#75 of 79 30A Restaurants

Great Southern Cafe

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Head to Seaside's Great Southern Café to Enjoy Local Cuisine With Flair
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Seaside's Great Southern Café captures the best of local culinary tradition but adds a fresh feel with exquisite flavors you won't find anywhere else. If you love Gulf cuisine but want to try something new, stop by for a gastronomical experience that is both comforting and exciting.

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

As Seaside’s premier restaurant, the Great Southern Café proves that quality cuisine can be both adventurous and comforting. The restaurant’s menu and atmosphere are both a testament to the many qualities that make Seaside such a wonderful community.

Chef Jim Shirley strives to tell a story with his cooking. He emphasizes local ingredients and traditions in hopes of fostering a greater appreciation for all that this corner of the Emerald Coast has to offer.

Despite the cafe’s tradition-oriented approach, its menu is anything but ordinary. From special sauces to visual presentations that exemplify the chef’s attention to detail, it’s immediately clear that great thought has gone into every aspect of this culinary experience. This is true not only of the starters and entrees, but also in the unique cocktails crafted by bartenders who clearly know what they’re doing.

The kid’s menu is not as creative as the standard selection, but it’s sure to please little tykes with such favorites as popcorn shrimp and breaded chicken fingers. While youngsters enjoy these tasty entrees, they’re even more enthusiastic about the tablecloths, which they’re encouraged to color on to their heart’s delight. A fun activity for visitors of all ages, this tableside art project makes for a delightful wait and may even help kids get through the dining experience without relying on mobile devices.

The tablecloths represent just one of several small details that contribute to the wonderful experience of dining at the Great Southern Café. Attentive service is guaranteed, with visitors regularly highlighting the friendly vibes on display at the bar. With such great dishes and such a welcoming atmosphere, it’s easy to see why the restaurant attracts so many repeat visitors.

A few of our favorite menu items include the following:

Soul Rolls
This sophisticated, yet satisfying starter blends collards and chicken in a crispy wrapper. The rolls would be wonderful on their own, but the accompanying sauces — creole mustard horseradish and peach chutney — add a punch.

Grits a Ya Ya
Southern flair abounds in this tasty dish, which proves that grits can be a main entree and not just a side. Blackened shrimp and smoked bacon level up these special grits, as do portobello mushrooms, spinach, and greens. All this is served on smoked gouda cheese grits. Another version of this dish is available with grouper.

Meat & Three
If your ideal entree is primarily made up of sides, you will fall in love with this choose-your-own-adventure of a meal. The basis of the dish is a pork ribeye, with double the meat available for an extra fee. You’ll also receive your choice of three sides. Options abound but favorites include fried green tomatoes, sweet potato fries, collard greens, and hush puppies.

The Enforcer Roll
Southern fare may be the highlight at this restaurant, but sushi is also available. Don’t order this roll unless you can take the heat. It includes spicy snow crab, sriracha, green onion, cucumber, cream cheese, and eel sauce. 

Key Lime Pie
This dessert may seem like a dime a dozen in the Sunshine State, but that doesn’t mean that it should be passed up when you visit the Great Southern Café. Regarded by many as one of the region’s best takes on this Florida classic, this version is stacked high with meringue.

Embrace local culinary tradition while expanding your horizons at Seaside’s Great Southern Café. The restaurant’s focus is reflected in its name, but you’ll also find special touches that make classic recipes feel fresh. 

Insider Tips:
– Don’t hesitate to speak up if you have dietary restrictions. Whether you’re on the hunt for a gluten-free or vegetarian meal, the restaurant’s staff members are happy to accommodate.
– This pet-friendly establishment provides the perfect environment for relaxing with your four-legged friend as you enjoy your meal.