Who doesn’t love putting on a bathing suit and soaking up some summer sun in Panama City, the city with one of Florida’s most beautiful beaches. Millions of tourists come through Panama City each year to bask in the sun, look for seashells, or, in the case of the Spring Break crowd, look for that hot date. But if you are a true lover of Florida, you come mostly for the seafood. And in Panama City Beach, Florida, seafood lovers are never disappointed. Panama City with the access to salt water fish of all kinds, has some of the top seafood restaurants in all of Florida. You just have to know where to go!
If an elegant sit down dinner to impress your family and friends is what you are seeking, or just a nice restaurant with suburb food and an extensive wine list, Captain Anderson’s should be at the top of your list. Located at 5551 North Lagoon Drive, and open for dinner Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sunday, Captain Anderson’s provides the atmosphere for a great end to a vacation day of fun. The dress is casual, and even with the crowds, the restaurant’s size makes quick seating the norm. Even if there is a short wait, they have two large waiting lounges so you can relax until you are called.
We have always found the service there to be top notch. The menu boasts of a wide selection of appetizers, salads, seafood entrees (shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, crawfish, and more), chef’s specialities, and steaks. The Greek Salad is out of this world, and the most loved entrée our large groups repeatedly order are the seafood platter and stuffed lobster. Be prepared for a dinner for two to run between $50 and $60, not including alcoholic beverages. But it’s worth it for the price. After all, you can splurge. You’re on vacation!
If you prefer a more casual dining experience without crimping on taste, don’t pass up the next two suggestions. Billy’s Oyster Bar and Crab House is located at 300 Thomas Drive and is a well loved restaurant by all ages. The décor is casual and you feel as if you are dining aboard a ship. Draft beer is carried out to tables in large pitchers, as are the baskets of crab claws, crawfish, and shrimp. The portions look huge, but don’t let that stop you. The taste of their seasoning on seafood is so addicting, you won’t want to have to share with anyone. It’s hard to choose, and we usually get baskets of each and fight over them!
Funny story about Billy’s Oyster Bar and Crab House-On one trip, a nephew accompanied us to Billy’s. He had never had seafood, and fell in love with it. He ordered and consumed several large orders of crab claws, only to find his face and lips swelling and having a difficult time breathing. Turns out he was allergic to shellfish, but hadn’t known. We gave him massive doses of Benedryl, and were relieved to find he slept it off with no adverse effects. The next day he returned in the same condition, having gone BACK to Billy’s to eat more crab claws. He said what’s a little swelling when the food is that good! Be sure and take home a Billy’s t-shirt. Tell everyone you got crabs at Billy’s!
The other restaurant that is a “have to visit” seafood paradise is Montego Bay, located at 4920 Thomas Drive. You know it’s good because of the people lined up on benches outside waiting to be seated in this small café. The wait is worth it, though, when you get your plate. Montego Bay boasts “Award Winning Gumbo” and my husband swears it’s worth the six hour drive from our house just to have some of it. It is delicious, and they can also sell it to you by the half-gallon or gallon if you want more to take home for later. But even though the gumbo won awards, I think they have other award winners just waiting to be so named. Try their coconut shrimp, and you will see that there is nothing “shrimpy” about it. It’s HUGE. When one delicious shrimp takes you four bites to eat, you know you’ve caught a big one. Not only is it big, but it is the best coconut shrimp I’ve had anywhere, and I’m a seafood lover big time!
All three of these restaurants have wonderful desserts, but we’ve not had any of them. We are always so stuffed from the fabulous seafood. I know you won’t be disappointed with any of them. I recommend them highly, and you know when I see food, I eat seafood!