7 Fancy Places to Dine in the Panama City Beach Area

by December 15, 2009 • 1 comment

Let’s face it – the majority of us are trying to save money these days and looking for a bargain or a great deal wherever we can find it. Every once in a while though, we like to splurge and to treat ourselves – perhaps a new outfit, a well needed getaway, or a special meal out. Perhaps you have an anniversary, a birthday or a romantic occasion coming up and want to show someone how much you care. Panama City Beach and the surrounding area offers the upscale diner many different choices where posh is always on the menu – here are a few of our favorites.

  1. Saltwater Grill. The former home of Panama City Brewery, Saltwater Grill has boasted a unique dining experience since the restaurant opened in 2002. A 25,000 gallon saltwater aquarium provides a breathtaking backdrop to your meal, featuring a tropical reef filled with colorful and exotic sea life. In addition to this dazzling marine display, Saltwater Grill is also famous for its succulent seafood and choice hand-cut steaks. Try the black and white tuna – sesame seared Ahi tuna over bok choy and Napa cabbage slaw with a ginger soy glaze and wasabi, or perhaps a hickory grilled steak cooked to perfection. As a complement to your meal, diners can also enjoy the music of Michael Rorah as he performs piano favorites. (Tuesdays through Saturdays.) Located at 11040 Middle Beach Road, Panama City Beach. Call (850) 230 2739 for more details.
  2. Caliza Restaurant at Alys Beach. If you are looking for a truly breathtaking dining experience, look no further than Caliza’s. Just a little west of Panama City Beach, Caliza Restaurant at Alys Beach is the newest place to dine on scenic 30A. Looking like it belongs on Miami’s South Beach or within a ritzy Californian hotel, the restaurant features open air dining poolside and superb cuisine meticulously prepared by Chef Olivier Gaupin. Choose from handmade fresh pastas, grilled steak specialties, fresh seafood including Florida lobster, and more. Located at 23 Nonesuch Way, Alys Beach. Call (850) 213 5700 for more details.
  3. Captain Anderson’s Waterfront Restaurant & Market. A Panama City Beach favorite, Captain Anderson’s has been serving seafood specialties for over 40 years, and boasts beautiful views of Grand Lagoon coupled with a spectacular menu that keeps loyal customers coming back year after year. This award-winning restaurant has been named among America’s top 50 restaurants and was inducted into the Restaurant Hall of Fame in 2005. Menu selections include She Crab Pie – catch of the day and blue crab meat baked in a pastry puff and served with she crab sauce, and certified Angus beef grilled churrasco steak – an 8 oz. signature steak seasoned tenderloin Nicaraguan cut with grilled Bermuda onions. Located at 5551 N. Lagoon Drive, Panama City Beach. Call (850) 234 2225 for more details.
  4. Destin Chops. Located in stylish Rosemary Beach, Destin Chops is 30A’s premier steakhouse with a contemporary twist. A sleek and cosmopolitan atmosphere features backlit liquor bottles illuminated in blues, greens and oranges, plush leather seating, and dim lighting throughout. The extensive international wine collection is encased in a twenty foot zebra wood wine wall, and the menu offers fine steakhouse fare, exotic sushi, Gulf seafood and Maine lobster. Top off your meal with a port or brandy and a decadent dessert, or relax in the chic cocktail bar. Destin Chops is located at 10343 East Highway 30A, Seacrest Beach. Call (850) 231 4050 for more details.
  5. Boars Head Restaurant & Tavern. This casual fine dining restaurant is a Florida Trend Top 500 restaurant and has been popular with Panama City Beach visitors and locals alike for over 30 years. Specializing in fresh gulf seafood and prime rib, The Boars Head is both elegant and rustic, offering diners a unique and relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy the fantastic food, wines and live music. Sample the world-class prime rib or New York Strip steak, the signature fried lobster, or perhaps the excellent yellow fin tuna – the best in the area. The Boars Head Restaurant and Tavern is located at 17290 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach. Call (850) 234 6628 for more details.
  6. Firefly Restaurant. Firefly Restaurant is a casual fine dining establishment located in the Edgewater Shopping Plaza. Step through the doors and you will feel as though you have been transported to a Mediterranean bistro, thanks to the graceful, warm ambience and romantic outdoor setting under a grand oak tree. Firefly serves up fresh, local seafood, succulent meat dishes, handmade pastas and imported specialties, all of which are beautifully presented. Try the mint pesto crusted Australian rack of lamb, the apple wood bacon wrapped shrimp, or the sautéed gulf grouper. Exquisite desserts and a fine wine list complement the experience. Located at 535 R. Jackson Blvd, Panama City Beach. Call (850) 249 3359 for more details.
  7. Bud & Alley’s. To experience this Open Table.com Diner’s Choice 2009 Winner, you’ll need to drive the 15 minutes or so to beautiful Seaside – but it’s definitely worth it. Bud & Alley’s is South Walton’s longest established restaurant, and boasts a stunning setting in the dunes overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Bud & Alley’s has garnered numerous awards including Florida Trend Magazines Golden Spoon Award designating the eatery as one of the top 20 restaurants in Florida, as well as receiving a five star designation from the Tallahassee Democrat and annually winning Wine Spectator Magazines Award of Excellence. Entrees include Bud & Alley’s crab cakes served with sugar snaps, mashed potatoes and lemon butter, and grilled sesame crusted tuna with baby bok choy, Napa cabbage, soba noodles and a roasted red pepper coulis. Located at 2236 East Highway 30A, Seaside. Call (850) 231 5900 for more details.
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1 Jeff Phillips December 22, 2009 at 8:22 am

We have eaten at 5 of the 7. Destin Chops and Caliza Restaurant are two that we haven’t been to yet. Nothing better than having a beer while watching the sun set from Bud and Ally’s. But, at the same time that I nod toward Bud and Ally’s, are Destin Chops, Calizas, and Bud and Ally’s really considered Panama City Beach area? They aren’t even in Bay County.

I agree that Firefly needed to be on this list. I have eaten there twice and it has been nothing short of fantastic.

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