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Restaurants in Panama City Beach

Sure, Panama City Beach is full of touristy spots complete with questionable neon drinks, sad fried food, and tiki decor. But unbeknownst to the visitors, there are a lot of really great Panama City Beach restaurants hidden among the tourist traps. Plenty of them are as casual as the tourist traps while still caring about the quality of the food. Many of them churn out a mean steak. And naturally, the best restaurants in Panama City Beach do seafood really well. To help you figure out which spots are worth visiting, we created this guide to the top Panama City Beach restaurants.

Firefly

Would you rather dine under an oak tree festooned in fairy lights or sip cocktails while curled up with a vintage book in a library? Or maybe you prefer to dig into sushi and sake in a room with a rock ’n’ voll vibe? The eclectic Firefly offers all of these experiences in one place. We suggest starting with drinks in the 535 Library Lounge before enjoying a romantic dinner under the oak tree. However, no matter how you choose to experience Firefly, definitely order one of the local seafood dishes and a glass of wine from the award-winning wine list.

g. Foley’s

This is one of PCB’s favorite date-night spots, a place where couples sip stiff martinis in a softly lit dining room filled with a quiet buzz. Outside on the patio, things get a bit livelier when bands take to the stage during live music nights. Both inside and outside diners enjoy Gulf seafood and hand-cut steaks, including blackened shrimp and hoecakes, Tarpon Dock grouper, and 14-ounce rib eyes.

How to Eat a Whole Fish

Follow these tips from acclaimed Chicago chefs Tony Mantuano and John Hogan the next time you order a whole fish.

 

  1. Remove the head first. “The closest to the head is always the sweetest meat,” Hogan says.
  2. Focus on the cheek and collarbone. Start with collarbone area and remove the delicate meat, then move on to the cheeks. “Typically, the cheek meat is where the really succulent, delicious meat hides.” Hogan says. Mantuana adds, “If there were just collar and cheeks, I’d be a happy man. They’re the most flavorful and the most moist.”
  3. Pull off the tail. Next, eat the meat at the end of the fish, which frees up the rest of the fillet.
  4. Carefully peel pieces off the fillet. This helps ensure you don’t eat any bones on fish that haven’t been deboned.

Go crazy with the lemon juice. “You can never have enough lemon juice on whole roasted fish,” Mantuano says.

Finns Island Style Grub

Finns Island Style Grub is the type of beachside fish shack you dream about if you live in colder climes. The shack (technically a food truck) serves up some of the best fish tacos around, and customers enjoy them outside on picnic tables near palm trees. Finns also does a mean breakfast burrito, and its burritos, bowls, and wraps are especially popular with vegetarians and sweet-potato lovers.

Fish Flavor Profile: Full

Did you know that salmon, tuna, bluefish, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring all have a similar flavor profile? These full-flavored fish, sometimes called oily fish, have dark flesh and a very distinctive taste. They’re often briney, as salty as the ocean. Some have a very distinct taste by themselves, as is the case with salmon. These fish can be a bit costly, but they’re some of the healthiest fish around, particularly wild-caught salmon, tuna, and sardines.

Eat My Pasty

This rather cheeky restaurant is unlike anything else in PCB. The British eatery serves up English Cornish pasties, English-style fish ’n’ chips, and bangers and mash, foodstuffs close to the hearts of the Essex, England, natives who run the joint. It also has American-style burgers with fun British names, such as the Jack the Ripper, an Angus burger smothered with sauteed onions and provolone cheese, topped with a smoky ghost pepper sauce sure to murder your tongue.

Andy’s Flour Power

This PCB breakfast favorite is like all the truly great diners in the world, a place that isn’t fancy but quickly churns out some great food. The french toast, with its thick country french bread and toasted nut and strawberry topping, is beloved here. So are the Cuban sandwich and the cheese grits. And diners rave about the key lime pie, which Andy’s firmly states is “not the green stuff,” but a “perfect combination of sweet and tangy.”

The Five Essential Ingredients for a Reuben

It’s not a real Reuben unless it has these five essential ingredients:

 

  1. Corned beef (kosher, of course), carved by hand while the meat is still hot
  2. Rye bread
  3. Swiss cheese
  4. Sauerkraut
  5. Thousand Island dressing (no substitutions)

What pairs well with a Reuben?

We asked this to Dan Raskin, reuben master and the co-owner of Manny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen, a staple Chicago deli that opened shortly after World War II. His response?

 

“I've always been a big fan of cream soda. I think it's a typical deli drink. To me, there's nothing like eating a big deli sandwich and a cream soda.”

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