Vacationing in Destin is expensive and when you are trying to do it on a budget, it’s even harder. One of the biggest expenses while on vacation is food and dining out. Of course, one of the best ways to lower that expense is by eating at your own condo. Cereal in the morning. Sandwiches for lunch at the beach. Grilling out for supper. But, what fun is it going on vacation if you can’t enjoy a good meal out? We have picked 5 budget-friendly restaurants for you that we feel will help when it comes to good food that doesn’t break your bank account. Also, going out to eat doesn’t have to be only at dinner time. By the end of the day, everyone will be tired, and cranky. No one wants to have to wait 2 hours or more to eat- especially if you don’t have reservations. Consider some of these great options.
The following are in no certain order.
Mary’s Kitchen is located on Hwy 98 in the old Destin Diner. It opened a few years ago and it’s a local favorite. It’s good honest home cooking. They have daily specials, along with a veggie of the day and peas of the day. Some of our favorites at Mary’s are the fried pork chops, the “Porktato” (loaded baked potato smothered with Pulled Pork), and, of course, their fried chicken. Most of their entrees are under $10. There are a few that are a little more, but this is real food and worth every penny.
Mary’s is open 7:30 am-2:30 pm 7 days a week. Click here to see their Destin menu. If you have any questions, they can be reached at (850)824-4435.
Ok, don’t laugh. If you are not from the south, you probably have a very negative idea of what the Waffle House is. But we are here to tell you, that it’s all just talk. Waffle House is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They serve the full menu any time. The Waffle House crew is always so friendly and upbeat. You feel welcome the moment you walk into the restaurant. Waffle House’s service is usually pretty fast. Don’t be scared to order a burger, if that’s what you want. Their burgers are real beef patties. Their waffles are huge and the coffee is delicious. And whatever you do, PLEASE don’t forget the hashbrowns! This is a solid choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The kids may even like to sit at the counter and watch all of the action. Parents will be impressed with how well the team works together. See if you can spot how the plate prepper lets the grill know what plate is which. Their crew is a well-oiled machine. Prices are usually under $10 for most meals.
Little known fact. Waffle House plays a big part in how FEMA judges the severity and devastation of a natural disaster. It’s called the Waffle House Index. You can read about it here. Interesting stuff, kind of one of those things you can bring up in a lagging conversation. Just whip this little tidbit of information out and wow your friends!
There are two Waffle Houses in Destin. The Waffle House (#662) located at 1067 E. Hwy 98 (mid-Destin)has been there for years and has a solid following. A new one (#674) has recently opened up down closer to the Emerald Grande and Harbor Walk at 209 East Hwy 98. Both conveniently located for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or middle-of-the-night snacks!
Thai Delights is located at 821 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541. It’s in the same parking lot as the Winn Dixie on 98 and sits back behind McDonald’s.
We realize that this wouldn’t be something people normally eat when they go to the beach. However, this restaurant has excellent reviews. Not to mention, the prices are really good and a family of 4 could easily split 2 meals and make it even cheaper. Or you can have leftovers for a second meal!
Reviewers rave about the Pad Thai and the Tom Yum Seafood soup among many other options. One reviewer commented on how the sticky rice is served in a cute little heart shape. It made the dish so much better! (It’s the little things in life) Thai Delights also offers lunch specials that are not to be missed.
They do not have a website, but they have pictures of their menus on their Facebook page which you can find here. Thai Delights is open Monday – Saturday from 11 am – 9 pm and closed on Sundays. If you have any questions you can call them at (850)650-3945.
Capriccio Cafe – Our next pick is a locally owned, authentic Italian cafe. They specialize in delicious coffee, crepes, salads, and sandwiches. Their website states that the owner is from Milan and advertises that their meats and cheese are both imported from Italy. Can’t get much more Italian than that!
Capriccio Cafe advertises an extensive coffee menu that includes cafe au laits, cappuccino, hot (and cold) tea, frappuccinos, and lattes. They also offer interesting espresso drinks such as Nutella doppio which is 2 shots of espresso with Nutella. There is also an Espresso macchiato – 2 shots of espresso and a dollop of milk foam. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their coffee menu.
Breakfast items on their menu include luscious crepes, croissant sandwiches, and frittatas. All three of these are good solid starts to your day. Crepe fillers range from sweet to savory. There are 4 options to choose from, including a veggie option.
When it comes to lunchtime food, sandwiches are always a good bet for an inexpensive meal. Perhaps you are one of those people who can never manage a whole sandwich by yourself. Why not either split it with someone or bring it home to take out to the beach later!. Most of their sandwiches are $10 and under. They also offer a few salads but those are a bit more expensive. And again, you may find yourself taking part of it home for another meal!
Located at 810 Harbor Blvd in Destin, Capriccio is open 7 days a week from 6 am until 2 pm. So maybe consider eating a late breakfast/early lunch to eliminate one meal from your day. Two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Burrito del Sol Destin
Burrito del Sol Destin – 517 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541 is our next budget-friendly option. If you are a fan of fresh Mexican food, this choice has over 750 almost 5-star reviews. Among the menu items, you’ll find burritos (of course!), salad, quesadilla, tacos, or nachos. You will pick your meat or other protein (which includes shrimp, fish, or tempeh) and a sauce. They offer chips and salsa – red or pineapple among other standards. Burrito del Sol offers soft drinks or beer. Burrito del Sol is locally owned and is not a chain restaurant. Their website claims to be microwave free and everything is homemade. They are open Tuesday – Saturday from 11 am – 9 pm and closed Sunday and Monday. Also, check out their events page for upcoming specials. For a full menu visit their website.
Island Wing Company
Island Wing Company – 981 US Hwy 98 East, Destin. So, not only does this place have phenomenal wings, but on Mondays, they advertise “Buy one adult entree and get a child’s meal free”! What a great way to start the week. Island Wing Company isn’t just a “wing joint”. Their menu is full of delicious choices – appetizers, salads, tacos, sandwiches, wings, and more. Flatbreads are under $12 each. Burgers are big enough to split. Island Wing Company does not fry anything, not even their french fries. It’s all baked! That should make you feel a bit better about eating out as well.
Hopefully, our list has a few new options that will appeal to your taste buds and help you save a little bit on your vacation food budget. As always, if you choose one of these options, let us know what you thought! Send us a picture We’d love to hear from you.