Destin, tucked away in the panhandle of Florida, is known for its warm weather, friendly locals, and the jewel in its crown — the Destin Harbor Boardwalk. Along the harbor you will find Brotula’s, a locally-owned seafood house that has become a perennial favorite.
The restaurant’s name pays homage to the Bearded Brotula, a fish caught in local waters. In addition to brotula (also known as cusk eel), Brotula’s specializes in other locally-sourced seafood and produce. They pride themselves on preparing seafood to perfection and providing farm-to-table fresh produce.
Everything about the eatery feels homey. From the warm wooden walls to a barn beam vaulted ceiling, Brotula’s has become home away from home for diners. Part of the draw, of course, is a perfect view of the harbor, but live entertainment and specialty drink nights are also attractive lures.
Given the extensive menu, it can be tough to come up with favorites. These options, however, are not to be missed:
Over Stuffed Portabella
Brotula’s offers several appetizers one might expect, including tuna dip, fried pickles, and soft pretzels. For something a little different, we recommend the over stuffed portabella mushrooms. Filled to the brim with crab meat, spinach, goat cheese, jack cheese, and roasted red pepper, these delicious treats are then covered in balsamic butter sauce. They may not be a diet food, but they are certainly tasty.
Cajun Shrimp & Grits
You know you’re in the South when you dig into a dish like this. With blackened Gulf shrimp, spinach, tomatoes, Conecuh sausage, and lobster cream sauce, these grits fairly scream “Southern comfort food.”
Mac & Cheese
This is not your mother’s mac & cheese. Imagine macaroni coated in a five- cheese blend and topped with smoked chicken, Gulf shrimp, bacon, and green onions. If the very thought makes your mouth water, you’ll understand why it is one of our favorites.
Ask any regular and they’ll likely tell you that you “must” try the fish tacos. Whether you opt for fish or shrimp, the tacos are garnished with pico, chipotle aioli, and lime sour cream. It is for good reason they’re a best seller.
There’s no denying that grouper is standard seafood fare. Still, this grouper dish is anything but standard. Served with blue crab and mashed potatoes smothered in green beans, this amazing menu option is topped off with garlic cream.
Build Your Own Boil
Any seafood restaurant worth its salt knows how to put on a great boil, and from shrimp to whitefish, Brotula’s knows its way around a boil. In our opinion, one of the best options on the menu is the “build your own broil.” You chose your boil, side(s), and sauces to build the perfect meal. The fun part? You could visit a dozen times and easily create a unique plate each time.
Something For Everyone
Something we appreciate about Brotula’s is the wide selection of burgers and fair number of salads offered to those who either don’t care for seafood or are simply not in the mood for it. The cheeseburger and a side is a great option when you’ve hit your seafood limit. As for the children’s menu, Brotula’s offers a smaller versions of the same burgers, along with house-made corn dogs, chicken fingers, and mac & cheese. In other words, no one leaves hungry.
Brotula’s selection of specialty drinks are a treat unto themselves. Two of our favorites are the White Peach Cosmo and a concoction called Pears in Paris. The Cosmo is made with New Amsterdam vodka, peach schnapps, fresh orange, fresh lime, and white cranberry juice. Pears in Paris is a delicious combo of pear vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime angostura bitters, with a cinnamon sugar rim. They’re equal part refreshing drink and dessert.
-Pets are welcome to dine with you on the patio. In fact, servers appear to be more than happy to bring a bowl of water (and provide a little scratch behind the ears).
-If you’re on a budget, consider having lunch rather than dinner at Brotula’s. The menu is still impressive, but the prices are lower.