We go to restaurants for the food. I know this sounds apparent, but in tourist areas some restaurants (even around Destin - read my review on Fudpuckers) draw people in with gimmicks and property eye candy in order to minimize our focus on the quality of their fare. This place has the best of both: food and atmosphere.
Atmosphere: Dewey Destin Bayside is off the beaten path. You have to want to go there to find it. However, if you go, you are rewarded with a beautiful view of the bay entrance to the Gulf and a pleasant return to the fishin' village dining of the early years. The establishment has limited seating inside and outside. The reason is obvious once you arrive: you are sitting directly over the edge of the water on what seems to be an old dock. It is difficult to find a table during the peak summer months regardless of what hour you visit. But, after Labor Day seating vacancies are abundant. Don't expect air conditioning and cloth table clothes. This is precisely why we like this place. Interestingly, the food prep side of the establishment is a mobile cook wagon backed up the the customer service "shed." Don't be alarmed. It is actually kind of quaint.
Food: The quality of the food is unsurpassed for what it is. We are talking food baskets here, not seven course meals. On this trip we had a variety of baskets, all of which were superb in freshness and quality. The only complaint I have is the Cobia basket. My wife had the fried catfish and loved it ($10). My brother had the shrimp basket and was pleasantly pleased (approx. $14). I had the Cobia basket ($20). It was cooked perfect. However, the portion was a bit slight (four rather small pieces = approx. 4-6 oz.) considering the cost. Cobia is a very limited seasonal fish. Even with this in mind, I still felt somewhat taken. My advise here is to stay away from the seasonal fish specials. They are quite expensive when you figure the pound per dollar cost. Nevertheless, they know how to cook seafood.
General Conclusions: If you tire as quickly as we do of the tourist trap (fancy storefront, poor service, and overpriced substandard food), then this restaurant is a nice return to the old coastal hole-in-the-wall where the locals eat.
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