As one of countless seafood stands along Fort Walton Beach, Florida close to the highly-trafficked areas of Destin and Pensacola, The Original Waterfront Crab Shack cuts a pretty simple image along the marina just off the outer islands. While it sits a bit away from the areas tourists traditionally go, this spot is not to be overlooked, both for its waterside view and for its popularity with the local crowd, who seems to prefer the lower-key atmosphere over the loud, crowded tourist spots a few miles away.
Like many spots along the Gulf, Waterfront has a bunch of options to offer for seafood dishes, but crab is its biggest draw. Among the options:
- Crab cakes: Crab is what this spot is known for, and its crab cakes are delicious, huge patties brimming with crab meat and a few mild things that don’t overtake its natural flavor.
- Crab dip: Like the cakes, the dip is simple, a creamy concoction absolutely loaded with fresh crab flavor and served with fried chips to accentuate it. But the dip is good on its own, too.
- Peel-and-eat shrimp: You grab a half-pound of steamed shrimp for an appetizer, and it’s the kind of experience that leaves seafood lovers begging for more. The shrimp is topped with a light set of Cajun spices to kick up a little bit of flavor, and they’re served with a garlic butter to dip which is a real winner.
- Fried oysters: One of several options for lunch meals, the fried oysters are simple but the fry does not detract from the soft texture of the oysters and their flavor. If you like oysters you’ll have to give these a try, but I would also say that they only come fried, where some of the other options come grilled or steamed which helps them retain some of that good taste.
The restaurant is a pretty simple one, but finding dives like these are what a lot of people really love in a vacation. The old wooden pier butts directly to the water with a simple covering and wooden tables, but it remains a spot with a view that is going to keep people coming back. There’s a certain type of tourist, the localvore, who is going to love Waterfront over a more branded restaurant that will either be packed with people or will be pricing you out of a good time. If you’re that kind of diner, Waterfront little restaurant hidden along Miracle Strip is for you.
- The crab is one of the most popular items on the menu and for good reason. The crab legs are what draw people in but crab cakes and crab dip are also excellent.
- Some of the lunch options are cheaper and offer hefty plates of food with fries, hush puppies, cole slaw and more on the side.
- I also recommend giving a visit to the back deck, it’s got a beautiful view of the waterfront.