineapple pico, cotija cheese, jalapenos, sriracha mayo, and cilantro lime cream.
The Seared Ahi Tuna Loin is a refreshing alternative for those who want simpler dishes. The sesame-crusted tuna loin is served with seaweed salad and a wasabi aioli soy glaze in this tasty small plate.
22 N Palafox St., Pensacola, FL 32502
This stylish, contemporary Pensacola favorite serves imaginative takes on Southern favorites and craft cocktails. It regularly updates the menu, so keep an eye out for new specials! We highly recommend starting your meal with the American Artisan Cheese Plate, made with specialty cheeses, house pickles, and seasonal jam.
Not sure which main to order? Restaurant Iron’s Comfrey Farms Bone-In Pork Schnitzel is comforting and soulful. Served with brown butter spaetzle, charred spicy peppers, and Douglas Farms muscadine jelly, each bite reveals new flavorful twists and turns!
27 Palafox Pl., Pensacola, FL 32502
If you’re exploring and shopping around Palafox, grab a bite at Global Grill. Its take on New American cuisine is some of the best food in Pensacola. It also has vegan options and vegetarian-friendly dishes that are packed with flavor.
For cold tapas, you can’t go wrong with the Butcher’s Block. This plate highlights its all-star selection of house-cured and smoked meats and sausages, served with jellies, pickles, and chutneys. Another intriguing and tasty must-order on the menu is the Savory Lobster Cheesecake made with cold-water lobster, asparagus, and smoked gouda.
300 S Alcaniz St., Pensacola, FL 32502
This casual spot may be deceiving because of its chill, beach shack-esque atmosphere. However, it’s one of the best places to eat in Pensacola, Florida – especially if you’re heading there for brunch!
Dig into the Chicken & Waffles made with deviled maple butter and buttermilk brined chicken. For those looking for lighter ways to start the day, the Shrimp & Grits is a tasty compromise served with fresh Gulf shrimp and rich white cheddar grits.
It also has an expansive sushi menu, serving nigiri and specialty hand rolls. Take a bite of the Five Flags roll made with tuna, smoked salmon, crabstick, shrimp, avocado, and spicy sauce!
The Busy Bee Mercantile
3002 N 9th Ave., Pensacola, FL 32503
This vegan cafe and specialty foods store is known for serving fresh and healthy dishes that won’t compromise on flavor. Locals swear by the Southern Soul Plate, which has southern-fried cauliflower nuggets, country-candied yams, baked mac ‘n “cheeze” cornbread, and greens served with hot sauce.
The BBQ Brisket Sandwich is another vegan-friendly dish, prepared with BBQ jackfruit and “cheeze” sauce and served with mac ‘n “cheeze” on the side. Refresh your palate after each bite with the Elderberry Lemonade or Hibiscus & Mango Fresca, a light drink made with mango nectar and hibiscus tea.
End Of The Line Cafe
610 E Wright St., Pensacola, FL 32501
A vegan cafe known for serving craft beer and organic platters, this Pensacola spot has been serving organic dishes since 2002. If you’re sharing with a group of friends, order the Mezze Platter with stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and hummus.
Its sandwiches are also top-notch. Tuck into the Grilled Portobello Panini, made with grilled veggies, feta cheese, portobello mushrooms, and roasted garlic mozzarella. Note that its cheese substitutes are made with cashew cheese.
Grab A Bite From Any Of These Popular Pensacola Spots
Pensacola may be best known for its beaches and historic sights, but it has many culinary gems where vacationers are sure to yearn for seconds. Check these tasty spots off your bucket list if you’re planning a trip to Pensacola – your taste buds will thank you for it!
Ready to burn off those calories? Make sure to also check out our Top Pensacola Activities Guide.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.