Let This Doc Fix You Up-100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die
Seafood Gumbo at Doc’s Seafood Shack & Oyster Bar, located in Orange Beach, Alabama, is my 61st or 40th dish on my countdown to taste each food listed on 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama.
Alabama has some beachin beaches. The kind of fine grain sugar-white sand, dunes with grasses and wildlife in the air and sea, it is a special place in this country. Each time that I visit, I see more high-rise buildings and more people. The restaurants are big and sometimes flashy. However, just a few miles from the beach, Doc’s Seafood & Oyster Bar reminds me of an institution that was in place before the coast of Alabama went all Disney. I love that and understand why it is endeared to local people.
For over 30 years this restaurant has been serving some fantastic seafood. With a motto that says, “We’re not fancy, but that’s part of our charm,” local people do frequent this restaurant. It is laid back, casual and comfortable. Even though I had a food itinerary for several days, I asked for recommendations as often as possible, and this place comes up over and over again. I have driven by this restaurant many times and there always seems to be a parking lot full and people waiting outside.
There are side and back dining areas that had wait time, I was able to grab a seat at the counter.
Gumbo is made fresh from scratch every day and arrived quickly!
I learned that Doc’s tried to have this gumbo made in New Orleans so that it might be massed produced, but felt the quality was not intact. The Gumbo is served with or without rice.
It was really delicious. I wondered if it was a beef based recipe and I asked the waitress who responded somewhat hesitantly “yes.” After my visit, I read the recipe and learned that it is a bit more complex than your average seafood gumbo. The one thing that I really loved about this gumbo is that there is actually seafood in the bowl. According to the recipes that I found, the dish has chicken, shrimp, whitefish and crab. Furthermore, this dish has liquid crab boil, brown gravy, file and okra (thickening.) This is the most complex recipe that I have seen for gumbo. * See MEGatips for the link to this recipe.
Doc’s Seafood & Oyster Bar reminds me of an institution that was in place before the coast of Alabama went all Disney. Great food, laid back atmosphere, a decent price point, quality food and friendly staff. I enjoyed my visit and would definitely return for that shrimp and onion rings.
MEGastars 4 *****
- The bowl of gumbo is HUGE. I recommend tasting some of the seafood there.
- With so many choices of seafood, there is a great option to build your own seafood platter with 2-4 main choices. I pick two for the “best fried shrimp in the entire universe” along with Royal Red Shrimp AND the “world famous onion rings.” I rarely order onion rings but these babies are perfect. Like Raw? Get Royal Red Shrimp and Oysters. The onion rings are a starter item, for a small charge, they can be added to a meal. Do not miss them.
- Truth, locals do go there, I popped in at lunch time and was able to score a quick seat at the bar/counter. The police were sitting alongside a few local women and then myself. So do tourists. Try to go at in between lunch and dinner times. This Doc’s location is open daily 11 AM-9 PM. 26029 Canal Rd, Orange Beach. Note, the Gulf Shores location is open one hour later.
- The Orange Beach location is on Canal Road at the intersection of Hwy 161. ***This is a very busy intersection. If you are turning left into the parking lot, the turn comes up quickly before the lights. Stay safe.
- Gulf Shores location 1140 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL Open Daily 11 AM-10 PM
- Doc’s Seafood Gumbo From Food.com. I can not vouch that this is the official recipe. I also saw the recipe on tastyfix.com and note that the official recipe is in the following book entitled,Southern Living Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes That Made Them Famous by Morgan Murphy and Southern Living Editors.
- Fishing? Doc’s will cook your fresh catch for you
This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes in Alabama escapade, this may be helpful information.
ABOUT: *100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die,” is a compilation of food to chow down on “Bama style.” Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier. I am going to have some food fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home. From the little old diner to the white cloth setting, this journey is an opportunity for me to explore my new state and experience pride in food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food, with some Alabama style. From the local BBQ smoker to James Beard recipients, you too will take a culinary trip across scenic and historical Alabama. From this list, I select stops based upon convenience of location and they are in no particular order (but I already have a few favorites.) Perhaps when I finish this list, I will rank my favorite dishes. You too may pick up the brochure at Alabama Tourism stops or download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbeville and ends in York.
I use a 5 MEGastar system. For the most part, I am traveling a distance to try these dishes and these places get one shot at how I view the food and experience. I will not be taking an average of three visit experiences and I factor this in when I give my star rating. That said, I’m very easy to please, I can overlook quite a bit and have worked in the food service industry. I am not a paid food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on the experience. I try to follow my own star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.
- *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can? or, the place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in Alabama. This has happened to me a few times and is a difficult write.
- ** passable – the food was “ok” but the place was not “ok” or vice versa.
- *** good but not outstanding or unique.
- **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Alabama Foods/Tourism, of local food and/OR truly highlights Alabama Pride.
- ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. And/Or, something is very unique, something you cannot get anywhere else.