All the Seafood You Want, Down-home style

Photo by Simply Seafood and Oyster Bar

Just about any restaurant in the Navarre Beach area is going to have some worthwhile seafood offerings, but up the road a bit, in and around Milton, is where you’ll find several no-frills, Southern-style joints that serve up the real-deal stuff. You won’t find Bronzino Sous Vide or Swordfish Au Poivre, but you can get all the mullet, catfish, shrimp, oysters, gumbos, hushpuppies and other Panhandle standards that you’re lil’ ol’ heart, and stomach, desires.

Here’s a survey:

Chet’s Seafood
Located about 10 miles west of downtown Milton in Pace, Florida, Chet’s is a big, no-fuss place that pledges to serve “only the freshest local seafood available.” Fried or broiled. For you hardcore Southern pescavores, the place has mullet three ways. (3601 Highway 990, Pace, (850) 994-3299)

David’s Catfish House
Mississippi catfish and Gulf seafood are the specialties at this downhome place, which feels like a spacious boathouse. Gumbos, shrimp dishes, oysters hushpuppies and all the usual standards round out the menu. Big appetites will enjoy the all-you-can-eat options: fried catfish (whole or filet), popcorn shrimp or a combo of the two. (5129 Dogwood Drive, Milton, (850) 626-1500)

Gator’s Seafood Restaurant
This backroads place sits on a lake about 9 miles southeast of downtown Milton. Mullet, hushpuppies, cheese grits — all the authentic goods. An online reviewer raves: “Down-home, old-Florida seafood. The “hot filet mullet” will blow your mind.“Limited, seasonal hours. Best to call before you head out. (4030 Farrington Road, Milton, (850) 623-2661)

Nichols Seafood
Big hearty portions of traditional down-home seafood dishes are the deal here. Long tables are great for family-style chowing. You’ll eat fresh fish, oysters and other stuff caught from this restaurant’s own boats. About 5 miles southwest of downtown Milton. (3966 Avalon Blvd., Milton, (850) 623-3410)

Shrimp Basket
You can find locations of this casual chain throughout the Panhandle and up into ‘Bama. People line up for the all-you-can-eat shrimp, whitefish and catfish. Another specialty is Po Boys. Gumbo, crab claws and other regional delectables, too. (6389 US-90, Milton, FL 32570 (850) 626-6166)

Simply Seafood & Oyster Bar
The name of the place pretty much sums it up. This wood house near Avalon Beach, a few miles southwest of downtown Milton, pretty much has it all: fish, shrimp, scallops, crawfish, crab claws, mullet. Try the Polish sausage — it’s a side! (2784 Avalon Blvd., Milton, (850) 889-4771)