Harry T’s Lighthouse

Harry T's Lighthouse: Destin’s One-of-a-Kind Eatery
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Harry T’s Lighthouse feels a bit like a tourist trap during peak season, but a deeper look shows that Harry T's is still worthy of a visit. In addition to great ambiance, this Destin classic offers a number of delicious menu options.

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

It’s safe to say that there’s no place else quite like Harry T’s in the panhandle of Florida. Located under the picturesque lighthouse on Destin Harbor, the restaurant’s menu is a bit of a hodgepodge, with something for everyone in your party. Harry T’s bills themselves as an “American and seafood spot,” but they’re really more than that.

First and foremost, people are drawn to Harry T’s for the ambience. Ideally located on the Gulf of Mexico, the setting could not be more stunning. Views of Crab Island, East Pass, and Noriega Pointe are enough to make you want to order a drink and simply sip as the sun sinks below the horizon.

The original Harry T’s Lighthouse was opened in 1987, named in honor of the trapeze artist Harrison Baben – popularly known as “Flying Harry T.” They moved the eatery to its current location in 2008 and decorated with a circus motif as a tribute to the adventurous Harry T. For good measure, they added relics from a sunken luxury cruise ship called Thracia. Although it is set against the stunning backdrop of the sea, the ambiance is decidedly whimsical and the decor is as varied as the menu.

While the location and ambiance are incredible, it is ultimately the food that most diners are interested in. While Harry T’s doesn’t hit it out of the ballpark every time, the waitstaff is friendly and knowledgeable and the menu truly does offer something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite dishes:

Seafood Nachos
Regulars insist that it’s criminal to skip the seafood nachos, a delicious combination of lobster and shrimp mix, tomatoes, jalapenos, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and salsa over chips. Although they’re perfect for sharing, you may not want to.

Sesame Tuna
If you’re just looking for a light meal, you should check out this appetizer consisting of tuna, drizzled with sesame ginger dressing and served with wasabi and ginger. It is surprisingly satisfying.

Almond Crusted Chicken Salad
One of the best things about this dish is the juxtaposition of warm and cool ingredients. The dish includes almond crusted chicken, strawberries, and mandarin oranges, mixed with a cool, crisp salad and topped with sesame ginger dressing.

Baja Avocado Burger
Harry T’s offers a nice array of burgers. One of our favorites is this beef or chicken burger, topped with avocado cream sauce, pepper jack cheese, bacon, and salsa. Even the fussiest in your party can surely find a burger they’re wild about.

Gouda Grits
Tasty, gooey gouda mixed in transforms these ordinary grits into the perfect, memorable side.

Fanta “Sea”
f you simply cannot get enough seafood or are planning to share, this dish will leave you beyond satisfied. It includes six clusters of snow crab, two pounds of steamed shrimp, and one pound of mussels with corn. The entire feast is served with potatoes and French bread.

Grouper Florentine
Rice and succotash are covered in perfectly prepared grouper, spinach, and parmesan alfredo. It’s warm, creamy, and quite tasty.

Yes, the initial draw of Harry T’s Lighthouse may be the setting, but the proprietors have been wise enough create a menu with enough variety to make patrons want to return for more.

Insider Tips:
-Harry T’s is pet friendly with four-legged friends welcome in the outdoor seating area.
-Lines can be intimidating during peak tourist season. Plan to arrive early if you hope to avoid a wait.
-If you’re looking for a comfortable place to watch your favorite team play, Harry T’s bar is fully stocked and perfect for game day visitors.