#35 of 198 Destin Restaurants

Aj’s on the Bayou

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It's Just a Better Life at AJ's on The Bayou
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Enjoy waterfront dining, live music, and delicious drinks, which amount to a better lifestyle at AJ’s on the Bayou. If you are a seafood fan, you will love this stop with plenty of Cajun-inspired dishes. However, even if you don’t care for seafood, there are plenty of other options to enjoy, and the ambiance alone is worth a visit. 

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

As the third restaurant in the AJ’s restaurant group and bringing the beloved AJ’s of Destin to Fort Walton Beach is AJ’s on the Bayou. Since 1984, AJ’s has been serving Gulf Coast oysters and cool libations at its various locations, which all end up being a popular local hang-out. In fact, the beloved Destin location is one of the most iconic “hot spots” on Destin Harbor and is quickly gaining notoriety on the Bayou. 

There are four locations along Florida’s Emerald Coast, including the Bayou location. The AJ brand has come a long way since its beginnings shucking oysters off the deck behind a small trailer on Destin Harbor. Today, the AJ’s on the Bayou location as well as the other restaurants all serve the freshest seafood and feature live music daily. 

Situated conveniently on the Cinco Bayou, AJ’s on the Bayou offers live entertainment daily on its deck as well as daily happy hours Monday through Friday. Brunch is the name of the game for Sundays featuring Bottomless Mimosas and the Bloody Mary Bar. 

Guests rave about the fresh oysters, the live music, which creates an entertaining and festive vibe, as well as the fantastic views from the outdoor seating locations. There is also a shop that features themed shirts, hats and visors, novelty items, and more, which is worth a visit when stopping in. While countless dishes are great to eat when choosing AJ’s on the Bayou, the following specialty dishes— along with the ambiance— make AJ’s a must-visit locale while in Fort Walton. 

When visiting AJ’s on the Bayou, you must try…

Obviously, as an oyster bar, AJ’s serves some amazing oysters, so don’t miss out on them when visiting if you are a fan of this seafood favorite. You can get your oysters prepared several ways at AJ’s including steamed or raw as well as Oysters AJ’s, which is a dish featuring freshly sliced jalapeno peppers, bacon, and shredded Monterey jack cheese over eight baked on-the-shell oysters. You can also opt for the Oysters Italiano, Oyster Rockefeller, or Oyster Sampler. 

While you might not think about soups when visiting a seafood specialty location, AJ’s offers various options for soups that you simply cannot overlook. Their Seafood Gumbo is award-winning, and guests also rave about their French Onion, Red Beans & Rice, and Homemade She Crab soups, all of which come either in a cup or bowl. 

Southern Favorites
Another highlight of the menu at AJ’s is the southern favorite section which includes AJ’s Shrimp Orleans dish that features a creamy white wine, gulf shrimp, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes with Cajun spice tossed over linguine. Other choices include AJ’s Chicken Orleans, Shrimp & Grits, and Chicken Piccata. 

Signature Sandwiches
All AJ’s signature sandwiches are served with a hushpuppy, coleslaw, and fries. You can choose from the Kahuna Burger, which is a ground steak patty served on a brioche bun, or opt for the Captain’s Pick Sandwich, the AJ’s House Sandwich, or the Seafood Po’ Boys Sandwich. 

For something on the lighter side, you can choose the Caesar Salad, House Salad, or Wedge Salad. You can upgrade your salad, making it an entree, by adding fried oysters, grilled shrimp, blackened fish, grilled fish, or grilled chicken. 

Finish off your meal at AJ’s on the Bayou with a serving of one of the available desserts. AJ’s Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Cake, or Cheesecake of the Day are all options. 

Of course, when visiting, you can opt for lunch baskets, the Brunch menu, and other daily specials which are applicable for that day. There is no shortage of options to enjoy when stopping in at AJ’s on the Bayou. 

Insider Tips:
-You can book a party or event at AJ’s on the Bayou. 
-Join the mailing list to get AJ’s newsletter which will give you all sorts of information about upcoming events and specials.