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Culinary on the Coast: Pensacola’s Thriving Foodie Scene

Date Posted: Sep 12, 2021

Twelve days of Foo Foo Fest come with many opportunities to take part in the unique culture that can only be found in Pensacola, but the two-plus weeks also bring with it so many possibilities to partake in Pensacola’s culinary scene. Pensacola has become quite a destination for foodies thanks to its unique array of dishes and flavors that can be found all across the seaside city. So whether it’s on the way to the first Foo event of the day, a break for lunch between activities, or capping off the day with a delicious dinner, be sure to take the time to get a taste of Pensacola.

Ruby Slipper Cafe

There’s really no better way to start a festival day than with breakfast at the Ruby Slipper Café. Conveniently located in downtown Pensacola, Ruby Slipper is the spot to enjoy a bite to eat and a cup of coffee before walking down the street to start a day of Foo Foo Fest. Soak up the southern with the BBQ Shrimp & Grits or the ever-popular Trifecta.


They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that’s probably because they ate at Bodacious. A stone’s throw from Foo Foo’s location in historic downtown Pensacola is Bodacious, where you never need an excuse to stop in for a breakfast bowl, breakfast quiche, or one of its handcrafted coffees. Too late for breakfast? Stop by for a Bodacious lunch, which features a variety of easy-to-eat items like acai bowls, pizzas, and salads.

Carmen’s Lunch Bar

Carmen’s Lunch Bar is located in downtown Pensacola and offers an eclectic menu that features everything from soups and salads to tapas and boutique wines. The menu changes depending on the time of day, but a stop by for lunch or happy hour to try their delicious curry crab chowder, or our favorite—the Spanish crab melt open-faced sandwich. Allergy issues? Carmen’s is a great pick thanks to its gluten-free menu too.

Union Public House

Pub favorites meet southern fare at Union Public House. The brainchild of Chef Blake Rushing, Union Public House offers dine-in and to-go and features a delicious mix of house-cured meats and cheeses in addition to its southern staples and pub must haves.

The Garden at Palafox

The Garden at Palafox is Pensacola’s only outdoor food hall, and it offers an incredibly unique experience with foods from around the world all in one location. The Garden is home to four food airstreams—MELT Gourmet Sandwiches and Mac N’ Cheese, BOCA Latin Kitchen, Calavera Tacos, and E-Saan Thai Street Food—as well as five kiosk stores, which serves to give local Pensacola businesses an opportunity to more easily grow and build upon their business before establishing a traditional brick-and-mortar option. The Garden also offers a bar and a restaurant, and all of the options are open-air beneath a covered porte cochere, offering up a picnic-style approach to dining.

Jackson’s Steakhouse

A culinary cornerstone in Pensacola, Jackson’s Steakhouse is a longstanding must-visit while in town. Local seafood and hand-cut steaks are always on the menu and always prepared under the watchful eye of renowned Executive Chef Irv Miller.

Restaurant IRON

Southern flare with a contemporary twist is the motto behind Restaurant IRON in downtown Pensacola. With a sincere focus on using local and regional flavors and ingredients, Restaurant IRON is an ideal spot to top of a fun festival day.

Atlas Oyster

Beautiful coastal views come with any order at Atlas Oyster. Situated on Pensacola Bay, a visit to Pensacola isn’t complete without a waterfront dining experience here. It may be known for its oysters—the restaurant is known as “the place” to find delicious local oysters—but there’s so much more to choose from.

The Global Grill

A menu as colorful and cultural as Foo Foo Fest’s lineup can be found at the Global Grill. The menu here takes guests around the world for an authentically global culinary experience and includes a variety of twists on American food.

Dharma Blue

A local favorite in Pensacola is Dharma Blue. With something for literally everyone—the menu features seafood, American, and even sushi—Dharma Blue also boasts a delectable dessert menu that’s a must for any night of the week.

Agapi Bistro & Garden Restaurant

New to Pensacola’s culinary scene is Agapi Bistro & Garden Restaurant, a Mediterranean restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Gus Silivos and Chef de Cuisine Justin Robinson. Meaning “ultimate love” in Greek, agapi was chosen as the name to illustrate the culmination of their greatest loves: food, cooking, community, and togetherness. With each dish, the sought-after chefs speak to those loves while highlighting Pensacola’s local bounty of sustainable seafood, meats, and produce. Another noteworthy aspect of Agapi is that the menu also boasts a variety of vegetarian and vegan options as well.


Alice’s Gulf Coast Restaurant & Wine Bar is another rather new addition to Pensacola’s food scene. Opened last year, the eagerly anticipated restaurant was established by Alice, who was originally from North Carolina but fell in love with the city while in college. She came back and opened the upscale eatery, which also features a wine bar and craft cocktails. A true local favorite, it was voted Best New Restaurant in 2020.


Located inside Hilton Pensacola Beach, Bonsai brings the Japanese dining experience to the coast. Situated on the hotel’s second floor, visitors can overlook the beautiful coastline and Gulf waters while enjoying a uniquely elevated and sophisticated menu. Curated by Executive Chef Omar Torres and Sushi Chef Rowell Javier, the restaurant features gourmet sushi, Wagyu beef, and Southern “smoked” rainbow rolls with two varieties of caviar. It’s also home to the best sake list in the South, and the sake has been perfectly paired with everything the menu has to offer—including the desserts.

Flora-Bama Yacht Club

Situated on Perdido Key, the Flora-Bama Yacht Club is one of the world’s top beach bars and a must-visit for anyone visiting Pensacola. Known for its original menu and local seafood—including the ever-popular Greek Shrimp Nachos—the Florida institution is also known to serve up quite a cocktail. While enjoying the open air and waterfront views, guests can enjoy a Bushwacker, Pensacola’s signature frosty alcoholic beverage, and one that Flora-Bama may even make the best.


Located in the heart of downtown, Angelena’s is a modern Italian restaurant featuring handmade pasta and thoughtfully prepared dishes. Led by Food Network personality and nationally-renowned Chef James Briscione doesn’t leave out the influence of the Gulf with plenty of seafood intermixed on the menu right along with wood-fired pizzas, pizzas, and desserts. The restaurant also features a specially-curated Italian wine list as well.

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