Run by the same family business behind the popular Red Bar, Louis Louis—named after the father and one of his three sons who together own the place—is one of the best overall restaurants in Santa Rosa Beach, beloved by locals as well as plenty of out-of-towners in the know. It delivers strongly in the cuisine, service, and ambiance departments: a three-for-three stat sheet that’s hard to argue with.
You may well have to wait to get a seat, but once inside you’ll probably fall under the quirky Louis Louis spell in short order. The decor here is kitschy and fun, with an impressive chandelier, loads of memorabilia and photos cluttering the walls, and a somewhat dimly lit but all-around festive vibe. You’re pretty much guaranteed friendly and energetic treatment from the waitstaff and bartenders.
Seafood dominates the cuisine at Louis Louis as at many Emerald Coast American-style eateries, but there are plenty of non-brine options on the menu too: from the chicken fingers, fried green beans, and pork and veggie eggrolls in chili sauce on the appetizer menu to the pork tenderloin and the panne chicken entrées. (The latter—slathered in lemon caper butter and served with mashed potatoes and salad—is a signature dish from Louis Louis’s sister establishment Red Bar.)
When it comes to gifts from the deep, though, Louis Louis truly shines. Starters-wise, it’s hard to go wrong with the seafood gumbo or the smoked tuna dip (better yet—the seafood gumbo AND the smoked tuna dip). Several of the regular main courses are seafood preparations that rank among the best things here, including the shrimp and crawfish pasta and the blackened market fish (both of which we spotlight below).
The desserts are also generally in above-and-beyond territory, not least such homemade delights as the bread pudding, the creme brulee, and the house take on Key lime pie.
Louis Louis also accommodates those with special dietary needs such as gluten-free diners and offers a well-rounded kids menu with half-size portions of several entrées as well as pasta in butter and red sauce and other tyke-friendly eats.
You’ve got a full bar’s worth of beverages, including some very tasty cocktails. (The bar seating here is highly recommended.)
Now, let’s zoom in a bit and explore several of the very best dishes coming out of the Louis Louis kitchen:
Order the appetizer version of the crab cakes, and there’s a very good chance you’re going to be forced to get the crab-cake entrée as well, which pairs those flaky delicacies with a mash pot and a house salad. But if you’ve got your sights set on another main dish, definitely at least grab the appetizer!
Offered at market price, this is one of the best entrées at Louis Louis: The fish (often grouper) comes bathed in a rich brown butter sauce and served over a delicious bacon cheddar grit cake, with wilted spinach and house salad as well. Mouthwateringly good!
Shrimp & Crawfish Pasta
Good luck choosing between the blackened fish and this scrumptious dish, which crowns penne pasta and diced tomato with sautéed crawfish and shrimp and ties the whole deal together with a delish cream sauce.
We think it’s much more likely than not that Louis Louis is going to become one of your go-to Santa Rosa Beach joints—maybe THE go-to joint. It’s really hard to resist the place’s charm, both on the plate and in the overall presentation!
Smoking’s allowed on part of the Louis Louis patio, so you might consider indoor seating if you’re particularly sensitive to or otherwise bothered by smoke.