You’ll smell the aroma of smoking meat from a block away. Cool Runnings is the kind of eatery that invites you in with mouthwatering aromas before you even open the front door–and the food itself delivers on that aroma’s promise. From the jerk chicken to the oxtail soup, you’ll find (or rediscover) your Jamaican favorites here. And they’re delivered up with a smile and a warm welcome that’s perfectly on par for a casual, happy beachfront eatery.
Like many of the best casual, local restaurants, Cool Runnings doesn’t look like anything spellbinding from the outside. It’s an older building painted with eye-catching shades of bright green, yellow, and red, with an expansive patio for outdoor seating surrounding the storefront. The entire building and grounds are very clean and well-kept, and you’ll feel right at home whether you step in wearing travel apparel or a swimsuit and sarong.
Inside, a small storefront area carries a handful of traditional Jamaican grocery options, from sauces and seasonings to spice buns and water crackers. It’s a great place to grab snacks for the hotel room or the beach along with your plate lunch. Deciding what to order might be the trickiest element of your visit, simply because there are so many mouthwatering options on the menu.
Some of our menu favorites from Cool Runnings Caribbean Cuisine include:
The perfectly seasoned fried chicken falls off the bone, and it’s always served up piping hot and fresh with your sides of rice, potatoes, or other accouterments. Pair the fried chicken with braised oxtails to really treat yourself.
It’s hard to go wrong with jerk chicken, and Cool Runnings nails it. It’s perfectly blackened, with just the right blend of jerk seasonings. Paired with their jerk chicken sauce, fried rice, and steamed veggies, you’ll leave prepared to take on the day.
Visitors rave about Cool Running’s pasta salad, a side that packs a powerful punch. The fried plantains are another powerful contender when it comes to sides; they’re crispy, hot, and flavorful. Coconut rice and peas are another fan favorite; many visitors come just to order sides and a drink before heading over to the beach.
You can go half and half with entrees here, so if you can’t settle on one, ask about doubling it up. Service is quick but the food itself isn’t; everything is made to order, so it’s hot and fresh when it comes out. All meals come with rice and beans or just rice. Expect very generous portions at great prices.
Cool Runnings is located on the northern stretch of Panama City Beach in the Bahama Beach area. It’s right across the street from Public Beach Access 47.
-Don’t skip the Jamaican beer while you’re here. They usually have a few varieties in their cooler section.
-Ask about the specials when you visit; the local seafood catches are always excellent, but you never know what they’ll have.