When it comes to experiencing the vibrant and diverse culinary scene of Panama City Beach, there are a handful of local dishes that you simply cannot miss out on. From fresh seafood delights to mouthwatering Caribbean specialties, this beachside paradise boasts a rich tapestry of flavors that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds as we take you on a culinary journey through the must-try dishes of Panama City Beach.
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If you’re a seafood lover, Panama City Beach is the place to be. With its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, you can expect the freshest and most delicious seafood dishes. One dish that you must try is the Gulf Shrimp. These succulent shrimp are caught right here in the Gulf and can be prepared in a variety of ways – grilled, fried, or sautéed. No matter how you choose to enjoy them, you won’t be disappointed.
Another local favorite is the Apalachicola Oysters. These oysters are harvested in nearby Apalachicola Bay and are known for their unique and briny flavor. Whether you like them raw, baked, or fried, these oysters are a true delicacy that shouldn’t be missed.
If you’re a fan of crab, then you have to try the Stone Crab Claws. These claws are harvested from the Gulf waters and are known for their sweet and tender meat. They are typically served chilled with a side of mustard sauce for dipping. It’s a true seafood delicacy that will leave you craving for more.
For those who prefer a heartier seafood dish, the Blackened Grouper is a must-try. The grouper is coated in a special blend of spices and then seared to perfection, resulting in a flavorful and slightly spicy fish. It’s usually served with a side of rice or vegetables, making it a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
If you’re looking to indulge in both seafood and meat, the Panama City Beach Surf and Turf dish is an excellent choice. This dish typically consists of a juicy steak cooked to your liking and a serving of fresh Gulf shrimp. It’s the perfect combination of flavors and textures, and definitely a dish that is worth trying.
When in the South, you can’t miss out on the classic Southern cuisine. Start off with some Fried Green Tomatoes, a Southern staple made from unripe tomatoes that are coated in cornmeal and fried until golden brown. They have a crispy exterior and a tangy yet slightly sweet flavor that is truly unique.
Another iconic dish is Grits and Shrimp. Grits are a corn-based porridge that is creamy and comforting, and when paired with succulent shrimp, it becomes a match made in heaven. The shrimp are typically cooked with bacon, onions, and garlic, adding another layer of flavor to this delicious dish.
Of course, no Southern feast is complete without some Fried Chicken. The chicken is usually coated in a seasoned flour mixture and then deep-fried to perfection. The result is crispy and juicy chicken that is perfect on its own or served with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Biscuits and Gravy is another quintessential Southern dish that you shouldn’t miss. Fluffy and buttery biscuits are smothered in a rich and savory sausage gravy, creating a dish that will make your taste buds sing. It’s the ultimate comfort food that will leave you feeling warm and satisfied.
And last but not least, Collard Greens. These leafy greens are slow-cooked with bacon, onions, and spices until tender and flavorful. They make the perfect side dish to complement any Southern meal, adding a touch of Southern charm to your plate.
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Latin American Flavors
Latin American cuisine is known for its bold and vibrant flavors, and Panama City Beach offers a taste of these delicious dishes. Start off with Empanadas, a popular Latin American snack. These savory pastries are filled with a variety of ingredients such as beef, chicken, cheese, or vegetables, and then baked or fried until golden and crispy. They are perfect for a quick and tasty bite.
Ceviche is another must-try dish that originates from Latin America. It is made by marinating fresh seafood, typically fish or shrimp, in citrus juices such as lime or lemon. The acid from the citrus juice “cooks” the seafood, resulting in a refreshing and zesty dish. It’s usually served with tortilla chips or as a topping for tostadas.
Arroz con Pollo is a classic Latin American dish that combines tender chicken pieces with flavorful rice. The chicken is usually marinated in a variety of spices and then cooked with vegetables and rice, creating a hearty and satisfying one-pot meal. It’s a dish that is both comforting and packed with flavor.
Tostones with Mojo Sauce are another Latin American delicacy that you must try. Tostones are made from green plantains that are sliced, fried, and then smashed to create a crispy exterior and a soft interior. They are typically served with Mojo sauce, a tangy and garlicky sauce that adds a burst of flavor to the dish.
And of course, you can’t forget Churrasco. This Latin American-style grilled steak is packed with bold flavors and is typically served with chimichurri sauce, a sauce made from parsley, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. The combination of the juicy steak and the fresh and tangy sauce is a match made in culinary heaven.
Get ready for a flavor explosion with Cajun cuisine. This regional cuisine from Louisiana is known for its bold and spicy flavors, and there are a few dishes that you simply can’t miss.
Start off with Crawfish Etouffee, a dish made with crawfish tails smothered in a rich and flavorful sauce made from a roux, onions, bell peppers, and celery. It’s typically served over rice and is a true Cajun comfort food that will warm your soul.
Gumbo is another Cajun classic that you have to try. This hearty stew is made with a variety of ingredients such as chicken, sausage, seafood, and vegetables, all cooked together in a flavorful broth. It’s typically served over rice and is a dish that will transport you straight to the heart of Louisiana.
Jambalaya is a dish that combines elements of both Spanish and French cuisine. It’s a rice dish that is packed with a variety of proteins such as chicken, sausage, and shrimp, as well as vegetables and spices. The result is a flavorful and satisfying dish that is perfect for feeding a crowd.
If you’re a fan of catfish, then you have to try the Blackened Catfish. This dish is made by seasoning the catfish fillets with a blend of spices and then searing them in a hot skillet until blackened. The spices create a flavorful crust on the fish, while the tender and flaky meat inside is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Last but not least, Shrimp and Grits. This dish combines the flavors of succulent shrimp with creamy and cheesy grits, creating a dish that is both comforting and indulgent. The shrimp are typically cooked with bacon and a variety of spices, adding another layer of flavor to the dish. It’s a true taste of the South with a Cajun twist.
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If you’re in the mood for some bold and spicy flavors, look no further than Mexican cuisine. Panama City Beach offers a variety of Mexican specialties that will satisfy your cravings.
Tacos al Pastor are a must-try. These tacos are made with marinated pork that is cooked on a vertical spit, similar to how shawarma or gyros are cooked. The pork is thinly sliced and then served in soft tortillas, topped with pineapple, onions, and cilantro. The combination of the tender and flavorful pork with the sweet and tangy pineapple is simply irresistible.
Enchiladas Verdes are another Mexican favorite. These enchiladas are made with corn tortillas that are filled with chicken and then rolled up. They are then smothered in a tangy and spicy green salsa made from tomatillos, chili peppers, and cilantro. They are typically served with a side of rice and beans, creating a satisfying and delicious meal.
Chiles Rellenos are a true Mexican delicacy. These stuffed peppers are typically made with poblano peppers that are roasted, peeled, and then stuffed with cheese or meat. They are then dipped in egg batter and fried until golden and crispy. The result is a flavorful and cheesy dish that is perfect for those who like a little heat.
Mole Poblano is a complex and rich sauce that is made from a blend of chili peppers, chocolate, nuts, and spices. It’s typically served over chicken or turkey and is a dish that showcases the depth and complexity of Mexican flavors. The combination of the savory and slightly spicy sauce with the tender meat is simply divine.
And of course, you can’t forget Mexican Street Corn. This popular street food is made with grilled corn on the cob that is slathered in mayonnaise, sprinkled with cheese, and then seasoned with spices such as chili powder or Tajin. It’s a flavor explosion in every bite and is the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican meal.
Comfort Food Classics
Sometimes, you just need some good old comfort food, and Panama City Beach has you covered. Indulge in these classic dishes that will remind you of home.
Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food that is loved by both kids and adults alike. Creamy and cheesy macaroni is the perfect dish to warm you up on a chilly day. Whether you like it baked with a crispy breadcrumb topping or served stovetop-style, you can’t go wrong with this classic dish.
Chicken and Dumplings is another dish that will warm your heart and soul. Tender chicken and fluffy dumplings are cooked together in a savory and creamy broth, resulting in a comforting and satisfying meal. It’s the perfect dish to enjoy on a cozy evening at home.
Fried Catfish is a classic Southern dish that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The catfish fillets are coated in a seasoned cornmeal and then fried until golden brown. Paired with some tartar sauce and coleslaw, it’s a dish that will transport you straight to the South.
Meatloaf is a timeless dish that is made with ground meat, breadcrumbs, and a variety of seasonings. It’s typically served with a rich and savory gravy, mashed potatoes, and a side of vegetables. It’s a hearty and delicious meal that will satisfy any comfort food cravings.
And of course, you can’t forget Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Flaky and buttery biscuits are smothered in a rich and flavorful sausage gravy, creating a dish that is perfect for breakfast or brunch. It’s the ultimate comfort food that will leave you feeling warm and satisfied.
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If you’re looking for some healthier options, Panama City Beach has plenty to offer. Enjoy these dishes that are both nutritious and delicious.
Start off with the Fresh Catch of the Day. With its location on the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City Beach is known for its fresh seafood. Choose from a variety of fish such as grouper, snapper, or mahi-mahi, and have it grilled, baked, or blackened for a healthy and flavorful meal.
Grilled Vegetables are another healthy option that is full of flavor. Whether it’s bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, or asparagus, grilling vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and adds a smoky and charred flavor. It’s a simple and delicious way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.
Quinoa Salad is a nutritious and satisfying dish that is packed with protein and fiber. Quinoa is cooked and then mixed with a variety of vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and herbs. It’s typically dressed with a light vinaigrette, creating a refreshing and healthy salad.
For those who follow a plant-based diet, the Vegan Black Bean Burger is a great option. Made with black beans, vegetables, and spices, these burgers are hearty and flavorful. They can be enjoyed on a bun with all the fixings, just like a traditional burger, making it a delicious and guilt-free option.
And if you’re in the mood for something refreshing and packed with antioxidants, the Acai Bowl is a must-try. Acai berries are blended with frozen fruits and a liquid such as almond milk or coconut water, creating a thick and creamy smoothie-like base. It’s then topped with a variety of toppings such as granola, fresh fruits, nuts, and coconut flakes. It’s a nutritious and delicious way to start your day.
Indulge in a world of flavors with these international dishes that have made their way to Panama City Beach.
Sushi Rolls are a staple of Japanese cuisine and can be enjoyed in a variety of combinations and flavors. Whether you prefer the classic California roll, the spicy tuna roll, or the adventurous rainbow roll, sushi offers a delicate balance of flavors and textures that is hard to resist.
Pad Thai is a popular Thai dish that combines stir-fried rice noodles with a variety of ingredients such as shrimp, chicken, tofu, and vegetables. It’s typically flavored with a balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors from ingredients such as tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar. It’s a dish that is both comforting and full of vibrant flavors.
Lamb Kebabs are a Middle Eastern specialty that is made by skewering cubes of lamb and then grilling them to perfection. The lamb is typically marinated in a blend of spices such as cumin, coriander, and garlic, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. It’s usually served with a side of rice or pita bread and a yogurt-based sauce for dipping.
If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, then you have to try Chicken Tikka Masala. This dish consists of tender pieces of chicken that are marinated in a spiced yogurt mixture and then cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce. It’s typically served with basmati rice and naan bread, allowing you to soak up every last bit of sauce.
And of course, you can’t forget the Greek Gyro. This classic street food consists of thinly sliced and seasoned meat, usually lamb or chicken, that is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is then served in a warm pita bread and topped with tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions, and sometimes feta cheese. It’s a flavorful and satisfying meal that is perfect for lunch or dinner.
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Save some room for dessert because Panama City Beach has a variety of sweet treats that will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Key Lime Pie is a classic Florida dessert that is made with tangy and creamy key lime custard filling, all nestled in a buttery graham cracker crust. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors and is a refreshing treat, especially on a hot day.
Banana Pudding is a Southern favorite that is made by layering vanilla custard, fresh bananas, and vanilla wafers. It’s a creamy and comforting dessert that is perfect for any occasion. Whether it’s homemade or from a local bakery, you can’t go wrong with this classic treat.
Pecan Pralines are a sweet and nutty treat that is hard to resist. These caramelized confections are made with sugar, butter, and pecans, resulting in a crunchy and irresistible candy. They make the perfect gift or souvenir, and are a delicious way to end a meal.
Beignets are a New Orleans specialty that are essentially deep-fried doughnuts. These square-shaped pastries are light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. They are typically served dusted with powdered sugar and are best enjoyed with a cup of coffee. It’s a delicious and indulgent treat that will transport you straight to the streets of New Orleans.
And last but not least, Homemade Ice Cream. Whether it’s a scoop of your favorite flavor or a delicious sundae piled high with toppings, homemade ice cream is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day. Whether it’s traditional flavors or unique combinations, you’re sure to find a scoop that will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Quench your thirst with these refreshing and delicious drink specialties that are perfect for enjoying in Panama City Beach.
Piña Colada is a tropical cocktail made with rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream. It’s a creamy and sweet drink that is reminiscent of a tropical paradise. Served in a chilled glass with a garnish of pineapple and a cocktail umbrella, it’s the perfect drink to sip on while lounging by the beach.
Mojito is a classic Cuban cocktail made with rum, fresh mint leaves, lime juice, and sugar. It’s a refreshing and citrusy drink that is perfect for a hot summer day. Served over ice in a tall glass, it’s the perfect balance of sweet, citrusy, and minty flavors.
When it comes to brunch, you can’t go wrong with a classic Bloody Mary. This cocktail is made with vodka and tomato juice, and typically includes ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and various spices. It’s garnished with celery, olives, and sometimes even bacon, creating a drink that is both savory and satisfying.
Margarita is a tequila-based cocktail that is made with lime juice and simple syrup. It’s a tart and refreshing drink that is perfect for enjoying on a sunny day. Served in a salt-rimmed glass, it’s the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors.
And if you’re a fan of craft beer, don’t miss out on the Craft Beer Tasting. Panama City Beach is home to a variety of local breweries that offer a wide selection of craft beers. Whether you prefer a hoppy IPA, a smooth stout, or a refreshing wheat beer, you’re sure to find a brew that suits your taste.
From seafood delicacies to international flavors and classic comfort food, Panama City Beach has it all. Whether you’re a seafood lover, a fan of spicy Cajun dishes, or someone with a sweet tooth, you’re sure to find something that will satisfy your cravings. So pack your appetite and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure in Panama City Beach.