One of the main reasons we keep returning to Florida’s Forgotten Coast is not because of the turquoise waters that are found further west along Florida’s coast such as Destin and Panama City. The water in the Forgotten Coast is not usually really pretty, and the reason is because of the rivers that feed out into the ocean along that stretch, bringing muddy water from the mainland with them. However, those rivers provide amazing fishing, and the protected bays and inlets along the Forgotten Coast produce some of the finest oysters and scallops in the country. And believe me, we know our oysters and scallops! We’ve sampled them from coast to coast and love those from Apalachicola the best. They’re not usually the biggest, but they just have a special taste that makes you want to keep slurping those raw beauties on a half shell. They’re also mighty fine fried and dipped in a zesty cocktail sauce or with a splash of Louisiana hot sauce. So it’s the seafood that keeps bringing us back, along with the friendliness of the people, the charming little towns and the lack of commercialism.
We’ve tried several of the restaurants in Apalachicola and they were all good but we’ve settled on Up The Creek Raw Bar as our favorite for now. Keep in mind we’re casual people and don’t need anything fancy, so we haven’t tried the “upscale” restaurants. The first plus going for Up the Creek is that it is dog friendly, which worked out for us when we had the dogs with us and decided we were hungry. You go in and order at the counter and they have a bar so you can get a beer or cocktail too. Then you head to their condiment bar to load up on everything you’ll need for your meal. Besides the required raw oysters, we chose a seafood bisque of the day and I had an alligator burger which had a special sauce on it. It was so good we went back and ate lunch there again the next day! Wally sampled the sushi special of the day and I so liked the alligator burger I had another! You can dine inside, on their screened in porch (which is where we ate with the dogs that day) or out on their open deck. The deck faces out the intercoastal waterway towards the ocean and we were thrilled to see dolphins come frolicking through the water. Kayakers and boaters meandered past as we ate and we couldn’t have asked for a prettier day. Visit their website or find them on Facebook. upthecreekrawbar.com
Apalachicola is a historic fishing village and shrimp boats are tied up at the main dock right in town. The historic brick buildings in this little town are loaded with really great shops including several antique shops and a mall, gifts, art galleries, specialty stores and a great little garden shop. There are several old hotels and inns right there in the historic district and some nice condos that are available for stays as well. Plan to spend several hours browsing the shops and you can park and walk most everywhere.
On previous trips, we’ve eaten at Papa Joe’s Oyster Bar & Grill at Scipio Creek Marina, about a half mile outside of town. We had raw oysters for starters and then fried baskets, which were good – course it’s just hard to go wrong with fresh seafood fried! They have a big glassed-in room that looks out on the marsh and that’s were most people choose to dine. Atmosphere wise, it’s a bit dated and tired, but it’s been there forever and the food is good, so give it a try. The other seafood mainstay in town that we’ve tried is Boss Oyster in town just past the dock. We sat out on their porch looking out on the water and ordered our usual..oysters of course! We didn’t make that drive from Tennessee to Florida to not eat oysters every meal! I also had a sampler type fried basket and remember it being very good. They have a nice indoor dining area and bar if you don’t want to sit outside in the heat.
You can learn more about Apalachicola at www.apalachicolabay.org/