Panama City Beach, FL is one of the Gulf of Mexico's loveliest beachfront destinations, home to more than 27 miles of pristine white sands and glistening turquoise waters. Couples traveling to the area can enjoy world-renowned scuba diving, swimming, and fishing experiences at dozens of public beach access points or peruse the trails and natural areas of the region's two lovely state parks. Spectacular sunsets are showcased from many of the city's best waterfront dining rooms, which serve up high-quality fresh seafood entrees and delicious fried fish platters.
Firefly is a unique award-winning dining experience in Panama City, owned and operated by executive chef Derek Langford and restaurateur Dave Trepanier. The restaurant, which opened in 2007, has been the recipient of many major international dining awards throughout its tenure, including the Best of the Bay Award and the Most Romantic Restaurant of 2017 designation by OpenTable. Its dining room cultivates a Mediterranean bistro atmosphere, while its full-service bar showcases high-definition television screens and serves up top-shelf liquor and cocktails. Elegant main courses served up throughout the evening include espresso-rubbed pork shanks, brown butter-seared scallops, and shrimp and summer vegetable pasta with artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. Fine wine selections are offered at the restaurant's 535 Library Lounge, while raw bar offerings are served at its full-service sushi bar.
535 N Richard Jackson Blvd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407, Phone: 850-249-3359
© G. Foley's
G. Foley's was opened in 2012 by George Husum, offering excellent romantic dining experiences focusing on the bounty of the Gulf of Mexico region. The restaurant is one of Panama City's premiere casual fine dining experiences, known for its hand-cut steaks, decadent homemade dessert offerings, and extensive wine and spirits menus. Diners can enjoy excellent Gulf seafood offerings like macadamia-crusted grouper with orange ginger glaze, seafood penne a la vodka in tomato cream sauce, and daily fresh fish catch of the day selections prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients. Fine steak selections are also served up, including ribeye and filet mignon offerings. Half-price wine bottles are offered on Thursdays for couples to share, while live music performances are presented outside on the restaurant's deck on select Fridays.
3212 W 23rd St, Panama City, FL 32405, Phone: 850-481-0354
© Runaway Island
Runaway Island is the vision of executive chef Chris Hein, serving up high-quality local seafood specialties for more than two decades in a bi-level space showcasing stunning views of nearby Panama City Beach. Two floors of interior dining spaces showcase live entertainment throughout the year, while an outdoor deck connects to a boardwalk leading directly out onto the beachfront's white sandy shores. Diners can enjoy high-quality main dishes at lunch and dinner, including seafood favorites like blackened fish tacos, grilled mahi mahi filets with tomato key lime butter, and New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp tossed in Worcester butter sauce and Cajun seasoning.
14521 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413, Phone: 850-634-4884
© Saltwater Grill
Saltwater Grill is a delightful Panama City Beach dining destination opened in 2002 by executive chef Chris Joyner, home to an impressive 25,000-gallon tropical saltwater aquarium showcasing native Florida marine life. Couples can dine in clear view of the aquarium tank while they enjoy excellent Gulf-fresh seafood entrees, paired with delicious USDA Prime steak and fine game offerings. Nightly menus include favorites like snapper Ponchartrain with Creole remoulade, sesame-seared tuna with ginger dressing and sweet soy glaze, grouper Imperial in sherry beurre blanc, and Creole-style bronzed mahi mahi in rice pilaf. Happy hour and early bird specials are offered daily during the afternoon hours, including delicious drink specials for couples to enjoy.
11040 Hutchison Blvd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407, Phone: 850-230-2739
© Terrace Restaurant
Terrace Restaurant is a family-owned fine dining destination originally established in 1990, helmed by Greek immigrants and New York chefs Katherine and Thom Kindos. The Panama City Beach dining experience offers up an award-winning wine list and creative craft martinis, served up alongside world-class local Gulf seafood and steak entrees. Diners can enjoy fresh fish daily catches prepared piccata-style or choose from delicious entree selections like chargrilled citrus grouper, parmesan-sauteed chicken and fried shrimp in mushroom artichoke basil cream sauce, and high-quality New Zealand lamb chops in demiglace. Shareables draw upon international influences, ranging from Tuscan-style calamari with parmesan garlic aioli to traditional Greek-style spanakopita pie.
13741 US-98, Panama City Beach, FL 32413, Phone: 850-231-5202
6.The Grand Marlin Restaurant and Oyster Bar
© The Grand Marlin Restaurant and Oyster Bar
The Grand Marlin Restaurant and Oyster Bar is a beautiful restaurant located on Panama City Beach's Lighthouse Marina, opened in 2016 by restaurateur Bryan Housley and award-winning executive chef Gregg McCarthy. The restaurant, which overlooks stunning Grand Lagoon, is known for its high-quality daily seafood specials, which are crafted from fresh daily fish catches. A raw bar serves up fine oysters sourced from Apalachicola and East Bay, shucked to order. House specialties include dishes like Loved and Rubbed Scottish salmon, which is prepared with a housemade caramelized rub, sweet potato hash, smoked bacon, and lemon butter. Shareable delicacies include crispy lobster fingers served with vanilla bean-infused honey mustard sauce.
5323 N Lagoon Dr, Panama City Beach, FL 32408, Phone: 850-249-1500
7.Wine Knot Tapa Bar
© Wine Knot Tapa Bar
Wine Knot Tapa Bar is an intimate dining experience tucked beside Panama City's Fred Astaire Dance Studio, opened in 2016 by executive chef Jaron Wegner. The restaurant specializes in Mediterranean-style cuisine, influenced by studio owner Brian Price's upbringing in Zaragoza, Spain. Spanish-style tapas are served up throughout the evening hours, including classic favorites like patatas bravas, sauteed mussels Madrid, daily ceviche, and chimichurri steak medallions. Traditional Spanish paellas are also served up, along with authentic Iberian-style cheese and charcuterie boards. A tapas sampler is perfect for sharing with a date, highlighting favorites like bacon-wrapped dates, stuffed piquillo peppers, and chorizo albondigas.
2401 Ruth Hentz Ave #2259, Panama City, FL 32405, Phone: 850-481-8364
8.The Shrimp Boat Restaurant
© The Shrimp Boat Restaurant
The Shrimp Boat Restaurant has been one of Panama City's most popular seafood restaurants since 1950, located within the region's lovely historic St. Andrews area. The restaurant has evolved from a small 50-seat diner into a spacious, elegant 500-seat restaurant showcasing formal banquet rooms overlooking the city's waterfront area beside Smith's dock. Diners can enjoy amazing steak, seafood, and pasta selections served up by top-notch wait staff, including favorites like grouper Imperial, pan-seared jumbo scallops with smoked bacon butter, New Orleans barbecue shrimp, and Creole seafood pasta-laya with Andouille sausage and crawfish tails. Couples can also share favorites like jumbo bacon-wrapped shrimp in signature bourbon barbecue sauce, hot Cajun crab and shrimp dip, and beer-battered coconut shrimp with orange marmalade sauce.
1201 Beck Ave, Panama City, FL 32401, Phone: 850-785-8706
9.Fin's Japanese Sushi and Grill
© Fin's Japanese Sushi and Grill
Fin's Japanese Sushi and Grill offers one of Panama City's most authentic Asian dining experiences, known for its high-quality dine-in and takeout service and friendly, inviting atmosphere. The restaurant prepares traditional Japanese entrees with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, offering family-friendly ambiance for couples traveling with children in tow. Diners can enjoy delicious delicacies like sauteed beef don, shrimp or salmon teriyaki, or hibachi-style entrees served with assorted vegetables and egg noodles. Sushi combination platters are also served up, along with excellent Asian-style appetizer selections like agedashi tofu in sweet ginger soy sauce, pork shu mai, and savory gyoza. Seafood favorites capitalize on the region's waterfront location, including soft-shell crab plates, crispy crab rangoons, and coconut shrimp meals.
732 W 23rd St, Panama City, FL 32405, Phone: 850-769-0888
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9 Best Restaurants in Panama City Beach, Florida