|Address:||116 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, USA|
|Working:||11AM–10PM 11AM–10PM 11AM–10PM 11AM–10PM 11AM–10:30PM 11AM–10:30PM 11AM–10PM|
I must start by explaining that I LOVE being a local of this area because of the wonderful seafood! Having said that, this restaurant is specifically meant for tourists. I went on a Saturday night around 7:30PM and was very glad the wait for a table of 2 was only 10 minutes. Even though the staff was punctual, it was very obvious our waiter did not enjoy his job and even said aloud while counting his tips from a nearby table that the night was "slow" and he was "so bored". However, when critiquing the food...well...lets say it was "boring" as far as the local seafood is concerned around Destin. Granted...Im biased because Ive tried many places around the area. Thats the point though! I want to find the places that are the best around here and share them with everyone! This way visitors will have every meal be great...from the service, to the atmosphere, to the food! My husband and I ordered the Fried Blue Crab Claws as an appetizer, I ordered the special of the night, which was a blackened grouper filet topped with lump crab meat with a side of mashed potatoes and steamed veggies, and my husband ordered the Signature Blackened Ribeye. The crab claws came with a sauce that I thought would have been remoulade, but had more of a spicy ranch taste to it. It was good, but different. The actual claws were very meaty, which is not very common for this area. Im fairly sure they were not caught locally, but I cannot confirm this. The batter they were fried in was good, light tasting, but slightly greasy. My entree, the grouper special, was a nice-sized filet and looked appetizing. The blackened seasoning was more intense in certain spots of the filet and therefore a bit overpowering with the salt in those spots. Other than the salty taste, there was little to no taste from the blackened seasoning. If you do not like a lot of seasoning, then the filet would be good for you. The steamed veggies were steamed nicely, but had no seasoning at all. The mashed potatoes were probably made simply by mashing a potato and adding a bit of milk. Again...no flavor. My husbands ribeye was also without luster. It was a nice-sized cut, but not very well seasoned. His came with the same steamed veggies and had a baked potato instead of mashed potatoes. There is a bar upstairs and a gift shop towards the front, but we did not go to either. The atmosphere was okay. The decorations were nice. I imagine some people would have been a little uncomfortable with the temperature since it was very hot outside and they seemed to mostly be cooling the restaurant with fans. I did not find it too warm though. The prices were high mostly because of the tourist area, but still slightly overpriced. There are many other restaurants within walking distance that serve extremely better seasoned food, larger portions for a slightly cheaper price, and have much better service.
To be fair a review for AJs should be divided into two parts: The Restaurant downstairs that serves seafood and the Club upstairs that offers nighttime entertainment. The DOWSTAIRS: The establishment is large and holds who knows how many people (specifically tourist so maybe “People” isn’t accurate) in the oddly designed facility. When you think of seafood you usually think one of two things… Either, “Long Johns Silvers Fast Food Drive Through” or “That was something that I couldn’t cook up myself if my child’s life depended on it”. It saddens me to say that fast food better describes AJs. While I can’t say that it was terrible, it definitely wasn’t something that justified the enormous bill that came with it. Between me and my husband we spent somewhere in the ballpark of $75 bucks (drinks included). Also, while I can appreciate the outdoor feel of having the windows open and a few fans running I will say that it was humid and hot in there… my beer went from a nice chill to warm vomit in what seemed like minutes. The service was OK and I have no real negative complaints other than I don’t feel like the service reflected the bill. The whole place just screams, “GIVE ME YOUR MONEY TOURIST SO I CAN CONTINUE TO MAKE A MOCKERY OF SEAFOOD!!!!”… Well maybe not quite that but something similar. The place would be great if they added a drive through and added a dollar menu. The bar/club UPSTAIRS: it offers a unique hangout in a prime location in Destin. The place is large enough to hold hundreds but it does fill up fast. If you have an issue with your bubble being violated than you may want to avoid this place during busy season. The drinks are pricey but not “sell a first born” pricey, it’s technically outdoors so there won’t be any air conditioning, and they usually have a band playing (which I did find enjoyable). You may want to bring a sturdy pair of shoes for the hike you may have to make from parking to the door… Terrible parking (only because the place is busy) but they have added an auxiliary parking lot across the street. The crowd here varies from the “freshman in college who has yet to see a boob” to “is that a respirator in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” so there’s something for everyone. I used to go often and have since grown tired of my friends ALWAYS wanting to go to AJs… It is more of a “been there done that place”. I however would recommend it if you are in town and want to let loose for a bit.
Went to AJs while on vacation, a co-worker referred the restaurant based on her frequent visits to Destin. By it being my first time in area I gave it a try. I was disappointed in the bland over priced food. We ordered the Maui sandwiches which was bland, and my son had the kids steak that was tough, which ending up being a $74 lunch. The real disappointment came when we tried to resolve the bill. We received a $100 gift card from our vacation resort and used it as part of our form of payment. The balance on card was $43.40 which we wanted applied to our bill and pay the remainder with a credit card. The waiter returned and billed the entire amount on the credit card, due to the gift card kept declining. After researching the gift card balance on their website, and speaking with a customer representative, the gift card was redeemed at the time of the transaction. I pulled the transaction up on my phone from the gift card website displaying, AJs as the business of transaction, along with date, time, and amount. After getting no where with the waiter I spoke with the manager Megan, who was totally clueless on how to handle an overcharge, and lack customer service etiquette. She kept claiming the restaurant didnt receive the money, even after viewing the proof that they in fact did. We paid $74 on our credit card for total bill, and also $43.40 off the gift card. An overcharge that should have been taken care of at the time The fact that I spent 45 minutes of my vacation speaking with the in competent manager Magan, about this matter is a reflection on the establishment lack of experience with customer service. I plan on visiting Destin and will NOT recommend AJs. Unfortunately I was referred, referrals can work for a business and also work against it! The easy solution was to refund us the $43.40 off our bill since it was collected from the gift card, it doesnt take a rocket scientist! Customer service should be first priority, especially with food lacking with taste and all the other options in the area.