One of the many wonderful things about living on the Emerald Coast is the chance we locals have to avail ourselves of amenities visitors take for granted.
Harry T’s Lighthouse Restaurant at HarborWalk Village is an excellent example.
Harry T’s had just switched to a new menu the day we arrived for lunch, so a take-out version wasn’t available for me to grab for reference. It has, however, been updated on their website.
The only issue this created came when it was time for dessert, which we’ll get to in a minute.
We started our meal with the Nacho Grande appetizer. Other choices on the extensive “T’sers” menu include smoked tuna dip, oysters Rockefeller, chilled boiled shrimp, calamari and mussels.
The nachos were, indeed, grande, and we should have opted for a half-order. They were a multi-layered concoction of cheesy goodness.
My guest noted, “There’s good stuff all the way to the bottom, not just piled on top.”
I chose the combo basket for my entrée: four jumbo shrimp and two strips of flounder fried a golden brown.
The shrimp were huge, each taking three or four bites to consume. They were delicious.
I particularly enjoyed the flounder, which was delicately breaded and cooked to flaky perfection.
The combo comes with two tasty jalapeno bits-laced hush puppies and a small cup of traditional cole slaw.
You also get to choose either cheese grits or fries. I went with the grits, which proved an excellent call because they were served in their own oval sidedish and made with smoky Gouda cheese. Yum!
My guest chose the smoky chicken sandwich, which was a new item. It came with fries.
He said the sandwich was good, and admitted he probably would have enjoyed it even more if he hadn’t polished off the Nachos Grande.
The seasoned fries had good flavor, but some were a bit overcooked and crunchy.
For dessert, my guest chose the Key lime pie and, at our server’s suggestion, I picked the strawberry shortcake without the addition of ice cream. Unfortunately, the shortcake had been cut from the new menu and was no longer available, so I went with Key lime, too.
I loved the unique presentation, and my guest spooned up every morsel. Be forewarned: This is definitely a tart version of the classic treat.
Harry T’s menu also offers burgers, soups (including its award-winning gumbo), salads, other sandwiches, specialties, other baskets, pastas and a menu just for children.
Every Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. brunch is offered with items such as a variety of omelets, pancakes, waffles, eggs Benedict and more.
Also during brunch, there’s “bottomless champagne” for a special price with food purchase. Tables on either side of us were taking advantage of that offer.
Harry T’s is a fun, lively place even on an unseasonably blustery May morning when the heaters were on and the heavy plastic windows were zipped up to keep diners on the outside deck warm.
We were seated on the deck, where the gorgeous view of Destin Harbor is part of the experience.
There’s also some seating inside, and, as of Memorial weekend, our server said the full menu would be available upstairs in the bar and at the tables that sit right down on the dock.
In fact, we took a walk along the dock after our meal.
Our server, Joni, couldn’t have been nicer or more eager to make our experience at Harry T’s enjoyable.
She took extra care to time our courses right and made sure we had everything we needed, from cocktail sauce and tartar sauce to refills of our tea.
She was every bit as attentive to her other tables, too.
When she found out we were local and, yet, this was our first visit to Harry T’s, she encouraged to us to come back, especially to enjoy the restaurant in warmer weather.
A final taste
Before we ever left Harry T’s that day, I already knew I wanted to go back.
Harry T's Lighthouse Restaurant
46 Harbor Blvd. HarborWalk Village Destin
Open at 11 a.m. daily; open 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
Soups and salads
Burgers and sandwiches
Steamers, platters, baskets
Specialties and pasta
Credit cards accepted