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The Ultimate Gulf Front Dining Guide to Panama City Beach

Author 02-26-2024

Suppose you are visiting Panama City Beach for an exciting vacation. In that case, chances are you want to live it up on your next vacation. You can go out for drinks, spend time on the beach, and eat some of the best seafood in the entire country. But where should you start?

We have narrowed down the extensive list of the top eateries, cafes, and bars to find the best restaurants for you and your mates this upcoming trip. Whether you’re a budget traveler who wants to find the cheapest and tastiest tacos, or you are a high-end adventurer who wants to go to luxurious restaurants, we have it all in Panama City Beach—check it out below!


Firefly is an opulent and beautiful restaurant that offers incredible outdoor seating under the lanterns of the towering trees, white cloth service, and the ideal atmosphere for a date night. The staff at Firefly are committed to creating a seasonal and changing menu that works with the local produce, fish, and meat. Plus, the servers are there to help give you the best experience possible.

Glancing at the menu for the first time, you will notice the incredible appetizers that use fresh seafood, local vegetables, and unique ingredient combinations that you won’t find elsewhere in typical eateries. We love the escargot with parsley garlic butter and grilled sourdough bread. Or try the crispy saffron and mascarpone arancini with lemon zest to split with the table.

Next, you can’t go wrong with one of their infamous broiler entrees if you are a bit hungry during dinner time. The Australian rack of lamb with creamy pearl couscous and tart cherries is also a sure favorite. Suppose you would rather stick with the fresh seafood from the Gulf. In that case, we love the broiled lobster tails with whipped Yukon potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

End the night with a sweet treat, like creme brulee, a dessert trio to split with your date, or a key lime pie with candied lime zest.

Saltwater Grill

There are two things that people often look for in fine-dining restaurants—steak and seafood—and we are happy to tell you that Saltwater Girl does both of them exceptionally well. Saltwater Grill, right on Hutchison Boulevard in Panama City Beach, is open every day of the week until 9 or 10 pm on weekends, offering a happy hour and early bird specials for those who just can’t wait to have a seafood dinner.

We recommend starting with one of their shareable appetizers, like the giant wagyu meatball with ricotta, the tuna tartare with avocado and passionfruit ponzu, or the filet steak rolls with napa cabbage. Pair any of these starters with a healthy salad, like the burrata or Greek salad, to start the meal with light and fresh ingredients.

Enjoy meatballs and more when Oceanview dining in Panama City Beach

Next, for an entree, you have a wide selection of dishes that range from the seafood mac and cheese to the slow-roasted prime rib with beef au jus. Personally, we love getting one of the steak dishes, like the Steak Diane with hand-cut ribeye, mashed potatoes, and mushroom cream.Pair any one of the entrees with a drink of your choice, choosing from the extensive white, red, and bubbles list. For fine dining, we recommend a bottle of La Crema Chardonnay from California for a white wine, or the Paso Robles Cabernet for a red wine.

Angelo’s Steak Pit

Meat lovers should head here for a hearty steak experience you won’t find in other restaurants in PCB. Panama City Beach, and the entire coastal region, is known for its fresh seafood from the Gulf waters outside your door, but it doesn’t always mean that steak is easy to come by. Angelo’s is so widely renowned to people from all over the state.

We recommend splitting one of the towering appetizers, like the barbecue ribs or crab fingers, to start the meal. Then, choose one of the USDA choice corn-fed steer steaks to match your appetite. Feeling hungry? Go for the 30-ounce T-bone steak. If you are not too peckish, the 8-ounce Ladies Top Sirloin is Angelo’s Favorite and has been served for over 60 years. Talk about a reputation!

Cuvee 30A

Although Cuvee is a slightly farther drive away from Panama City Beach and Laketown Wharf than other options on this list, the fine dining atmosphere, steak offerings, tantalizing seafood dishes, and outdoor patio make this a smart choice for those visiting Panama City Beach this year.

Start the evening with one of their fresh appetizers, like the seafood tower with 1/2-pound Alaskan king Crab, 1⁄2-pound cocktail shrimp, whole Maine lobster, house made remoulade sauce, cocktail sauce, and garlic butter. If you want something smaller, the crisp fried oysters with Asian Kung Pao Glaze are mouthwatering.

We highly recommend one of the steak or seafood dishes for an entree. The Grouper Vince with pecan-crusted rim, honey Worcestershire sauce, and crispy garlic potato cake is great for seafood lovers, while the New Zealand venison steak with mashed sweet potatoes and tobacco onions will make meat lovers the happiest people on the planet.

Enjoy steak and more when Oceanview dining in Panama City Beach

Hunt & Gather Raw Bar and Pub

Hunt & Gather is known for its farm-to-table concept that focuses on real ingredients, simple flavor combinations, and simplicity. We love how they focus on the quality of ingredients, gathering fresh vegetables, meat, and in-season fish, to stand out as the focal point of their entrees and appetizers.

Suppose you can’t wait for the main dish. In that case, we recommend ordering the raw on the half shell oysters, baked oysters with pimento cheese and pickled green tomato relish, or the duck confit loaded fries with slow-cooker shredded duck, cabbage, slaw, white sauce, and barbecue sauce to split.

Then, order a series of tapas-like dishes to split with the table for the main course. The sous vide octopus with lemon puree and Calabrian chili vinaigrette is a slightly spicy dish that is like an Asian fusion tapas offering. Pair this with the steak tartare with capers and jalapeno, red snapper ceviche, Maine lobster tail, and lamb ribs for a breathtaking meal.

Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant

Captain Anderson’s Restaurant and Waterfront Market is known for its great prices for seafood and fresh fish right from the Gulf. Plus, Capt. Anderson’s offers great deals on special events, like a half-price bottle of Dom Perignon for Valentine’s Day. Don’t believe us? Well, this restaurant has been consistently voted as one of the top 5 eaters in the entire state by Southern Living Magazine.

Capt. Anderson’s has been serving tourists and locals since 1953, churning out traditional dishes, chatting with customers, and making people feel at home. Although there are some classics on the menu, they also offer a unique twist to typical dishes, making this restaurant slightly more upscale than other typical American restaurants in PCB.

We recommend getting the Capt. Anderson’s ‘famous’ grilled baby shrimp for appetizers to split with the table. You can also get parmesan baked oysters with house seasoning, fresh Gulf shrimp cocktail, or fresh crab fingers with seasoned butter for delectable seafood.

Check out the World Famous Seafood Platter as a main dish to split with your friends or partner. This ‘towering’ dish features 1/.2 stuffed grilled Florida lobster, golden shrimp, scallops, fresh fish, and fried stuffed deviled crab.

Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant

If you are just not in the mood for a high-end meal or even a “middle of the road” restaurant with fancy table settings, then we have the place for you. Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant is a laid-back and chilled-out spot right on the water that offers everything you want for a beach vacation — water views, tiki bar service, great vibes, tasty food, and friendly service.

This casual eatery churns out plate after plate of mouthwatering seafood, never skimping on quality of experience for every single customer. Kids will love the fun atmosphere, and parents will love seeing their kids happy and entertained on vacation!

If you are here with friends, make sure you come for one of the live music and events nights that often happens at this beachfront paradise. Come to this bustling bar on the weekend to listen to live music, grab one of their drink specials (like ½ priced bottles of wine), or play games with new friends or your kids out on the sand.

Try one of the specialty drinks during your next visit to this hopping spot, like the super-sweet World Famous Shark Attack with Sailor Jerry spiced rum, Club Caribe coconut rum, blackberry brandy, and tropical juice. In the mood for a margarita and tortilla chips? The Sharkarita with El Jimador Blanco tequila, triple sec, and sweet and sour juice is sure to hit the spot.

For those who want an ice-cold beer after being on the beach all day, there are tons of draft and bottled beers here that suit your fancy. Pair a strong IPA with some chips, a dark porter with French fries and cheese, or a light beer with a burger for a mouthwatering snack or lunch meal.

Another Broken Egg Café

Suppose you are in the mood for an omelet to help cure the multi-beer hangover, or you are tired from traveling all night before. In that case, the best place to check out for a filling and satisfying breakfast is Another Broken Egg Cafe. Whether you are in the mood for a healthy egg white omelet or want a sweet treat, this brunch spot has it all.

Head here early in the morning to enjoy a healthy start to your day, like some fresh yogurt, sweet fruit, and iced coffee to cool off on the hot summer morning. Or try one of the unique Southern-inspired comfort dishes that bring people from all over the state in to enjoy the “crave-able” dishes, mimosa cocktails, and strong coffee to help get you out of bed.

For first timers, you can’t go wrong with one of the brunch specialties. We love savory dishes, like the Crab Cake Benedict or hash Brown Benedict with ham and cheese stuffed hash browns, croquettes, poached eggs, mushroom hollandaise, and red peppers. Or try one of the sweet specialties, like the Cinnamon Roll French Toast with French-toast style cinnamon rolls, whipped cream, drizzled syrup, and sweet berries.

You can also order some sides for the table to try a little bit of everything. We love the ½ order of biscuit beignets to try these Southern-style pastries with powdered sugar and honey marmalade.

The Pancakery of PCB

The Pancakery is one of the classic breakfast spots in Florida that always has a line out the door – but it is well worth it! Head here in Destin or Panama City Beach to enjoy a family-friendly and laid-back vibe ideal for casual breakfasts and great food. We recommend ordering, well, you guessed it – the pancakes.

The Pancakery offers gourmet pancakes, crepes, omelets, healthy choices like avocado toast, and other sweets, but the pancakes are what make this place famous. We love the Chocolatier, topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream, or the Blueberry Hill stack with blueberry compote and fresh berries. Are you in the mood for something more unique? Try the Red, White, and Blue stack with different flavored berries for a tantalizing flavor combo.

You can even build your own pancakes if you are a picky eater. Choose your batter, filling, and topping. Sweet lovers can even choose chocolate chips, apple compote, M&Ms, or peanut butter chips for their topping.

Riviera Creamery

Last but not least, we had to include a must-stop dessert restaurant on our list. Head to the Riviera Creamery to get some of the best ice cream in the entire state. This great shop is right on Front Beach Road, making it the ideal spot for you to stop off in the afternoon after a full morning on the beach. Try one of the classics, like a banana split, an ice cream sundae, or a simple cone.