Before my family joined us at the beach, we opted to eat at some of the local restaurants on the Forgotten Coast. Following is an overview of the places where we ate. With the help of Urbanspoon and Trip Advisor, we found some great eateries.
Mexico Beach, Florida
Mexico Beach is a blip on the map – which was great for skipping the crowds at the beach, but didn't give many options for food. Several restaurants were closed, I'm not sure if this was because it was off season or they were no longer open. We did find a couple of places that were a couple of blocks from our beach house.
Graba Java was our first stop for breakfast after driving all night. While Daniel slept, Jack and I went in search of food. The sign outside this little shop actually says, "The Internet Cafe" – which I thought was hilarious.
The food is made to order, but involved a bit of a wait since there was only one cook. The ladies working the shop were very friendly and complimentary of Jack. The place seemed to be filled with mostly retired locals. We chose the breakfast sandwich and I had a coffee. It was a little expensive (to be expected at the beach), but tasted great.
Beach Pizza looks like a total dive, but we decided to give it a shot since it was within walking distance of our house. The pizza was actually really great.
We went back with my family for ice cream on our last night. If you get ice cream, ask for 2 scoops, it is the same price whether you get 1 or 2 scoops on a cone!Port St. Joe, Florida
Port St. Joe was 11 miles down the road from Mexico Beach and had some really amazing restaurants. We would actually consider staying here in the future just to have a little more accessibility to restaurants, grocery stores and beaches that dogs can access.
Joe Mama's Wood Fired Pizza was our first dinner in Florida. Jack passed on our the drive to Port St. Joe and proceeded to sleep through the entire meal.
This meant we had an unexpected date – no fussing over a toddler. Daniel held Jack through the entire meal. The beach air wears a toddler out.
The food was excellent and the service was great. Fresh ingredients, but not your typical American style pizza, which was a nice change.
Pepper's Mexican Grill was our second dinner that Jack slept through. Score for two date nights in a row!
Since it was off season, we walked right in and had great service. The food was fantastic.
I enjoyed a seafood Chimichanga that was simply divine, and the chips and salsa at the beginning of the meal were deliciously fresh.
Sunset Coastal Grill was the closest we came to eating on the beach. We almost tried Toucans in Mexico Beach but it had terrible reviews. Sunset Grill is on the bay, but didn't have outdoor dining. In terms of eating out, this was my biggest disappointment (not in Sunset Grill, but that we didn't eat on the beach). Also, I really wanted some clam chowder, but they didn't have that.
Anyways, Sunset Coast Grill had good food – their fish and hush puppies were tasty. The restaurant felt a little outdated, like somewhere our grandparents would like, but overall we enjoyed our meal and the service was good. They even brought Jack a bowl of grapes while we waited.
Panama City, Florida
At 30 minutes away, Panama City was a bit of a drive. At the beginning of the week we made the drive to get groceries and had lunch at a local restaurant. A friend had recommended we eat at Captain Anderson's but we didn't have a chance to go. Maybe, next time.
Bayou Joe's was probably my favorite restaurant of this trip. The restaurant is floating next to a marina. All of the tables are outside and we watched as fish and birds came right up to the boat in hopes of some food.
Overall we had a great dining experience while on vacation. Once my family arrived, we decided to cook at the house so that we could spend more time at the beach.
The hardest part was keeping a hold of Jack so he didn't fall in the water since our table was 2-feet from the water.
The food was great, though the fried corn was a bit much, the restaurant was packed when we arrived but we barely had a wait and our service was surprisingly quick.