We are completely spoiled by the abundance of fresh seafood in Pensacola. It is so easy to eat fresh and local here so we try to take advantage of it while we can. Joe Patti's Seafood Market not only has every type of fresh seafood you could possibly want, but it is quite the experience and a bit of a Pensacola landmark. Just a couple of blocks from Palafox Street, Joe Patti's is a world of its own.
There is definitely an art to a successful trip. They run a tight ship and while everyone is super friendly, I always feel like if I mess up the flow there will be a Seinfeld moment. (No fish for you!) It is always less crowded in the mornings so if you go in the afternoon just be patient and expect the place to be wall to wall with people...especially on a hot summer day.
When you walk in you will be tempted to grab a number....don't! Take some time to walk around first and see what you looks good. When they call your number, you need to be ready with your order so make sure you know what you want first. Joe Patti's is huge, with a large wine store, a market with deli meats, cheeses, and fresh baked breads, a sushi bar and a gelato counter, in addition to the seafood market. I could spend an hour just browsing all of the speciality items! Once you know what you want, take a number from the uniformed cop (like I said, Joe Patti's is serious!) and wait for your name to be called.
After you get your seafood and other goodies, head to the counter to pay. You can get your seafood steamed right there or they will put it on ice for you to take home (If you have a large order, be sure to bring your own cooler!) Our usual order is few pounds of steamed shrimp, a crusty baguette and a bottle of wine to take to the beach for an easy beach picnic. (Although this weekend we brought fresh shrimp home to make shrimp tacos with fruit salsa!)
No Joe Patti's trip is complete without a stop at the beignets truck in the parking lot. Seriously who can resist hot, messy, powered sugar-y beignets...especially ones filled with raspberry or bavarian creme!?!