If you are like me, your favorite part of any vacation is the food. Since we are a southern town that loves rich and often decadent dishes, eating out for every meal could cause conflict for those of us who still have to fit into that cute swimsuit we packed. But, fear not! We have assembled the top five salads in Pensacola to keep you feeling fit and fabulous. Stick to this list and the only extra pounds you'll be bringing home will be in your suitcase!
1. Blackened Grouper & Zucchini Pappardelle - Four Seasons Catering and Eatery
This spot is one of the most underrated in town, in my opinion, and it's conveniently located right on Palafox Street. This hearty salad features one of our favorite Gulf catches - grouper. Grilled zucchini accompanies the blackened fish, spring mixed greens, tomatoes, feta, cucumber and lemon. (There's also bacon, for those who don't mind splurging a little on the calorie count.) Four Seasons is open for lunch Monday through Friday and you can dine in, or take your salad elsewhere for a lovely picnic!
2. Mexican Shrimp Salad - Carmen's Lunch Bar
Carmen's Lunch Bar, also located on Palafox Street, is a lovely spot - prime for people watching. Grab a spot on the sidewalk or just inside the window and order the Mexican Shrimp Salad. Plump gulf shrimp on a bed of mango-lime slaw made with carrots and seasoned with chili pepper and cilantro. To take this salad up a notch, they also throw in some jicama, which is basically a Mexican potato that tastes a bit like a savory apple. Who said salads couldn't be exciting?
3. Marcus Caesar Salad - Restaurant Iron
Now I know what you're thinking... "A Caesar salad? I can get that anywhere!" Well, maybe you can get an ordinary Caesar salad anywhere, but you can only get the Marcus Caesar Salad at Restaurant Iron in Downtown Pensacola. Hearts of Palm are threaded through a napkin ring... that just happens to be a crouton. This is then covered in freshly grated pecorino Romano and served with a side of garlic confit. So delicious. So instagrammable.
4. Any and all salads - The New Yorker Deli
Why did I not name a specific salad for this one? Well, that's because with more than 20 delicious salads to choose from, I just couldn't commit to one. They have the standard Caesar, Greek and chef salads, which are all fantastic, or you can spice it up (literally) with something like the Curry Turkey Salad. The great thing about this place is that the kind folks at the New Yorker Deli understand the plight of their customers and have found the perfect solution. Instead of choosing just one salad, get a salad plate, which allows you to choose up to three different salads for your meal! So, if New Yorker Deli doesn't make you choose just one salad, then I don't have to choose just one for this post. I don't make the rules here, folks, but I'm happy to adhere to this one. (Though I will say that the pasta salads are my favorite!)
5. Crab Croquettes Salad - H2O at the Hilton Pensacola Beach
Over at the Hilton's H2O on Pensacola Beach, Chef Dan Dunn takes fresh gulf seafood and gives it his signature Cajun-Asian flare. For the Crab Croquettes Salad, Chef takes crab cakes, rolls them into balls and deep-fries them. Then he serves them on a bed of mixed greens with tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes and finishes it off with a red remoulade vinaigrette. Salad with a side of gulf views? Yes, please.
Do you have a favorite Pensacola-area salad that didn't make the list? Please let us know in the comments!