Quickly becoming a well-known, well-loved destination, Pensacola, Florida is a great place for people of all ages to visit. Although the white sand and turquoise water is one of the biggest attractions, there is plenty to see and do while in the city. Shopping and historical landmarks seem to be endless; the mixture of a strong history and a successful economy allows for locals and tourists to always have something new to do. However, one of my favorite pastimes in Pensacola is visiting the restaurants.
What better place for seafood lovers to splurge than on the gulf? It doesn’t get any fresher, and there are some skilled chefs in this city, combining good quality with great flavors. If you find yourself on Pensacola beach, you’ll find plenty of “tourist” restaurants. These are fun for the experience and atmosphere, if you’re looking for the full experience. However, you may find yourself paying the tourist prices, easily spending $20 per person. Is it worth it? I’ll let you decide, but I will admit that I love these restaurants.
If you’re looking to save a little money, try some of the local spots instead. Depending on the location, you may get better food and better prices.
These are just a few pointers I wanted to give you, but let’s get down to the real reason for this post: 4 restaurants you must visit.
1. Hot Spot BBQ
I know what you’re thinking: barbecue? This is Florida. I know, I know. But, if you know me, you will know that I am a BBQ addict. And this place is just simply worth the visit. This is going to be one of those local restaurants I was talking about. Located well off the tourist’s map, Hot Spot is on 9th Avenue. Yes, we’re talking on the mainland of Florida.
(I’m not really sure what was going on with their festive decorations. Cinco de Mayo? Not sure, but I loved them!)
Drive past this place, and you might just smell the smoker and turn around before you know what hit you. Let me start off by saying that you can order brisket. Yes, brisket. A rare find in the South, but a BBQ staple in Texas. Thank you Hot Spot! If you’re wanting something a little different, they also offer pork, sausages, etc, on the plate or as a sandwich.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, Tim and I split the meal, so you’re only seeing half of the portion size 🙂
Of course I couldn’t resist ordering the combo plate, sampling the pork and brisket. Can I just say, it was delicious? Smokey, juicy, and tender is the finished product and will have you coming back for seconds.
If you’re looking for the island experience, head on over to Pensacola Beach and you should be able to find Crabs. This restaurant has been serving up fresh seafood to families and party-goers alike, right on the beach. If you’re looking for seafood, you should have your pick here.
I do recommend that you have a little dessert while you’re here. Either get some after your meal, or better yet, make it a date and just go for the dessert. Why?
Because they serve a delicious slice of Key Mango Pie, as in key lime/mango pie. It’s beautiful and it tastes amazing! This “slice” is pretty huge and can easily be shared; but if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t 🙂
Let me give you a quick preface. This is an Irish Pub. A really awesome Irish pub. It gets packed on a Friday night and there is a bar inside. But I still recommend this place. And no, I don’t drink. Due to this restaurant’s fascinating history, this restaurant is composed of rooms and sections. It is super easy to sit someplace where the bar is nowhere in sight. All that to say that it is still a fun place to take the family.
So what about the food? Sandwiches, salads, soups, and traditional Irish dishes are what’s cooking at McGuire’s, but their signature item is their steaks. And once you eat one, you’ll know why. Seasoned and cooked to perfection, you really don’t need anything else! If you really got to have some steak sauce, add some of McGuire’s very own sauce to your steak for the “cherry on top.”
4. Fishing Hole
I am about to be biased: I saved my favorite for last. I can’t help it. The food, atmosphere, and company were just too perfect to not love the Fishing Hole. Although there are non-seafood items on the list, seafood is their specialty.
Mahi mahi, shrimp, and oysters are some of the usual dishes on the menu; however, be sure to ask your waiter about the catch of the day. Tim had a large portion of Triggerfish and I had to sneak a taste. And yes, it was delicious. Even the sides were great. With so many choices, it was difficult to choose, but I decided to order the bacon-wrapped shrimp. I did not regret that decision. It was easily some of the best shrimp I have ever eaten.
The Fishing Hole now owns two locations: one in Pensacola and the other in Gulf Breeze. While I cannot comment on the Pensacola location, I can say that the Gulf Breeze location is a wonderful place to dine. Simple, but elegant, the Fishing Hole is a good place for a date night any day of the week.
So next time you find yourself in Pensacola, Florida, be sure to check out these 4 restaurants you must visit.
Have a favorite Pensacola restaurant I didn’t share? Share yours in the comment section below! And remember to like, share, or retweet on Facebook and Twitter.