#12 of 94 30A Restaurants

The Citizen

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The Citizen - Upscale Coastal Restaurant & Bar With a Wood-fire Hearth
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The Citizen is a new Alys Beach restaurant that prides itself on epitomizing the feel of a welcoming coastal restaurant and tavern. Here, diners can expect top-notch service and savory seafood. 

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

2021 saw a lot of new food and beverage additions to the towns along 30A, and the coastal town of Alys Beach was no outlier. One of the outstanding additions to this community was the opening of The Citizen.

The Citizen first swung open its doors in January 2021, its owners billing the place as a coastal tavern and restaurant. Managing partner Jeremy Walton stated that the name references the mission the owners had in opening the place, namely to explore the concept of what it means to be a “good citizen”, especially in the context of restaurant service culture and how a restaurant serves and plays a role in the community at large. With such a mission statement cemented in the restaurant’s name, you can expect to receive first-rate service whenever you enter The Citizen.

Finding and entering The Citizen is easy. The coastal restaurant is located just off of 30A, within Alys Beach’s Town Center. It is street level and walking up to it, you will find several covered tables just outside the massive glass windows that surround the restaurant. Step through the doors, and you will find yourself in a bright and airy space. Grab a stool at the 18-seat traditional bar or the 12-seat raw bar if you love oysters on the half-shelf. Or if you have a full party or are otherwise looking for a more traditional dining experience, pull up a wicker chair at one of the marble-topped tables. You will find more of a sailor-themed decor here with navy wall paint and touches of bronze accents found throughout the restaurant and bar. 

This menu at The Citizen truly reflects its seaside coastal tavern nature. The owners, chefs, and bartenders here have shaped a menu and experience that really resonates with this coastal them. A lot of the seafood menu items are sourced locally, and even the bar menu will feature a lot of local names. For example, you will find several delicious drafts and canned beers from the popular and local Oyster City Brewing Company. Many of the menu items are likewise prepared over the kitchen’s seven-foot wood-burning hearth, which means deliciously hot flatbread seared over a live fire. 

Popular menu items at The Citizen include:

Fisherman’s Grits 
This is a big menu item that features a verifiable cornucopia of seafood. You will get a hot and crispy fillet of flounder served over roasted tomato jus and paired with fried oysters and Gulf shrimp. 

Mushroom Bourguignon 
A true vegetarian delight, this very filling dish features locally sourced mushrooms served with seared carrots, pearl onions, fingerling potato, and topped with a vegetable Demi glaze. 

Seasonal Hearth Roasted Gulf Fish 
While what fish is served will depend upon the season, this menu item is a must-try when that catch is grouper. The grouper gets roasted on that aforementioned open-fire wood hearth and served atop a bed of jasmine rice and crispy shallots and covered with a savory coconut green curry. This dish also comes paired with a herb salad. 

Insider Tips:
-The Citizen’s lunch menu is significantly smaller than their dinner menu and consists primarily of sandwiches, raw bar items, and more simple tavern fare. While still delicious, if you are looking for a fuller, more savory menu, go for the dinner menu. Dinner is where The Citizen truly shines. 
-You won’t be able to see the sun set over the water at this restaurant despite it being just a couple of blocks away from the beach. But it is only a couple of blocks away from the beach. Thus, your party might enjoy a full day spent enjoying the surf and sand at Alys Beach and end with an easy stroll to this restaurant and bar.