#55 of 160 Panama City Beach Restaurants

Billy’s Oyster Bar and Restaurant

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Billy’s Oyster Bar - A Classic Oyster Bar
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Billy’s Oyster Bar serves up fresh seafood that comes in from the Gulf of Mexico daily. Shucked, cracked, steamed or fried, all of the seafood is excellent, and there are enough other options for people who’d prefer something else. If you haven’t been before, this is a classic Panama City Beach oyster bar that’s a must-see.

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

Billy’s Oyster Bar is a Panama City Beach staple that’s been serving up fresh shellfish for over 35 years. Whether you like your seafood shucked, cracked, steamed or fried, you’re bound to find something here that you’ll love.

All of the seafood at Billy’s Oyster Bar comes straight from the Gulf of Mexico and is as fresh as you’ll find it. The restaurant receives 120 to 150 pounds of Florida blue crabs each morning when blue crab is in season, as well as oysters, scallops, and shrimp on a regular basis. These various deep-sea eats can be prepared steamed or fried, and they come with house seasoning.

In addition to the shellfish, there’s also an array of other options. Gumbo, fried appetizers and tuna dips are all great for starting a meal with. Diners who want an entree that’s not from the sea can choose from burgers, salads, wings and more.

With regard to drinks, the establishment puts the “bar” in oyster bar. A suitable selection of beers and wines accompany a full liquor bar. Other beverage options include bottled water, Pepsi products, lemonade, tea, and milk.

All of this fresh and delicious food is served in a fun atmosphere, and diners are welcome to enjoy their meal inside or outside as they wish. The outdoor deck is especially nice to have a meal on during a sunny day.

If you’re looking for an authentic oyster bar, Billy’s Oyster Bar is as real as they get. Come for some oysters and crab, and bring the whole group since there are enough other choices for non-seafood-lovers.

A few of our favorite menu items at Billy’s Oyster Bar include:

Shrimp and Crab Claw Dinner
The establishment’s most popular meal, the shrimp and crab-claw dinner combines Gulf shrimp with pre-cracked blue crab claws (which are easier to eat). Order it as “St. B’s Favorite” and the staff will know what you’re talking about — the dinner was a favorite of the principal and assistant principal at St. Bernadette’s school when the owner’s son attended there.

Medium Steamed Florida Blue Crab
“Medium” refers not so much to size as to gender. Female Florida blue crabs are called “mediums” because they are smaller than their male counterparts, which are “selects.” Most people will order selects because they’re bigger, but those in the industry prefer the mediums as they have a slightly sweeter flavor.

Seafood Gumbo
The Seafood Gumbo features a recipe that harkens back to the establishment’s first days back in 1981. The recipe has been tweaked since then, but the gumbo has only gotten more delicious. It comes served in a sourdough bread bowl, which only enhances the stew.

Billy’s Combo Platter
Can’t decide on just one shellfish? Billy’s Combo Platter comes with 4 baked oysters, 4 steamed oysters, 4 steamed clams, a ¼-pound of steamed shrimp, 4 blue crabs, corn and garlic bread. Still hungry?

Seafood Spice
If you like the seasoning on the seafood, the house recipe is available to take home. Get Billy’s Famous Seafood Spice, and put it on whatever you want.

Insider Tip:
– Make sure you bring a few dollar bills when you visit here. An oyster bar tradition is to cover the ceiling with dollar bills that eventually are donated to a good cause. The last donation of $16,000 was given to the American Cancer Society, and the owners estimate that there’s currently $8,000 to $10,000 that will also eventually be donated (when the roof is redone.