After a day at the Okaloosa Fishing Pier, or on a Destin Florida fishing excursion, you’re going to be tired from all the reeling in and excitement. But what to do with all the fish you’ve caught? Lucky for you, plenty of Destin-Fort Walton Beach restaurants will help you prepare your fresh catches.

Hook & Cook

That’s right, take advantage of the area’s many “Gulf to Table” restaurants that know a thing or two about preparing fresh-from-the-water fish.

“Hook and Cook,” as it’s known among the locals, is the gourmet and yet economical way to feed your family a feast from the fruits of your labor. Think of it as the coastal version of Thanksgiving that you can have every day.

Restaurants in the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village will cook your catch, then serve it up to you “family style” with your choice of perfect complementary sides. Fish is priced per pound, sides are priced by person. If you have seven people at the table, you’ll be served enough of a side for seven people.

Flavors for Every Palate

With more than 20 edible types of fish in the Gulf of Mexico, the ways you can cook a seafood meal are endless! Chefs will recommend seared, grilled, fried, or blackened. But it’s ultimately up to you.

While seared, grilled, and fried are pretty self-explanatory, blackened might sound a little burnt? But it’s actually a Cajun-inspired, spicy delicacy. Melted butter, herbs, spices, and a cast-iron pan create the color. If you’d like it less spicy, ask for “bronzed.”

Sides here are anything but ordinary. Sure, you can get fries, hush puppies, corn, green beans, and coleslaw, but there are also Gouda grits, roasted bacon braised Brussels sprouts, French new oven roasted potatoes, ginger rice, fried rice, and asparagus. That coleslaw? Try it with a rémoulade.

Where to Go

Some restaurants require the fish to be cleaned, filleted, and ready to cook. Not a problem if you took a fishing charter, because the mates do it for you. If you didn’t, there are plenty of local experts to show you how.

Here are some of our top “Hook and Cook” restaurants:

Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer

Named after the bearded brotula, or cusk-eel, caught in the local waters, this rustic yet sophisticated fish house on the water not only uses local seafood but also produce.

Dewey Destin’s and Dewey Destin’s Harborside

No surprise that these restaurants cater to fresh-caught fish. They’re owned by the descendants of Destin’s founder, Leonard Destin. Dewey Destin’s is a dock atmosphere, order-at-the-window place. Dewey Destin’s Harborside is a sit-down place with a view of the harbored boats.

Harry T’s Lighthouse

Named in honor of trapeze artist “Flying Harry T,” this restaurant is in a two-story lighthouse on Destin Harbor.

Jackacudas Seafood and Sushi

Another Destin Harbor hotspot, Jackacudas, has an Asian flair. Unfortunately, they can’t make your fish into sushi due to super-high handling standards, but they can beautifully cook your fish.