After Hurricane Harvey and before Hurricane Irma, Alan and I headed for the Gulf Coast. The eating in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama area, our favorite beach, just keeps getting better and better. We made a point to visit some of our favorite places and also try eateries we had not before visited. We went to everything from dives to white tablecloth restaurants. Come along!
Acme Oyster House
As always, upon our arrival, we headed straight to Acme Oyster House in Gulf Shores. Yummy, once again. We actually ate there three times during our four days! When we like something, we REALLY like it!
Due to the runoff from Hurricane Harvey carrying all manner of impurities into the Gulf of Mexico, we decided not to have any raw oysters this trip — only cooked food for us. Which brings me to these delicious chargrilled oysters, pictured above, a signature dish at Acme Oyster House, a small (seven locations) chain based in New Orleans.
As far as we are concerned, there’s only one place to stay in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach: The Perdido Beach Resort.
The amenities are top notch. Two restaurants, two bars, a snack bar, a pizza place, a fitness center and beach service on the prettiest stretch of white sand and blue water you’ve ever seen.
No trip to Gulf Shores is complete without a trip to Lulu’s, the massive restaurant (and more) owned by Lucy Buffett, singer Jimmy Buffet’s sister.
For the past couple of times we’ve been to Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, we have been unable to get into what many say is the best restaurant on this part of the coast: Fisher’s.
Finally, due to reservations made days in advance, we made it in. We loved it.
All in all, we thought Fisher’s was the second-best fine dining restaurant of the trip. The first? Voyagers, located right in our hotel.
Voyagers is elegant, yet friendly. Sophisticated, yet accessible. And, if you like wine, you will be happy to know it is a recipient of Wine Spectator’s 2017 Award of Excellence.
The next morning, we were headed out with Jimmy and Tess to go to a favorite haunt of ours — Pirates Cove. (It drives me crazy that they don’t put an apostrophe in the name. It should be Pirates’ Cove! But, anyway…) For various storm-related reasons, we opted to go by car this time rather than by boat. But, first, we needed to buy lottery tickets. Since lottery tickets are not sold in Alabama, we had to cross over into Florida to purchase them. That took us to Ole River Grill, right next door to a store with a huge sign reading, “Lottery Tickets and Liquor.”
Ole River Grill
It was about 10 a.m. when we pulled in to Ole River Grill, part of the Flora-Bama complex. Flora-Bama is the world famous dive bar that straddles the Florida-Alabama state line. We were the first customers of the day. It was our plan to get some Bloody Marys and then go get the lottery tickets in that place with the huge sign. (Don’t judge. We were on vacation!)
It’s a tradition to sign your name on something in the bar. The bartender even handed us a Sharpie to use. “Just don’t stand on the chairs or tables,” she requested. (I can only imagine the consequences that have occurred from that!)
On to Pirates Cove.
Pirates Cove is a kicked back bar and restaurant on Perdido Bay. There’s often music. There’s always a good crowd and a welcoming vibe. The bartender was himself throwing back shots as he took our order. “I hate this job,” he joked.
Here’s the deal. The menu is limited — mostly hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries and onion rings — but the food is excellent. If you are going to go off your diet, this is the place to do it. The signature drink is a Bushwacker, also not a low calorie affair.
And you will have to wait about an hour (no joke!) to get your order. But, again, it’s worth it. Gives you time to have another Bushwacker.
Another favorite place: Louisiana Lagniappe, located right across the street from our hotel.
Although the theme is Creole/Cajun, the food is not overly spicy. But it is delicious and the portions are generous.
I will warn you about one problem with this restaurant: it is too darn noisy. Frankly, our table of four had a hard time hearing each other. And the eatery is child-friendly, which means that the screams and whines of the young set are amplified. We honestly decided to forego dessert just due to the noise factor. They need to fix that.
Pink Pony Pub
The Pink Pony Pub has been around since 1956. Or, as they say, “We’ve been surviving hurricanes since 1956!” And I’ve been drinking there since before it was legal for me to drink! (Surely the statute of limitations has run out on that!)
It is located where Highway 59 dead ends into the Gulf of Mexico. It is such a dive — and I love it so much!
Our final recommendation is Cobalt, located at Alabama Point where the Gulf and the bay meet.
This is a huge restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining. They do not take reservations, but you shouldn’t have trouble getting in due to the size. On this trip, we went to Sunday brunch there, and the buffet was great. Additionally, there was an omelet station and a carving station with roast beef. And great Bloody Marys.
So, there you have it. Four days, nine restaurants. I think these next two pictures about sum up how we feel about Gulf Shores/Orange Beach.