Best Hole In The Wall Restaurants in Panama City Beach

Eating at local spots will offer you a much better, personalized experience than going to some of the touristy restaurants. A few benefits of eating at hole in the wall restaurants versus touristy spots are as follows:

  1. Locally owned hole in the wall restaurants tend to offer more authentic local cuisine than the touristy restaurants. This means you’ll have a better chance of trying local favorites than you would at the more popular tourist eateries.
  2. It’s often much cheaper to eat at hole in the wall restaurants. These places often don’t have the overhead that big chain restaurants or tourist spots have, so you can often get a better deal on your meal.
  3. Because these restaurants are owned and operated locally, you can expect to get better, more personal service at a hole in the wall than at a tourist spot. Many owners and their staff take great pride in giving guests a unique and memorable dining experience.
  4. Despite their generally low-key atmosphere, hole in the wall restaurants are often hot spots for amazing food. Because the overall quality is often higher than at chains or tourist places, you can enjoy a delicious meal without breaking the bank.

Here is a list of the best hole in the wall restaurants that you will definitely want to visit if you are visiting PCB.

  1. Patches Restaurant – dirty, smelly, and the absolute definition of “Local’s Favorite” and hole-in-the-wall. While it isn’t small like you’d picture a hole in the wall, it is definitely a local’s favorite. They have amazing wings (get them with no sauce, get the sauce on the side), good burgers (get the double burger), and unique options like grouper sandwich, smoked pork sandwich, and soft pretzels. Patches has a really good happy hour from 3-6 for cheap domestic bottles and cocktails. Every day of the week has a special like all day Monday is wing and burger day, all day Saturday and Sunday are pizza and a pitcher deals. Call to verify. Patches on Google Maps.
  2. Copper Tap Grill – A recommendation coming from myself directly. Copper Tap Grill is over the bridge and allows you to see a different side of town without dealing with the crowds and prices that the touristy spots such as Hunt’s, Uncle Ernies, and Barefoot bring. Copper tap grill has daily grouper lunch specials for very affordable prices and it is really good. Last I checked the Lunch grouper special was $18 before 5pm and you get a big piece of grouper with 1 side and free bread. Menu is very large and this place offers you a taste of “In Town” as the locals would call it. Go for a walk by the bay and bonus points if you stay until sunset and view the sunset over the bay. Copper Tap Grill on Google Map.
  3. Schooners – Another East End beauty. While it is not really a hole in the wall, it is a locals favorite. Some say it is the absolute best food with an ocean view. You’ll want to see it just because it is such a unique place and the food is pretty decent. Avoid the cheeseburger, stick to the simple seafood options like Peel and Eat Shrimp or a blackened grouper basket. Light, delicious, and you’ll feel right at home with the locals. Also try the lobster bisque. It’s very good. Schooners on Google Map.
  4. Liza’s Kitchen – Enough’s enough with the dinner food. Let’s have us some breakfast and lunch. Liza’s Kitchen is without a doubt the best place to get breakfast or a lunch sandwich in the Panama City Beach area. For around $13 you get a gigantic sandwich on Homemade Focaccia bread with a huge portion of meats and a big side. It is honestly probably my favorite restaurant in PCB. The bread is to die for. For breakfast, I’ve had the biscuits and gravy which were VERY good (possibly top 3 all time on my list), eggs Benedict options are very yummy and you get a big portion of potatoes on the side, and the Hippie Hash is a huge plate of breakfast options arranged together similar to a scrambler. Very Very good and very affordable. Liza’s Kitchen on Google Map.
  5. Newby’s Brew & Booze House – Newby’s, a local favorite for 50 years, you may think of it as a bar. It has 3 locations. Mothership (their main location), Newby’s Too On The Curve & End Zone Bar, , But there is a secret 3rd location on “Back Beach Road” AKA 98 Called Newby’s Beer & Brewhouse. Opens at 8am, and serves coffee. Tired and longing for coffee after a night of drinking, but don’t really want to go to your average breakfast place like McDonalds, Starbucks, or Waffle House? Try going over to the Brew House and have a delicious coffee in a unique bar setting with friendly bartenders and locals sitting at the bar. Newby’s Brew & Booze House on Google Map.
  6. Hunt & Gather – Very unique meat options like Elk, bison, and more. Local’s favorite and very unique options are available. Possibly one of the best restaurants on the Beach and you can’t go wrong visiting here if you like unique meats. Definitely check the menu to make sure there is something for you and call to verify that the dishes are available before driving a long distance. Hunt & Gather on Google Map.
  7. Sombrero’s Mexican Restaurant – I have tried every single Mexican restaurant in the PCB area and I just keep coming back to Sombrero’s now. I love their habanero salsa on the side for $1 to dip the chips in and pour on the food. As soon as you sit down you are greeted with delicious Free chips and salsa so you can curb that appetite right away. The Flautas for $10 is an amazing deal although you only get 3 flautas as opposed to the usual 4. It has guac and sour cream on top and comes with rice and beans for the $10. The shrimp tacos are very good also. The happy hour from Tuesday-Friday 3-6pm (I think, call to verify) is fantastic. House margarita for only $4 and good appetizers like quesadillas, queso dip, and guac can be had for half off also during happy hour. Sombrero’s on Google Map.

Additional Honorable Mentions

  1. Pompano Joe’s & Back Porch: Not really a hole in the wall by any means, but it is at Pier Park and has a FANTASTIC food happy hour from 2pm-5pm. Check their online menu to see the current deals but Back Porch usually has delicious tuna dip & boom boom shrimp for 50% off. Pompano Joe’s usually has nachos and wings for half off. Just go, get a couple happy hour items, and leave. Your wallet and belly will thank you! Pompano Joe’s on Google Map. Back Porch on Google Map.
  2. Off The Hook – Food is only mediocre here, but the view is outstanding and pitchers are cheap. Ask for a bag of ice for your pitcher for bonus points and to look like a smart local ;). NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH Hook’d, also listed below. Off The Hook on Google Map.
  3. J Michaels – a local’s favorite. everything is delicious. No outdoor seating at this place though so keep that in mind. Typically goes on a wait for dinner during busy season so go early! J Michaels on Google Map.
  4. Hook’d – a unique place right smack in the touristy zone to get a pineapple drink, or have a delicious cheeseburger. A great view. The closest you’ll get to a “pier restaurant” in Panama City Beach! Hook’d On Google Map.
  5. Grand Marlin – Locals LOVE this place! It is a higher end seafood restaurant right where all the fishing boats are docked. Enjoy a nice view with a delicious Grouper Piccata meal (just get the grouper piccata, trust me). Lobster fingers appetizer are expensive but worth it in my opinion. Ask to sit on the top floor and don’t let them seat you anywhere else. Live music on some days. Link to Grand Marlin on Google Map.
  6. Dat Cajun Place – Local’s favorite. Very busy most nights. I usually go right at open for lunch. Taco Tuesday for the mahi tacos is probably their best deal. and they have cheap beer during happy hour. Dat Cajun Place on Google Map.
  7. Diego’s – A cheaper option. Similar to Chipotle or Qdoba. Get a burrito or burrito bowl, and go to town on ingredients. I usually just get the carnitas since its the cheapest and in my opinion its their best meat. But you can get whatever you want. The quesadillas are decent, but I think the Burrito or burrito bowl is the best option. The burrito comes with a few chips on the side but the bowl does not. Diego’s On Google Map. I recommend the Diego’s on the east end because its bigger and I think you get better service. The one in pier park can be very busy but it is also great. if its closer to your hotel I say just go to the Pier Park one, but the East End is fun to visit also :).