Is there anything better than a Sunday at the beach? What about a lazy Sunday at the beach that has you grabbing a late brunch out and not heating up the kitchen? Whether it’s bacon and eggs or a tall stack of pancakes, brunch along the Emerald Coast just feels different — and decadent.
Here are our picks for the best of the beach brunches from Destin to Panama City Beach.
- Donut Hole Bakery Cafe: It’s the destination all vacationers to the area hit at least once during their stay, whether for the famous key lime pie or their oversized omelets. Get there early, though; by 9 a.m., you’ll find yourself waiting in a (well-worth-it) line. Good news: You can do brunch at 8 p.m., if you want. Their breakfast menu goes all day. A second location sits in Santa Rosa Beach.
- 790: Locals have figured out the best place for a Sunday champagne brunch and 790 has the right mix of ambiance and menu items. Newly relocated on U.S. Highway 98 near the Beall’s shopping center, 790’s Sunday brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. year-round, featuring choices like beignet French toast, duck and andouille gumbo and crab cake benedict. Eat gulf-side and enjoy endless champagne, bellinis and mimosas.
- The Breakfast Table Cafe: If hole-in-the-wall is more your speed, this breakfast joint with its homemade sausage gravy and shrimp and grits will fit the bill. Open since 2014, its owners describe it as “the aromas, flavors and love of grandma’s kitchen.” Order eggs any way you like them and feast on locally-caught shrimp.
- Ruby Slipper Cafe: Slated to open in early summer 2022, Ruby Slipper draws “oohs and ahhs” every time they’re discussed online. The menu is an eclectic mix of omelets, benedicts, specialty dishes like The Costa Rican and Migas, as well as sweet bites including bacon praline and stuffed French toast, it’s guaranteed to be an instant classic in Destin.
- 2 Birds Coffee and Café: When a menu says, “Cinnamon sugar donuts, while they last,” you know things are going to be good. 2 Birds has locations in Seascape Towne Centre and Panama City Beach. The offerings here include a variety of “sammies” and breakfast staples, as well as a full list of “fancy toast.” We recommend the chorizo with black bean spread and pickled onions.
- Mama Clemenza’s European Breakfast: If you like your breakfast more of the liquid variety, Mama Clemenza’s has custom-roasted coffees, bellinis with peach nectar and their house special spicy bloody Marys. Pair those with lemon curd ricotta pancakes, eggs benedict or homemade espresso biscuits.
Santa Rosa Beach
- Vue on 30A: Egg or crab cake benedicts, seafood omelets and steak and eggs are on the menu at this gulf-front dining option that sits right on 30A. Add a full drink menu and you’ve got a recipe for brunch success at this restaurant dubbed “Best Place to Watch a Sunset” by the readers of Destin Magazine.
- Another Broken Egg Café: With four locations from Destin and Sandestin to Panama City Beach, Another Broken Egg Cafe is a chain that feels decidedly “un-chain” like. Try ordering from the restaurant’s seasonal menu, which boasts hits like a sweet potato waffle, and spiked cold brew coffees.
Blue Mountain Beach
- The Perfect Pig: The success of the Perfect Pig at Gulf Place had spawned two additional locations in WaterColor and Seagrove Beach. Indulge in the pork belly biscuit, grab a cup of grits and don’t leave without trying the brown sugar bacon. Seriously.
- Black Bear Bread Co.: Of course, with a name like Black Bear Bread Co., you’d expect an assortment of breads and pastries — and you wouldn’t be wrong. The menu is full of homemade croissants, bear claws and cinnamon rolls.
But, this is no one-trick pony. They also have granola and grain bowls, breakfast sandwiches and a drink menu that includes “bubbles,” beer and coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
- Grits & Grind: Reopening on February 3, 2020, Grits & Grind will fill your belly with brunch dishes like “Hungry Grizzly,” a concoction with three meats, home fries and cheese, and braised pork belly hash. “The Grit & Grind” Blood Mary promises to “cure what ails you.”
- Bud and Alley’s: This iconic business in Seaside, Florida, has been a tradition for locals and visitors alike for more than 30 years. The addition of a breakfast menu further solidifies their place among the “must-stops” in the area. Load up on the southern-style breakfast or chicken and waffles and then walk down to the beach and sleep it off.
- The Great Southern Cafe: Great Southern calls itself “new-fashioned Southern cuisine,” marrying international flavors with Southern favorites and local seafood and produce. Try the house-made sage sausage or grits and grillades, a mash-up of slow-roasted beef, veggies and Gouda grits.
- Airstream food trucks: We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the assortment of Airstream food trucks that dot 30A in Seaside just steps from the beach. Load up on BBQ, grilled cheese or grass-fed beef hotdogs as you head down to the sand.
- Havana Beach Bar and Grill: The fact that this eatery is inside The Pearl, Rosemary Beach’s vibrant luxury hotel is reason enough to check it out. But, if you’re also hungry, you’re in luck. We recommend “The Big Cinnamon Bun,” followed by Gulf Coast Shrimp and Grits … if you have room.
- Pescado: Graham cracker-crusted French toast, smoked salmon and spicy garlic shrimp with mac and cheese top the menu at this rooftop establishment. Once you find the “Orleans” building, hit the elevator and enter the food and the view.
- Big Bad Breakfast: The owners of Big Bad Breakfast believe that breakfast is special; after all, they put it in the restaurant’s name. The brainchild of James Beard award-winning chef John Currence, BBB is an assortment of all of your old favorites and new dishes sure to be, including a fried oyster scramble, a grab-and-go breakfast crumble and “The Mother of All Biscuits.”
Panama City Beach
- Liza’s Cafe: This quaint sandwich shop, known for its “Hippie Chick,” also has a weekend brunch menu with everything from classic breakfast to a “B.L.E.A.T,” bacon, lettuce, egg, avocado and tomato or wheat toast. You can also build your own sandwich, including your bread, meat, cheese and an assortment of spreads.
- Thomas Donut and Snack Shop: Of course, you’re going to try a donut, right? It’s right there in the name. Choose from red velvet, buttermilk, glazed or more two dozen others. Don’t be afraid to add on a breakfast sandwich or biscuits and gravy … carbs don’t count when you’re at the beach.