Panama City Beach, Florida is the self-appointed home to the most “beautiful beaches in the world” – and they just may be right! Although the wonderful waters of the “Emerald Coast” can’t quite compete with the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, there is no place on Earth with more exquisite beaches. Located on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, travelers from around the globe come to this Florida panhandle city to enjoy the lovely weather and the sugary white beaches that you just can’t find anywhere but the northern Gulf Coast. And, typically, where there are tourists, there is great food. In a city filled with excellent restaurants, the best of the best is FireFly.
Getting to FireFly Panama City Beach is a breeze. Located near the center of an approximately 18-mile long beachfront road makes it the perfect location for visitors on either end of the beach to discover this gem. The building itself is located in “strip mall” which houses several other restaurants and stores. You’ll need to weave your way through the most confusing parking lot I’ve ever experienced, but don’t let these things deter you. Once inside the restaurant, FireFly treats its diners to a dimly lit, extremely romantic atmosphere – complete strings of lit up “fireflies” wrapped around a tree in the center of the dining area.
Begin your meal with one of 7 different appetizers, including their delicious jumbo lump crab cakes and sesame tempura shrimp. After your first course, make sure to try the wonderfully rich “She Crab Soup.” It is simply delectable! Filled with cream sherry and a puff pastry, the soup alone is worth the visit. I have experienced my fair share of soups, and I’ve only tasted one other soup that even comes close to the deliciousness of this dish. In a word: YUMMERS!
FireFly also has a list of salads that are crisp and extremely fresh. For your main course, you could go with a wonderful 14 oz. New York Strip or pepper crusted and stuffed filet mignon, but why eat beef at the beach? My vote is always to try the local seafood favorites. I used to enjoy the grouper dish, which the chef Paul Stellata served at the 2012 London Olympics. Andouille crusted snapper and seared tuna also make great choices.
Priced at about $30-40 an entrée, FireFly in Panama City Beach has neither your typical beach faire menu nor price. However, the restaurant does offer a “Sunset Menu” between 5 and 6:30 P.M. nightly. This includes a limited menu of entrées priced at $14.95 with your choice of house salad, soup du jour or hearty chicken, tomato & rice soup. You can even add the she crab soup for an additional $2.00. (Do it!!!) Select appetizers and desserts are also included on this menu at reduced prices. FireFly Panama City Beach also boasts a fairly extensive wine list as well as a complete bar and martini list. In addition to the main dining and sunset menus, a sushi menu is also available.
Although the food at FireFly Panama City Beach is world-class, even hosting President Obama a few years back, the dining attire is casual. While you may want to make this a special date night trip, families and children are certainly welcome. They will love the cool ambience and the kids’ menu. The staff is friendly and very professional. From the hostesses at the door to the knowledgeable servers, you will be impressed with the level of service at this beach town restaurant.
So, if you are staying in Panama City Beach, make sure to check out FireFly! You’ll come for the beaches, but you’ll come back for the food!