I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but overall the food here is pretty bland. In fact, as you might guess, the only type of food that is quite good here is seafood. Now for the most part, I can’t rightly claim that fried seafood is not good because to me all fried food is neither good nor bad. There is simply no skill to cook it that way. So if you really like fried seafood, you’re in luck. We have a lot here in Panama City.
So, excluding fried things, fast food, franchises, and the huge collection of other garbage that the beach is littered with, I’ll try to give you a rundown of the places where should visit during your vacation here. Also, I’m going to try to avoid the typical tourist traps in the area, so if you see one here, the food is really good.
Number 10 – Captain Anderson – To the surprise of many people, I am going to start the list with what many people here would call number 1. It just isn’t. The food is very good, sometimes. Most of the time it is a good place to eat, nothing spectacular and certainly not for the price. It’s probably the most expensive place in town, by far. You’ll hear people give rave reviews when you’re in town. I recommend going there, of course, but it is not a place you should feel bad about not going during your trip.
Number 9 – Andy’s flour power – This place is spectacular and the only reason it isn’t higher on the list is because it just doesn’t serve dinner. That’s right, just breakfast and lunch here. But it’s okay because it’s amazing. It also has a bakery full of some of the best things you can imagine that you can take home with you. If my memory serves, there’s really nothing more than $ 10 here, so it’s pretty reasonable. Definitely a better breakfast alternative than the countless Waffle House’s here.
Number 8 – Captain’s Table – Unlike the other Captain above, this one continually delivers Grade A quality and is never hit or miss. Why is it low on the list? It is across the bridge in town and not directly on the beach. That counts a lot to me since I don’t like driving to eat, and who’s kidding me, no one wants to do that while I’m on vacation.
Number 7 – Black Angus – Like the captain’s table, it’s on the other side of the bridge, so it adds to the list a bit. However, if I was offered to go to the captain’s table or this, I would always choose Black Angus just because I love steak. No more stuff across the bridge, I promise.
Number 6 – Triple J’s – This place is quite comparable to the Black Angus, in fact the Black Angus is probably better more often, mainly because the portions in Triple J are relatively small. The main reason this beats Black Angus is its location on the beach. It’s closer to most of the things I do here and I’ll save myself a trip across the bridge. If you are trying to cross that thing at dinner time, you could be seeing poor traffic arriving at Black Angus. So, save yourself a possible headache and eat at Triple J’s.
Number 5 – Coconuts – This place is really new on Thomas Drive, but it has a pretty impressive bar inside and the food has been good every time I’ve been, especially for the price. The location it’s in has had a lot of restaurants coming and going over the years so I was afraid they were too. However, I spoke to the people who run the place and they told me that the owner has decided to have his own restaurant there now, so it should be around for quite some time.
Number 4 – Scampy – This place is amazing! Hands down. They have never inflated their prices to rip you off and consistently offer the best dinners in my immediate area. Of all the places on this list, I probably eat here most often, aside from Andy’s. I really like the steak and shrimp dinner here. Last time I had that, I think it was like $ 13. Same dinner at Applebee’s: $ 15. Needless to say, the quality of the franchise is lacking.
Number 3 – Boar head – This place is amazing. It’s all the way to the west end, so if you’re not going to stay that way yet, get ready to drive. Worth it. If you plan to stay in the West End, you probably won’t hear of any restaurants other than this one and you will surely eat here and love it.
Number 2 – Angelo’s – Angelo’s has been a Panama City Beach staple FOREVER! and it’s always amazing. When you’re not inside enjoying your insanely delicious dinner, you can be outside taking pictures of the kids at the 20-foot-tall bull statue by the side of the road. I can’t tell you how many photos I have seen from years and years ago with children who are now here as adults taking photos of their own children.
Number 1 – Saltwater grill – I’ve heard many people claim that Saltwater Grill and Captain Anderson’s are the best place in town hands down. For the most part they are right. I’ve already given you the reason why I think the Captain fell off the top. Now let me tell you why I think this one will blow your mind. First of all, the quality of the food is amazing. From the steak to the fish to the oysters, everything is spectacular. Beyond that, the prices are half of Captains, most of the time. Second, be lazy and park valet so you don’t have to be fat and full looking for your car later. Most importantly, they have a 25,000 gallon aquarium in the center of the restaurant filled with the most magnificent fish you’ve ever seen alongside a pianist to serenade everyone throughout the night. Sounds fancy, huh? However, the dress code is informal. Walk inside in your flip-flops and shorts and no one will say anything. A must see if you come to Panama City Beach.
Well that’s my list. I’m sure some of these may fluctuate or even cease to exist over time, fingers crossed for Coconuts, but I stick to this list and am happy to hear any comments or suggestions on your views. By the way, winter is so terribly boring here that there is nothing to do but eat, so I know my food!