Emerald Coast's Best of 2013

A Toast to the Cream of the Coast

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Best Appetizer
Bonefish Grill

Whether you are looking for surf or turf, Bonefish has the Best appetizer to get your meal started right. Try the famous Bang Bang Shrimp tossed in a creamy spicy sauce or the Wagyu Beef and Ginger Dumplings, handmade with American-style Kobe and pan-seared with crispy shallots, Thai peppers and soy sauce. Destin, Pensacola, Panama City and Panama City Beach

Best Bagel Shop
Not Just Bagels

The aroma of freshly baked bagels, breads and pastries fills the air of this gourmet bagel shop. With as many as two dozen flavors to choose from and a variety of cream-cheese flavored toppings made fresh daily, Not Just Bagels will have you in comfort-food heaven. Looking for a light meal? As the name implies, Not Just Bagels serves breakfast, sandwiches and salads, too. Destin

Best Bakery 
KaraBoo Bakery

If you’re in need of a sweet treat, this locally owned bakery takes the cake. With delicious desserts for any occasion, KaraBoo Bakery’s homemade cakes (wedding and otherwise), pies, cupcakes and pastries will satisfy even the largest sweet tooth. If you are in the mood for something savory, try a fresh sandwich from its beachside café. Miramar Beach

Best BBQ
Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q

Slow-smoked baby back and spareribs, hand-pulled pork and sliced Angus beef brisket are a few favorites on Jim ‘N Nicks mouthwatering menu. Refusing to cut corners, the restaurant smokes meats for 14 hours in hickory. The attention to detail and Southern-style barbeque will have you licking your fingers after every bite. Destin

Best Beer Selection
Miller’s Ale House

Three cheers for the Ale House Restaurant! With more than 75 varieties of beer to choose and a full service bar that also includes wine and liquor, you will be toasting all night long. Pair the cold ale with a delicious steak, seafood, salad or pasta dish, and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of this neighborhood family restaurant. Destin

Best Bloody Mary
The Red Bar

Winning the hearts of locals, visitors and celebrities, The Red Bar is a favorite in Grayton Beach. Offering simple yet delicious lunch and dinner menus and an award-winning Bloody Mary, the eclectic bar is a popular indoor entertainment spot. Sit back on the funky furniture, and enjoy the sounds of live music with family and friends. Grayton Beach

Best Breakfast
Another Broken Egg Café

Another Broken Egg scrambles up some of the best breakfast food in town. Serving more than 130 delicious, home-cooked breakfast, brunch and lunch foods, this warm and cozy café has earned Best Breakfast for more than a decade, proving it has cracked the code and found the secret ingredient to win diners’ hearts. Destin, Miramar Beach and Grayton Beach

Best Brunch
Mama Clemenza’s European Breakfast
Fresh ingredients and homemade attention to detail are staples of this weekend brunch spot. Try the Lemon Curd Ricotta Pancakes, Flourless Espresso Biscuits and Italian Breakfast Panini; with prosciutto, eggs and Gruyere, all made from old Sicilian family recipes. Fort Walton Beach

Best Buffalo Wings
Buffalo’s Reef Famous Wings
Offered in a variety of different flavors, the made-to-order wings are worth the wait. If you are in the mood for something spicy, the Hot or Super Hot flavors won’t disappoint. Can’t take the heat? No worries! The Honey BBQ, Teriyaki, Honey Mustard or Garlic Parmesan flavors might be for you. Fort Walton Beach

Best Cajun 
790 On The Gulf
Enjoy some fresh Florida seafood with Louisiana flavor. Serving fresh shrimp, salads, seafood and homemade comfort food favorites, this authentic Cajun and seafood restaurant brings a taste of the bayou to the beach. Complete with an outdoor patio allowing diners to enjoy the evening sunset, 790 on the Gulf offers the best Cajun classics in town. Destin

photo by Kansas Pitts

Best Chef
Dan Pettis

Chef Dan Pettis, owner of One 20 A Modern Bistro, showcases a mixture of his Southern upbringing and worldly travels in every dish. With a love for fresh and local ingredients Chef Pettis, an Emerald Coast native, utilizes his farmer’s market located adjacent to the restaurant. Niceville

Best Onsite Catering
Bijoux Catering
Put something “special” into your next private party, wedding or corporate event with the experienced staff at RSVP/Bistro Bijoux. Now a joint venture, it offers onsite catering for large events that will make use of the entire restaurant. For smaller onsite celebrations, check out the private dining guide. Miramar Beach

Best Chinese
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
Using only the freshest ingredients, P.F. Chang’s extensive made-to-order menu is served family style, allowing guests to try numerous dishes. From its hand-rolled pork egg rolls and crispy honey chicken to the vegetarian Ma Po Tofu and Gluten free Moo Goo Gai Pan, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Miramar Beach

Best Coffee
Starbucks Coffee
It happens millions of times each week — a customer receives a drink from a Starbucks Coffee barista, but each interaction is unique. And it’s a connection that Starbucks strives to make sure is a memorable experience. From its commitment to the highest quality coffee in the world to the way its staff engages with their customers, Starbucks is committed to being the Best. Destin, Grayton Beach, Miramar Beach and Fort Walton Beach

Best Dessert
Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar
Delight in a dining experience with a tropical twist. Tommy Bahama’s island-themed desserts utilize various Caribbean flavors. The signature Piña Colada Cake is the perfect ending to a day at the beach, while the Butterscotch Pudding, Key Lime Pie and mouthwatering Pineapple Crème Brulee taste like an island getaway. Miramar Beach

Best Fine Dining
Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood
Best known for its USDA prime steaks and seafood, this five-star restaurant located inside Hilton Sandestin Golf Beach Resort & Spa has made additions to its top-rated menu, including Seared Scamp and Lobster Risotto. The entire restaurant has been recently renovated, and iPads are also available for guests who would like to explore the restaurant’s 600-label wine list, as well as discover suggested food pairings. Miramar Beach

Best French
Bistro Bijoux
This romantic French bistro combines a resort-casual and fine-dining atmosphere with fresh cuisine and authentic flavors. Enjoy an extensive award-winning wine list and the intimate Bijoux Lounge. Try the crisp pan fried Duck Confit with sautéed spinach with figs, mango chutney and Spanish almonds. Bon Appetit! Miramar Beach

Best Gourmet/Food Shop
Sarah K’s Gourmet

The daily changing menu that incorporates seasonal vegetables and fresh catches always offers something new! Display cases packed with ready-to-heat gourmet options fill the shop. Using the finest ingredients, Sarah K’s Gourmet prepares a variety of delicious take-home meals complete with cooking instructions. Destin

Best Grouper Sandwich
Dewey Destin’s Seafood

The great view, fresh catches and relaxed atmosphere make this casual seafood eatery a local favorite. Whether it’s blackened, grilled or fried, the fish is always a delicious choice. Relax at a table on the dock overlooking the water, and enjoy an award-winning grouper sandwich and cold drink at this quaint seafood shack. Destin

Best Gumbo 
Boathouse Oyster Bar

The open air dining view of the bay offered by the Boathouse attracts locals and tourists alike. Though named for its oysters, Boathouse’s seafood gumbo has become a popular choice among guests. The award-winning Crab and Shrimp Gumbo is served as a starter or meal and can be taken to go with a serving size as much as a gallon. Destin

Best Hamburger
McGuire’s Irish Pub
As an award-winning steakhouse, McGuire’s knows beef. This traditional Irish pub serves custom-ground steak burgers with the choice of 25 different trimmings. Try the St. Patty Melt Steak Burger served with fried onions and Swiss on rye, the Sautéed Vidalia Onions Steak Burger or go for broke and attempt the Garbage Burger piled high with every topping in the house! Destin, Pensacola

Best Happy Hour
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Fleming’s offers 100 wines by the glass, a unique Wine Flight tasting program and a world-class list of reserve wines to complement your dining experience. You may also choose from five delicious “dining room” appetizers, five premium cocktails and five specially selected wines by the glass, each for just $6 before 7 p.m. We raise our glass to Fleming’s during Happy Hour or any hour. Miramar Beach

Best Frozen Treat
Twirl Frozen Yogurt
Beat the heat of the Florida sun with a big cup of Twirl’s soft-serve frozen yogurt. The frozen yogurt buffet offers a variety of changing flavors and scrumptious fruit, nut and candy toppings. Want the convenience of a cup with the taste of a cone? Build your own confection creation and enjoy the goodness. Destin

Photo by Scott Holstein

Best Hibachi
Osaka Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar
If you are looking for dinner and a show, Osaka is the place for you. Complete with the freshest available ingredients and expert chefs preparing dishes at your table, the Japanese steakhouse offers guests an entertaining and satisfying dining experience unmatched by competitors. Destin, Miramar Beach

Best Italian Restaurant  
Clemenza’s at Uptown Station
Born from a love of cooking, deep Italian roots and a desire to delight its patrons, Clemenza’s encompasses all that is Italian cuisine. From wood-fired pizzas and traditional red sauces to pasta  and clams, paired with one of our premier wines, Clemenza’s offers a classic taste of Italy. Clemenza’s also boasts a full bar of premium liquors plus a wide array of specialty cappuccinos and espressos for an authentic and delicious Italian experience. Fort Walton Beach

Best Locally Owned Restaurant
Callahan’s Restaurant and Deli
This locally owned and operated restaurant in the heart of Destin wins again with its great selections for brunch, lunch and dinner. Callahan’s generous portions of comfort food served in a casual atmosphere are sure to satisfy. Salads, sandwiches, soups, specials and your choice of a custom-cut prime rib and steak are offered on their diverse menu. There’s certainly something for everyone.  Destin

Best Margarita
Cantina Laredo
Cantina Laredo’s Casa Rita Margarita is made from fresh lime juice and the finest tequila. Pair it with an authentic Mexican meal, then sit back and enjoy the sophisticated charm of this upscale cantina. Stop into this Mexican City-style restaurant where Cinco de Mayo is any day you choose it to be. Miramar Beach

Best Martini
Bonefish Grill
Bonefish is the place to gather with family, friends and colleagues for specialty martinis, including refreshing tropical flavors like fresh watermelon, pomegranate, raspberry and summer Georgia peach. Order the Ocean Trust mango martini, and $1 will be donated to Ocean Trust to work toward ocean conservation. Destin, Pensacola, Panama City and Panama City Beach

Best Mediterranean
Aegean Restaurant
Transport yourself to the shores of sunny Greece with each bite at this family owned and operated Mediterranean restaurant. From the Greek waffles served with yogurt, honey and walnuts for breakfast, to the homemade hummus and traditional gyro sandwich for lunch and then the petite rack of lamb for dinner — every dish on the menu is a flavorful favorite. Miramar Beach and Shalimar

Best Mexican/Latin American Restaurant 
Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant
Come on in for some traditional Mexican dishes featuring freshly made salsas, guacamole made with only Hass avocados and handmade tamales. The extensive menu features á al carte options, combination meals or full entrees with beans, chicken, steak, shrimp or fish served with refried rice and beans. Destin, Miramar Beach and Niceville

Best Outdoor Bar
AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar
With balmy breezes coming off the Destin Harbor, great live entertainment on a large outdoor deck and an extensive menu of fresh local seafood that includes some of the tastiest oysters in town, you have a recipe for success at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar. No wonder locals and visitors alike flock here for fun year after year. Destin

Best Outdoor Dining 
Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House
Enjoy fresh oysters and watch the sunset from one of Boshamps’ four decks that tier down to the water. All decks have seating for guests to watch the boats that dot the harbor. Stop by even if it’s raining; Boshamps provides a covered deck with a bar and seats for dining. Destin

Best Oysters
Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House
Experience true Southern hospitality while you sit on the deck overlooking the harbor and savor the Best oysters on the coast. Whether you savor a dozen raw, within a cocktail or the house specialty of baked oysters served with caramelized Vidalia onion, Alabama fest and house-made bacon marmalade, you’re sure to find the Best oysters in town at Boshamps. Destin

Best Pizza
Fat Clemenza’s
This is Fat Clemenza’s sixth year as a “Best of” winner, and it is rightfully so. With pizzas like Fat Clemenza’s White Pizza (hot salami, artichokes, ricotta and mozzarella cheese) and the Capricciosa (domestic ham, spinach, hot salami, fire roasted peppers, caramelized onions, mushrooms, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese) you can be sure you’ll find a slice you like here. Miramar Beach

Best Sandwich Shop
Lenny’s Sub Shop

Choose between delicious hot or cold sub with half a pound of meat and cheese stacked on. Lenny’s serves up classics like the Philly Cheesesteak, Hot Italian and Ultimate BBQ Melt. Order a combo meal with a cookie or chips and a drink, so you’ll be sure to leave satisfied. Destin, Mary Esther, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Crestview 

Best Seafood Market
Destin Ice Seafood Market and Deli
Pick up everything you need for a delicious seafood meal at Destin Ice Seafood Market and Deli. The knowledgeable staff will answer any questions you have. Fish (including grouper, snapper, mahi, tuna, salmon and much more), crab (including live or already prepared), scallops, shrimp, oysters and crawfish are for sale. Destin

Best Seafood Restaurant
Dewey Destin’s Seafood

Come dine on the Destin Harbor, and taste a bite of history. Dewey Destin’s carries the legacy of one of the town’s oldest fishing families and now serves up the Best seafood in town. The smoked tuna dip, blackened grouper with shrimp served over cheese grits and stuffed shrimp (wrapped in bacon and fried) are long-time favorites at this family owned and operated seafood gem. Destin

Best Service — Food and Beverage
Marlin Grill

Excellent food and an impressive 600-label wine list are paired with the Best service in town at the Marlin Grill in the Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin. Marlin Grill has been a longtime local favorite. Whether serving its mouth watering hickory-grilled filet mignon, shrimp and grits or roasted duck for dinner or a catered affair, the attentive staff will make your dining experience a memorable one. Destin

Best Sports Bar
O’Quigley’s Seafood Steamer and Oyster Sports Bar
Winner of Best Sports Bar the past eight years, O’Quigley’s has 24 taps and four 16-foot high definition televisions to tune in to your favorite sporting event. And they have turned up the steam on their menu, literally.
In addition to old favorites, sandwiches and Irish Fare, O’Quigley’s is now offering several variations of seafood steamers, fresh catch of the
day and for those who love both land and sea, Turf & Surf. Destin

Best Steakhouse
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

All of Ruth’s Chris’ signature steaks are served on a 500-degree plate, and it’s guaranteed that every bite will be as delicious as the first. All steaks are USDA prime cuts. Choose from the filet, ribeye, T-bone, New York strip or porterhouse for two. The restaurant’s East Bar is a great place to gather with friends for a good glass of wine, a savory bite and some catching up. Destin

Best Sushi
Harbor Docks
Harbor Docks has been a favorite of locals since 1979. Family owned and operated, this casual restaurant and bar has won back its customers (and awards) again and again simply by serving up expertly prepared fresh local seafood with a friendly smile. And watching the sunset over the Destin Harbor is pretty delicious, too. Come here for Yoshie’s artfully crafted hand-rolled sushi and sashimi that tastes as good as it looks. Destin

Best Thai 
Jasmine Thai
Jasmine Thai puts a modern twist on traditional Thai cuisine. Don’t be worried if you can’t handle the heat, because Jasmine Thai provides a variety of dishes with different levels of spiciness that are made to order. Traditional or modern, the fresh ingredients make every dish delicious. Take your time and savor the flavors in your lunch or dinner entrée on the outdoor patio. A children’s menu allows everyone in the family to enjoy their favorites. Destin

Best Wine List 
Chan’s Wine World
Get help choosing the perfect bottle of wine from a staff that calls itself “only as good as the last bottle of wine we sell.” Don’t have a favorite bottle yet? Go in for wine tastings every Friday from 5–7 p.m. for help choosing. Chan’s Wine World will also help you with the perfect gift — a wine-themed gift basket. Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Miramar Beach, Panama City, Pensacola, WaterColor

Best Restaurant in the County

Best Restaurant, Escambia County
Jackson’s Steakhouse
Jackson’s Steakhouse has more to brag about than just their steak. With a full seafood dinner menu it’ll be hard to choose between a delicious steak or the grouper, scallops, Yellowfin tuna, salmon and crab cakes. Steaks can be topped with lump crab, grilled shrimp or lobster tail. Pensacola

Best Restaurant, Okaloosa County   
Clemenza’s Uptown
A meal at Clemenza’s is an experience to be savored. Begin with an antipasta starter or perhaps the homemade soup of the day. It will be hard to decide between the many pasta dishes such as Seafood Linguini or Clemenza’s Classic Neapolitan, the hand-tossed wood-fired pizzas and authentic Italian entrees such as Chicken Parmesan and Veal Marsala — all are delicious favorites. Just be sure to save room for the Cannoli with chocolate chips and pistachios, a slice of Tiramisu or the classic homemade Italian cheesecake! Delicioso! Fort Walton Beach

Best Restaurant, Walton County 
Fat Clemenza’s
Fat Clemenza’s serves up authentic Italian cuisine like mama used to make. In addition to its family recipes of traditional Italian pastas, wood-fired pizzas, soups, chicken and veal dishes, Fat Clemenza’s has a blackboard with daily specials like “Fresh Fish Fridays,” when fresh fish caught locally is served on Friday night. And don’t forget to save room for one of the homemade deserts such as Panna Cotta! Miramar Beach