Are you looking for a tasty meal in Panama City Beach, Florida? From casual beachside fare to impressive upscale dining, you’ll find plenty of delicious options when exploring what the city’s culinary scene has to offer.
Whether you're looking to step outside of your Panama City Beach vacation rental for an intimate dinner setting with stunning views or a great place the whole family can enjoy, we've rounded up some of the most beloved local restaurants that are sure to satisfy all your cravings!
Read on for our top picks and plan your culinary adventure.
Casual Panama City Beach Restaurants
David’s New Orleans Style Café & Sno-Balls
Photo Credit:George Kuchler
- Address: 13913 Panama City Beach Pkwy, Panama City Beach
- Website: David’s New Orleans Style Café & Sno-Balls
David’s is one of many popular Panama City Beach restaurants focusing on the iconic cuisine of the bayou. With seemingly limitless options for po’ boys (meatball, roast beef, shrimp, chicken, catfish, and more), quintessential soul food sides such as red beans and rice, beignets, muffuletta sandwiches, gumbo, shrimp etouffee, and other traditional Cajun fare, you can’t go wrong.
To combat the searing Florida sun, try one of their ice cream-stuffed Sno Balls!
This is a strictly no-frills café, but if high quality and incredible flavors are what you’re after, you’re in for a treat at David’s New Orleans Café.
Photo Credit: Maslova Valentina
- Address: 7012 Thomas Dr, Panama City Beach
- Website: Gypsea Crepes
Look no further than Gypsea Crepes for the most authentic sweet and savory crepes.
Don’t underestimate them; these crepes can easily be transformed into a full meal. For breakfast, try the Turkey Pesto Crepes with eggs, spinach, tomatoes, and green onion. If you’re craving something for lunch, try “The Eddie,” featuring ham, brie, apple, spinach, onion, tomatoes, and honey mustard.
Sweet crepes are also available with various fruit toppings, whipped cream, yogurt, granola, and other things to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Fatty’s Sandwich Shop
Photo Credit: seepcb via Flickr CC2.0
- Address: 916 Thomas Dr, Panama City Beach
- Website: Fatty’s Sandwich Shop
Sometimes, especially after a long day in the sun and sand, you’re just craving a juicy, robust sandwich filled with all your favorite ingredients.
Well, look no further than Fatty’s Sandwich Shop. They have the best sandwiches in town, featuring premium Boar’s Head cold cuts and cheeses, fresh-cut veggies,house-made sauces, and freshly baked bread.
Favorites include the Meatball Sub and Classic Italian Grinder. For something a little more inventive, try their signature Heart Stopper (ham, turkey, salami, muenster, and jalapeno havarti cheeses).
If your group is not in the mood for a sandwich, they also offer salads, pizzas, wraps, soups, and a kid's menu.
Christo’s Sports Bar & Grill
Photo Credit: Ratov Maxim
- Address: 2903 Thomas Dr, Panama City Beach
- Website: Christo’s Sports Bar & Grill
If you’re looking to settle in with an icy cold beer and a delicious plate of food that won’t break the bank, look no further than Christo’s Sports Bar & Grill. This casual sports bar boasts 25 flat-screen TVs to catch any game you can think of and the best wings you can find on the Gulf Coast.
Don’t let the unassuming location adjacent to the gas station fool you. Although it’s a no-frills type of place, the food here hits the mark.
Try the Wild Whiskey BBQ or the Redneck Chicken Sammy if you're not in the mood for wings. It can’t be beat!
Diego’s Burrito Factory & Margaritas
Photo Credit: xhico
- Address: 15514 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach
- Website: Diego’s Burrito Factory & Margaritas
Just a short drive from Pier Park, Diego’s Burrito Factory is the place to go in town for the best burritos and margs. Their Build Your Own Burrito Bar means you can have all the quality ingredients you crave while omitting anything you don’t like.
In addition to burritos, you can make your own tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, and more. It’s similar to a popular chain restaurant with the same build-your-own philosophy but with a mom-and-pop spin and high-quality ingredients.
Despite how busy the restaurant always is, you can count on your food coming out promptly - even in the throes of summer.
Mid-Range Panama City Beach Restaurants
Photo Credit: hlphoto
- Address: 529 N Richard Jackson Blvd, Panama City Beach
- Website: Dee’s Hangout
Don’t come to Dee’s if you’re expecting linen napkins or even a minimally decorated restaurant. This bare-bones establishment is located in a strip mall, but the quality of the food earns it a place on our list.
Despite its obscure location, Dee’s Hangout also offers a full bar, so you can enjoy a cocktail while you wait for a table - which is a likely scenario, given the restaurant’s popularity and the fact that they don’t take reservations.
Serving up a variety of Creole and Cajun cuisine, you can’t go wrong with the Shrimp and Cheddar Grits or the Tuna Dip with House-Seasoned Saltines. If you can, save room for Homemade Banana Pudding.
The Grand Marlin
Photo Credit: gowithstock
- Address: 5323 N Lagoon Dr, Panama City Beach
- Website: The Grand Marlin
Head to The Grand Marlin Restaurant and Oyster Bar for an upscale dining experience with a mid-range price point. Their mouth-watering menu has a little bit of something for every taste, including a wide variety of gluten-free options and the freshest seafood.
This is an excellent option for a celebratory occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary dinner. However, make a reservation, as it tends to fill up quickly, and the wait can be daunting.
For food recommendations, we suggest trying the Parmesan Crusted Grouper Piccata with Sauteed Spinach, Whipped Potatoes, and Browned Butter. Another popular favorite is the BBQ Oysters! The Grand Marlin is also open for brunch, with a killer Chicken and Waffles, among other popular favorites.
If you’re in town on a Thursday, stop by for half-price bottles of wine!
Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant
Photo Credit: Dennis Wildberger
- Address: 15201 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach
- Website: Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant
This cozy, beachfront eatery is famed among locals and tourists alike for its laid-back beach vibes, ample outdoor seating, live music nights, and quality food items. In addition, Sharky’s is barefoot friendly (is there any better way to be?!) and offers two fenced-in children’s playgrounds for the little ones to play while they wait for their meals.
In terms of the menu, the Peppered Tuna and the Rasta Pasta are both popular favorites. But the tour de force has to be the Blackened Grouper Sandwich with Fries. Adding to the family friendliness of this spot, all kids’ meals are served in a frisbee, which they can take home!
Hook’d Pier Bar & Grill
Photo Credit: julie deshaies
- Address: 16201 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach
- Website: Hook’d Pier Bar & Grill
You won’t have difficulty finding your favorite ocean fare at Hook’d Pier Bar & Grill. This beach-themed fresh seafood bar and grill has everything from food to ambiance. The freshest local seafood includes dishes like Mahi Mahi, Grouper, Shrimp Dip, and Crab Cakes.
Hook’d is also a perfect place for a pre-sundown nosh. Famous for their Happy Hour, they offer 50% off your second appetizer (of equal or lesser value), $1 off bottled beers and draft beer pitchers, and $4 well drinks between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM.
Dat Cajun Place Café
Photo Credit: NASDAQ chives
- Address: 2705 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach
- Website: Dat Cajun Place Café
Dat Cajun Place Café is an easygoing eatery specializing in Bayou-style eats with live entertainment and daily specials. This is a great option if you want to get your Bluegrass and Beignet fix! The music creates a lively atmosphere that the whole family will love.
You can’t miss Fried Chicken, Alligator Bites, or Char-Grilled Oysters as menu favorites.
Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker
- Address: 14521 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach
- Website: Runaway Island
This casual beachfront bar and grill allows you to step onto the seashore and wiggle your toes in the sand as you wait for your table or meal. Between the epic views, the beachy vibes, the attentive and friendly service, and the portion-to-price ratio, it’s no wonder Runaway Island is commonly found among the best Panama City Beach Restaurants.
Try some of their more innovative and inventive dishes, such as the Fried Green Tomatoes, Blackened Tuna BLT, or the Parmesan Crusted Flounder.
High-End Panama City Beach Restaurants
Photo Credit: Mahony
- Address: 535 N Richard Jackson Blvd, Panama City Beach
- Website: Firefly
This romantic, upscale eatery is perfect for a date night or other special occasion that calls for a fine dining experience with ambiance to the max. This is where you should go if you’re looking for great food paired with twinkling lights and white linens.
Everything on the menu is worth a try. Still, some of the stand-out options include the Grilled Octopus and Olive Oil Poached Shrimp appetizer, as well as the Grilled New Zealand Rack of Elk, served with Tomato Butter, Roasted Broccolini, and Pepper Relish.
It’s a great choice if you’re not into seafood, with plenty of vegetarian and land-dwelling meat options as well.
Photo Credit: Don via Flickr CC2.0
- Address: 11040 Hutchison Blvd, Panama City Beach
- Website: Saltwater Grill
The backdrop for your dining experience at Saltwater Grill is none other than a giant aquarium. That’s right! While you won’t have to worry about making awkward eye contact with your dinner, it does provide a lovely ambiance for a nice night out.
Saltwater Grill offers an excellent selection of seafood and steaks in an upscale environment without feeling pretentious. We love the Snapper Pontchartrain, which features Blackened Red Snapper with Fried Soft-Shell Crab, Creamy Corn Orzo, Cherry Tomatoes, and Creole Remoulade.
Don’t feel as though you can’t bring the kids along despite the upscale nature of the restaurant. Saltwater Grill has one of the most extensive children’s menus in Panama City Beach, with ten different kids’ selections from which to choose. So parents of picky eaters can rejoice!
Swing by early for Happy Hour, featuring early bird specials between 4:00 PM and 5:30 PM. Perfect for early diners!
Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market
Photo Credit: Africa Studio
- Address: 5551 N Lagoon Dr, Panama City
- Website: Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market
Are there any doubts about the freshness of the seafood when your views from the restaurant are literally of the fishing fleet bringing in today’s daily catch? At Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant, that will be precisely what you get. This veteran seafood restaurant offers only the best and has been an institution in the area since 1967.
Though they close during the winter months, their annual reopening for spring is a widely anticipated event. And if you’re a wine enthusiast, you’ll love that they are among Wine Spectator’s honored recipients.
For food offerings, we particularly love the Oven Broiled Stuffed Jumbo Gulf Shrimp entrée or the Oven Broiled Cold Water Lobster Tails. If someone in your party doesn’t eat seafood, they’ll love the Churrasco Steak with Grilled Bermuda Onions or the Chicken Piccata.
Eat and Stay in Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach restaurants offer various options to tantalize your taste buds. Finding a great place to eat without breaking the bank is no hard task.
From quick-service Mexican, fast and tasty cafes, open-air outdoor dining, or a fine, upscale dining experience with impeccable service, this beach town is sure to have something for everyone.
So come explore all that these fantastic venues have to offer! An excellent eating experience awaits you near your Panama Beach cottage or beach house vacation rental.
Featured Image Credit: Bree Farnham