The phrase “more than just a pretty face” comes to mind as we attempt to describe our experience at Saltwater Grill in stunning Panama City Beach. While we’re the first to admit that we’ve been delighted by some of the food found in dives around the country, the first thing that we appreciated about this surf and turf restaurant was the décor.
No matter where we were seated, we had a panoramic view of a truly impressive 25,000-gallon tropical seawater aquarium. If you can picture relaxing with a drink while admiring a colorful reef and exotic display of sea creatures, you can imagine how relaxing this eatery was designed to be. No one will hold it against you if it take a little longer than usual to order.
The large menu introduced a number of dishes we were very familiar with and some we’d never tried. The knowledgeable waitstaff was able to help us wade through the options.
Here were some of the more intriguing options:
A creole hollandaise sauce poured over pan-seared red snapper, fried soft-shelled crab, rice pilaf, and spinach is enhanced by a wonderful merging of flavors. Truly a gourmand’s delight. (Gluten-free option)
Even if grouper is not one of your favorites, we think you’ll enjoy this grilled fresh Gulf grouper with crabmeat, sherry beurre blanc, asparagus, and fluffy whipped potatoes. (Gluten-free option)
Perhaps it’s the mussels that sets this recipe apart, but combined with fresh Gulf shrimp, bay scallops, light tomato sauce, and parmesan cheese over a bed of angel hair pasta, this dish is pure perfection.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Although it’s a common dish, we’d never had parmesan crusted chicken quite like this before. In addition to coating both sides of the chicken breast with parmesan, the chef adds a lemon-caper beurre blanc that creates a wonderful melody of flavors. The dish is finished off with whipped potatoes, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Oscar Style Steak
Whether you order a New York Strip, ribeye, or filet mignon, we highly recommend asking for it Oscar Style – topped with jumbo lump crab, asparagus and bearnaise sauce. It makes an already great piece of meat even better.
New Orleans Style Shrimp & Grits
We were not aware New Orleans style barbecue butter existed until it was served on jumbo gulf shrimp and topped with bacon. The dish was a great surprise, even before tasting the cream stone-ground grits and French bread on the side.
We feel compelled to give a shout out to one of the great drinks from Saltwater Grill’s extensive bar. The Bahama Mama has coconut rum, crème de banana, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice. No one will judge if you decide to count it towards your daily serving of fruits.
-If you truly want to relax, wander into the bar area to hear a pianist at work.
-Looking to save some money? Arrive early for the early bird specials. You’ll get the same meal at a reduced price.
-Kids are welcome at Saltwater Grill. Their menu offers special kid-sized portions and fun drink options.