#132 of 198 Destin Restaurants

Cafe Bienville

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Cafe Bienville - Fresh and Flavorful Southern Cooking
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Cafe Bienville is stocked with a diverse menu that shows off the best of the South. The red beans and rice, Cuban sandwiches, and beignets are just the beginning of the home-made meals you'll find here. This is a community haven but you'll need to make the effort to get there. It's not exactly locals-only, but it's certainly not located in the middle of downtown either. 

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

When you set up shop in a town called Niceville, it’s no wonder a place like Cafe Bienville has managed to build up a solid clientele. Despite the fact that it’s a little off the map, people keep coming in for their amazing dishes. Whether you’re coming in for a cup of coffee or a big plate of red beans and rice, this versatile cafe has plenty to offer. 

Just one look at the reviews and you’ll be persuaded to stop for a bite of lunch or a specialty latte. Billed as an offbeat gathering spot, this place has everything from vegan/gluten-free options to Italian sodas to Cuban sandwiches. While the menu may seem like a bit of a smorgasbord, every item has quality in common. In other words, if you order mint gelato, that mint came straight from a garden. 

Cafe Bienville may not be the only place in town that prides itself on fresh food, but the staff does seem to elevate the ingredients to a new level. Savor every bite of the beignets next to a steaming cup of chicory and enjoy a moment wrapped in nothing but relaxation.

And as you might expect, the hospitality here is as much a reason to stop by as the food is. Laid-back and friendly, people are usually not in a hurry to get in and get out — especially not on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re looking to know the locals, this could be a great place to strike up a discussion. 

When you’re here, keep an eye on the following menu items:

French Quarter Caprese Burger 
The menu has plenty of nods to New Orleans, including this burger creation with pesto, mozzarella, tomatoes, onions, and greens. The richness of the half-pound certified Angus beef against the freshness of the fixings is a flavor combination that makes for a memorable lunch. Served on a tantalizing brioche bun for a hint of sweetness. 

German Chocolate Specialty Latte
Chocolate, coconut, pecans, and caramel all pair quite well with coffee and milk, creating a drink that’s every bit as tasty as it looks. With a dusting of chocolate on the foam, this latte would be perfect if you’re craving something sweet in the morning. (But don’t expect to be overwhelmed with sugar because Cafe Bienville has a knack for balancing flavors.)

Voodoo BBQ Pork
This sandwich is pulled pork combined with BBQ sauce and coleslaw. The sauce is Carolina-style, meaning it’s thick and tangy without the characteristic sweetness you may be used to if you’re used to southwest style BBQ. Cafe Bienville has drawn influence from all over their part of the country, making each menu item its own through culinary innovation. 

Sensation Salad with Rosemary Pulled Chicken 
If you’re looking for something a little lighter on your vacation but don’t want to sacrifice the flavor, Cafe Bienville gives you the option to put its savory combination of rosemary and chicken on their Sensations salad, a healthy mix of parmesan, baby greens, lemon vinaigrette, and sunflower seeds. It’s a particularly pleasing way to get your veggie portion for the day.

If you’re looking for a casual spot to enjoy serious Southern cooking in Florida, this place gives you a sampling of all that you can expect from this culinary paradise. 

Insider Tips:
– Breakfast is served all day. 
– This place is proudly off the beaten path, so you may spend a little time locating it. 
– Parking is limited.  
– Open until 2 p.m. and closed on Sundays.