12 Best Restaurants in Dothan, Alabama

Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Dothan, Alabama may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of culinary destinations, but this small city in the southeast corner of the state boasts a thriving food scene. From down-home Southern cooking to creative takes on international cuisine, Dothan offers an array of mouthwatering restaurants to satisfy any palate.

CategoryRestaurantHighlights
Best Southern CookingBlue Plate CafeClassic Southern dishes, cozy atmosphere
Best ItalianBelina’s Ristorante ItalianoAuthentic Italian cuisine, family recipes
Best SeafoodBonefish GrillFresh seafood, wood fire grill, creative cocktails
Most RomanticThe Garden BistroSeasonal menus, intimate setting, extensive wine pairings
Most Family-FriendlyFernwood GrillKid-friendly menu, casual setting, outdoor games
Most Vegan/VegetarianOrganic Harvest KitchenPlant-based dishes, modern ambiance, healthy options
Best BrunchBrick & SpoonGlobal-inspired brunch items, Bloody Mary bar
Best MexicanRanchitoAuthentic Mexican cuisine, festive atmosphere
Most HipDart BarTrendy spot, games, late-night snacks
Best SushiKamikaze SushiFresh, innovative sushi, signature rolls
Best DinerSugar ShackClassic diner fare, nostalgic atmosphere
Best BarbecueSmokin’ Gold BarbequeSouthern barbecue, smoked meats, casual vibe
Best Fine DiningGardens of AvilaRefined dining, Spanish-Italian cuisine, elegant setting

In compiling this list of the 12 best restaurants in Dothan, priority was given to local favourites that use high-quality ingredients to create dishes bursting with flavour. Establishments offering one-of-a-kind dining experiences, whether through their charming ambience or skilful cooking techniques, were also given extra consideration. A mix of casual eateries and fine dining restaurants cut.

So next time you find yourself in Dothan or the surrounding area, be sure to stop by one of these fantastic restaurants to treat your tastebuds. You won’t be disappointed!

Best Southern Cooking: Blue Plate Cafe

Name and Location: Blue Plate Cafe, Southern Cooking in Jacksonville, FL

History and Significance: This cozy cafe has been serving up heaping plates of Southern comfort foods since 2005. Critically acclaimed for scratch-made regional specialties like fried green tomatoes, chicken & dumplings, mac & cheese, collard greens andbanana pudding.

What to Expect: Hearty scratch-made Southern classics like fried chicken, catfish, meatloaf, fried okra, deviled eggs, cornbread and more that come in generous portions. Rotating daily Blue Plate specials keep things fresh and affordable. Expect a line on weekends.

Visitor Information: Open daily 8am-8pm. Cash only. Counter order casual seating. Take-out available.

Those craving classic comfort fare of the American South need look no further than Blue Plate Cafe. Located in a historic former hardware store dating back to 1890, this laidback eatery charms with its vintage yet cozy atmosphere.

But it’s the heaping portions of regional specialties like fried green tomatoes, chicken and dumplings, and biscuits smothered in sausage gravy that make Blue Plate Cafe an ideal destination for stick-to-your-ribs Southern cooking. Daily lunch specials ensure there’s always something new to try during your visit. Just come hungry!

Standout Dishes: Fried Green Tomatoes, Chicken & Dumplings, Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

Best Italian: Belina’s Ristorante Italiano

Name and Location: Belina’s Ristorante Italiano, Authentic Italian in Jacksonville Beach, FL

History and Significance: Family owned rustic Italian eatery since 1992 renowned for classic regional entrees like ossobuco, homemade pastas, veal parmesan and signature limoncello cake. Extensive wine list sourced from small Italian producers. Authentic ambiance and flavors.

What to Expect: Charming trattoria interior with exposed brick and checkered floors. Knowledgeable service guiding you through the menu featuring Italian favorites like lasagna, chicken piccata, eggplant rollatini. Save room for the Nutella crepes or tiramisu. Buon appetito!

Visitor Information: Dinner nightly. Weekend lunches seasonally. Reservations strongly suggested. Business casual dress. Valet parking available.


Belina’s brings a taste of Italy to Dothan with its authentic regional Italian cuisine. Husband and wife team Gianfranco and Sabrina Polzella Rimini take great pride in preparing family recipes that have been passed down over generations. Peruse the display case showcasing an array of freshly made pasta before selecting your dish.

Traditional standouts like linguine alle vongole (clams) and pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale (wild boar ragout) demonstrate expert techniques in the kitchen. An extensive wine list emphasizes small-production Italian labels to perfectly complement your meal. The cozy ambience dotted with vintage décor imported from Italy makes Belina’s a beloved destination for date nights or special occasions. Just be sure to save room for Sabrina’s tiramisu – it’s truly the stuff of legends!

Standout Dishes: Linguine alle Vongole, Pappardelle al Ragu di Cinghiale, Sabrina’s Tiramisu

Best Seafood: Bonefish Grill

Name and Location: Bonefish Grill Seafood Restaurant in Jacksonville, FL

History and Significance: Nationwide upscale casual seafood chain began in St. Petersburg FL known for market fresh fish and shellfish grilled over oak and pecan wood. Also critically acclaimed for Bang Bang Shrimp and impressive craft cocktails like the seasonal Bonefish Mojito.

What to Expect: Contempory industrial interior with open kitchen showcasing the theatrics of cooking over wood-fired grill.Signature dishes like Macadamia Nut Mahi Mahi, Chilean Sea Bass joined by lighter Lily’s Chicken and plant-based Impossible burger options.

Visitor Information: Lunch and Dinner Daily. Reservations accepted. Business casual dress recommended. Valet parking available.


With fresh catches flown in daily, Bonefish Grill remains a local favorite for well-prepared seafood focusing on simplicity and flavor. The knowledgeable staff will happily guide you through the wide-ranging menu featuring both familiar and more adventurous offerings from the ocean.

Grilled fish plates make it easy to enjoy the day’s selections simply prepared over a wood fire grill to allow the natural flavors to shine through. Otherwise, check out chef specials like Parmesan Crusted Chilean Sea Bass or Lobster and Shrimp Mac ‘n Cheese to discover new taste sensations. Creative cocktails incorporating fresh juices and housemade infusions further elevate the dining experience. So for a night of expertly-executed seafood that breaks from the same old fried platters, Bonefish Grill is sure to impress.

Standout Dishes: Wood Grilled Fish of the Day, Parmesan Crusted Chilean Sea Bass, Lobster & Shrimp Mac ‘n Cheese

Most Romantic: The Garden Bistro

Name and Location: The Garden Bistro, Romantic bistro dining in Jacksonville Beach, FL

History and Significance: Intimate neighborhood bistro since 2002 renowned for its garden patio ambiance and seasonally inspired cuisine served in a casually elegant setting. Impeccable service and personable hospitality make it a go-to for special occasions.

What to Expect: Subdued romantic lighting, foliage and twinkling lights enhance the lush patio. Menu changes monthly guided by what’s fresh and regional showing Mediterranean and New American influences. Reserved exclusively for intimate dining.

Visitor Information: Dinner Tuesday through Sunday – Closed Mondays. Reservations essential. Smart casual dress. Reasonably priced wine pairings.


Tucked away inside a restored Victorian home, The Garden Bistro offers an ultra-romantic setting for intimate date nights. Pass through the iron gates to discover this hidden culinary gem with a twinkle-lit patio overlooking a lush garden. Farmer’s market-driven menus change with the season to highlight fresh organic produce straight from area farms.

Whether indulging in seared sea scallops atop spring risotto or an expertly cooked steak during the summer months, each dish emphasizes quality ingredients while letting flavors speak for themselves. Extensive wine pairings lend further sophistication to the meal.

For a sweet finish to the night, molten chocolate cake for two provides the perfect excuse to snuggle a little closer. From start to finish, The Garden Bistro remains true to its name in crafting an oasis where love is always in season.

Standout Dishes: Seared Sea Scallops & Spring Risotto, Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Molten Chocolate Cake for Two

Most Family-Friendly: Fernwood Grill

Name and Location: Fernwood Grill Family Restaurant in Jacksonville, FL

History and Significance: Serving families hearty made-from-scratch comfort foods since 2003 in a charming historic San Marco home. Known for weekend brunch specialties, chicken pot pie, meatloaf, mac and cheese plus homemade desserts. Outdoor patio with play area.

What to Expect: Family friendly setting with craft activities to occupy kids while parents enjoy classics like pot roast, chicken fried steak, shrimp and grits, veggie plates and cast iron cookie skillet desserts. Great value prices.

Visitor Information: Open daily breakfast through dinner. Reservations only for groups 6 or larger. Casual dress.


When dining with a crowd featuring hungry kids, Fernwood Grill never fails to satisfy. Kids receive their own special menu to cater to young palates with favorites like chicken fingers or grilled cheese. Adults meanwhile enjoy handcrafted sandwiches and fresh salads topped with house-smoked meats direct from their onsite smokehouse.

Fernwood’s signature sweet and spicy BBQ baby back ribs allow carnivores to indulge messily with no judgement. A well-curated list of local craft brews on tap provides further incentive for parents to relax. Frisbee golf and bocce ball outside offer ample entertainment for restless little ones burning off steam.

With free chocolate chip cookies for dessert, the entire family leaves happy and returning again soon. So for affordable fare in a relaxed environment ideal for kids, head to Fernwood Grill.

Standout Dishes: In-House Smoked Meats, BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most Vegan/Vegetarian: Organic Harvest Kitchen

Name and Location: Organic Harvest Kitchen, Vegan Cafe in Jacksonville Beach, FL

History and Significance: Beloved plant-based cafe since 2015 providing nutrient dense vegan breakfast and lunches sourced mainly from local and organic farmers. Known for tasty sandwiches, salads, bowls, smoothies and bakery items showcasing seasonal produce.

What to Expect: Order tasty vegan sandwiches like the fan favorite maple tempeh BLT, grain bowls brimming with fresh veggies or creamyLoaded Potato soup. Large smoothie menu along with rotating nut milks and organic coffee. Menu indicates gluten free and raw items.

Visitor Information: Open daily 8am to 5pm. Indoor and patio seating available. Order takeaway online.


Specializing in new age vegan and vegetarian cuisine, Organic Harvest Kitchen shows Dothan the lighter side of eating. Its clean-lined modern interior with communal tables cultivates a vibe that’s both hip and healthy. Menus cherry pick from global influences to create interesting yet wholesome meatless dishes. Nourishing bowls incorporate ancient grains and seasonal veggies overlaid with flavorful sauces for a complete balanced meal.

Unique pizzas with foundations of quinoa dough or cauliflower crust provide comfort alongside crunch. Don’t overlook side salads and wraps at lunch either – the varied ingredients elevate typical healthy fare. Housemade beet lemonade, refreshing cold pressed juices, and smoothies sprinkled with chia seeds also indulge your inner yogi. For plant-based dining that even carnivores can crave, discover Organic Harvest Kitchen.

Standout Dishes: Ancient Grain Bowls, Plant-based Pizzas, Chia Smoothies

Best Brunch: Brick & Spoon

Name and Location: Brick & Spoon Restaurant, Brunch in Jacksonville, FL

History and Significance: Critically acclaimed brunch cafe since 2011 renown regionally for signature dishes like Bananas Foster French Toast, Charleston Shrimp & Grits, Filet Benedict and extensive mimosa menu. Serves brunch daily in historic Riverside home.

What to Expect: Creative brunch plates blending Southern inspirations with classic technique and whimsical plating. Menus change seasonally but expect staples like crab cake eggs benedict, chicken biscuit pot pie, huevos rancheros and cinnamon roll pancakes done exceptionally well.

Visitor Information: Brunch daily 9am to 3pm. Reservations recommended. Street parking and garage nearby. Stroller accessible.


Brunch enthusiasts flock to Brick & Spoon to jumpstart lazy weekend mornings with inspiration from around the globe. Sophisticated takes on classics like eggs Benedict or omelets offer a gourmet twist sure to impress. More adventurous palates indulge in arepas stuffed with carnitas or shakshuka brimming with Mediterranean flavors. Those with heartier appetites enjoy generous stacks of fluffy pancakes, tempting French toast, or mile-high biscuit sandwiches dripping with sausage gravy.

Handcrafted cocktails and a killer Bloody Mary bar provide an oh-so-necessary weekend boost. Don’t be surprised to encounter a wait during peak hours – it’s worth it to join the festive atmosphere where locals gather to eat, drink, and unwind. For a leisurely brunch getaway with globally-inspired options, Brick & Spoon sets the standard.

Standout Dishes: Gourmet Eggs Benedict, Arepas, Boozy Bloody Marys

Best Mexican: Ranchito

Name and Location: Ranchito Taqueria in Jacksonville Beach, FL

History and Significance: This order-at-the-counter taqueria opened in 2015 bringing no frills authentic street tacos, tortas and Mexican antojitos to the beaches area. Known for hand pressed corn tortillas, 24 hour marinated meats and house made salsas. Simple menu focused on traditional flavors.

What to Expect: Walk up counter service for tacos filled with your choice of meat like marinated pork al pastor, chicken tinga, carne asada, chorizo along with cilantro, onions and salsa on house made corn tortillas. Also on offer – tortas, quesadillas, burritos and weekend specials like pozole and menudo soup.

Visitor Information: Open 11am to 9pm daily. Affordably priced meals. Take-out available. Adjacent parking lot. Cash only payments.


Experience authentic flavors of South of the Border at Ranchito, a festive cantina transporting you straight to Mexico. This family-run spot prides itself on cooking each dish to order using time-honored recipes passed through generations. Traditional entrees like carne asada and chili rellenos deliver big, bold tastes that linger pleasantly with a slight kick. Combination plates allow sampling an array of classics all at once.

Wash it down with the expansive tequila selection or one of Ranchito’s famous margaritas frothing with fresh lime juice. The vibrant interior dotted with colorful Talavera tiles will have you plotting your next Mexican vacay. On balmy nights, dig into sizzling fajitas on the breezy patio. For fabulous authentic cuisine putting chain Mex joints to shame, make a beeline to Ranchito.

Standout dishes: Carne Asada, Chili Rellenos, Table-side Guacamole, Margaritas

Most Hip: Dart Bar

Name and Location: Darts Bar Gastropub, Hip pub fare in Jacksonville

History and Significance: Trendy downtown gastro bar since 2012 featuring quality elevated pub eats, extensive draft list with focus on FL breweries and lively atmosphere with vintage arcade games and dart boards. Known to attract young professionals for happy hour and late night scene.

What to Expect: Industrial chic decor setting the backdrop for divers menu ranging from loaded tots, wings and dip trio starters to shrimp tacos, grilled mahi sandwiches, fisherman’s pasta, burgers and salads. Save room for the signature s’mores skillet dessert.

Visitor Information: Kitchen open weekdays 11am to midnight, weekends 11am to 2am. Casual dress. Walk-ins welcome but reservations available for groups.


Dart Bar spices up Dothan’s nightlife with its cosmopolitan atmosphere meeting at the intersection of bar, eatery and entertainment venue. Its lofty industrial interior sets an energetic mood, while activities like shuffleboard, pop-a-shot basketball and of course darts keep patrons engaged into the night. Half the menu dedicates itself to loaded fries and tater tots heaped with temping toppings to soak up all those craft brews and cocktails.

Late-night offerings like foot long hot dogs, sausage rolls and breakfast pizza also give Dart Bar permission to drink and play past your bedtime. Occasional slider eating contests and karaoke nights turn up the volume even more. For a great all-in-one spot to eat, drink, and get your game on, become a Dart Bar regular.

Standout Dishes: Loaded Fries & Tots, Foot Long Hot Dogs, Breakfast Pizza

Best Sushi: Kamikaze Sushi

Name and Location: Kamikaze Sushi Local Sushi Spot in Jacksonville, FL

History and Significance: Serving high quality affordable sushi and modern Japanese fare in laid back environment since 2018. Known for premium sushi specializing in East Coast catches like tuna, salmon, yellowtail and lobster. Attentive Itamae sushi chefs prepare the cuts daily behind lively bar.

What to Expect: Trendy vibes meet quality ingredients as sushi chefs prepare specialty rolls, nigiri sushi, sashimi platters along with ramen bowls, donburi and hot small plates. Signature local yellowtail jalapeño specialty roll a must try. Check the chalkboard fordaily special creations.

Visitor Information: Open for lunch and dinner daily. Casual dress welcomed. Reservations available for parties 6 or larger. Valet parking available.


Touting itself as Home of the Roll, Kamikaze Sushi flies in fresh seafood daily to create innovative maki that keeps locals hooked. The extensive menu features all the sushi staples along with an awesome array of signature specialty rolls incorporating local flavors like fried green tomatoes or pimento cheese.

The unique Finger Roll challenges you to drizzle each piece with one of three homemade sauces to unlock its flavor profile. While sushi remains the star attraction, pan-Asian small plates like potstickers, spring rolls and tempura provide lighter, shareable options too.

The vibrant bolt blue exterior makes this hip sushi spot hard to miss. So for excellently executed nigiri, giant rolls that impress and creative cocktails, Kamikaze Sushi consistently brings explosive flavor.

Standout Dishes: Finger Roll Challenge, Signature Makis, Japanese Craft Cocktails

Best Diner: Sugar Shack

Name and Location: The Sugar Shack Diner, Homestyle diner classics in Jacksonville, FL

History and Significance: This retro 1950s era diner style cafe has been serving homemade classics like pot roast, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf and pie since 1999. Known for scratch made comfort foods and piled high desserts in a charming historic cottage setting.

What to Expect: Counter service providing hearty breakfast plates, blue plate lunch specials, sandwiches and dinners done classic diner style. Known for chicken salad, strawberry salad, cole slaw, mac and cheese, coconut cream pie and giant sundaes. Cash only establishment with counter stools and a few tables.

Visitor Information: Tuesday thru Sunday 7am to 8pm. Closed Mondays. Arrive early on weekends. Take-out available. On-street public parking. Cash payments only.


For quintessential diner fare in a retro setting, Sugar Shack hearkens back to the soda fountain era. Red vinyl booths, checkered floors and vintage signage immediately set a nostalgic mood, as do the all-day breakfast plates drawing patrons from morning ‘til night.

Eggs get deluxe upgrades thanks to a plethora of meaty add-ons. Mile-high biscuits drowning in sausage gravy meet with fluffy, sweet pancake stacks for the ultimate Southern pairing. Owners keep the old-fashioned soda fountain flowing with handmade milkshakes, egg creams and phosphates.

Late night munchies also have a reliable home here with patty melts, baskets of fried everything and slabs of pie ideal for splitting. Visit Sugar Shack to enjoy greasy spoon goodness without pretension.

Standout Dishes: Breakfast Plates, Biscuits & Sausage Gravy, Handmade Milkshakes & Malts

Best Barbecue: Smokin’ Gold Barbeque

Name and Location: Smokin’ Gold Barbeque in Jacksonville, FL

History and Significance: Locally owned BBQ spot since 2014 quickly earning a following for smoked meats, scratch sides and signature sauces served in a casual roadside setting. Pitmaster Anthony Gold grills up tender St. Louis and Baby Back ribs along with pulled pork, wings, chicken and sampler plates.

What to Expect: Aroma of hickory smoked meats fill the parking lot air where you can often see — and smell — the onsite smokers doing their thing. Order at the counter cafeteria style by the pound or platter with scratch made sides like potato salad, collards, beans and mac and cheese. Save room for cobblers and banana pudding.

Visitor Information: Open Wed thru Sun 11:30am – Sold Out. Take out available. Outdoor picnic tables on site. Brisket and ribs sell out fast so come early.


You can practically smell Smokin’ Gold Barbecue before you see it thanks to fragrant wood smoke wafting down the block. This local favorite plates up classic Southern barbecue with all the fixings that keep folks lining up daily. Fall-off-the-bone St. Louis Style ribs deliver meaty, smoky and saucy with each sticky bite.

Juicy pulled pork and brisket sandwiches come dressed up with slaw and pickles to cut through the richness. Daily specials like smoky wings or loaded baked potatoes ensure something new tempts during your return trips. Wash it down with Cheerwine on draft or in their custom fruit tea blends. For finger lickin’ barbecue done right without the frills, Smokin’ Gold sets the bar sky high.

Standout Dishes: Wood Smoked Ribs, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Cheerwine on Draft

Best Fine Dining: Gardens of Avila

Name and Location: Gardens of Avila, Fine dining in St. Augustine, FL

History and Significance: This Mediterranean estate restaurant transports you to an old world countryside villa amidst the lush gardens, stone fountains and romantic archways. Renowned for exquisite seasonal nouvelle cuisine since 1983. Impeccable service in an enchanting setting.

What to Expect: Subdued elegant ambiance with views of the verdant courtyard gardens. Seasonal 4 or 6 course tasting menus might include disheslike chargrilled filet mignon, pan seared Chilean sea bass, lobster ravioli with savory reductions and vegetable sides sourced locally when available.

Visitor Information: Dinner nightly 6pm-9pm. Jackets required for gentlemen. Valet parking. Reservations essential, booking several weeks out recommended.

Those seeking a refined fine dining experience meet their match at Gardens of Avila, an historic mansion transformed into a Mediterranean culinary escape. Talented Chef Miguel Campos hails from Spain and plates exquisitely executed Spanish and Italian influenced cuisineutilizing seasonal local ingredients.

Dishes like seafood paella overflowing with fresh shellfish or Campos’ signature seared duck breast with black truffle port demi-glace demonstrate masterful techniques that elevate cooking to an art form. Extensive wine features Old World selections expertly paired to each dish.

Romantic architecture featuring arched doorways, exposed brick and a sprawling patio lined with olive trees makes Gardens of Avila feel world’s away, even if just for an evening. So for sophisticated cuisine in an unparalleled setting, book your table at Gardens of Avila.

Standout Dishes: Seafood Paella, Seared Duck Breast with Truffle Demi-Glace, Prix Fixe Chef Tasting Menu

Conclusion


While Dothan, Alabama flies under the radar among Southern culinary destinations, its robust dining scene packs some serious surprises. From updated Southern classics to international flavors, the city’s passionate local chefs create craveworthy dishes that exceed expectations time and again.

So next time your travels take you through southeast Alabama or you find yourself looking for a change of pace from chains, explore Dothan’s fantastic independent eateries. That little hole-in-the-wall joint just might become your newest foodie obsession. Just come hungry!

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