Top 20 Places to Eat in Pensacola

pensacola florida
Yachts anchored at Port Royal overlooking Pensacola Bay

The restaurant scene in Pensacola, Florida has come a long way.

What was once considered a sleepy Navy town back in the ’90s and early 2000s, has slowly transitioned into a foodie paradise. There are several reasons for the transformation – beautiful beaches, warm year-round weather, the rebirth of downtown Pensacola, new minor league sports teams including the Blue Wahoos and Ice Flyers, and many popular events and festivals throughout the year.

While most people probably associate Pensacola with seafood, the fact is there are now outstanding dining options covering every food genre and budget.

The hardest part was deciding which restaurants to include. It could easily be the top 50 or more. In fact, if you ask the 38,000+ members of the Pensacola Foodies Facebook group, you’re likely to get dozens of different responses for “best” seafood, BBQ, pizza or Mexican restaurant in town.

We highly recommended that you do your own research, ask the locals, and go out and support the many top-notch restaurants in the area.

Related: Top 10 Places to Eat on Pensacola Beach

pensacola florida
Pair of tables overlooking boats docked at Palafox Pier

The Selection Process

The criteria used to select the 20 restaurants is certainly not scientific, but several of the primary factors include:

Quality of food – A no-brainer, right? All of these restaurants consistently rank at the top of internet search engines, review websites, social media, and local recommendations.

Local – No restaurant chains here. Even though a couple of them have more than one location, they all are exclusive to the Pensacola/Gulf Coast area. We only included restaurants in the greater Pensacola area. This does not include Pensacola Beach or Santa Rosa County (stay tuned).

Dining Experience – Whether it’s casual or fine dining, chilling out on a waterfront patio, or hanging out in a local food joint, these restaurants get high marks for a unique and enjoyable dining experience.

Historical/Cultural – History plays a huge part in Pensacola. Many folks around here even consider it to be the oldest city in America (sorry St. Augustine). Several of these restaurants have been delivering a quality food and dining experience for many years.


Please be aware that operating hours may vary. Be sure to call ahead if you’re planning a late-night excursion to these or any other restaurants. Without further ado, here are the “Top 20 Places to Eat in Pensacola” (in no particular order).

Related: Top 20 Places to Eat in Destin Florida

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Restaurant Iron

Southern flare with a contemporary twist. The theme is locally sourced, hand-made, and detail-focused for every recipe prepared in their open kitchen. Dinner is served in a comfortable, elegant, southern-inspired setting. IRON has been the recipient of many awards including the Florida Trend Magazine’s Golden Spoon Award.

22 North Palafox Street
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 476-7776

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Dharma Blue

Cozy, eclectic cafe located in historic downtown Pensacola, Dharma Blue specializes in coastal American cuisine, an extensive sushi menu, and any other type of seafood you might crave.

There is always a fresh catch of the day, the chef’s daily creation, crab cakes and blackened catch.

Non-seafood items include the 12-ounce rib-eye, paneed chicken, and the classic cheeseburger. On Sunday, enjoy a brunch menu with a variety of omelets, benedicts and sandwiches.

300 S. Alcaniz St
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 433-1275

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5 Sisters Blues Cafe

Five Sisters Blues Cafe is a harmonic blend of southern flavors & soulful music.

Located in the heart of the historic Belmont-DeVilliers district, the menu features southern cuisine with a Creole and Caribbean flair. While they have a variety of items on the menu, it doesn’t get much better than Aunt Sara’s Southern Fried Chicken. Check out their daily specials, house specialties, and regular live blues music.

421 West Belmont Street
Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 912-4856

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Taqueria El Asador

Another “Pensacola Foodies” favorite. Taqueria El Asador is where “culture and appetite meet”. They serve delicious and authentic Mexican cuisine from a food truck located behind the Shell Gas Station on Davis Highway. Their specialty is tacos but you can’t go wrong with the other authentic Mexican dishes including quesadillas, burritos and homemade salsas.

In 2017, Taqueria El Asador was ranked as one of the 50 best taco joints in America.

Locals tip: if you pull up and see a long line, don’t let that stop you because they get everyone through quickly and efficiently.

7955 N. Davis Hwy
Pensacola, FL 32514
(850) 696-3232

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Alice’s Restaurant

Alice’s Restaurant specializes in Gulf Coast cuisine and fine wines. According to the website, “Alice’s sprang forth from a love of great food paired with outstanding wines created by a self-described “foodie” that saw a need for the revival of the classics, yet allowing for choices in atmosphere and more casual comfort food.”

Menu items range from fresh seafood and steaks to unique selections such as braised rabbit and lamb lollipops. Alice’s is always at the top of the list when discussing fine dining options in Pensacola.

1504 W Intendencia St.
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 332-5372

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Seafood Station

If you’re in the mood for authentic Vietnamese (including Pho), Japanese, fresh seafood, cajun dishes or sushi – look no further than Seafood Station. They are a local, family-owned restaurant with over 80 years of combined experience. Choose from a variety of dishes from the Vietnamese, Seafood, or Sushi menus.

Every item is cooked and prepared fresh to your order. Some of the seafood items include fried shrimp and fish baskets, boiled/steamed seafood, and fish, shrimp and crawfish po-boys.

4796 N. 9th Ave.
Pensacola, FL
(850) 607-7100

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Union Public House

Located in downtown Pensacola just one block north of the Blue Wahoos Stadium, Union Public House serves up some amazing food in a relaxed atmosphere. They call themselves “a crafty southern pub where it all comes together…  exceptional food, superb drinks, and stellar service will be the norm.”

The menu is unique and offers a variety of appetizers, salads, and sandwiches like the UPH burger, brisket patti melt and wild boar sloppy joe. A couple of the main entrees include crispy pork shank and banana leaf-wrapped Thai Gulf grouper. On Thursday, they offer a special five-course Paleo Wine Dinner.

309 S. Reus St.
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 607-6320

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The Oar House

The Oar House is another local favorite situated on scenic Bayou Chico, overlooking Bahia Mar Marina. It’s a great place to hang out with friends, watch boats pass by, and soak up the spectacular sunsets on the huge outdoor deck. There’s also dining under the tiki roof.

It’s an all-around fun atmosphere with live entertainment, daily happy hour, and a long list of delicious menu items – award-winning crab cakes; fresh fish sandwiches, gumbo, red beans and rice, and etouffée straight from the bayou. If you’re looking for a landlubber option, try the filet mignon.

1000 S. Pace Boulevard
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 549-4444

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Carmen’s Lunch Bar & Tapas

Located right in the heart of the downtown Pensacola business district, Carmen’s Lunch Bar features an eclectic menu of soups, fresh salads, savory tapas, and a variety of homemade sandwiches. Pair them with boutique wines, imported beers and signature iced teas.

Enjoy flavorful Southern and international cuisine presented in a relaxing, social atmosphere. Carmen’s is another popular lunch hot spot for the downtown business crowd, but it’s highly recommended to dine in the evening for some delicious tapas.

407-B S. Palafox Street
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 542-4334

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Captain Joey Patti’s Seafood Restaurant & Deli

Locals and most tourists know that if you want the freshest seafood in Pensacola, Joe Patti Seafood and Joey Patti’s Seafood restaurant are the places to go. Both have been a staple of the Pensacola landscape for decades. After 33 years next door to its parent business, Captain Joey Patti’s Seafood Restaurant and Deli recently moved to a new location on Garden Street.

One thing that hasn’t changed – if you want fresh seafood at affordable prices and served in a casual atmosphere, there are few restaurants that can match Joey Pattis. While they are known for their scrumptious fried seafood, they also offer grilled and non-fried items as well.

1124 W. Garden Street
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 607-6320

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End of the Line Cafe

Since 2002, End of the Line Cafe has been serving the Pensacola area with fresh, homemade vegan and vegetarian cuisine. They offer a wide variety of healthy, organic, vegan food that is made from scratch, as well as special weekly menus for Thursday Dinner and Sunday Brunch. Plus a full coffee bar, specialty drinks, Kombucha on tap and tasty vegan desserts.

If you’re new or want to learn more about the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, stop by to see all the menu offerings or sign up for one of their monthly Vegan Cooking Classes.*

*Hours and cooking class schedule may be affected by COVID-19.

610 E. Wright Street
Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 429.0336

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Hot Spot Barbeque

Whether it’s one of the online review sites or on a Pensacola Foodies favorite BBQ thread, Hot Spot is always at the top of the list. Open since 2013, the family-operated restaurant’s goal is to serve only the very best Southern Style Barbecue. That’s backed up by being a frequent finalist for PNJ’s “Best of the Bay” or Inweekly’s “Best of the Coast” awards.

It starts with quality meats, seasoned with their special dry-rub, and cooked in outdoor smokers. Nothing is deep-fried. They use a combination of recipes from family and friends, and all quality ingredients. Melt in your mouth brisket is one of the most popular items on the menu.

901 E. La Rua St.
Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 497-6060

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The Fishing Hole

If you ask any local about the best place to get seafood in Pensacola, The Fishing Hole is likely to be high on the list. Located in the Brentwood Shopping Center, this unassuming restaurant from the outside serves up some amazing seafood on the inside. Traditional, southern-style seafood served in a relaxed and warm atmosphere.

The seafood choices range from grouper and mahi-mahi to red snapper, Trigger and Flounder. For most of the seafood selections, you can get them fried, grilled or blackened. If you’re the person in the group that prefers a non-seafood option, they have a selection of salads, chicken tacos and pasta available.

15 Brent Lane (Brentwood Shopping Center)
Pensacola, FL 32503
Brentwood Shopping Center
(850) 912-6664

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Bonelli’s Cafe Italia

When most people think about Pensacola cuisine, they usually mention seafood.  However, there are a lot of outstanding food genres to choose from. If you’re in the mood for a more Italian theme cuisine, there are few better options than Bonelli’s.

They label themself “a true family restaurant”, with homemade recipes made to order. Their menu includes a yummy list of appetizers, salads, baked dishes and desserts. Choose from 10 different homemade sauces for the pasta dishes.

1217 N. 9th Ave
Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 466-3002

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New Yorker Deli & Pizzeria

Since 1991, the New Yorker Deli & Pizzeria has been a locals’ favorite. If you drive by during the lunch or dinner rush, you’ll see cars crammed into the parking lot and occasionally sticking out the street.

This locally owned and operated gem offers a delicious selection of homemade soups, salads, pastas, pizza and sandwiches. Check out their Facebook page for daily specials. When you’re done eating the main course, don’t forget to grab a slice of one of their homemade pies.

3001 E Cervantes St
Pensacola FL 32563
(850) 469-0029

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George’s Bistro + Bar

Relatively new to the Pensacola foodie scene (2015), George’s Bistro and Bar has certainly made a big splash. Whether it’s a sweet and savory brunch, light lunch, romantic candlelit dinner or hanging out with friends after work, George’s Bistro is a dining experience you won’t soon forget.

An extensive cocktail and wine list, and according to Chef/Owner George Lazi, a menu that combines recipes and culinary experiences from New York, European travels, and flavors of the South. They call it “South-meets-South” — the South of France meets The South.

6205 N. 9th Ave.
Pensacola, FL 32504
(850) 912-4655

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Jaco’s Bayfront Bar & Grille

Located at the South end of Palafox St, Jaco’s overlooks scenic Palafox Pier Marina and offers diners spectacular sunsets. Besides the beautiful views, they also serve up unique and delicious eats and drinks.

Signature flatbreads, Bayfront seafood, appetizers, salads, cocktails and specialties like ahi tuna, filet mignon, and the Bella mushroom stack. There’s something for every taste and plenty of seating in the covered patio and indoors.

997 S. Palafox St
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 432-5226

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Hub Stacey’s 

Located across from historic Seville Square, Hub Stacey’s is in the heart of downtown Pensacola and right in the middle of the festival scene. It’s also one of the top choices for the business lunch, after work or weekend crowd.

Hub Stacey’s serves up some of the best sandwiches in the area. Indoor, outdoor, dine-in or take-out. You’ll love the selection of over 20 sandwiches, plus salads, soups and burgers. Many of the sandwiches like “The Palafox” and “The 1/2 LaRua” are named after historical Pensacola streets. Two long-time favorites are the “Traditional French Dip” and “Hub Club”- which can easily feed 2 people.

312 E. Government St.
Pensacola FL 32502
(850) 469-1001

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The Tuscan Oven Pizzeria

The biggest argument on social media or just hanging out with friends… “who makes the best pizza”? Pensacola has its fair share of tasty options, but The Tuscan Oven Pizzeria is usually at the top of the conversation. They feature delicious wood-fired pizza. Choose from a variety of classic and specialty pizzas, homemade appetizers, soups and fresh salads.

Customer favorites include Margherita pizza, a classic Neapolitan creation of tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil, or the Abbondanza pizza, loaded with sausage, pepperoni, capicola ham and bacon. For an authentic taste of Naples, try the Pizza Bianca, featuring a blend of mozzarella and fontina cheeses sprinkled with garlic.

After dinner, choose from a tempting variety of Italian desserts and gelatos.

4801 N. 9th Ave.
Pensacola, FL 32503
(850) 484.6836

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McGuire’s Irish Pub

A “Best of” Pensacola restaurant list would not be complete without including McGuire’s Irish Pub. It opened in 1977 as a small neighborhood pub in a shopping center. and moved to its current location in 1982. Usually at the top of every recommendation list, McGuires offers visitors a true Irish pub experience.

What’s almost guaranteed to happen is leaving with a full belly, a couple less $1 bills in your pocket (they have more than one million signed dollar bills hanging from the ceilings and walls), and Irish folk songs stuck in your head.

Related: Top 20 Places to Eat in Destin Florida

There’s really not a bad item on the menu. Amazing steaks, Irish pub specialties including shepherd’s pie, corned beef & cabbage, gigantic hamburgers, and did we mention they have a brewery on-site? Not much else to say other than McGuire’s Irish Pub should definitely be on your shortlist of restaurants to visit whether you’re a Pensacola local or visitor.

600 E. Gregory St
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 433-6789

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