#84 of 131 Pensacola Beach Restaurants

O’Brien’s Bistro

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O'Brien's Bistro – A Cozy Café Serving Delicious Food and Wine of All Kinds
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

At O’Brien’s Bistro, Cajun cuisine meets American fare, creating a flavor explosion everyone adores. They make every dish to order and with great care to provide you with an awesome dining experience time and time again. Their cozy atmosphere and phenomenal service perfectly complete the package and make this a must-visit Pensacola eatery.

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

Although O’Brien’s Bistro has gone through several owners since it opened in 1999, no one ever lost sight of the mission to provide patrons with excellent food and wine galore. At first glance, it is clear that the eatery has retained its hometown feel and cozy atmosphere. The comfortable seating, soft lighting, and eclectic décor instantly make everyone feel at ease and ready to eat.

Their servers are attentive and always ready to bring out menus, drink refills, and fresh food made to order. Upon entering the restaurant, you can trust the servers will welcome you with open arms and lead you to your desired table. They will ask for your drink order right off and provide either the brunch, lunch, or dinner menu, depending on when you arrive. They also have a robust wine menu with all the classics and a few newcomers as well.

The menu items are largely American fare, though they give each dish a Cajun twist to amp up the flavor profile. They do have a few global surprises hiding on the menu, however, such as their pesto escargot and gnocchi mac and cheese.

Best-selling menu items include:

Smoked Salmon Benedict
The Smoked Salmon Benedict is only on their brunch menu, but it alone is well worth the early Sunday visit. This dish starts with a toasted bagel, and then cover it in smoked salmon. Over that, they add two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, capers, and red onion. On the side, you will receive either O’Brien potatoes or grits along with a fruit salad.

Almond Crusted Mahi Mahi
The Almond Crusted Mahi Mahi takes fried fish to the next level. They create this outstanding dish by coating the fish in a thin almond crust and pan sautéing it to perfection. After that, they cover it in a beurre blanc sauce made in house each day. A vegetable medley and rice pilaf come on the side to complete this meal.

Grouper Lyonnaise
When you order the Grouper Lyonnaise, your taste buds and belly will heartily thank you. To create this dish, they take fresh Gulf grouper and cover it in a crust of shredded potatoes. Then, they pan sear the whole lot and smother it in a house-made lemon caper sauce. A vegetable medley comes alongside to beautifully complement the fresh flavors.

Shrimp & Scallop Risotto
If you want to take in all the best flavors of the Gulf, order up the Shrimp & Scallop Risotto. They start off this dish by pan-searing Gulf shrimp and scallops, then cover it all in an herbed beurre blanc sauce. Upon searing them golden brown, they pour those tasty seafood delights over a bed of tender risotto and add a vegetable medley to the side.

When you are done with your meal, ask for the dessert menu to treat yourself to the tastiest sweet treats around. On this menu, they have key lime pie, cinnamon craisin bread, and just about everything in between. If it is your first time there, let the owner know to have a special dessert creation made just for you.

Insider Tips:
– If you have to wait for a table to open up, treat yourself to a look at the well-maintained fish tank at the front of the restaurant. This saltwater tank features gorgeous coral and fish of all kinds, including a sneaky zebra eel.
– Their brunch menu only comes into play on Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm, but it is well worth the visit.
– They take reservations for any day and time, which is a good idea when a Friday night or weekend visit is on your itinerary. Otherwise, you may be looking at an hour wait or longer.