After the Peg Leg Porker and the Golden Rule, we drove on down to Marco Island with an important stop in Panama City, Florida: Hunt’s Oyster Bar and Seafood, one of my very favorite seafood restaurants in the world — that is, The USA, Caribbean, and Europe.
Now this visit was in January and in Panama City proper, not Panama City Beach. I haven’t been to Panama City Beach in season in years, and it is no longer an age-appropriate location for me. Liza was there in her second year after college. She saw some guys mixing margaritas in a large plastic trash can — not a 13-gallon kitchen trash can, a large one. They were stirring it with a Weed Wacker. Panama City Beach in the summer.
January is another story. Panama City Beach is virtually deserted and Panama City becomes a quiet small city. The big attraction for me is Hunt’s Oyster Bar. Bryan Boudreaux told me about it. He said to sit at the bar, put a twenty down for a tip, and start eating oysters.
Listen when Bryan Boudreaux speaks.
Hunt’s is a modest place in a small, not that great commercial district on the downtown waterfront. But they do a land office business, even on a weeknight in January.
Hunt’s has an old seafood place atmosphere, just what you want.
The big attraction is the oysters. They are ice cold and fresh, and they are $8.99 for a baker’s dozen. Here in DC, oysters run $36 a dozen, and they don’t throw in the extra.
The shuckers just keep adding more oysters until your tray of shells is full to overflowing.
And then they bring a new tray.
And another. I think they throw in extra oysters, but who’s counting.
I prefer raw oysters without adornment — maybe a squeeze of lemon. They give you some cocktail sauce, and generously give a side of horseradish you can mix in, fast as everyone should. I don’t put the sauce on the oysters, but I love to add in the horseradish and put it on saltines.
I can confirm that Hunt’s also serves very good good gumbo and crab claws and shrimp, and they they know how to both broil and fry seafood properly. And on each visit, everything that other folks were having looked good as well. Hunt’s doesn’t have any microbrews, but when you’re settling down to eat some oysters, the key word for beer is “cold,” and the beer at Hunt’s is cold indeed. Perfect.
You really should try Hunt’s. I wouldn’t think of going near Panama City without stopping there. So go. you’ll thank me. And Brian Boudreaux.
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