Half-Shell Heaven: Take a Tasty Tour of the South Walton Oyster Trail
Do you consider yourself an oyster connoisseur and plan to shuck a fresh bag at your beach rental, or are you a first timer to this delicacy? Well, no matter whether you shuck 'em, bake 'em or slurp 'em raw - South Walton is packed with places to snack on this saltwater delicacy! We've picked the true pearls throughout our 16 beach neighborhoods for you to check out on your next trip.
Specializing in locally sourced ingredients, Chef Matt Moore is serving up some of South Walton’s freshest seafood with one of the best views. Dive into a half-dozen, classic Gulf raw oysters while sipping on a famous FOOW cocktail - on Happy Hour every Tuesday - Sunday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Café Nola: DeFuniak Springs
When you’re north of the Bay, stop by Café Nola in Hotel DeFuniak. Chef Ernie’s menu includes a tasty Oyster Po-Boy, as well as an Oyster Platter featuring a dozen fried oysters. The charming New Orleans-style ambiance here will have you daydreaming of the Crescent City. And if the spirit moves you, you can always duck into their Bourbon Street Lounge for a craft cocktail.
Great Southern Cafe: Seaside
Located in the heart of South Walton, Great Southern Café has been dishing up Southern-inspired seafood favorites since 2006. Try out the Baked Oyster Trio, including Acadian, Rockefeller and Bienville-style oysters. Curious about the tequila bottles on the table? It's Chef Jim Shirley’s famous Oyster Juice, available to sample or purchase as a souvenir.
Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill: Grayton Beach
The name says it all! This funky, Grayton Beach joint is the self-proclaimed “Pearl of 30A.” Their menu has everything the storm blew in. For starters, try the Fried Oyster Nachos topped with Chipotle Creme and Pico de Gallo. Then, travel around the globe at Hurricane Oyster Bar with their raw oyster options, including Mexican, Japanese, German or the World Tour - all of the above!
Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar: Gulf Place
Named after the famous yet hard to find fishing reef in the Gulf of Mexico, Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar is serving up some of the freshest seafood in South Walton. Today, the tower-like restaurant is the perfect spot to gaze over the Gulf with a plate of “naked” or grilled oysters - your choice of garlic parmesan or bacon cheddar jalapeño.
Stinky’s Fish Camp: Dune Allen
Oysters are served all day and in all varieties at this great little spot nestled along Allen Lake in Dune Allen. Complete with live music, famous Bloody Marys and tasty food, Stinky’s Fish Camp is a must when visiting South Walton. The iconic Oyster Log is packed with 36 different styles - ranging from champagne butter and cheddar jalapeño to shrimp & crab Bienville, smoked gruyere & bacon, garlic butter and Rockefeller.
The Bay: Santa Rosa Beach
In addition to their popular sushi menu, The Bay serves up a wide variety of other fresh seafood options daily. You can’t miss this South Walton must, marked with cafe lights at the foot of the Choctawhatchee Bay. Fried oysters are their specialty, served with a smoked Vidalia onion tartar sauce. Enjoy these with a cold beer as you sit around the outdoor fire pit and watch the sun set.
Vin’tij Food & Wine: Miramar Beach
What pairs better with oysters than a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc? Located in Grand Boulevard, Vin’tij Food & Wine is your one-stop shop for the wine connoisseur or foodie in your life. Grab a bottle to share and celebrate over the Oyster Crostini. Sautéed oysters layer over a spinach crostini, paired with pickled red onions, capers and lemon butter.
Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill: Sandestin
If you are searching for an authentic Florida lunch spot, look no further than Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. Just steps from the sugar-white sand, order your favorite frozen cocktail and pair it with the raw bar - fresh raw oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp and snow crab clusters.
Surf Hut: Miramar Beach
This west-side favorite will have something for everyone in your crew. Located off Scenic Gulf Drive, Surf Hut is the complete package, with tasty food and amazing Gulf views. And don't just settle for the small surf - go big and order the Captain's Platter: fried local fish, Gulf shrimp, oysters, scallops and gumbo.
Acme Oyster House: Seascape
Acme Oyster House, a branch of the 1910 New Orleans seafood company, has a long history of shucking the freshest oysters along the Gulf Coast. With a menu filled with raw and chargrilled options, oyster enthusiasts have traveled near and far to try out for a spot in the 15 Dozen Club. Think you have what it takes? The current record is a mere 42 DOZEN!
Where to Buy:
If you prefer to buy these briny bivalves by the bag and shuck them yourselves, South Walton offers this option, too! Buddy’s Seafood Market in Seagrove or Shrimpers Seafood Market can provide fresh oysters, along with fish, tuna dip and more. Goatfeathers Seafood Market has two storefronts for visitors, located in Seagrove and Santa Rosa Beach.
Not quite in the mood for oysters? Well, crawfish (speaking of New Orleans) is another great option for pleasing your palate. When they’re in season, these delectable little crustaceans are served fresh at many local restaurants including Stinky’s Fish Camp, Shunk Gulley, 30A Blue Crawfish Company and Acme Oyster House. Pull up a chair, tie on a bib and have at it!