You might travel to Panama City Beach with only seafood on the mind, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that there are authentic Mexican restaurants awaiting your discovery too.
 
AutentiKa Mexican Grille is, as the name suggests, the real deal for Mexican food. A more recent edition to the area, the stripped down menu offers seven Mexican staples with your choice of protein. The chile relleno has the proper combination of a roasted poblano stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, while the tacos are served in a style that is true to Mexico with only onion and cilantro on top. The family-owned and operated restaurant is located in the Open Sands region of Panama City Beach, where you might stop by after tearing up the track at Hidden Lagoon Super Racetrack and Super Golf.
 
Get your favorite dishes from south of the border by the platter at Guadalajara Mexican Grill. The large menu has plenty of options to ensure there’s something for everyone. Vegetarians will be happy with the meat-free selections, like a spinach quesadilla served with guacamole salad; and little ones have their own menu to choose from with familiar options like pizza or hot dogs and fries to satisfy picky eaters.
 
Go the fast-casual route for your Mexican food at Diego's Burrito Factory. Select your burrito, taco, nacho, bowl or quesadilla entrée, then pick the protein to fill it and select your toppings. The cafeteria-style ordering is fast and simple, while the food is flavorful and hearty. The margarita bar is worth the visit alone—you can get your tequila drink frozen or on the rocks, by the pitcher or by the glass and in flavors like strawberry or jalapeño.
 
For a sweet snack to cool you down, head to Chuy’s Gourmet Pops & More. The family-ran business makes Mexican-style ice pops, called paletas, with either a fruit or milk base. Fruit options include the popular mango chile, raspberry lemonade and kiwi strawberry; and creamy milk options include pistachio, Mexican chocolate and cookies and cream. The pops are made on-site with fruit cut by hand and special flavors are always popping up. You can also get scoops of ice cream, milkshakes and aguas frescas. Located in the same plaza as Just Jump Trampoline Park, you can treat the kids to a celebratory pop for good behavior after they’ve jumped their hearts out.
 
Step into the colorful dining rooms of Los Rancheros, adorned with tin awnings and tile details, and you’ll be immediately transported to a Mexican cantina. The bold décor is complemented by the generous portions with house specialties that include sizzling fajitas and chicken mole poblano. The daily specials get you the most for your dollar, and enormous margaritas are a customer favorite.
 
Los Antojitos has had a presence in the area for over 40 years now. Known for their Super Duper five-pound burritos and making all ingredients fresh daily, the menu here is full of unique and authentic items. Try the savory empanadas or street corn for an appetizer, spicy shrimp diablo or seafood enchiladas for the main dish, and whatever you do, make sure to get some dessert. The restaurant boasts sweet twists on the classic chimichanga, get yours filled with apple cheesecake, Snickers or Reese’s, deep fried and served with ice cream.
 
Explore the Mexican food in Panama City Beach and discover a side of the beach town you didn’t know you were missing.