Mike’s Cafe and Oyster Bar
On my recent trip to Panama City Beach, FL, I was really looking forward to some fresh gulf seafood.
Asking around, Mike’s Cafe and Oyster Bar received some really good reviews from the locals.
All I can say is that I spent over 40 bucks for some barely decent food for three and left very disappointed and my hunger was not satisfied.
Pulling up, the building looked like most in the area, weathered and cheesy. Mike’s has been opened since 1986 and sits across the street from the beach, although, you can’t see the beach or water from the restaurant. Even though it looked its age, I know that you can’t judge a restaurant by the outside.
Going in, you are greeted by a big sign that reads, “wait to be seated” in neon colors on top of a black board. Almost immediately, I hear a lady from the bar (directly ahead and to the right) yell out to sit anywhere we’d like. Grabbing a half booth near the window, we sat. Our waitress came by soon and took down our drink order. She was one of those friendly waitresses that ramble on too long telling us everything good on the menu just to end her 5 minute monologue with “everything is good” line.
She came back and had given lemons on the water after specifically asking if we wanted them to which we replied no. Oh well, that happens a lot no matter where you go. She also left no straws, which I think should be mandatory at every dining establishment.
We informed her that we needed a little more time as everything sounded good and we were very hungry.
We decided we were going to get two of the Captain’s basket which is a custom order of three fried items, hush puppies, fries and cole slaw for 19 bucks each. We were going to share everything. We wanted two shrimp orders, one oyster, one flounder, and two catfish orders for our baskets. When the waitress came back, she said we couldn’t double order any of the selections for one basket and did not give us a reason on why. I found this particularly odd, especially since their website states that they will special make anything you want if you don’t see it on the menu. So we get all that we mentioned above except the double catfish because we didn’t want to confuse the woman with a redo of our order. At this time, she also informs us that the shrimp is coming from Louisiana. WHAT?! Why on earth would a restaurant high on local cuisine and across the street from the fucking ocean, have their shrimp imported from a different gulf state? Does that make any sense to you?
She leaves the straws and goes back to place our order. She comes right back and delivers three small plates and our silverware and one cole slaw.
Within a few more minutes, she brings our baskets of food. My jaw nearly dropped open. No, not in the OMG, how amazing way. In the basket, there were 9 small to medium butterflied shrimp, 3 pieces of catfish the size of a half dollar, maybe 6 medium sized oysters, 3 small pieces of flounder, 4 overcooked hush-puppies and 4 large handfuls of fries. The hush-puppies were the worst I’ve ever had. The batter on all the fried items were okay, a little on the bland side. The catfish nuggets were limp and the coleslaw was dry. I couldn’t believe they were charging 20 bucks for what we received, not to mention, that they jipped us on some coleslaw. Not that it would have been eaten, but the principle of the matter. We did not see our waitress again until it was time for the ticket to be served. There were only 6 other people, not tables, but people, in the restaurant at the time. There was no excuse. And when she did come back to the table with the ticket, she brought us a menu to take with us, so we’d come back from breakfast or lunch the next day. Yeah, right.
Let me also mention that they had music playing on the overhead that was from the 50’s. I’m a fan of a wide variety of music, but it wasn’t even the popular music from that decade, it was really annoying.
After the experience, I felt really bad for choosing this place instead of giving in to the others to hit Red Lobster for all you can eat shrimp for less money and better atmosphere and food we know would be good and satisfying.
Here is a link to Mike’s place, if you care to see……
Let me also note that the webpage you will open on, states, “Located on Panama City Beach”, and it’s not. It’s across the street with no view, as I mention at the beginning.