Holidaze: dining out on Christmas in South Walton
By Michelle Farnham
December 20th, 2017
In the classic ‘80s movie “A Christmas Story,” a series of unfortunate events leads a family to a Chinese restaurant for an impromptu holiday meal. However, a ruined turkey dinner isn’t the only reason to head out for a celebratory feast – especially here in South Walton’s great dining scene. For locals staying home for the holidays, to visitors looking for a little yuletide sunshine, a handful of restaurants will be serving on Christmas Day.
Great Southern Café, situated on Central Square in Seaside, will provide full meal service from 4 to 9:30 p.m. on Christmas Day. The kitchen will offer the regular menu, and no reservations are accepted – it’s the Great Southern way!
Chef/owner Jim Shirley’s other Seaside Square restaurant, 45 Central, will also be open for traditional dinner service from 4 to 9:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.
Should the sparkle of holiday decorations put a smile on your face, consider dining amid the extravagant but never ostentatious display put on by Marlin Grill. Located within the Village of Baytowne Wharf, the upscale dining locale will be serving off the regular menu from 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations are required on Christmas, and they’re going quickly.
The Ocean Club in Miramar Beach is open 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Christmas Day. Guests can order off the special holiday menu, including traditional options like turkey (oven-roasted or Cajun-fried), or classic menu items including grouper, snapper, prime rib, lamb chop and filet mignon. Reservations are strongly recommended for this special holiday event.
Havana Beach Bar & Grill, located within The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach, will offer its regular breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m., then reopen at noon to serve a special Christmas dinner until 9 p.m. The 3-course dinner is priced at $75 per adult and $35 for children 12 and under. To start, choose between the sweet potato soup, a green salad with beets and feta, or the plantation quail with chestnut stuffing. For the entrée, options include the chicken, duck breast, filet wellington or the seafood cioppino. To round out the meal, select from the eggnog mousse, gingerbread sticky pudding or spiced chocolate tart. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Over in Inlet Beach, Cuvee 30A will be serving from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. off the regular menu, or try out the holiday specials. Chef Tim Creehan and his staff will offer a fish feature, a scallop feature, osso bucco, and a bone-in filet. Reservations are required, or you can choose to get your meal to-go.
If you’re looking for a little Asian cuisine to mix things up on Christmas, VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar will be serving during normal hours, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations and walk-ins are both accepted, and the kitchen will be serving off the dinner menu all day.
While the Royal Palm Grille in Miramar Beach will be closed for the holiday, the Beach Bar across the street will be open, should you find yourself thirsty and in need of an unparalleled beach view.
Those who want to dine in the comfort of their own home – or perhaps that dream rental property they managed to score – could arrange for a pre-ordered meal from 98 Bar-B-Que in Santa Rosa Beach. The full catering menu is available for pick-up until Christmas Eve, but orders must be placed ASAP.
Wherever you dine on Christmas Day, all of us at 30A Food and Wine wish you a very merry holiday. Keep your eyes peeled for our 2018 Food & Wine Guide for South Walton, due to hit newsstands this spring!