Many people want to “eat like a local” when they travel and Mobile, Alabama, is a fantastic area for foodies to explore.
The town has a magical mix of international influences that directly contribute to the local food scene of this coastal city. This gives the residents plenty of great options.
The folks from Mobile like to say that if you’re a native, you were born under an azalea bush. While we can’t all be birthed under a famous shrub, we can try and eat like we were. So, where do the locals eat?
Let’s pull up a chair and take a bite!
About Mobile, Alabama
In 1702, French settlers founded Mobile. Over the next 100 years, the people of Mobile would be controlled by the French, British, Spanish, and American empires.
Throughout this time, large numbers of African enslaved people were brought to the port of Mobile to be sold and work on plantations in the region. These Africans and their descendants contributed significantly to the types of food the people of Mobile still eat today.
Because of this diversity of influences, the Gulf Coast has created its own culinary tastes that differ from other parts of the South.
What Do Locals in Mobile, Alabama, Eat?
If you want to eat like a Mobilian, you need to understand their connection to their heritage and geography. At most southern restaurants, you’ll find staples like fried chicken, smoked bbq, grits, and collard greens.
However, down on the coast, you’re also just as likely to see fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and spicy Creole-style dishes made famous by restaurants in New Orleans. Located just over 150 miles east of the Big Easy, Mobilians are always happy to let you know that Mardi Gras started there, even though the folks in NOLA commercialized it.
Pro Tip: After exploring Mobile, head to one of these 5 Cool Places in Alabama.
Favorite Restaurants For Locals to Eat at in Mobile, Alabama
Mobilians love supporting local restaurants over chain or franchise establishments. While downtown has the most extensive collection of local restaurants in a small area, you can find great local joints all over town.
#1 The Noble South
You can best describe this restaurant as the Waffle House of the farm-to-table movement. No matter what day you stop by, you can rest assured that the food will be prepared the same way, with the same standard, and with the same delicious result.
The menu changes based on seasonality, so don’t get hung up on a particular item. But enjoy the rotating menu for the freshness it delivers. Their downtown location is close to hotels and is a favorite for tourists and locals.
They also feature an outstanding cocktail menu with talented mixologists to help quench your thirst. If you’re looking to fill the lunch spot on your calendar, try the chicken thighs with sides of sweet potato waffle fries, black-eyed peas, and fried green tomatoes.
Noble South is open for lunch on weekdays. They also provide dinner service Tuesday through Saturday.
Noja is hands-down one of the best restaurants in the South and certainly one of the best places to eat in Mobile. Due to the high demand and quaint dining space, you’ll likely want to make a reservation.
The chefs can seamlessly blend a collection of Mediterranean and Asian-inspired dishes on a weekly rotating menu. While a jacket isn’t required, it is the type of place where you should probably wear pants and closed-toe shoes rather than shorts and flip-flops.
If you want a life-changing experience, start with the seared scallops, followed by the duck confit.
Noja is conveniently located downtown just off of Dauphin St. They’re open for dinner service Monday through Saturday.
Dauphin’s is a beautiful example of Mobile’s Southern Creole food heritage. Located on the 34th floor of the RSA Trustmark tower, your dining experience takes place over 420 feet above the Mobile River.
There’s no question that this is one of the best views along the Gulf Coast. The dress code is dressy casual, so don’t try and show up right after finishing a trip to the delta. For a unique twist, try the Delta Cakes, their version of the more traditional crab cake.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you might want to try the fried alligator appetizer. The dinner menu is filled with great options, but the show’s star is the fresh, wild-caught Alabama gulf shrimp.
Dauphin’s is open for Sunday brunch and lunch and dinner service Monday through Saturday.
#4 Spot of Tea
Spot of Tea has a broad and diverse menu featuring both breakfast and lunch items. However, this restaurant starts and ends with its world-famous Eggs Cathedral. Located downtown across from Cathedral Square, it’s easy to see how this favorite earned its name.
This one-of-a-kind dish features a grilled English muffin topped with a crab cake, scrambled eggs, and house seafood sauce. They make this savory sauce with blackened grouper, crawfish, and shrimp, then pair it with hashbrowns. Add onions and cheese to the hash to truly eat like a Mobile local.
Spot of Tea is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week.
#5 The Royal Scam
Located at the corner of Government and Royal streets, The Royal Scam is a happy hour favorite for folks working downtown. The number one draft pick here is the seafood gumbo that features fresh gulf shrimp, crab, and okra.
If you’re craving something sweet, you can’t go wrong by finishing your meal with house-made bread pudding. The Scam’s take on bread pudding includes toasted pecans, apples, golden raisins, and a bourbon caramel sauce.
The Royal Scam is open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday.
#6 Big Time Diner
This is the most appropriate name you can get. The diner setting and decor carries through the experience, and the food is definitely big time.
Big Time is where Mobilians go to get their meat and three fix. If you don’t know where to start, go straight to the part of the menu that says Blue Plate Special. From there, you can do no wrong.
They hand batter the onion rings, making for a light and crispy taste. They’re a great addition to any order!
Big Time Diner closes on Sundays but is open Monday through Saturday.
#7 Briquettes Steakhouse
Steak is the name of the game at Briquettes. The family-owned restaurant has expanded to three locations thanks to its fresh ingredients and superb guest experience.
Each steak is locally sourced, cut in-house, and wet-aged for 35 to 40 days to let it reach optimal tenderness.
True to their name, every steak is grilled over an open flame of oak wood and briquettes.
All three locations are open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.
Pro Tip: You’ll love exploring these 10 Unusual Things To Do in Alabama.
Eat Like a Mobile Local By Keeping It Fresh
When you’re in Mobile, you can’t go wrong eating at any of the local restaurants you happen to cross. This list could have just as easily been three times as long, so don’t miss out on a great meal by limiting yourself. Part of what makes Mobile special is getting a chance to visit so many unique local offerings.
The key to eating like a Mobilian is simple, keep it fresh and local, and embrace the Creole flavor.
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