Panama City Beach in Florida – Restaurants & Food Guide (USA)

Categories: Travel reports, North America, USA, Florida

Panama City Beach is known for its miles of white sandy beaches, emerald green water and unspoiled nature. But the city is also a true paradise for gourmets and is therefore also known as the “Seafood Capital of the South”. We visited several restaurants during our 5 days in Panama City Beach and share our culinary experiences with you here in this food guide.

Panama City Beach Food Guide header image

Panama City Beach – Seafood Capital of the South

Panama City Beach’s location directly on the Gulf of Mexico makes it an ideal place for fresh coastal cuisine. Whether oysters, fresh fish, lobster, shrimps or seafood – everything is freshly caught and brought to the table. This has also earned the city its reputation as the “Seafood Capital of the South“. If you’re looking for a romantic dinner with an ocean view, a casual snack on the beach or culinary adventures, Panama City Beach is the perfect place for good food.

Numerous food festivals are also held throughout the year, showcasing the region’s rich culinary offerings. One of the highlights of the year is the UNwineD Festival, which showcases culinary creations from many of Northwest Florida’s renowned chefs, as well as some of the best craft beers, spirits and wines from around the world. Other culinary events include the region’s largest lobster festival, the Shrimp, Crab and Oyster Festival and the Blood Mary & Music Festival. Not to be forgotten is the Panama City Beach Oktoberfest, which offers three days of German beer, German food, music and family-friendly activities.


Thomas Donut & Snack Shop

If you love donuts, you absolutely have to come here! A visit to the Thomas Donut & Snack Shop in Panama City Beach is the best way to start the day. The family-run business was founded in 1971 and has since built up an excellent reputation for its homemade donuts. With a wide selection of varieties, from traditional glazed donuts to creative variations, the Thomas Donut & Snack Shop has become an integral part of the culinary scene in the region. It is therefore not surprising that a long queue forms in front of the store every day (especially in the morning).

The store opens its doors daily at 6 a.m. to give visitors an early start to the day with freshly baked treats. If you come here in the afternoon, you will most likely be looking into empty shop windows, as they are sold out at some point on most days – so the earlier you come, the better 😉 We bought lots of different donuts and bagels here and found them super tasty. The best donuts we have ever eaten. Absolute recommendation!

Free parking is available on the opposite side of the street.

❖ Official website:


Hook’d Pier Bar & Grill

If you’re out and about in Pier Park and want to spend a relaxing lunch break on the beach, you can’t go past the Hook’d Pier Bar & Grill. The restaurant, which is run by locals, is located directly on the Russell-Fields City Pier and offers great views of the beach and the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico from its outdoor area.

With a varied menu ranging from freshly caught fish to juicy burgers and tasty wraps, Hook’d offers a wide selection for different tastes. For 8 USD you can also buy the legendary Dole Whip – a frozen dessert ice cream that was created by the Dole Food Company in 1984 and became famous when it was sold in Disney Parks. We really enjoyed it here and the combination of culinary variety, picturesque scenery and a relaxed atmosphere really makes this restaurant a perfect lunch spot.

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FINNS Island Style Grub

After our trip to Shell Island, we stopped for lunch at FINNS Island Style Grub on the way back to our accommodation. The food here specializes in fish tacos, burritos, quesadillas, wraps and ceviche – black beans, rice and chips with cheese sauce are also very popular. The food is sold from a self-service food truck. There are plenty of tables and benches right in front of it. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the food is fresh and home-made. The opening hours of FINNS Island Style Grub in Panama City Beach may vary depending on the season. Right next to it is FINNS Barista Bar, where coffee specialties, smoothies and bowls are offered. There is also a small merchandise store where you can buy branded T-shirts, coffee mugs etc.

Free parking spaces are available.

❖ Official website:

Runaway Island Beach Bar & Grill

The Runaway Island Beach Bar & Grill is a really great place for lunch and/or dinner in Panama City Beach. The restaurant has two floors inside, but the highlight is definitely the outdoor terrace with a promenade that stretches right down to the white sandy beach. We made ourselves comfortable on the terrace for lunch and had a super nice view of the beach and the water. The food ranges from fresh seafood to burgers, soups & salads, fish tacos and delicious desserts. We really enjoyed it here!

Free parking spaces are available.

❖ Official website:


Schooners – The Last Local Beach Club

Schooners – The Last Local Beach Club has been a real institution at the historic East End of Panama City Beach since it was founded in 1986 – the locals even claim that it is the “best place on the planet”. As “The Last Local Beach Club”, it is a unique beach restaurant characterized by its relaxed atmosphere, live music and fantastic views. We were here on a normal Wednesday evening and it was packed. If we hadn’t had a table reservation, we wouldn’t have had a chance of getting a table. Totally crazy!

We had a really great spot with a view of the beach and the sea and immediately took a look at the food selection. The Schooner’s menu is not fancy, but more in the vein of casual “beach food” – simple, fresh and delicious: burgers, salads, soups, sandwiches, bowls… mostly with lots of fresh fish. It’s a local tradition here to gather on Panama City Beach behind the Schooners every evening to celebrate the sunset – everyone counts down and once the sun has set, an old cannon is fired and there’s clapping and cheering. Somehow quite cool!

Schooners is open all year round for lunch and dinner. Free parking spaces are available.

❖ Official website:

Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market

On a Friday night, we had a reservation at Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market, a premier Panama City Beach restaurant characterized by its excellent seafood cuisine and picturesque location on the Grand Lagoon. When we arrived, the restaurant was packed, not a single table was free and there were countless people waiting to be seated. Hence the tip to reserve a table if you want to eat here.

Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant has an incredible 725 seats and serves over 250,000 guests six nights a week during its eight-month season. WOW! Since it was founded in 1967, the Anderson family has managed to turn the restaurant into a popular place for locals and tourists alike. This is certainly partly due to the inviting, cozy atmosphere, but also because of the first-class cuisine, which has already received numerous awards (“America’s Top Fifty Restaurants”, “Golden Spoon Hall of Fame”, “#1 Seafood Restaurant” etc.). The menu is quite varied, offering mainly fresh fish and seafood. And that’s exactly what we ate and it was delicious!

The restaurant opens its doors daily (except Sundays) at 4.30 pm. Free parking spaces are available.

❖ Official website:

The Grand Marlin – Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Just a few meters from Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant is The Grand Marlin – Restaurant & Oyster Bar, which opened in 2016. The interior of the restaurant offers a beautiful view of the Grand Lagoon. As it was unfortunately very rainy on the evening of our visit, we couldn’t sit outside. We would describe the atmosphere in the restaurant as rather elegant and quite cool – unfortunately not quite as cozy for us.

The restaurant in Panama City Beach is known above all for its upscale seafood cuisine and exquisite Oyster Bar. The menu here is even reprinted every day to reflect the local seafood catch – it doesn’t get much fresher than that. We also really enjoyed the food: We didn’t have fish for dinner, but a juicy steak and a burger. Both were great.

The Grand Marlin is open daily, although opening hours vary slightly. Free parking spaces are available.

❖ Official website:

Saltwater Grill

The Saltwater Grill in Panama City Beach provides the first wow moment when you enter the restaurant: there is an impressive saltwater aquarium with lots of tropical fish and a capacity of 25,000 gallons (95,000 liters). We have never seen this before in a restaurant. Our older daughter was totally fascinated by the aquarium and sat in front of it for quite a while. This shortens the waiting time for food, which is particularly valuable with children. For dinner, we opted for a juicy steak with chips and pasta with bolognese sauce. Both tasted great! Our dinner was accompanied by live music. All in all, a lovely evening in a relaxed atmosphere.

The Saltwater Grill is open daily from 4 p.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. Free parking spaces are available.

❖ Official website:

By visiting the restaurants mentioned, we were able to gain a very good insight into the gastronomic offerings of Panama City Beach. But that is only a small fraction of what the restaurant scene as a whole has to offer. There is a huge selection of casual beach bars, bars & cafés, gourmet bistros and five-star restaurants. With so much choice, it can be a little harder to decide where to eat in Panama City Beach 😉

All travel reports from Florida (2023)

Sun, beach, palm trees, sightseeing, beautiful hotels, pools and the world of Sea World, Walt Disney & Co... We were really looking forward to this vacation in Florida. We put together a wonderful itinerary for our almost 4-week trip through the Sunshine State, with places that we were largely unfamiliar with. In the following travel reports we tell you about our experiences in Indian Shores, Clearwater Beach, Wakulla Springs, Panama City Beach, Orlando, Winter Haven and Treasure Island.
Florida round trip west coast 2023

Our travel reports
➥ (1) Indian Shores Beach > Relaxing on Florida's Gulf Coast
➥ (1) Clearwater Beach > Clearwater Marine Aquarium & Pier 60
➥ (2) Wakulla Springs > Alligators, manatees & a boat trip through the marshlands
➥ (3) Panama City Beach > Beach, activities & food
➥ (3) Panama City Beach > Shell Island & St. Andrews State Park
➥ (4) Orlando > A full day at Discovery Cove
➥ (4) Orlando > SeaWorld Thme Park
➥ (4) Orlando > The Magic Kingdom Theme Park (Disney)
➥ (5) Winter Haven > Legoland Florida - A world of colorful bricks
➥ (5) Winter Haven > A day at the Peppa Pig Theme Park
➥ (6) Treasure Island > Relaxing under the Florida sun