With a craving for some Italian food, we decided to venture out into the cool January Florida night to sample the fare at the just-opened Emeril’s Italian Coastal restaurant here in Grand Boulevard.

Reservations were made ahead of time via the online service OpenTable, which was a very painless, straight-forward process. We arrived there at our reserved time of 5:30 pm and was immediately greeted and seated by a very pleasant employee. The decor is very clean and chic featuring an abundance of white offset with a subtle variety of selected art pieces and wall sculptures. The main eye-catching feature is a centrally located bar area, with plenty of seating and visually exciting layout.

We were seated by the windows located near the open kitchen area, situated near the rear of the restaurant but easily visible to most of the restaurant’s patrons. We were promptly greeted within a few minutes by our servers who took our drink orders and explained to us along with the Daily Menu Specials available on this Monday night. This night we decided to order a few small plates to sample a variety of foods since it was our first visit. Our dining guests ordered a couple of the larger entree plates accompanied by a couple of ala-carte sides.

First up, we picked the Avocado Bruschetta – a lightly toasted baguette, covered with sea-salt radish and olive oil. It was a very light and refreshing start with a slight lemon flavor.

Next up was the Wise Guy Flatbread Pizza – which was a pretty good size consisting of about 7-8 pieces. It was cooked to perfection, not too crispy not too soft, with Italian sausage, roasted bell peppers, and crushed red pepper. A little heads up…it was on the spicy side, not sure if it was the sausage, the crushed red pepper or a little of both.

Our next dish arrived at the same time as the Flatbread, it was the Pasta dish called E.J.s Rigatoni – a decent sized bowl of shrimp, broccoli, house-made Italian sausage ragout and firmly cooked Rigatoni. This dish was very good…the sauce was really thick and meaty, featuring the Italian Sausage, again on the spicy side so take note. The 6 large shrimp really complimented the sauce and the broccoli brought it all together.

Avocado Bruschetta

Our guest’s first taste of Emeril’s Coastal Italian was the Mixed Green Salad. It was a nice mix of greens with white balsamic vinegar, arbequina olive oil, and juicy grape tomatoes. The Tuscan Steak was next and melted in your mouth as it was perfectly cooked to our medium rare request. The dish also featured a side of arugula, roasted garlic, lemon, and olive oil.  This dish was fantastic!

The Tuscan Roasted Chicken was served and it too was a very good dish. Consisting of a split half chicken, lightly roasted and seasoned with rosemary, lemon, and garlic, it too was a pleasant surprise of flavor from such a seemingly simple item. We then added a side of the Romano Potatoes which were covered with a sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese and featured a slight peppery taste.

The overall atmosphere of Emeril’s is of a very relaxed nature, precisely what Emeril was going for, this, after all, is a beach tourist destination. The service was spot on and the employees were very attentive and knowledgeable.

So if you find yourself in Destin and start to crave a bit of Italian food with a side of Emeril thrown in….this is the place for you. Located in the Miramar Beach at the Shops of Grand Boulevard in Sandestin.

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