People flock to Alabama’s Dauphin Island for the stunning sunsets, white sand beaches, history and laid-back island life. But there’s another aspect well worth exploring too – the food and restaurant scene here.
There’s many fantastic restaurants in Dauphin Island where you can pick up delicious Southern classics, the freshest seafood in the state, and fantastic Mexican fare. But knowing where to start your island food adventure can be difficult when it’s your first time visiting this town on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
That’s where we’re here to help!
Right here we introduce you to eight Dauphin Island restaurants that are known for serving up exceptional food, often in settings that will have you snapping photos as soon as step inside. Below we show you exactly what to expect at each, and why you should pay them a visit. Let’s dig in!
The Eight Best Restaurants in Dauphin Island For Food & Views
1. Pirate’s Bar and Grill
Waterfront restaurant with live music that specializes in classic Southern fare and seafood.
The views from this establishment are absolutely stunning with panoramic views of the Gulf. And even if you choose to dine inside, the floor to ceiling windows not only provide ample natural lighting but also still let you gaze out at the sea. No wonder this place is called Pirate’s Bar and Grill!
But the best option has to be dining on the patio and deck so you can take in the fresh breeze, as well as the views. Plasma screen TVs are also available on the upper deck if you want to catch up on the news or watch your favorite sport. Or if you want to be a bit more active, then Pirate’s actually have their own pool – yes you read that correctly. A restaurant with a pool.
Being a waterfront restaurant, the menu is dominated by great seafood options. You’ll have to try the blackened shrimp BLT which comes with blackened gulf shrimp, all the components of a BLT and pepper jack cheese between two slices of thick Texas toast.
The Pirate’s po-boy is another classic and comes with a choice of fried shrimp, fish, oyster or crab on Gambino French bread with lettuce tomato and onions. Pair it with a side of fried okra or a cup of Big Phil’s seafood gumbo to really experience the taste of the south. The rest of the menu features fresh seafood appetizers, salads, burgers and meat and seafood entrees.
The upper deck of the restaurant is a great place to dine too, so try and book a table there. But it is recommended to call ahead and make a reservation as this place can get busy as it’s one of the most popular restaurants in Dauphin Island.
The service here is fantastic and attentive too, and there is hardly any wait for food. On top of that, there’s live music on offer every Wednesday, along with special concerts throughout spring and summer, so plan your visit around that!
The restaurant is open from Wednesday through Monday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. except for Sunday when it shuts earlier at 9:00 p.m. It is, unfortunately, closed on Tuesday.
Address: 100 Orleans Dr, Dauphin Island, AL 36528
2. Lighthouse Bakery
Cozy mom n pop joint that specializes in baked goods.
If you’re in the mood for a quick light lunch or breakfast, Lighthouse Bakery is the place to go. Owned and operated by Mary and Daniel Scarcliff, along with daughter Christa Jones, it’s a quaint little café and for a second after entering you’ll be wondering if you stepped into someone’s home.
That is until you see the display case with all the wonderful baked items on offer. Paintings and doilies hang from the wall and cupboards have crockery on display. It really gives the vibe of a quiet little tea room. The furniture is also stylish and wooden. There’s even a section dedicated to merchandise and seating is available on the patio outside if you wish to dine al fresco.
Lighthouse Bakery is best known for its cinnamon rolls and they run out fast, so make sure you get there early. There’s generally a line outside especially over the weekend – that’s how popular the food here is+.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more substantial, you can always grab a hoagie or sandwich which comes in fresh in-house baked bread. The chicken salad sandwich is a particular delight and comes with lettuce, tomatoes and dill pickles.
Another thing you can’t miss here is their omelet Saturdays. The crab omelet has locals raving and comes with three eggs, crab meat, mushrooms, peppers and onions with your choice of cheese. Round off your meal with a freshly brewed gourmet coffee which is locally sourced from Mobile, Alabama.
This place is quite popular, especially among locals, so there may be little await time. Service is fast, however, and the staff are warm and friendly.
Hours of operation are from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with closing time extending to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. The café is closed on Sunday and Monday, so make sure you take a to go order on Saturday to satisfy any cravings!
Address: 919 Chaumont Ave, Dauphin Island, AL 36528
3. Reel Deal BBQ and Seafood
Unpretentious joint serving Southern style barbecue and fresh seafood.
Don’t overlook this hole in the wall restaurant as it serves some of the best barbecue in Dauphin Island. And hole in the wall it is, as that is where you place your order – a window in a country house.
Pick up is from another adjacent window and seating is only available outside on the covered patio in the form of picnic tables. It’s the real deal, no frills barbecue experience.
While Reel Deal is a barbecue place, it’s the burgers here that tend to steal the show. The cheeseburger is cooked to perfection and comes with lettuce, pickles and onions with a side of crinkle cut fries.
Another standout, which is odd to find on the menu of a barbecue place, is the egg roll – crisp wonton shells filled with jalapenos, cream cheese and bacon. Simply divine!
Coming to the meat of it (quite literally), it’s the brisket you should go for, whether by the pound or in a sandwich. You can add a side of potato salad, which we’ve heard great things about, to make it a meal, along with one of their specialty milkshakes.
Reel Deal is a family run establishment and they do try to take care of their customers, being quite accommodative to requests.
There is minimal wait time even though the non-barbecue items are cooked to order. The place is open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. all days except Wednesday, making it one of the few restaurants in Dauphin Island that is open late.
Address: 1612 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528
4. Islanders Restaurant
Bar and grill that specializes in seafood and cocktails
Islanders manages to balance simple and quirky well. The central bar is fun, displaying the restaurant’s name in bold lettering and being festooned with lights, but the outdoor patio is a particular highlight as it is in the midst of greenery with lovely palm trees all about. This restaurant also decks the place up for different occasions, so expect tinsel and Christmas trees during Christmas, spooky decorations during Halloween and plenty bright baubles for Mardi Gras.
You have to order the Buffalo shrimp when you dine here, we’ve heard nothing but good things! It features fresh shrimp deep fried to golden brown and tossed in their signature buffalo sauce, served on a bed of coleslaw.
The beach baskets are another thing that you should give a go and are great for sharing. Shrimp or fish prepared your way served with hushpuppies and tartar sauce along with a side of coleslaw, fries or Yukon chips. Go for the blackened Mahi – you won’t regret it!
The rest of the menu features sandwiches, entrees (the burger has garnered quite a reputation here) starters and salads. They run menu specials quite often and even have homemade desserts such as their famous Islander bread pudding.
Islanders is just a short walk from the public beach and is a convenient option to dine at after a day on the sand. Part of their outdoor patio is dog friendly and they even bring out water bowls for your four-legged friends, which is perfect if you’ve been out walking the dog. So this is definitely one of the most dog friendly restaurants in Dauphin Island.
Service here is very accommodating and they do try to take into account dietary restrictions and prepare meals accordingly. Islanders is open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. all days except Monday when it’s closed.
Address: 1504 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528
5. Capt’n Snappers
Homely clam shack known for its shrimp and crab cakes.
Capt’n Snappers is a simple no frills restaurant with a distinct nautical feel. The checkerboard flooring sometimes seems at odds with the patterned table cloths but the contrast really adds to the charm of the place.
There’s a giant swordfish displayed on one wall with other nautical gear spread out sporadically, whilst seating is in the form of simple upholstered chairs with the tables just far enough apart to not feel too crowded. It’s a casual setting, perfect for a fresh seafood dinner!
For a sampling of the island’s delights go for the seafood platter which includes a deep-fried combination of fresh Gulf shrimp, scallops, oysters, fish, deviled crab and crab claws (phew!) with a choice of two sides. You can even have them broil the seafood for a little extra charge. For sides, we heartily recommend the coleslaw, it’s gotten a lot of praise!
If you want to warm yourself up a bit try a cup of the Captain’s Seafood gumbo which has crab meat, shrimp and secret spices or a simple hot piping bowl of their homemade crab bisque. Both are exceptional and seasoned really well. The portion sizes are quite substantial so bring your appetite and be prepared for a to go box.
The servers here are very friendly and food doesn’t take too long to arrive at your table. For a hearty seafood meal, visit Capt’n Snappers! Hours of operation are from 11:00 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. all days except Wednesday and Sunday when they are closed.
Address: 698 Lemoyne Dr, Dauphin Island, AL 36528
6. Miguel’s Beach and Baja
Take away only joint that serves Mexican food
Miguel’s is a hole in the wall joint that may be difficult to find, but once you do, you’ll keep coming back for more. It serves the freshest Mexican fare in Dauphin Island, bringing a bit of West Coast flair with Gulf Coast soul.
There’s a smattering of picnic tables set out on the patio to dine on, and these get filled up fast, so make sure you get there early if you want to sit and dine directly outside. The joint is take away only, so you’ll have to place your order and collect it in their to go boxes and then dine on the patio, carry it home, or go eat it at the beach.
However those to go boxes are microwaveable, and more importantly recyclable, which is quite a consideration and appreciated.
As for the food, the Mahi burritos are absolutely sublime and come with a 12’’ flour tortilla wrapped around pinto or black beans, yellow rice, purple cabbage, Miguel’s salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese. It’s filled to the brim and the Mahi, which is cooked to perfection, really stands out.
For something a little lighter, you can go for a taco with your choice of chicken, sweet Baja pork or beef in a hard or soft corn tortilla with all the regular fixings.
The rest of the menu has Mexican staples such as quesadillas, burrito bowls and nachos. Complete your meal with a smoothie from Foxy’s next door (see our number eight choice)!
There might be a bit of a wait time as everything is prepared to order, with shrimp, Mahi and steak taking the longest.
Everything is prepared fresh, so they do run out sometimes, so try and get there early. The place is easily one of the best restaurants in Dauphin Island, and is open from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. all days except Sunday and Monday when it’s closed.
Address: 202 Lemoyne Dr, Dauphin Island, AL 36528
7. Dockside Seafood Restaurant
Seafood specialty restaurant with views of the bay and an attached pub upstairs
Located right on the dock, as the name implies, this seafood restaurant has great views of the bay.
The interiors themselves are quite spartan with minimalist décor and that’s even reflected in the menu which has a focus on quality over quantity in terms of the number of items on offer.
Overall, this place has a nice casual feel with tables spread out evenly, but a few picnic tables have also been set up outside if you wish to dine in the fresh air, where you can actually spot a Pelican or two which the pub upstairs has been named after!
The menu here is simple and unpretentious spanning only a page, though they do run specials that change daily.
You have to try the steamed shrimp or royal reds – Gulf caught local shrimp and Gulf caught deep-water shrimp, respectively, which is sold by the pound and is a fresh as can be. It’s served with a choice of potato or corn and a cocktail sauce that is simply divine.
The tacos are another great choice and feature warm tortillas with a choice of fish or shrimp that can be fried, grilled or blackened along with lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream and salsa. Complete your meal with a slice of their great key lime pie!
Everything is prepared to order, so it may take a while to reach you, but with views like they have here, the wait is definitely worth it.
Service is great with attentive servers taking care of your needs. You can even drop by for a pint at the Pelican pub upstairs before dining here. The Dockside Seafood restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. all days except Thursday when its closed. For the views and the food, this is definitely one of the best restaurants in Dauphin Island.
Address: 1102 De Soto Ave, Dauphin Island, AL 36528
8. Foxy’s Waffle Bar and Sugar Den
Simple sweet shop that specializes in waffles, milkshakes and smoothies
Foxy’s is a great place to visit if you’ve got a sweet tooth as they’ve got every sweet indulgence covered. Nothing completes a day on the beach like a fresh, hot waffle with all the works – and that’s what you’re going to get here!
Foxy’s operates out of a house with only minimal seating available outside in the form of picnic tables. While a majority of Dauphin Island restaurants focus on fresh caught seafood, Foxy’s flips the script and serves up decadent sweet delights. It really caters to on-the-go island living.
Everything here is made fresh to order. As the name suggests, you have to try the waffles which can be ordered half or whole. It’s totally customizable too, with toppings such as berries, bananas, pecans, Nutella, granola, chocolate chips and even ice cream. Just go wild and build your ideal waffle.
Do not overlook the smoothies though as they are a hit with many who visit. The peanut butter delight smoothie comes with peanut butter, bananas, chocolate and milk and is absolute must have.
At peak hours there may be a bit of a wait time, so you’re encouraged to call ahead and place your order. Foxy’s is open 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. all days except Sunday and Monday, when its closed though. So get your waffle fix before then!
Address: 202 Lemoyne Dr, Dauphin Island, AL 36528