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You’ll want to fill up on fresh fish during your visit to the Florida Gulf Coast, plus a few other local delicacies. Here are five restaurants Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend:
1. Firefly. A giant tree covered in twinkling lights is the focal point of Panama City Beach’s upscale steakhouse. The highlight of the menu is the veal tenderloin with a risotto-stuffed portobello, but President Obama opted for the New York strip and lobster mac and cheese when he made a recent visit.
2. Fish Out of Water. Take in incredible gulf views as you dine at Fish Out of Water, the signature restaurant of the WaterColor Inn and Resort in Santa Rosa Beach. The menu features sumptuous seafood dishes, including seared sea bass with caramelized onions and black grouper in brown butter sauce.
3. Global Grill. The upscale tapas in Pensacoloa bar features everything from lamb lollipops to chicken satay with Thai peanut sauce. Local artists display their work on the walls, so you can take in culture and cuisine simultaneously.
4. Louisiana Lagniappe. Harbor-side Destin dining makes a meal at this Cajun-style eatery a treat. Enjoy the sunset on the casual outdoor deck, and be sure to order the creamy and indulgent crab and shrimp au gratin.
5. Hole in the Wall Seafood. This Apalachicola restaurant is small and has a focus on service (you’ll feel like you’re a part of the family before you leave). Try the mouthwatering oysters on the half shell and top them off with a slice of buttermilk pie.