The neighborhoods of West Pensacola are populated with middle and working-class families, many of whom are active duty or retired military or otherwise connected to Pensacola Naval Air Station. So, you know the restaurants that thrive in West Pensacola are meeting demanding local standards – big value, authentic taste and service that keep loyal locals coming back.
Here are some of the not-to-miss local eateries in West Pensacola on my list:
Arlene Williams BBQ
People from all corners of Pensacola and points more distant make the trek to the Westside’s favorite comfort food joint, Arlene Williams BBQ. Owners Arlene and Denby Williams have been serving up stick-to-your-ribs dishes like pulled pork and brisket, greens and peach cobbler since 2008.
In addition to a full menu of bar-be-cue chicken, pork and beef, offerings also include fried chicken, hot wings and several Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken and empanadas. Hearty traditional sides include lima beans, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole and cracklin’ cornbread.
Arlene Williams BBQ’s Soul Food Sunday promotion offers all-you-can-eat for a special price. “Come hungry after church, bring your congregation, and get ready to EAT,” the restaurant’s Facebook page entreats. In addition to dine-in service, the eatery runs a food truck and offers catering.
Taste of Jerusalem
Arguably one of the most exotic restaurants in Pensacola, Taste of Jerusalem offers Middle Eastern, Israeli and Palestinian food. Owner and Chef Ray Sehweil honed his skills working in Jerusalem before immigrating to the U.S. in 1991. He’s been in Pensacola since 2010.
The menu at Taste of Jerusalem includes lamb served several ways, fried schnitzel, hummus, tabouli salad, oxtail, baba ghanoush, kabobs, shawarma and much more.
Situated in a small shopping center, Taste of Jerusalem is primarily a takeout eatery, with a few tables available for dine-in. The international cuisine is also available for catering.
A restaurant that describes itself as “a hole in the wall” has been satisfying West Pensacola’s Cajun cravings since 2005. When Cub’s Crawfish founder Bill Cubley passed away in 2013, his son, Clay, and his wife, Delaney, took over.
“Yes, it is now a bigger ‘hole in the wall’ that we hope will have you returning again and again,” the restaurant’s website says. “Cub’s employees treat everyone like family. They will even tell you how to prepare crawfish for your special event, or how to peel and eat them for your first crawfish experience!”
The star of the menu at Cub’s Crawfish is the Boiled Specialties, where seasoned crawfish, shrimp and crab legs are served with traditional crab boil sides including corn, potatoes and sausage. Boiled items are available as individual meals and by the pound.
Offerings also include Cajun standards like red beans and rice, crawfish etouffee and jambalaya.
Cactus Flower Café
Cactus Flower Café in West Pensacola is part of a collection of local family-owned and operated eateries that have been serving up authentic California-style Mexican cuisine since 2001.
In addition to Mexican favorites like tacos, enchiladas and burritos, the menu offers specialties like blue crab quesadillas, handmade tamales and the Southern California Burrito, which is steak carne asada, natural fries and melted cheddar cheese.
Every visit comes with options like lime or Spanish rice, smashed pintos or black beans, and house-made guacamole. And if you’re a fan of sangria, you can’t go wrong here.
Whether you’re looking to create your own Asian-inspired dish or want to pick up some decidedly authentic Eastern dishes, Saigon Market is your destination in West Pensacola.
Saigon Market’s deli has an extensive menu of dishes, including Vietnamese egg rolls and spring rolls, pho beef noodle soup, crispy roast pork, Chinese bar-be-cue pork and roast duck, as well as a variety of vermicelli dishes, pork meatballs, tofu and more.
Of course, the market also offers a wide selection of grocery items like fresh produce, noodles, rice, and Asian food products like tapioca bead beverages and shrimp snack chips.
From cracklin’ cornbread to baba ghanoush to pho beef noodle soup, West Pensacola is home to time-tested restaurants that offer a spectrum of food to tempt your palate.