You don’t have to completely leave the beauty of Alabama’s Gulf coast to seek sustenance — some of the most popular local restaurants also come with a water view. Orange Beach offers everything from seafood shacks to full-service, upscale spots, so dig your toes out of the sugar-white sand and dig into the food at these favorites:
Fisher’s: Dining With a View
Located adjacent to the Orange Beach Marina, Fisher’s boasts two different spaces, each with its own vibe. Downstairs is a casual, open-air restaurant called Dockside, offering direct views of the water and the yachts docked there. At Fisher’s Upstairs, the scene is more upscale, but still relaxed. The main reason to snag a table on either level is the artfully presented coastal cuisine coming out of Chef Bill Briand’s kitchen. Twice a James Beard Award semi-finalist, Briand uses only the best ingredients — local seafood and items from area farmers and other local food producers — and treats them with respect.
Many menu items change with the seasons, but some favorites include Alabama farm-raised oysters on the half-shell, paired with a craft cocktail, such as a Marina Mule (Cathead Honeysuckle vodka, ginger liqueur, lime and Buffalo Rock ginger ale); seared jumbo scallops with roasted cauliflower (Upstairs) or the Gulf fish and grits (Dockside).
Cosmo’s: Local Hangout
You’ll likely be rubbing elbows with the locals at Cosmo’s, a neighborhood hangout in Orange Beach with an expansive front deck shaded by the branches of old live oaks. The glow of string lights overhead (and warmth of fire pits on a cool night) give the space an inviting energy that continues inside.
Cosmo’s vast menu is a mash up of Southern and Creole flavors, with most ingredients sourced locally. There’s something for every taste, from traditional fried oysters to more sophisticated dishes like citrus-marinated, grilled Gulf shrimp resting on creamy risotto, along with hefty steaks and other non-seafood options. Cosmo’s even offers a sushi bar and a good selection of craft beers.
The Gulf: Instagram-Worthy Views
It’s all about location, location, location The Gulf, an alfresco dining spot with a postcard-perfect view of the ocean basin and the many boats that travel the “pass” between the open water and the bayous. Sea-blue shipping containers have been repurposed to house the kitchen, a bar and a gift shop, while a colorful array of tables, chairs and couches are scattered on decks, a terraced grass lawn and a large sandy “beach” lined with palm trees for shade.
The small menu keeps the focus on fresh and local, including just-caught fish, and changes often. But you also can’t go wrong with the big, juicy Angus burger topped with house-made aioli. Don’t forget to order a side of hand-cut fries and a sweet-tart blueberry mojito to wash it all down.
The Point: Old-School Eats
It’s worth the quick (15-minute) drive across the state line to Perdido Key, Fla., to experience some of the best beach-inspired bites at The Point. Dating to the early 1950s, The Point may not look like much from the outside, but its interior will charm admirers of original mid-century design.
Even more delightful is the menu of classic Gulf seafood, including steamed royal red shrimp, fried mullet filets and spicy “blackened” fresh catch of the day. Paired with a stiff cocktail and accompanied by live music by a local bluegrass act, you’ll be glad you made the trip.