Rolling around in the sandy white beaches and body surfing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico is bound to work up an appetite in your kids — and, of course, yourself — so be sure to find the family-friendliest spots to eat in Panama City Beach. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this beach town offers the yummiest and most unique restaurants, cafes and diners. Check out these restaurants that offer a variety of flavors for every craving. Bon appetite beach bums!
ANDY’S FLOUR POWER CAFE & BAKERY
Serving their loyal customers from a brand new location, Andy’s Flour Power Cafe & Bakery is THE place to get your breakfast on while staying in Panama City Beach. This award winning (boasting accolades from Urban Spoon — Top 101 Great Breakfasts in the U.S. — and Google) cafe and bakery cooks up fresh, homemade food that is classically delicious and perfect for the whole family to enjoy, picky eaters included. John Certo is a third generation chef from New York City and owns Andy’s Flour Power Cafe & Bakery. Since he was 9 years old, he’s been cooking and creating delicacies that people go nuts over. Proudly serving breakfast, lunch and brunch seven days a week, one of the most popular meals on Andy’s menu is the Flour Power French Toast, featuring “thick country French bread dipped in cinnamon and brown sugar batter, grilled ’till golden perfection and topped with toasted nuts, fresh strawberries and powdered sugar.” Southern Living Magazine and Daily Mom both say it’s a must-have when dining here! Enjoy your morning meal in the casual, family-friendly dining room, which is brightly decorated with flowers and vivid artwork, and then grab a muffin, cookie or a piece of cake for the road from the bakery display. Keep your Andy’s fix going all day long.
THOMAS’ DONUT & SNACK SHOP
When your morning sweet tooth is in full swing, just swing by Thomas’ Donut & Snack Shop and pick up a classically homemade donut. Since 1971, this fun snack shack has been serving up all the classics for beach goers, from delicious breakfast sandwiches to unique Texas-style kolaches. You can walk right up to the outside counter, order inside, dine outside amidst the morning breeze on a picnic table or slide in a booth in the cozy indoor dining room. It’s the perfect place on the beach to get your morning joe with a side of sweetness. Open seven days a week from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., it’ll be your trusty go-to while vacationing in Panama City Beach.
Harvesting lump meat from every portion of the crab, the crab cakes at Dee’s Hangout use freshly picked blue crabmeat combined with just the right amount of cracker crumbs to achieve a fluffier, lighter and less dense cake that allows the succulence of the crab come out of its shell. Served with a spicy Cajun remoulade sauce made from scratch in house, these decadent decapods make the perfect appetizer on their own or pair deliciously well with two sides and golden-fried hush puppies as an entrée; and guests at Dee’s can’t grab them up fast enough. Celebrating nine years of business, owners Dee and Brenda Brown have been serving up Southerninspired seafood specials since day one, and Dee’s has become a celebrated hangout that casts a wide net.
POMPANO JOE’S SEAFOOD HOUSE
Located in the heart of Pier Park, the premier shopping and dining destination of Panama City Beach, lies a seafood lover’s dream, Pompano Joe’s Seafood House. This hoppin’ restaurant serves up the freshest seafood in the Gulf and has been featured by The Travel Channel as the ultimate beach snack shack and one of the world’s best beach restaurants. Their award winning seafood gumbo is a menu must-have, and treating the kids to virgin daiquiris all night will easily win you best parent status.
THE GRAND MARLIN RESTAURANT & OYSTER BAR
This second location of The Grand Marlin Restaurant & Oyster Bar opened in 2016, offering locals and visitors the freshest seafood, mixed with a pas - sion for oysters, delicious cocktails and stunning sunset views over the waters of the Grand Lagoon. For a more upscale vibe, but still family friendly, this is the place to enjoy a relaxing dinner with those who love lobster, wine and decadent desserts. This two-story restaurant allows you to sit indoors or outdoors, all with sweeping views of serene waters and boats dotting the marina. Enjoy the freshest catch of the day as the menu changes daily, ensuring you the most delicious and perfect plates. Whether you opt for a lighter course of crispy lobster fingers and a field greens salad or go big with the grilled lobster tail, your taste buds will be pleasantly satisfied after the plate is licked clean.
Served up Southern-style with house made shishito pepper remoulade sauce and crispy, crunchy fried green tomatoes, the jumbo lump crab cakes at Firefly prove this place definitely knows how to light up your taste buds. These golden cakes are packed with premium jumbo lump blue crab meat and spiced with a signature blend of seasoning, making them a decadent delight that’ll claw their way to the top of your list of appetizer favorites. Illuminating their menu with beautifully constructed dishes from sushi to steaks, owners Dave and Stacy Trepanier have created a unique concept at Firefly, and the crab cakes they serve will leave you nothing short of enchanted.
SHUCKUMS OYSTER PUB & SEAFOOD GRILL
If you love a good hole-in-the-wall seafood shack, set your course for Shuckums Oyster Pub & Seafood Grill, where their claim to fame might be their oysters, but their fish tacos are also quite a catch. They serve up a pair of soft tacos made with your choice of tender, grilled grouper or flaky catfish seasoned in Shuckums’ signature seafood seasoning and topped with shredded cabbage, tomatoes, green onions and cilantro drizzled with a delicious homemade chipotle ranch. For a pop of juicy coastal fun, order the tacos with fresh Gulf shrimp loaded with all the toppings, or be a landlubber with chicken and beef.
What goes great on top of succulent circles of crabmeat? More crab! At Saltwater Grill, they amplify the sweetness of the crabmeat in their crab cakes by topping them with rich, creamy crab bisque and plump kernels of sweet corn that perfectly play off the earthiness of mushrooms, adding an elegant touch to this decapod delicacy. Since taking ownership of this celebrated restaurant in 2016, father-daughter duo Rick and Christy Spell have kept Saltwater the toast of the town, offering seafood favorites that highlight the local treasure trove of freshly caught fish on a sophisticated menu that takes high tide to a higher class.
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