Unveiling the Top 30A Hot Spots for Fine Dining (2023) - 30A


Unveiling the Top 30A Hot Spots for Fine Dining (2023)

When many people first arrive at the beach, they’re eager to dig in at rustic shrimp shacks where fried food and flip-flops reign supreme. But after a few days of french fries and hush puppies, beachgoers often find themselves ready for a swanky night out, including an upscale dining experience. Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A is not only a natural wonder but a gastronomic paradise as well. From elegant well-known establishments to award-winning hidden gems, 30A’s culinary scene offers a plethora of options for discerning palates. Every year, we ask 30A fans, food enthusiasts, and local connoisseurs to vote for their favorite “30A Hot Spots” in a variety of categories. Per your votes, here are the top destinations on 30A that represent the epitome of “Fine Dining” along Scenic Highway 30A.

30A’s Hottest Spot for Fine Dining (2023): Café Thirty-A

While the beloved local owner of Café Thirty-A recently passed away, her legacy lives on at this crowned champion of 30A fine dining. In the heart of Seagrove Beach, this long-standing institution has been welcoming and delighting guests for decades with its happy hour cocktails and scrumptious flavors fresh from the sea. Indulge in their signature dishes like the pan-seared diver scallops or the herb-crusted rack of lamb, expertly prepared by their talented culinary team. An incredible legacy, indeed.

Runner-up: Gallion’s

Gallion’s in Rosemary Beach offers an upscale, adults-only fine dining experience. Led by Executive Chef Keeley Wiggins, their seasonal menus feature coastal-inspired small plates and sophisticated options like the 30-day Dry Aged Ribeye. Indulge in delectable desserts churned from seasonal fruits and explore their remarkable wine and spirits selection.

With an elegant interior and a grand quartz bar, Gallion’s provides a memorable setting for enjoying exquisite cuisine and engaging conversations.

It’s the perfect destination for an unforgettable fine dining experience.

Third Place: The Citizen

Located in Alys Beach, The Citizen takes the third spot on our list of 30A’s hottest spots for fine dining. With a sleek and contemporary atmosphere, this is also one of 30A’s hottest places to see and be seen. Sit up at the bar like a local, or hop over to the fresh oyster bar to savor saltier treasures.

More 30A Fine Dining Hot Spot Nominees:

While they may not have claimed your votes as the very top spots, these exceptional restaurants deserve recognition for their culinary excellence. Each of these runners-ups brings something unique to 30A’s fine dining scene.

Havana Beach Bar & Grill

Located in the charming town of Rosemary Beach, Havana Beach Bar & Grill serves up a menu that showcases the vibrant and bold flavors of Cuban cuisine, infused with a touch of Gulf Coast flair.

This elegant restaurant exudes a decidedly Hemingway halo, with its rich leather atmosphere and sneak peeks out at the Gulf of Mexico.

Whether you’re sipping on a handcrafted mojito at the bar or savoring the authentic Cuban flavors in the elegant dining room, Havana Beach Bar & Grill delivers an unforgettable dining experience designed to transport you to the enchanting streets of Havana. Visual highlights include original images captured in Havana, as well as a mugshot of a young Frank Sinatra.

Ambrosia 30A Prime Seafood & Steaks

Located in the new Watersound Origins commercial park on Highway 98, just west of Inlet Beach, Ambrosia 30A Prime Seafood & Steaks is a brand-new haven for seafood and steak enthusiasts. Indulge in buttery lobster tails, perfectly seared scallops, or succulent filet mignon, each expertly prepared by Chef Michael Sichel to tantalize your taste buds. With great service, an extensive wine list, and a sophisticated atmosphere, Ambrosia is a welcome addition to 30A’s extensive foodie menu.

Surfing Deer

Located in Seagrove Beach where County Road 395 intersects with Scenic 30A, Surfing Deer is a unique dining experience curated by the famous Hartley family of restauranteurs (The Hartleys own Seagrove Village Market Cafe and also founded other local culinary icons such as George’s at Alys Beach).

Upscale and yet casual, Surfing Deer seamlessly blends coastal elegance with a relaxed beach vibe.

Sit outside by the bubbling fountains and watch the pedestrian parade waddle and peddle by, or stay inside for a more romantic ambiance. Be sure to look for the picture of the original “Surfing Deer.”

Restaurant Paradis

Located in Rosemary Beach on the south side of Scenic Highway 30A, Restaurant Paradis is a long-time local favorite. Saddle up to the bar to chat it up with locals, or carve out a space in Paradis’ elegant dining room for larger affairs. Known for its fine steak, wine, and seafood selections, Restaurant Paradis is a consistent palate-pleaser.

Basmati’s Asian Cuisine

Another long-time 30A establishment, Basmati’s Asian Cuisine is located directly on 30A in Blue Mountain Beach. Basmati’s menu features a range of culinary delights with various Asian influences, including sushi. Basmati’s Asian Cuisine is perfectly charming at night, but if you go for lunch, you can sit on the screened porch overlooking Draper Lake.


30A doesn’t have many rooftop restaurants and bars, but Pescado certainly ranks at the top.

It would be easy to assume Pescado is such a fan-favorite because of its views of the Gulf across rows of stunning, upscale Gulf-front homes.

But anyone who samples the menu knows that it’s the creative cuisines and cocktails that keep locals and visitors alike coming back for more. This is a place to see and be seen, so reservations are strongly encouraged, as the seats (and barstools) always fill up fast.

Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood

Another South Walton fine dining icon, Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood is located on the Gulf side of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Indulge in the finest USDA Prime steaks, carefully selected and aged to perfection, or go for an exquisite selection of fresh seafood, including succulent lobster tails and delicate fish filets. Or surf-and-turf it. You’re at the beach after all. Accompany your meal with a perfectly paired wine from their extensive collection, curated by an in-house sommelier.

For a complete list of this year’s 30A Hot Spots Award winners, check out www.30A.com/2023-hot-spot-winners.



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