#8 of 196 Destin Restaurants

Stewby’s Seafood Shanty

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Stewby’s Seafood Shanty: Unpretentious Seafood Shack With Delish Food
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Approachable and very reasonably priced, Stewby’s Seafood Shanty in Fort Walton Beach puts the emphasis on the food—and that’s a good thing. This simple, down-home, order-at-the-counter crab shack serves great fried and grilled seafood sourced fresh and local, and there are some mighty tasty sides worthy of note as well.

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

Operating out of a former portable school classroom, Stewby’s Seafood Shanty is not a fancy place by any means, but it doesn’t need to gloss anything up: The simple coastal cuisine walks the walk, from the grilled fish and fried shrimp to the Southern-style sides.

The service here is warm and friendly, whether you’re ordering from the drive-thru or at the walk-up counter. There’s some cozy indoor seating as well as outdoor picnic tables, and the food’s presented in disposable takeout-style tableware. Again, nothing fancy (and not exactly eco-friendly), but you’re likely to relish what’s on your plate.

Fresh, local seafood—including fish-of-the-day from Destin’s fishing fleet—is the star of the show at Stewby’s. The fried or grilled fish typically on offer includes amberjack, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and swordfish, with flounder and yellowfin tuna prepared as specials when available. Then there’s the jumbo Gulf and popcorn shrimp served either fried or grilled, the fried oysters or calamari, the completely respectable seafood gumbo, the seasonally available soft shell crab and the fried crab claws on the side: quite the ocean bounty!

On the off chance you’re not really feeling seafood—in which case (ahem) we might question why you’re dining at an establishment called a “seafood shanty”—there’s fried or grilled chicken available as well.

Along with baskets and platters, you can opt to enjoy your seafood or chicken in the form of a sandwich or a taco.

The fried and grilled dinners come with your choice of two sides, with options including French fries, fried okra, and BBQ beans. You’ll also get some of Stewby’s fine hush puppies, which have their own avid following.

You can bring your meal here to a close with a Stewby’s dessert, including the house version of Key Lime Pie: the Shanty Pie.

Let’s drill down on that Stewby’s Seafood Shanty menu and highlight a couple of especially recommended items!

Grilled Fish
Whether amberjack or mahi-mahi, the grilled fish at Stewby’s comes outstandingly fresh and deliciously seasoned: It’s hard to go wrong here.

Stewby’s Platter
Can’t decide what seafood you want to munch on? Go for a medley in the form of the Stewby’s platter, which includes fried fish, oysters, and shrimp—plus hush puppies and your choice of two sides, to boot.

Fish Tacos
The fish tacos at Stewby’s are delightfully zesty, what with their dressing of pico de gallo, coleslaw, cheese, and a sour cream and lime sauce with a kick.

Hush Puppies
We already noted how tasty Stewby’s version of these classic Southern deep-fried cornmeal balls are, so if you aren’t having one of the dishes that come with them, consider ordering ‘em as a standalone side.

Collard Greens
Stewby’s regularly offers collard greens as a special side, and you won’t likely be sorry ordering them: another time-tested Southern side dish that the Seafood Shanty does right by.

It’s not uncommon to find yourself in quite the line at Stewby’s Seafood Shanty—indeed, it’s often out the door—but let’s just say it’s worth the wait.

Insider Tip:
Among the soda, juice, and sweet tea poured at Stewby’s, you won’t find any adult beverages. So if you’re jonesing for a beer or a cocktail to go along with your fried basket or your seafood tacos, you’ll be disappointed—just a heads-up.