Jun 28

Restaurants in Panama City

Category: Travel

I like to keep track of food options where I’ve traveled. I’m going to start doing that here, so I can look it up if I come back.

Prior to coming to Panama City, I’d heard that it was a food wasteland. I can certainly understand how that reputation came to be, but of course there are some good places here. There’s a lot of good seafood.

  • Right next to Diver’s Den dive shop in Panama City Beach is J. Michael’s, which is above average for the region. The menu has some interesting selections and the prices are reasonable. You can get non-greasy food here. Close to the navy base and the beach. Liked them a lot.
  • Old Mexico restaurant, which is on the way if you’re coming or going from Tyndall AFB. Hands down, this was the best food I had in PC. Fresh, simple, inexpensive, and it looks like the entire family works in this restaurant. They are from the old country, very friendly and I felt comfortable there. Don’t go here if you want nouvelle cuisine, just good simple Mexican cooking.
  • Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ. This place is only convenient if you’re already staying in the northern area of Panama City. It’s not too far from the mall. Greasy food & sticky tables, but good if you’re in a carnivorous mood, because this is a rib joint. The slippery, fatty ribs tasted good. Heart health level: bad; would only come here if I needed greasy meat.
  • Uncle Ernie’s. Definitely no convenient to the naval base or beach area, but absolutely worth the trip. Gourmet food, one of the best possible views around here, outside dining, healthy options. Expensive, but worth it. It’s in a charming area with shops, other good restaurants, and a marina. Specializes in seafood.
  • Andy’s Flour Power Baker & Cafe: one of the better options for healthier food – they have a wide variety of salads, plus some really fattening and good pastries. Bread is made fresh here and it ROCKS. Killer breakfasts. I’ll be back. They’re right across the street from Diver’s den.
  • Dirty Dick’s crab house. Touristy, greasy, expensive, and close to the beach. You may feel regret for eating here, but you’ll be glad you saw the stupidly funny t-shirts in the store. This is the food equivalent of miniature golf. Heart health level: abysmal.
  • Rustler’s Reef: Good fish,looks like good steaks too. Everything they sell is either smoked or fried, and it is also greasy. However, it is also good. The fish was extraordinarily fresh, and the portions generous. I had smoked grouper and crab fingers, which are parts of claws with a little old bay-type seasoning on them. The grouper had been smoke-grilled in tasted like oak/hickory heaven. I would go here again, but might blot the food with a napkin before eating it to reduce the caloric count by a few hundred… Good value for what you get.
  • Dodge’s Fried Chicken: ultra-greasy fast food. Compare to KFC. Don’t bother. Health level: harmful.

And finally, I stayed at the Holiday inn select on thier “executive level.” Don’t let thier web page fool you – this hotel is kind of run down. The elevators smell like burning hydraulic oil, and one of them ikes the 5th floor so much that it always stops there, whether or not you pressed the button. But the personnel make up for this to some extent – they are fantastic here. Still, because the room felt like a bit of false advertising to me – I would stay elsewhere next time if I have a choice.

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