10 Best Local Fort Walton Beach Restaurants That Aren’t Mentioned In Tourist Catalogues!
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Are you visiting or moving to the Fort Walton Beach area and curious about the local dining establishments? You’ve come to the right place!
Fort Walton Beach, Florida is a melting pot of food establishments, and we are actually more than just Thai and seafood (they aren’t all created equal either, so I highly recommend reading the reviews before you waste your money).
If you live here long enough, you’ll learn that there are many other ethnic hidden gems that not too many visitors know about, and they’re definitely worth the money and experience.
A lot of online blogs will make it seem like the only good places to eat are located in Destin (our neighbor), but that’s not true. Fort Walton Beach has everything from fusion tacos to Hawaiian food, and there are restaurants and innovative food trucks here to satisfy any pallet.
With that said, I’ve put together a list of my favorite top ten Fort Walton Beach restaurants that I and other locals frequent on a regular basis—and they’re all small business gems.
1. Stewby’s Seafood Shanty
Cuisine Style: Seafood
Location: 427 Racetrack Rd NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547, USA
Stewby’s Seafood Shanty is a small take out and drive thru seafood restaurant in Fort Walton Beach that offers the most affordable and delicious local seafood—and trust me, it’s money well spent!
Stewby’s was our first seafood experience when we first moved to the area, and we quickly learned that not only is their grilled Mahi Mahi to die for, but they have the best Coleslaw ever—it’s literally magical.
With that said, get their fish of the day combo plate and make sure to ask for coleslaw as one of the side options—it won’t disappoint. Then, come back and let me know in the comments if I was right.
2. Taqueria Mi Gente
Cuisine Style: Mexican
Location: 699 Beal Parkway NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in town, but none compare to Tacqueria Mi Gente, and that’s because their food is authentic street style (way different than your typical Mexican restaurant).
We frequent Taqueria Mi Gente at least once a month, and always get their tacos a la cart. The meat and other ingredients are displayed right in front of you behind a glass screen (kind of like Moe’s or Chipotle), and you even see the entire staff cooking—so they’re very transparent. On Sundays they even serve fresh Menudo or Pozole!
Dining inside can get kind of crowded and messy during lunch time, so I recommend going between 1pm-3pm. They also have a sister-store next door where you can do some grocery shopping for all of your latino recipes.
3. The Shack
Cuisine Style: Seafood
Location: 104 Miracle Strip Pkwy SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
The Shack is a really neat place to eat at—and their seafood style is very similar to Stewby’s (mentioned above).
My family and I always love to dine outside under the sun umbrellas and admire the water. You get to watch people on boats or jet skis pass by—it’s pretty cool. It can, however, get a little windy, even in the summer, so if you can’t stand a little wind, you can always eat inside and still be able to check out the local bay).
They have a delicious fish of the day meal (which is typically Mahi Mahi), as well as some awesome shrimp tacos! They even have a little dock out on the water with a fish feeding station for kids to throw fish pellets into (you have to purchase them). You never see the fish eating the fish food, but I guess it makes the little ones excited just to throw something in the water.
4. Holi Indian Cuisine
Cuisine Style: Indian Food
Location: 280 Eglin Parkway NE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
If you love Indian food, then look no further than Holi, Indian Cuisine—plus, they’re the only Indian food in town, and well worth the buy.
This local Indian gem has a ton of meals to choose from, but they are very pricey, so we frequent this establishment maybe once or twice a year to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, they are absolutely delicious, and well worth the buy, but because they don’t have much competition, they set their prices pretty high.
I wish that they had a buffet style establishment and charge by the pound like a lot of Indian places I’ve frequented when stationed in other states—but still, they get a thumbs up from us locals for flavor.
5. Rockin Tacos
Cuisine Style: Mexican/ Seafood Fusion
Location: 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
If you want a great beach view and plate full of delicious seafood tacos, then you have to try Rockin’ Tacos, located at the boardwalk in Fort Walton Beach.
This place makes Mexican-inspired favorites using locally sourced seafood and hand-crafted margaritas that are perfect for a hot summer day!
Whenever I take my kids to the local Gulfarium, we make sure to have lunch at this restaurant since it’s right next door. A word of advice—if you’re a local, I would avoid going there in the summer as it’s crowded with tourists and the staff seems really stressed (you probably won’t have the best experience). Go in the fall/winter when all the tourists are gone and the weather is perfect for dining outdoors.
6. Kinfolks BBQ
Cuisine Style: BBQ
Location: 333 Racetrack Road NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Are you a BBQ enthusiast? Then I’ve got the perfect place for you! Kinfolks BBQ is a cozy smokehouse with a comfy vibe selling out barbecue by the pound, family meals & comfort sides.
Every time I drive past this place on my way to Walmart, I open my car windows just to get a whiff of the smoke coming out of their establishment!
Their meat is always cooked to tender perfection, and everything is super affordable, so don’t be shy when ordering sides! Oh and please try their pies!
7. YoYo’s Thai Food Truck
Cuisine Style: Thai
Location: 1285 Eglin Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32579
Fort Walton Beach is crawling with Thai food establishments, and a lot of them are cringe—they aren’t very clean on the inside, and when you order to go, they stiff you on portion size while overcharging you.
I was so ecstatic when YoYo’s Thai food truck came to town because the Chef makes really fresh and tasty food, and the portion sizes are super generous with fair pricing.
I typically order either the Pad Thai or green curry with chicken, and I have a ton of food left over for the next day! You should also try their Bobas!
8. The Cowhead
Cuisine Style: Fusion Burgers
Location: 184 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
The Cowhead is a unique burger establishment here in town that makes mouth watering all-American burgers as well as fusion style burgers that consist of Asian inspired ingredients.
If you want to be adventurous, try their cheeseburger eggrolls, or Thai inspired burger! Neither will disappoint.
This place also serves breakfast, and you can pre-order online if you’re in a hurry. They’re located downtown near all of our unique small business establishments, so after dining, do some local store hopping!
9. Rick’s Crab Trap
Cuisine Style: Seafood
Location: 178 Eglin Parkway NE, Fort Walton Beach FL 32548
If you’re in the mood for some fresh crawfish, crab or gumbo, stop into Rick’s Crab Trap! It’s a funny looking building , but I promise, the seafood is great, and so is the atmosphere!
This places offers very generous portion sizes for affordable prices, and people love the attentive service. One of my favorite meals to order is the Po Boy—it’s absolutely delicious!
If you just moved to the area, give this place a try! It might become one of your favorite places to eat on the weekends!
10. Maui Bus Stop
Cuisine Style: Hawaiian
Location: 101 Perry Ave SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
The Maui Bus Stop is a treasure! It’s the ultimate Hawaiian comfort food, and we are so lucky to have this gem in town!
The grilled meat and sauce they coat it with is absolutely fabulous, and the rice is always perfectly cooked.
Do yourself a favor and try their spam musubi (only $1.50!). You can also choose how many sides you want, which is really convenient. Everything tastes delicious, and if I could, I would eat there every day.