When we think back to some of the best vacations we have ever experienced, there is one thing that seems to go hand in hand with the experiences and sights we have seen, and that is the meals we enjoyed in those strange new lands. Memories of new ingredients dancing on our palates, the blend of excitement over the place we are visiting combining with the joy of tasty flavors, creating a vacation we never forget. If you are of like mind, we at Poole & Associates have created this ultimate Gulf Shores dining guide, destined to make your Alabama getaway one that not only will you never forget but also wish never had to end.

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Start Your Day Out the Right Way

Doctors and our mamas have drummed into our heads the importance of breakfast, and you can trust us when we say your days on the beach will be much more enjoyable when you start out each morning with breakfast at the places listed below.

Kitty’s Kafe at Pelican Place, 3800 Gulf Shores Parkway Suite 100 in Gulf Shores

Closed on Sunday and open from 7 AM until 2 PM for the remainder of the week, Kitty’s Café is a Southern secret that we are glad to share with you. The décor is simple, apart from the quirky mural painted on the wall featuring a grassy meadow with trees, hot air balloons, and flying pigs, but the menu is absolutely sublime. Mama’s home cooking is the theme of this menu and although they do offer some elevated meal options, including Eggs Benedict with Crab Cakes.

Duck’s Diner, 4560 Easy Street in Orange Beach

We love a simple diner, and Duck’s Diner in Orange Beach, open every day from 7 AM until 1:30 PM, brings us great joy. For over 20 years, Duck’s has never let guests down, offering locally sourced ingredients in their Southern dishes that include Banana Stuffed French Toast and Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, both meals you will want to try again and again!

Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill, 5160 AL-180 in Gulf Shores

Open every day of the week from 8 AM until 8:30 PM, this impudent spot is worthy of visiting for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner, so if you’re happy with your Crabby Beach Benny or your Sweet Bird Biscuit, be sure to come back for their Shrimp Po’ Boy at lunch and their Big Ass Steak at dinner! (Their words, not ours.)

The Midday Refresher

Whether you are lazing around on white sand beaches or exploring the history behind Fort Morgan, when lunch time rolls around, we can promise that your hunger will return as well! Something about the salt air, the activities you are participating in, and maybe even the memories of that filling and yummy breakfast you enjoyed earlier in the day will ensure that your appetite stays healthy, and these lunch spots will fill your tank again, allowing you to start the afternoon feeling well fed, energetic and at peace!

Luna’s Eat & Drink, 25689 Canal Road Suite B in Orange Beach

Open at 11 AM every day and closing at 10 PM on Friday and Saturday, 9:30 PM every other day, Luna’s is a local hot spot offering 32 local and regional beers on tap and a menu filled with food they title, “Soulful Southern Goodness.” Happy Hour runs every day from 4-6 PM, offering specials on beer (their beer flights are fun) and appetizers including the world-famous Pimiento Hushpuppies served with blueberry pepper jelly.

Amelia’s Deli & Catering, 2200 E 2nd Suite A in Gulf Shores

Closed on Saturday and Sunday, Amelia’s Deli & Catering is open 11 AM until 3 PM weekdays, bringing a taste of New York to the Gulf Shores area. Their Glorified Grilled Cheese is a menu item worth noting, offering three types of cheese (Swiss, cheddar, and provolone) and the opportunity to add tomatoes, ham, turkey, or bacon for an additional fee. Vegetarians love their Veggie Health Nut served on wheat and their Grilled Pork Tenderloin will appeal to all the carnivores in your life.

Ruby Slipper Café, 24151 Perdido Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach

Bringing a taste of New Orleans to the shores of Alabama, Ruby Slipper Café is open every day from 7 AM until 2 PM, making it a great breakfast spot as well. Their lunch menu is slightly more brunchy and very delicious, featuring Southern specialties such as shrimp & grits and sweet hot fried chicken, which is their normal fried chicken tossed in Mike’s Hot Honey Glaze. Yum!

Family Friendly Dinners

The family vacation is a tradition that has continued for centuries, and if there is one thing we have learned over the years, our children don’t always show off their most angelic behavior. And although we know that in minutes the flip can switch and they will be sweet once more, strangers in restaurants aren’t always that patient. This next list of restaurants are the family friendly ones that we may visit ourselves, places that understand your children aren’t feral; they are simply hungry and tired.

Lulu’s Gulf Shores, 200 E 25th Avenue in Gulf Shores

Open every day from 11 AM until 9 PM, Lulu’s provides a sort of brush with fame. The owner is the sister of Jimmy Buffet, but Lulu’s is also one of our kids’ favorite restaurants. Offering two rope courses (one for older kids, one for smaller kids, with both closing during the winter months), a beach arcade, caricature artists, and hair wraps & henna, we have a hard time getting our kids to actually eat in between all of the fun they are having. Also offering live music and a cool shop that adults will love, the menu is billed as fresh coastal cooking and is healthy and delicious, another magical combination that most parents will agree is hard to achieve in normal restaurants!

GT’s on the Bay, 26189 Canal Road in Orange Beach

This next fun zone—er, we mean restaurant—is open every day from 11 AM until 9:30 (10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays). Obviously, parents will love this waterfront spot, the views are breathtaking, but it is the pirate ship playground that will make your kiddos giggle. Let them run mild, scrambling all over the playground while you sip coastal cocktails and devour fresh seafood and locally sourced land lubber meals. Their kids’ menu is pretty extensive as well and even features Virgin Frozen Daiquiris.

The Hangout Gulf Shores, 101 E Beach Boulevard in Gulf Shores

The Hangout is exactly that, a place where everyone from the youngest to the oldest love to hang out. Offering a beachfront location, the kids can build sandcastles at the shore’s edge, or can wade in the surf, as the parents listen to live music and devour delicious meals off the menu, all within close proximity to the children of course. Open every day from 10:30 until 8, the chill vibe and fun ambience will help you make wonderful memories with your children.

Something Special

A Gulf Shores vacation can be the perfect time to celebrate some of life’s most important moments, a honeymoon, a milestone birthday, even a special anniversary, and as such, you may be visiting without the kids and looking for a secluded getaway with your favorite traveling partner. Seeking lazy mornings, late nights, and special occasion restaurants where the meal isn’t just something you eat, it is something that feeds your soul. These restaurants will bring diners a meal to remember when celebrating something special.

Jesse’s on the Bay, 1631 Crosswinds Court in Gulf Shores

Open every day of the week at various hours, Jesse’s on the Bay offers a laidback vibe and stunning sunset views of the bay. The menu covers both land and sea, with their raw bar winning critical acclaim and as you sit at tables covered with white tablecloths, sipping your favorite chardonnay and watching the fire in the sky fade into black, the magic of Gulf Shores will become patently clear.

Pier House Orange Beach, 22703 Perdido Beach Boulevard

Whether you are sunning yourself at shore’s edge, are frolicking in the surf, or are simply sitting on your balcony watching the sea ebb and flow many stories below, the waters that surround you offer a world of delicious creatures, many of which are bound for the plates of Pier House Orange Beach. Closed on Sundays, they open at 11:30 AM, making it possible to enjoy an elevated lunch as well as dinner. Its onsite art gallery helps create a sophisticated and colorful vibe and light music will feel like you have your own romantic theme music playing in the background. Be sure to save room for their cheesecake eggrolls, a sweet ending to a romantic meal.

Stephi’s Cocktail & Cuisine, 25241 Perdido Beach Boulevard Unit 101 in Orange Beach

Modern and sophisticated, the food served at Stephi’s Cocktail & Cuisine matches its surroundings. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 3-8 PM and serving the freshest sushi in town and a seafood menu that features a Caribbean-Asian fusion, ensuring that you will walk out the door at the end of your special occasion dinner feeling as if you just won the lottery of cuisine. Stephi’s cocktail menu is filled with fascinating drinks, including their If Budda Drank a Bloody Mary and Blackbeard’s Margarita, and their dessert menu stars a sweet treat they call Chocolate Dome, created with frozen chocolate custard covered in dark chocolate and drizzled with raspberry coulis.

International Delights

Our all-American coastal town is also known for its international selection of restaurants and as we finish our taste tour of the town, these international restaurants will become the highlight of your trip.

Villaggio Grille, 4790 Main Street Suite F 108-B in Orange Beach

The chef-driven Italian menu at Villaggio Grille makes it a favorite for special occasions as well as being considered family friendly. Offering everything from New Zealand Lamb Lollipops to a fruit plate for kids, every appetite will be sated when visiting this Italian specialty restaurant.

Yoho Rum and Tacos, 4851 Wharf Parkway Suite D116 in Orange Beach

Tacos are fast becoming America’s number one handheld, and the tacos at Yoho Rum and Tacos will quickly become your favorite restaurant. The menu is a complex blend of delicious tacos, yummy sandwiches, and a large selection of flavorful Mexican specialties. Looking for something simple yet different? Their Surf & Turf Quesadilla never ceases to amaze.

Nikki’s Seafood & Thai, 22641 Canal Road in Orange Beach

Apparently, Orange Beach has conquered the international flavors of Alabama, and this last restaurant, Nikki’s Seafood & Thai, fulfills the old saying, “last but not least.” Closed on Sundays and open at 4:30, Nikki’s offers a laid-back vibe and deliciously flavorful seafood-centric Thai specialties. Best of all, its moderately priced menu ensures that a meal here will fit into the tightest of vacation budgets.

The Kitchen of Your Poole & Associates Vacation Sanctuary

Your tour of the town’s flavors would not be complete without experiencing some of your own cooking prepared in our fully equipped gourmet kitchens. Offering high-end appliances, custom cabinetry, and stone countertops, these cheerful spaces will help you feel the joy of cooking return to your soul. Barbecue grills in the backyards offer another way to prepare a meal, even a night at home will be soul filling, simply because of the ambience of our homes. Enjoy al fresco meals at outside tables or devour takeout meals at large dining room tables inside the house. If you don’t feel like cooking—you are on vacation after all—most restaurants offer takeout and with the advent of “food share apps” travelers can enjoy gourmet meals without having to change out of their board shorts.

Reserve your favorite Poole & Associates vacation sanctuary today and receive a “passport” to the best restaurants in the Gulf Shores you will never forget!

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