This article was produced in partnership with Visit Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach is more than just barefoot restaurants and beachfront bars (though it’s got plenty of those, too)—with a newfound emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, the city’s foodie culture is on the rise. Be sure and factor in a visit to these 10 restaurants and bars on your next trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The Craft Bar: for the Gastropub Experience
While PCB doesn’t have a brewery (yet), the Craft Bar fills that void with 30 beers on tap and flight options aplenty. There’s also an extensive wine list and a number of inventive craft cocktails, such as the Smoked Old Fashioned that’s gussied up with wood chips that are torched on site. The food is an amalgamation of fancy patties like a Cuban Pork Burger or Pimento Burger and contemporary-style specials like a Seared Pangasius with Rosemary Sweet Potato Hash Cake and Haricot Vert. The Craft Bar also does Movie Mondays where it airs cult classics such as Labyrinth, The Breakfast Club and Rushmore on the big screen in the front lounge.
What you’re having: Mahi Mahi tacos and a flight, of course
Signature Market & Café: for Date Night
PCB’s newest restaurant is also one of its finest: This indoor-outdoor bistro in the heart of Carillon Beach has a distinctly European feel to it with an impressive wine menu, ambient lighting and a small, but well-curated menu of dishes like grouper cheeks or wild game stew.
What you’re having: whatever daily special is on offer
Andy’s Flour Power Café & Bakery: for Breakfast that will Knock your Socks Off
A New York City-trained chef making some of the finest baked goods—think: pistachio muffins, Danishes, turnovers—was the recipe for immediate success in a casual, beach vacation destination like PCB. Everything at Andy’s Flour Power is made from scratch, and the breakfast menu runs the gamut from omelets to Belgian waffles while the lunch offerings comprise super salads and specialty sandwiches.
What you’re having: Flour Power French Toast or any of the baked goods
Finns Island Style Grub: for Lunch on the Go (or Alfresco)
For seven years, this open-air, beachfront concept right across from Rick Seltzer Park has epitomized the art of food truck dining. All ingredients used in the tacos, burrito bowls and wraps are fresh—as in, caught that morning—and you can bet there is always a line. Finns, named for the owners’ son, now boasts a second location in the Little Village out in Downtown St. Andrews and is working on opening a third.
What you’re having: scallop ceviche and blackened fish tacos
Patches Pub: for the Barefoot Bar Vibe you Crave from a Coastal Town
This laid-back outdoor beach bar is where the PCB residents gravitate after work and on weekends for pints of beer, baskets of fries, piles of wings, specialty pizzas and greasy sandwiches like the Patches Panama Philly, the restaurant’s take on a Philly Cheesesteak. Just save room from dessert: From key lime tart to a white chocolate and butterscotch bread pudding, Patches has a number of sweets on offer.
What you’re having: seared tuna, a beer and dessert
Thomas Donut & Snack Shop: for the Ultimate Indulgence
It doesn’t get more PCB than ordering a dozen donuts from Thomas—that come in flavors ranging from red velvet to chocolate maple bacon cake—and grabbing a picnic table from this always hopping, family-owned donut shop and diner that’s been a local fixture for more than 40 years.
What you’re having: a little bit of everything
Uncle Ernie’s Bayfront Grill & Brew House: for the Best Key Lime Pie in Town
Over the bridge in St. Andrews, you’ll find a handful of charming independently-owned restaurants down by the waterfront. Among them, Uncle Ernie’s reigns supreme as one of the most popular seafood spots around. It also bears the distinction of whipping up some of the best key lime pie, not only in the county, but also the state.
What you’re having: the Grouper Imperial, a Bloody Mary and a slice of key lime pie, obviously
Red Rae’s: for a Cajun Feast
Red Rae’s is not for the faint of heart; Red Rae’s is for the famished who want to fuel up for a full day of outdoor fun with filling Creole dishes often smothered in gravy, piled atop jalapeño cheddar cornbread and accompanied by Andouille sausage. Your plan of attack: Arrive hungry; clean your plate; leave stuffed and satisfied (and possibly ready for a nap—on the beach of course).
What you’re having: the Bayou Breakfast
J. Michaels: for the True PCB Experience
This no-frills restaurant on Port Lagoon feels a bit like walking into your uncle’s boat house: Family photos adorn the walls, surfboards line the ceiling, dollar bills and licenses plates decorate the rafters, and a combination of rifles, fish castings and nautical knickknacks round out the space. A Bay County staple since 1976, J. Michaels has a large menu of oysters and other favorite seafood dishes, but also allows patrons to bring their own catches in, which they’ll then grill up for you and add all the trimmings.
What you’re having: a selection from the raw oyster bar
Zen Garden Market: for the Hippie at Heart
Even if “organic,” “raw” and “gluten-free” aren’t terms in your lexicon, you should pay Zen Garden a visit for the setting alone. On top of a juice bar and vegetarian-heavy menu of healthy wraps, salads and sandwiches in the Lotus Café, Zen also boasts a yoga studio, small but well-stocked market and the most gorgeous garden you’ll find in town.
What you’re having: the veggie burger and a smoothie
This article was produced in partnership with Visit Panama City Beach.