Margaritaville – Panama City Beach

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Restaurant and Bar: A Panama City Beach Favorite
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett is known for his smooth voice and fun, easy-going songs. His restaurants – including the one in Panama City Beach – also reflect that laid-back Florida feeling.

- The Local Expert Team

The interior of Margaritaville Restaurant and Bar can best be described as a cartoon-like rendering of South Florida. Easy-on-the-eyes pastels and exaggerated scenes of the ocean cover the interior walls. The airplane hanging from the ceiling and the shipwrecked boat parked on the floor reinforces the beach theme. We were struck by the “other world” feel of it all. From the moment we walked in the door we were enveloped by color and enough interesting paraphernalia to keep us busy gawking, afraid we might miss a fun detail.

The views from the restaurant are utterly stunning. With a vista overlooking the Gulf Shore beach and pier, it’s the kind of place families gather to catch up on their week or friends meet to share a laugh.

The large patio makes it easy to appreciate the view while feeling the Gulf breeze in your hair. While Margaritaville is part of a large, successful chain of Buffett restaurants, this location feels particularly special. While the restaurant does boast incredible views, don’t expect the Margaritaville dress code to be upscale – everything is island-style here.

Occasionally, as we explore restaurants we realize that we’ve stumbled upon a new or different menu item, even if it’s simply a twist on an old favorite. 

Here are some of our favorite dishes at Margaritaville Panama City Beach:

Asiago Crab and Artichoke Dip
We’ve had crab and artichoke dip plenty of times before and frankly, found it dependably satisfying. Still, this version buries “regular” crab and artichoke dip. It consists of a sharp asiago cream with crab meat and artichoke, served over delicious crostini bread. If you’ve ever been so happy with an appetizer that you’re tempted to order a second rather than an entree, you have an idea of how much we enjoyed this dip.

Landshark Lager Fish & Chips
We are convinced it’s the LandShark batter coating on this fish that makes it so special. Fried and served with jalapeno tartar sauce (a must try), it also comes with French fries. We admit that’s a lot of fried food. Share it with a friend if you’re feeling guilty, or better yet, take a long walk on the beach after dinner at Margaritaville.

Seafood Mac & Cheese
Given the volume of mac and cheese we’ve eaten over the years, we were excited to try something new and different. Now that we have, we can’t say enough about the shrimp and lump crab meat with cavatappi pasta, soaked in a Boursin cheese cream sauce. Truth be told, it’s sort of ruined us for other mac and cheese dishes for a while.

Jerk Salmon
One member of our party is a recent convert to the delights of salmon. She tells us that the Jamaican Jerk marinated salmon was absolute perfection. Served with white rice and topped with fresh sautéed spinach, the dish is glazed with Caribbean jerk sauce. It may sound dramatic, but we encourage you to save each flavorful bite.

Havana Burger
A cheeseburger is a cheeseburger unless it’s a Havana Burger. This version of deliciousness includes Margaritaville’s custom blended all-natural burger, topped with Swiss cheese, ham, pulled pork, lettuce, pickle, and Creole mustard sauce. It was absolutely unforgettable.

There are a couple of other notes worth mentioning. The first is Margaritaville’s gift shop, filled to the brim with items that fairly scream, “Florida vacation!” The other is how tickled we were to find parking without having to drive around the block. Margaritaville’s proximity to Pier Park makes parking a relative breeze.

Insider Tip:
The large patio has incredible views of the gulf across the street. To garner this incredible viewpoint, we recommend arriving early to catch an early dinner and the tail-end of happy hour.