Big Fish Restaurant

Photography by Jeff Haggerman

A Place Where Friends Get Together
by Sarah Backus

There are places that capture the best of what it means to come “home.” Big Fish Restaurant in Orange Beach, Alabama, welcomes guests with just the right amount of warmth and relaxed sophistication. Leck and Jana Lilayuva, owners of Big Fish, have dedicated their talents to creating an enjoyable menu and elegant space to share with friends and family. Opened in 2010, Big Fish has become a place of delicious respite for both tourists and locals alike.

Mr. Lilayuva, who has deep roots in Orange Beach, Alabama, draws inspiration for menu items from both his international travels and the Southern home cooking of his childhood. Appetizers and dishes such as Beef Tataki, Big Stir Fry, and Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna, as well as an extensive Sushi menu, highlight the Asian influence that diners can enjoy.

Those who crave something a little closer to traditional American fare might choose a dish named Meatloaf Muffins (meatloaf prepared in individual muffin tins, designed for optimal crispiness) or an expertly hand-cut and prepared steak. Naturally, though, a trip to Big Fish would be incomplete without a taste of its market fresh (never frozen) Alabama and Florida caught fish, which is hand-fileted and prepared in a variety of tasty options. Visitors can also find many classic pasta dishes, as well as an assortment of fresh salads. To end on a sweet note, Big Fish’s pastry chef makes every dessert in-house, offering fresh gelato, assorted bread puddings, and specialty cheesecakes.

Walking into Big Fish, one of the first elements that diners notice is the perfect balance between trendy, classic, and coastal décor. Eye-catching accent pieces, soothing color schemes, and ambient lighting create a laid back, yet upscale feel.

Each section of the dining area has a slightly different character and purpose. For adults looking to watch a game or enjoy one of Big Fish’s famous Champaign Cocktails, crafted Martinis, or a glass from the select wine list, the bar is an excellent choice. The main dining area, with a mix of tables and booths, is perfect for families and larger parties. A large, more private area designated for adult parties and gatherings is located toward the back of the restaurant. Outdoor seating on a Mediterranean inspired patio is also an option.

It is difficult to overlook the warm and accommodating staff. Usually, the first face that each guest sees is that of Mrs. Lilayuva, who greets diners as they arrive. Servers and staff are knowledgeable and hospitable. Many of the employees have been with the Lilayuva’s for over a decade and are “tight-knit like a family.”

Big Fish is the perfect spot to experience the different flavors and casual elegance that make the Gulf Coast so remarkable. Whether it is surf and turf, classic American dishes, internationally inspired entrees, delectable desserts, or handcrafted cocktails and drinks, Big Fish has something enticing for every taste. Leck and Jana Lilayuva began with a vision for Big Fish to feel like “our house, and for people to feel like they’re at home” when they visit. Big Fish, true as their sign reads, is a place “Where Friends Get Together.” It is a place where friends and family return to relax, sip, and savor together.

Coastal Palate Magazine, all rights reserved.
This is how we eat!