Set along Santa Rosa Sound in Gulf Breeze, Flounder’s Chowder House has been serving up the beachside atmosphere and hearty fish-shack chow just a stone’s throw from Pensacola since 1979.
Before tucking into your meal at one of the open-air tables, spare some time to soak up the restaurant’s intriguing furnishings, displays, and assorted knickknacks.
Out front, you can’t miss the 55-foot M/V FLOUNDER, a genuine shrimp boat that long plied the waters between Key West and Mexico and now does its duty greeting hungry patrons at the door. Other highlights include the nearly 1,000-pound blue marlin overseeing the Marlin Bar, the “Man-Eating Giant Clam,” and such reclaimed interior flourishes as the stained-glass windows, the vintage local moonshine stills, and some repurposed confessional booths originally hailing from a New Orleans church.
The décor and the palm-framed seascape views—not to mention the sand volleyball and the regular live music—add much to the Flounder’s Chowder House experience. However, the heart of the matter at this establishment is what’s on the plate (and in the glass).
Seafood lovers won’t be disappointed by the selection, from the signature chowder to the flash-fried fish and shellfish, shrimp platters, and catch-of-the-day specials. Burgers, sandwiches, pasta dishes, salads, and steaks cooked in an oak-fired grill give you some other tempting options.
A noteworthy culinary element that may take you by pleasant surprise is the sushi menu offered by Flounder’s Master Sushi Chef Hiro Muramatsu. On Sundays, meanwhile, the Chowder House serves a Champagne Brunch to kick your day off in style.
From ice-cold beer and Key Lime Martinis to those ubiquitous margaritas, Flounder’s Chowder House has its diners well covered in the drinks department as well. If you really feel like kicking back, consider the Diesel Fuel: a high-octane and highly drinkable cocktail served in a generous, custom-label Mason jar you can take home as a souvenir.
From appetizers (Seafood Nachos, the aptly named Tower of Onion Rings) to the downright monumental Key Lime Pie (see below), Floyd’s Chowder House certainly doesn’t skimp on the portion sizes, many of which are conducive to sharing.
Onion-ring towers and potent mixed drinks aside, here are a few highlights plucked from the wide-ranging Flounder’s Chowder House menu!
Floyd Flounder’s Phenomenal Flounder Chowder
We’d be remiss not highlighting the namesake dish of the establishment, now wouldn’t we be? The Floyd Flounder’s Phenomenal Flounder Chowder comes in a creamy, well-seasoned, and well-garnished broth that pairs scrumptiously with the delicious dinner rolls served alongside. This is award-winning stuff, by the way: The house chowder has come out on tops in the Great Florida Chowder Cook-Off.
Grilled Mahi Tacos
These zesty fish tacos nestle grilled mahi-mahi in flour tortillas packed with guacamole, house-picked red onions, cumin-spiked sour cream, mango pineapple salsa, shredded red cabbage, cilantro, and jack cheese, the whole affair crowned by some fresh jalapeno peppers.
Flash Fried Fish
The flash-fried section of the Flounder’s menu is definitely worth some careful consideration, and a standout here is the magnificently alliterative Floyd Flounder’s Flawless Full Flavored Florida Flash Fried Fish. The beer-battered filets, sizzled to golden-brown perfection, team up happily with hushpuppies, house-made coleslaw, and flash-fried potatoes.
Shrimp Po’ Boy
The combination of a hearty mess of deepwater shrimp and “all the fixins” with crusty French bread is downright irresistible.
Key Lime Pie
Flounder’s Chowder House is nearly as well-known for its Key Lime Pie as the chowder itself. These triple-decker slices of the Sunshine State’s iconic dessert are downright monstrous, so leftovers are a definite possibility.
All things considered, you’re going to want to bring a hearty appetite to Flounder’s Chowder House—and maybe more than one dining companion so you can pool your gastronomic forces!