The Gulf Coast does seafood, and it does it well. If you are visiting this place, you have a lot of fantastic choices; some restaurants excel at fresh scallops and seafood, and others that specialize in more upscale Florida dining. The Cat 5 Raw Bar & Grill is the type of coastal restaurant you go to when you’re not in a hurry and rather want to enjoy a deliciously fresh meal with a million-dollar view.
You will find the Cat 5 Raw Bar & Grill right off of 30A, about halfway between downtown Port St. Joe and Salinas Park, which is the last park before the land juts out to form Cape San Blas. This restaurant and bar are located on the second floor of a large blocky white building, and right above the St. Joe Shrimp Company (which does over a retail seafood market for you to grab your own seafood to cook to go). You will see outdoor stairs on either side of this building leading up to the patio and entrances for Cat 5 Raw Bar & Grill.
The owners at Cat 5 Raw Bar & Grill describe the restaurant as an Old Florida family seafood restaurant, and that description is pretty apt. The interior of this Port St. Joe restaurant looks and feels like a cozy old Florida fisherman’s restaurant. There are wooden walls paired with aluminum siding that give an almost cabin-like feel. All of the walls and counter spaces are adorned with Florida memorabilia, including landscaped art, alligator heads, and colorful pieces of driftwood. The tables are simple metal ones with a white slap top and paired with cushioned wooden chairs. There is a wall of windows along the back side of the restaurants, all of which look out over the beautiful St. Joseph Bay.
Want to be closer to the water? You can opt to sit outside on their patio deck. The deck consists of umbrellaed picnic tables and includes a staging area where local musicians often set up for weekend and evening shows.
Cat 5 Raw Bar & Grill, as its name suggests, does specialize in raw oysters and grilled seafood. Some of the most popular items on their menu include:
Fried Shrimp Basket
Don’t forget that this restaurant is seated right about the St. Joe Shrimp Company! Here, you are guaranteed to get fresh shrimp, and this basket features some pretty big and juicy ones. All baskets, this one included, come with hush puppies and your choice of two sides from the following list: French fries, fried okra, baked beans, potato salad, or coleslaw.
Blackened Triple Tail Reuben
Not all of the local seafood joints are capable of consistently having a triple tail on hand, but Cat 5 Raw Bar & Grill does. This is an amazing sandwich swapping the Reuben’s traditional corned beef for the succulent white fish and keeping the sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing.
The bar portion of Cat 5 Raw Bar & Grill features a long list of beers and wines. Both the bottled beers and craft beers on draft are available at pretty reasonable prices, especially when you factor in the outstanding view you get to enjoy them. Enjoy local crafts like the Props Blonde Bomber Ale and the Swamp Head Stump Knocker for just $5, or go for a domestic Bud Light in the bottle for $3.50
Just one last thing to note before you go, the kitchen at Cat 5 Raw Bar & Grill is not known for being speedy. Go here to relax and enjoy a delicious meal amidst a lovely Old Florida interior and a gorgeous bayfront view. Don’t go if you have a schedule to keep.
There is a small beach and dock that extends from 5 Cat Bar & Grill. Unfortunately, this dock isn’t large enough for motorboats, but it and the beach are perfect for small paddling craft. So if you are thinking about renting kayaks or paddle boards (or otherwise have your own), you might make this beach and a lunch at 5 Cat Bar & Grill a great destination point.