Dining on a Beach Budget: 12 Dishes Under $12

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BeachBudget

Remember the old commercials “There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else, there’s MasterCard”? Well we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but eventually MasterCard comes a knockin’. Vacations are expensive and the bill you receive after a long one can make your head spin. Gas or air fare, rental cars or taxis, souvenirs, accommodations, activities. The list goes on and on. Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is buy everyone in your crew a meal that ends with a bill the size of your mortgage payment.

On the Alabama Gulf Coast, that’s not a problem. While we have our fair share of fine dining experiences, we’re also home to restaurants that’ll make your wallet happy. Does budget-friendly mean you have to sacrifice good service, fabulous flavors, and (perhaps most importantly) delicious cocktails? It most certainly does not, which is why we’ve gathered 12 of our favorite dishes under $12.

99 cent Tacos on Taco Tuesdays at Sol Y Mar Mexican Grill and Cantina at the Wharf

Its 99 cent Tacos on Taco Tuesday at Sol y Mar at The Wharf

Its 99 cent Tacos on Taco Tuesday at Sol y Mar at The Wharf

Beef or chicken tacos served all day long. That price tag means we have extra room in the budget for multiple margaritas, right?

$3.95 Beignets at Café Beignet

Sweet, sweet Nothings at Cafe Beignets Gulf Shores

Sweet, sweet Nothings at Cafe Beignet Gulf Shores

French donuts served piping hot and delicately topped with Confectioner’s sugar. Pillows of heaven for breakfast? Don’t mind if we do.

$4.99 L.A. (Lower Alabama, of course) Caviar at LuLu’s

All signs point to Lulu's

All signs point to Lulu’s

A black-eyed pea mixture with tomatoes, peppers, and onions in balsamic vinaigrette. The other LA has nothin’ on our caviar.

$5 Firecracker Shrimp and $1 beer during daily Happy Hour (from 3-5 pm) at Cosmo’s

Did someone say $1 Beer? Yes! At Cosmos

Did someone say $1 Beer? Yes! At Cosmos

Crispy fried shrimp tossed in a spicy sauce. Cool your mouth down with a swig of ice cold brew (is it just us or does the one dollar price tag make it taste better?).

$7.95 BBQ Baked Potato at Down South BBQ

Loaded BBQ Baked Tater at DownSouth BBQ

Loaded BBQ Baked Tater at DownSouth BBQ

Baked potato covered with butter, cheese, a mound of pulled pork, and sour cream. Don’t think beach and BBQ go together? Think again.

$7.99 Meat & Two at Kitty’s Kafe

Country Cooking at its Best - Kitty's Kafe

Country Cooking at its Best – Kitty’s Kafe

Your choice of country favorite (like meatloaf, country fried steak or baked chicken with gravy) with two veggies, and bread choice. Country cookin’ served with Southern hospitality so sweet they could charm the dew off a honeysuckle.

$8.50 Oyster Sandwich at Sea-n-Suds

Oyster Sandwich and you CANNOT beat that view at Sea n Suds!

Oyster Sandwich and you CANNOT beat that view at Sea n Suds!

Fried oysters served up with mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and a view so close to the Gulf, the fish are a little jealous.

$8.75 Big Beach Burger at Bill’s by the Beach from the 10 & Under Lunch Menu (available from 11 am – 3 pm)

Bill's By The Beach

Big Burger at Bill’s By The Beach

A blend of fresh ground brisket, short rib & sirloin, caramelized onions, shredded lettuce, tomato. Top it with cheddar, Swiss, smoked Gouda, Bleu, or pimento cheese. You may want to add a few minutes to the “wait 30 minutes to swim” rule after this lunch.

$8.99 Mozilla Sandwich at Mojo’s Seafood and Chicken

Mozilla Sandwich at Mojo's Seafood and Chicken

Mozilla Sandwich at Mojo’s Seafood and Chicken

Blackened fish, Mojo-Hot shrimp, Key West slaw, and tartar sauce. Fresh and spicy, just the way we like it.

$10 Smoked Tuna Dip at Flippers Seafood and Oyster Bar

Smoked Tuna Dip at Flippers Seafood

Smoked Tuna Dip at Flippers Seafood

Smoked yellowfin tuna blended with cream cheese and green onion, served with crositini. If you order it to share, we give you permission to hog it.

$11.99 All You Can Eat Catfish on Thursdays at Rafter’s Restaurant and Sportsbar

You had us at "All You Can Eat!" Catfish eating at Rafters

You had us at “All You Can Eat!” Catfish eating at Rafters

Fried catfish served with three sides and bread. Don’t stop till you’re ready to drop.

With all this money you are saving while dining on a budget, how about head out for a Night of Music?