#29 of 130 Pensacola Beach Restaurants

Sam’s Seafood & Grill

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Sam’s Seafood & Grill in Pensacola: Cheap Food in Hefty Portions—and Available Late Into the Night
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Hits-the-spot, crowd-pleasing food at steal-of-a-deal prices and available until the wee hours: That’s the appeal of Sam’s Seafood & Grill, which opened its second, Pensacola location in December 2020. Fresh-to-order seafood, sandwiches, burgers, and other basic American cuisine defines the wide-ranging but straight-shooting menu. Nothing fancy here, but tasty eats and big portions that definitely won’t break the bank—hard to argue with that!

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

After finding success at its first location in Brandenton, Florida, Sam’s Seafood & Grill launched a Pensacola presence in December 2020, opening its doors in the old Krystal location on the west side. The simple but well-seasoned American cuisine here, anchored by seafood and sandwiches, should fit the bill for most diners who are after a cheap, basic, greasy platter or plate—and the fare’s available until the wee hours of the morning: at least until 2 AM every day (and till 4 AM on weekends).

There’s nothing fancy about the decor here, but there’s an admirable emphasis on friendly service, and the prices are nearly dirt cheap. The portions, furthermore, are on the more generous side of the spectrum, so bring along your appetite. Sam’s Seafood & Grill offers a drive-thru for ultra convenience, especially for satisfying those late-night cravings.

This is a lunch and dinner sort of joint. The seafood plates include fried or grilled tilapia or basa, catfish strips, scampi Cajun garlic shrimp, calamari rings, scallops, crawfish, crab legs served with corn and a biscuit, and a snow crab tray heaped with mussels, jumbo shrimp, potatoes, corn, eggs, and sausage, among other options. 

Seafood also crops up on the sandwich menu, where, for example, you can get fish, shrimp, or oysters for your Philly, or opt for a tuna sandwich or fish burger. But you can also set your sights landward and go for beef or chicken affairs. Sam’s takes on both Cubans and gyros are worth giving a go.

The various chicken plates, from wings and tenders to chicken livers, are popular items as well. You can also take a slightly healthier route and go for the chicken or fish rice bowl (or a dinner salad). Alfredo or marinara pasta dishes with chicken or shrimp, meantime, appeal to noodle lovers.

Many of the entrees can be paired with fries and a drink for a combo deal. You’ve also got quite the smorgasbord of sides to choose from, from basic fries, yellow rice, and steamed veggies to such “premium” choices as fried okra, baked potato, onion rings, Cajun fries, and jalapeño poppers.

The drinks menu is limited at Sam’s Seafood & Grill, with soda, smoothies, milk shakes, and sweet tea to choose from. (We recommend the sweet tea.)

We’ve sketched the basic lay of the land as far as the Sam’s Seafood & Grill menu goes; now, let’s dig into some particular highlights:

It’s not exactly Greek-restaurant caliber, but Sam’s Seafood & Grill does a pretty sturdy job with its gyro sandwiches. The tzatziki sauce pulls it all together. You can go outside the box with fish or shrimp inside, but we suggest hewing closer to the traditional with the beef or chicken options.

Fried Shrimp
Depending on your hunger level or the number of grabby dining companions you’ve got with you, you might go for the 10-, 15-, or 20-piece platters of fried shrimp at Sam’s. The homemade cocktail sauce is a winner.

Chicken Gizzards
The availability of chicken gizzards on the menu sets Sam’s apart from a lot of similarly no-fuss grills. You can opt for a half-pound or a full pound of these tasty morsels.

When you’re overtaken by an all-out raging appetite in the Pensacola area—or keen on a midnight snack you don’t have to throw together yourself—you could do worse than heading for Sam’s Seafood & Grill!

Insider Tip:
– If you’re hoping for an ice-cold beer to go along with your wings, your breaded shrimp, or your burger—well, you’ll have to go the takeout route and supply your own brew: Sam’s Seafood & Grill doesn’t offer adult beverages.