Where to Wine & Dine on the Waterfront in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches
From quaint, kitschy beach bars to rooftop patios with sweeping vistas, add these five places to your list.
The best trips are the ones that leave you feeling like a local. The ones where friendly chit-chat and Southern hospitality punctuate every interaction; the mom-and-pop restaurants where the waiter knows your name; the ones that feel like home.
In Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches, visitors find a low-key coastal community that doesn’t have to work to convince you of its charm. Situated on the east coast of Florida between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, it’s a little slice of salty-sweet pie compared to its hustling and bustling neighbors. One of the area’s most alluring attractions? The wealth of waterfront eateries that practically beg you to pull up a chair and stay awhile.
Whether you live down the block or are visiting from out of town, walking into one of these restaurants feels like you’re a regular—not just another paying customer shuffling in and out. Between the fresh seafood and the scenery, you may find yourself lounging on the same patio till sunset. Don’t worry. They won’t mind. The all-are-welcome mentality makes sense: After all, Flagler Beach doesn’t have a single chain restaurant.
While this northeast stretch of coastline has everything from cute cafes to date night locales, it’s hard to resist dining at a restaurant with an ocean view that looks like it’s ripped from a postcard. No matter what time of day you choose to sit back and watch the tides, here are a few spots worth posting up and sharing a toast:
The Brunch Bunch
You can’t beat starting off the day with good food and an equally beautiful view. Whether you want to carb load before hitting the surf, grab a quick midday bite or indulge in a mimosa-filled morning, here are two signature spots that embody the phrase “fun in the sun”:
The Funky Pelican: Located right at the Flagler Beach pier, you can’t miss The Funky Pelican’s large wooden sign sporting sky blue letters. “It has a lighthearted vibe that puts our guests in more of an island frame of mind,” says marketing manager James Bullock. “And being located right on the beach never hurts either.” While the patio has the most unobstructed view of the ocean, there’s not a bad seat inside either, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that invite the outdoors in. The menu spans breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it’s the brunch items that steal the show. Order the breakfast tacos or The Pesto Funk (an omelet stuffed with veggies and cheese, drizzled with pesto) and wash it down with The Funky Pelican’s signature cocktail, The Funked Up Mary. “It’s a beefed-up version of the classic drink,” Bullock says. “It’s 22 ounces and garnished with a massive Slim Jim, pepper jack cheese wedge, and a salad of other garnishes that puts everyone in a funky mood.”
Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill: With a sun-soaked covered patio overlooking the Atlantic and expansive brunch and cocktail menu, you can’t go wrong kicking off a foodie weekend at this eatery on South Ocean Shore Boulevard. The wraparound rooftop seating provides the perfect perch for people watching. Order one of its decadent dishes, like the bacon breakfast burrito or the stuffed French toast, pair it with a boozy beverage like a Breakfast Mule or the Berry Brunch Punch then walk it all off with a picture-perfect stroll on the beach below.
It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere
After a day spent surfing the pier, casting a line, perusing the shops or just lazing on the sand, grab lunch, dinner or a cold drink at one of these three places nestled along the coast.
The Golden Lion: This two-story establishment exudes island vibes thanks to its yellow, green and blue exterior, open-air patios and tropical-inspired menu, including specialty cocktails served in beach buckets. For 30 years, The Golden Lion has dished out beach bar staples like coconut butterflied shrimp and beer-battered fish sandwiches, and it’s known for its signature sauces like key lime tartar and datil pepper cocktail sauce (available to buy so you can take a taste of The Golden Lion home). The best part other than its picturesque beach front location? Live music seven days a week because no seaside meal is complete without a summer soundtrack.
High Tides at Snack Jack: The hanging surfboard above the entrance to the waterfront deck says it all: Good vibes at High Tides. The ocean-inspired dishes alongside nostalgic beach shack décor—including a ceiling covered with license plates and surfboards—makes this shoreside destination a haven for locals and visiting wave chasers alike.
Tortugas Florida Kitchen & Bar: It’s hard to miss Tortugas. Beyond its light blue paint reminiscent of the Caribbean it has a spacious upstairs and downstairs outdoor area to soak up its unobstructed view. When the Sunshine State surprises locals with a cold snap, visitors can take up residence beside the large fire pit on the lower level and on warm, sunny days, you’ll often find diners snapping selfies on the red wooden lifeguard chair. Beyond earning a reputation for its unbelievable Florida-meets-the-Caribbean fare, locals love it for its no-frills atmosphere, live music and weekly happy hour deals.