Beachgoers visiting Panama City Beach, Florida, have one of the most delicious dilemmas they’ll ever face – choosing where to eat! With hundreds of restaurants and cafes along this iconic stretch of white sand beach, you’ll find something for every appetite. Let’s explore five local places to eat in Panama City Beach and discover what makes them so special.
1. Pineapple Willy's
Pineapple Willy's in Panama City Beach was the first restaurant that was recommended to me that piqued my interest. It is located on the beach at 9875 S Thomas Drive and is listed as #22 of 262 restaurants in Panama City Beach on Tripadivsor.com. They offer both dining room accommodations as well as highly coveted picnic tables outside on their covered pier.
While you have great views of the ocean from the inside, dining outside offers the best views (and longer wait times).
Pineapple Willy's has been operating since 1984 and serves some pretty good seafood. My husband ordered a Willy Basket/shrimp basket ($13) and I got the 'Nawlins Po' Boys ($14) with shrimp.
Both meals are served with French fries. We both ordered a side of coleslaw ($1 each).
The Po' Boy sandwich is huge and large enough to feed two people. The bread was fresh and the shrimp were perfectly cooked. The pineapple coleslaw - which did not have pineapple in it - was fresh and tasty.
Their signature drink is a Pineapple Willy and it has Myers Platinum Rum, gold rum, Hawaiian pineapple juice, and cream of coconut. I ordered a medium size ($13) and it came in a reusable mug. (The mug is reusable for the life of the mug and currently, the price of refills is $9.) The drink was really refreshing and delicious.
Our total with tax, before tip, came to $45.39. Our server did a great job and earned his tip. All-in-all, Pineapple Willy's is a fun place to eat that serves good food. I would definitely go back (and take my reusable cup with me!).
In addition to adult libations, Pineapple Willy's has kid-friendly options, such as Chicken Littles, Shrimp Skippers, and Mini Corndogs. Kids meals for children 12 and under range in price from $4.59 - $6.59. Kids can get soda in a 16 oz souvenir kid's cup for $6.
The Pineapple Willy has a couple of beach cams so that you can get a glimpse of the beach and dream about being in PCB.
2. Diego's Burrito Factory
The Margarita Bar is accessible via a walk-up window at the front of the restaurant. The Burrito Factory has both indoor and outdoor dining along Beach Front Road.
Ordering at Diego's Burrito Factory is similar to ordering at Moe's or Chipotle. There is a large menu board listing three steps: 1) Pick It (select the base such as burrito, nachos, quesadilla, or burrito bowl), 2) Fill It (select the filling: chicken, steak, carnitas, al pastor, ground beef, grilled fish or shrimp, or veggies), and 3) Top It (veggies, cheese, and such to go on or in your meal).
We each ordered Baja Grilled Tacos with mahi-mahi ($8.99 for two tacos) and had them topped with lettuce and cilantro ranch. They were served with chips and salsa. We also ordered a small cup of queso ($1.75) which came with a side of chips.
The total for our meal with two cups of water came to $23.20 with tax (before tip). The food was fresh and delicious and I would have no problems eating the same tacos again.
There is another Diego's Burrito Factory in Panama City Beach located on Sunset Drive.
3. Sharky's Beachfront Restaurant
Sharky's Beachfront Restaurant is located at 15210 Beach Front Road and occupies prime beach real estate. The Tripadvisor.com rating for Sharky's is #46 out of 262 Panama City Beach restaurants.
I found Sharky's to be one of those dives you go to have a drink, chill out, and enjoy watching the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico. Sharky's periodically has live music events which you can find listed on their website.
I ordered the Shrimp Ceviche ($11.95) and House Salad ($6.95).
The shrimp ceviche is described as shrimp marinated in Lime juice with diced tomatoes, cilantro, cucumbers, onions, jalapenos, salt and pepper. While it was a large portion, it seemed more of a cucumber salsa with some shrimp thrown in.
The House Salad was a basic salad of lettuce greens with a few cucumbers, small tomatoes, and red onions. Overall, it was a fresh, generous-sized garden salad.
My husband ordered the Mahi Mahi dinner ($21.95) with blackened mahi mahi and a side of garlic mashed potatoes. He found the meal to be acceptable, though the serving of mashed potatoes was on the small side.
The total for our meal pre-tip and after-tax came to $44.15.
If you are looking for a place to worship on Sundays, Woodlawn (church) has an 8:30 am service at Sharky's. Flip flops are completely acceptable.
Dining mid-October 2020, we found COVID-19 precautions lacking at this restaurant. Our waitress did not wear a mask nor did many customers. The booths are partitioned with plexiglass possibly providing some protection, but there are many tables in an open area without any kind of barriers. If you are concerned about the pandemic, you might want to consider dining somewhere else.
4. Firefly in Panama City Beach
Located at 535 N Richard Jackson Boulevard, Firefly is inside a strip mall and has a pretty unassuming exterior. However, step inside and you will discover a quaint and charming interior unlike no other.
Firefly has earned the #8 spot on Tripadvisor.com for restaurants in Panama City Beach. Firefly is divided into two - on one side a sushi bar, the other fine dining.
Diners are treated to a bread basket served alongside a trio of flavored butters.
The house wine when we were there was Velvet Devil Merlot and it was excellent ($9 for a generous glass of wine).
My husband ordered Sesame Seared Yellowfin Tuna (rare ahi tuna served with grilled baby bok choy, chili truffle vinaigrette, and crispy wontons). The price of this entree is $32.
I ordered the Wild Caught Salmon Amandine which is naturally gluten-free. It was served with whipped potatoes, french beans, preserved lemon, brown butter, and almonds and cost $32.
Being that we were completing our stay in Panama City Beach the night we dined at Firefly, we made the most out of our dining experience at the beach. For the finale, we ordered the vanilla Crème Brûlée ($8) which was lit at the table.
Dining at Firefly is an experience that does come with a price tag. The total of our meal for two with wine and dessert came to $100.36 which included a $1 COVID Protection Fee.
Note: This is one of the few fine dining establishments that we found to be open on Sundays. I recommend that you make reservations online.
5. Kilwin's Chocolate and Ice Cream
If you are at the beach and looking for something sweet to indulge in, you won't have to look far with there being over 2 dozen sweet shops. Kilwin's comes in at #5 of 25 for Desserts in PCB on Tripadvisor.com and is located at 821 Pier Park Drive.
Kilwin's is an old-time confectionary serving fudge, ice cream, truffles, candy apples, nut brittles, and more.
I ordered the Georgia Peach ice cream in a waffle bowl ($6.24) for my husband. The ice cream was creamy and had small chunks of peach, but the best part was the waffle bowl it was served in.
Where are some of your favorite places to dine in Panama City Beach? Where should we dine next time?
Panama City Beach Map
Looking for an affordable place to stay on the beach in Panama City Beach? Check out our post for the Hampton Inn and Suites in PCB.
This post originally appeared on SouthernKissed.com as 6 Unique Places To Eat in Panama City Beach.