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“Excellent French Restaurant Under the Bridge”
Review of Bay Cafe

Bay Cafe
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Florida Panhandle, Florida
Level Contributor
125 reviews
90 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“Excellent French Restaurant Under the Bridge”
Reviewed May 25, 2011

We found the Bay Cafe in Ft. Walton Beach last year and have now been back a few times because the food is very good. The restaurant is hard to locate (unless docking a boat at the restaurant). It is under the Brooks Bridge in Ft. Walton Beach but we prefer to travel there by boat in warm weather and tie up at their dock. (Watch out for the strong current.) If you are not familiar with the area, a GPS will be helpful in actually finding the restaurant by land.

Bay Cafe is a French restaurant. My favorite dish, out of the half dozen or so that I have tried here, is the grouper meuniere, a white wine and lemon sauce that goes very well this this fish. They also have an amberjack meuniere which is good but the fish itself does not seem to lend itself to the sauce as well as the grouper--at least in my opinion.

The chicken picatta is also excellent. On my most recent visit, I had the salmon. It was very moist, very tender and the sauce was excellent (photo accompanies this review for several dishes for those who are curious about the appearance).

The crabcakes were, according my wife, not that good compared to the genuine "Maryland style" crabcakes from the Eastern Shore of Maryland or up to the quality of several other restaurants in the area.

This restaurant is small and many prefer the outside eating area. It can be very pleasant on the outside deck or very hot in the middle of the day.

All in all, this is a pleasant restaurant with a good atmosphere and very good food. We have always eaten there at lunch. The portions are not large but enough for most people and the pricing for the quality of the food is quite good. There is also a good wine list for those who are interested in wine to accompany the meal.

  • Visited May 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank SkipFL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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282 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Tennessee
Level Contributor
72 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Do not judge a book by its cover”
Reviewed September 25, 2010

The Bay Cafe doesn't look much from the outside, but what a find. Our party of five enjoyed a lovely dinner bayside. The interior dining also looked very inviting. Gazpacho and gumbo were very tasty as was the escargot in puff pastry. Entrees included crab cakes, grouper with artichokes, seafood pasta and the some of the best sea scallops anywhere. Our wait person was attentive, knowledgeable and the best we have had in Fort Walton/Destin. We will be returning to Bay Cafe and suggest you visit as well.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank BobKats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Walton Beach
1 review
“Excellent, Excellent, Excellent!!!”
Reviewed January 24, 2010

What a WONDERFUL hidden secret!!! Not only is the view breathtaking, but the food and atmosphere are truly unique. My girlfriend introduced me to this place last year and it is consistently excellent. She had the mussels for and appetizer and I had the escargot. The mussels were absolutely fabulous!!! For our entrees, I had the Sauteed Scallops and she had the Blackened Grouper Croissant. Both were to die for!!! I can't wait to return, because there is always something on the menu that I would like to try next. Highly recommended as always!!!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank LovetoEat0000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level Contributor
34 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“I've given up on Bay Cafe ~ It's horrible !”
Reviewed December 17, 2009

I have gone to Bay Cafe since it opened and have friends who love it, but I don't plan to ever go again. I have yet to have a truly good meal there, but I've tolerated it because of the view. Now you have bums and homeless people yelling at you from Brooks Bridge. This last visit was just the worst !!! I wanted to do something special for my daughter's birthday so took her to lunch on a beautiful afternoon. It was at least 10 minutes before we even got a glass of water; then another ten minutes before our order was taken, then at least 30 minutes before we were served. One of the things I got was steamed mussels. Less than half of them were opened so I asked the waitress about them and she said "They didn't open because they weren't any good" !!!!!!!!!!!!!! So I picked around expensive food that I felt was ROTTEN !! OVERPRICED AND OVERRATED !

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Helpful?
3 Thank MissGeorgia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abbeville, SC
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great French food in a quiet out-of-the-way nook”
Reviewed December 7, 2009

My husband and I had dinner at the Bay Cafe on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009. The service was great and we thoroughly enjoyed our food! We thought the location was interesting (on the water, right under the Brooks bridge). The outside is pretty non descript and belies the elegant dishes offered. There was a party of 4 already seated when we arrived and a party of 2 came in before we left, but otherwise the place was empty. Night had already fallen which added to the romantic atmosphere supported by the quiet interior and music and the location on the water. The interior decor is fairly neutral and definitely not the highlight of a visit here. Come for the food! When looking online reviews said dress was casual, but I would amend that to say business casual. My top was fine, but I felt somewhat underdressed in my jeans. Our waitress was very nice and readily gave her opinion when I was trying to decide between 2 entrees.

The French menu is fairly short with around 6 appetizers, 12 or so entree options and 3 specials; there were a variety of champagnes and wines offered. My husband had the Grouper Wellington, and I had a grouper special with artichoke hearts and a lemon butter sauce. Both dishes were delicious! We really enjoyed the green beans and pan sauteed mashed potatoes on the side. The bread was nothing special and my glass of house red wine was ok. Next time I would not order wine or eat much of the bread. Afterwards my husband thought he should have cut his fish filet in half as soon as it arrived at the table; the middle was a tiny bit less tender than the rest of the filet and he thought it probably was hot enough when it came to the table that it cooked a bit more. It was not tough by any means, and I have to emphasize how delicious we found our food. We wished we had room for dessert as the 4 or 5 offerings all sounded delicious.

My husband's dish was $22 while my special was $28. The rest of the entrees were mostly in the low $20s range. We would definitely come back here for delicious French food in a quiet setting.

    • Value
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    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank KFSonshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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