#28 of 138 Panama City Beach Restaurants

The Back Porch

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The Back Porch at Pier Park: Beachside Seafood with A View
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

A bustling seafood spot conveniently located in Pier Park, The Back Porch is great for groups and families, and offers good value during happy hour. A popular tourist destination, diners should expect to pay slightly higher prices in exchange for beachfront views and plenty of outdoor seating across from the beach.

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

The Back Porch originally opened in the early 1970s just down the road in Destin. The original restaurant was housed in a humble, wooden A-frame positioned right on the beach and offered an authentic “back porch” experience featuring outdoor dining and beachside seafood. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find that although some things have changed, this iconic brand stays true to its roots.

The Back Porch now boasts two locations, including Panama City Beach. The PCB location is centrally located in popular Pier Park and offers plenty of outdoor, indoor, and upper porch seating. Although this building is a substantial expansion from the humble Destin origin, The Back Porch still offers plenty of fresh seafood. From raw oysters on the half shell to its classic amberjack sandwich, this gulf-inspired menu is sure to please. Pair your food options with cold buckets of beer, margaritas, and other beach inspired libations to complete the dining experience.

While the prices at The Back Porch at Pier Park are slightly inflated (expected at a tourist restaurant with a prime location), a daily happy hour offers late afternoon guests some great deals on a limited selection of food and drinks. During normal lunch and dinner hours, plan to enjoy a leisurely meal and choose outside dining to get the most bang for your buck! The real charm of The Back Porch is getting to enjoy a seafood meal while gazing upon the gorgeous Gulf Coast.

On a recent trip to the Back Porch at Pier Park, we decided to wait a few minutes to sit up on the upper porch as opposed to inside. For guests planning to visit on rainy days, the inside seating area is quite spacious and good for groups. Tall ceilings, wooden walls, and mounted fish give The Back Porch a serious “under-the-sea” feel, which will whet your appetite for the seafood focused menu.

Menu offerings include a range of appetizers, oysters served up raw, baked, or fried, plus a good range of sandwiches and entrees. A kids menu offers basic fare, including pizza and chicken tenders for kids who aren’t interested in seafood, and adults will also find a few “land-lubber” items, including chicken, steak, and an Angus burger.

On our visit, we enjoyed the following dishes at The Back Porch:

Oysters on the Half Shell
Nothing says beachside eats like a platter of freshly iced raw oysters, served up with right with fresh lemon and horseradish.

Crab Cakes
While the prices can be a bit high at The Back Porch, you will find generous portion sizes, and the Crab Cakes were a great example. Huge, nicely seasoned cakes with plenty of lump crab meat, these were a definite highlight of our meal.

Amberjack Sandwich
Considered to be one of the signature dishes of The Back Porch, the Amberjack sandwich features a nice portion of fresh Amberjack fish prepared either chargrilled, bronzed, or blackened. We opted to enjoy it blackened, which was recommended if you prefer things on the spicy side. It was delicious!

Fried Grouper
You can order seafood prepared in a variety of styles, from crab stuffed to shrimp topped, but we decided to try a classic fried fish dish and were not disappointed by the crispy fried Grouper, which was moist and light on the inside, and perfectly golden on the outside. Paired with French fries and coleslaw, it’s the perfect no fuss summer meal at the beach, and it went nicely with an ice cold beer from our bucket!

The Back Porch at Pier Park offers a great menu of seafood items, but the simple classics are where it really shines. There’s no wrong way to eat at The Back Porch, but here’s what we recommend: order a drink (or two), pull up a chair facing the sunshine, and enjoy some fresh seafood in a fun, beach setting. Cheers!

Insider Tip:
-Wait times vary according to the season, but requesting a table on the upper porch can mean a slightly shorter wait during peak season, plus great views of the beach and a bit more distance from the foot and vehicle traffic entering Pier Park.