When traveling to the Space Coast in Florida, you will probably want to spend as much time as possible near the water.
After all, this unique stretch of Florida not only offers a long stretch of Atlantic Ocean, but also the nearly parallel, large Indian River Lagoon, plus the Banana River and Port Canaveral. In fact, with more than double the shoreline within a short drive, it seems all of the best restaurants on the Space Coast offer water views.
Some, like Da Kine Diego's in Satellite Beach, and Seafood Atlantic a bit north, revolve around the beach. In fact, both offer limited seating – and only outdoors – because most patrons take their meals to the water.
Other restaurants, like River Rocks, offer the water view (and maybe even dolphin entertainment) in a more sophisticated environment, sans the sand.
Our favorite beachside restaurant is Fat Kahunas, a Hawaiian-inspired joint serving up delicious coconut shrimp right on the beach. Or for a truly unique experience, arrive by boat to Jack Baker's Lobster Shanty on the lagoon. The seafood here is fresh and tasty, but don't forget to save a few crumbs to toss to the fish when you head back out to your boat to leave.
Here are our favorite 10 waterside restaurants on the Space Coast.
The Original Bizzarro Famous NY Pizza
There's something about pizza and the boardwalk that's a perfect match. That's why we love The Original Bizzarro Famous NY Pizza (Bizzarro's for short), located right on the Indialantic boardwalk. Order your pie to go and eat it on the beach or enjoy it on site. In a hurry? Order a crispy-crust slice.
Feeling hungry? Try a Sicilian-style square pizza – Bizzarro's Special, with nine different toppings.
This beachside Italian joint serves up more than pizza, however. For something light, you can grab a salad here. The mussels marinara are a light appetizer. Deli subs make ideal lunches. You can even order beer or wine to wash down your meal.
Bizzarro's is a Space Coast staple, locally owned and operated for two decades. (321-724-4799)
Barrier Jack's in Cocoa Beach is a local fave that blends Tex-Mex with seafood, smoking and barbecue. Get breakfast, lunch or dinner here. But we're especially partial to the breakfast menu.
Just like the curb appeal of the restaurant itself, breakfast here is nothing fancy – but it's good, classic, comfort food that you can rely. This is the spot to fill up on French toast, omelets, eggs, bacon, pancakes, home fries and biscuits and gravy. The bagel sandwiches are another pleaser, but we especially love the Barrier's Breakfast Burrito, which adds home fried potatoes to the traditional lineup for breakfast burrito stuffings. Available in vegetarian, too.
For a Space Coast spin on your omelet, select the Combo Seafood Omelet, with shrimp, scallops and blue crab. (321-784-8590)
Seafood Atlantic Inc
The motto here is "the freshest seafood in the world," and it's true. There's no way to surpass this caught-fresh-daily freshness. Seafood Atlantic is where you go when you want the real deal, and for reasonable prices, too. Here, you'll find experienced fishermen who are experts in seafood. Read all about each fisherman's history and passion for fishing on the restaurant's website. The menu? Whatever they caught that day. The only option is outdoor seating on the waterfront, which only feels appropriate for this authentic seafood hotspot. Seafood Atlantic is such a connoisseur that the restaurant even sells its seafood to other restaurants and stores; instead, we say start at the source – the experts. ((321) 784-1963)
Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill
This enormous waterside bar features a great, covered party deck, tiki bar upstairs, sports bar, sun deck, an array of terrific martinis and an ever-popular seafood omelet brunch on Sundays.
The special "Chef Creations" offer everything from a smoked salmon platter to breakfast burritos. We love the Caribbean Sunrise: grilled mahi mahi with salsa and veggies and the smoked salmon potato pancakes.
The food here will pleasantly surprise you. Fishlips even offers a gluten-free menu, as well as a mouthwatering selection of seafood, fish and steak for lunch and dinner. The all-you-can-eat crab legs win the world.
This is the type of place you can stop by any time of the day and enjoy good times and a great view of the water. (321-784-4533)
Da Kine Diego's
Da Kine Diego's is the best food-bang for your buck on the Space Coast, period. This beachy shack is beloved for its Insane Burritos – the biggest burritos you've ever seen. Huger than huge. One Insane Burrito can provide an average person at least two meals, and for under $7. Plus, the burritos are delicious; make sure you explore the hot sauce and guac options.
Da Kine Diego's is an authentic surfer hangout with a funky atmosphere. Find it in Satellite Beach across the street from the beach, is decorated with stickers, graffiti and signatures. Sign your own name on the bench, while you chill under the palms listening to reggae music. No shirt, no shoes, no one would expect anything else. (321-779-8226)
Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar
Pick your favorite location: Melbourne riverside or on the port. But whatever you do, don't judge this restaurant by its curb appeal. Grills looks like a standard waterside shack (complete with its own party deck and tiki bar, of course!), but then it's that intentional shabbiness that helps give the place its character. Of course, the kitchen crew does its part, too, a fact made clear once you've tried the grilled fish of the day (mahi mahi or cobia one day, maybe dolphin the next), bacon-wrapped scallops, or steamed deep-water crab legs. Forget all of that battered and fried nonsense! If it's fresh fish and seafood you seek, Grills serves up some of the best. (http://www.visitgril)
Cuban Island Restaurant
Cuban Island Restaurant is located ideally on Highway A1A, right on the beach. This authentic Cuban restaurant will fill your belly with a variety of entrees, salads, seafood, soups, salads and even wine and beer. It's family-friendly, with a kid's menu and delicious desserts. Relax to live Cuban music on the weekends, just a short walk from the beautiful Space Coast beach.
Cuban food-lovers will enjoy traditional dishes, from Ropa Vieja to Cuban-style fajitas to flan. Not feeling so adventurous? The menu here also features comfortable faves, such as penne chicken alfredo, hamburgers and chicken nuggets for the kids to a good ol' Philly cheese steak sandwich. (321-241-4886)
River Rocks Dining & Drinks Dockside
River Rocks is a popular restaurant with stunning lagoon views.
River Rocks specializes in seafood (say hello to a fried whole snapper with butternut squash mash), but its entrees from the land won't leave you wanting – especially the steak. The restaurant also boasts a full cheese menu and pasta options. River Rocks is known for its drinks, too, with an extensive wine list and signature cocktails, such as the Oxygen Stoli, a creative mixture of St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, champagne and muddled fresh strawberries.
Although the food is top-notch, it remains family-friendly, with a special sand area for the kids. (321-757-7200)
Fat Kahunas Oceanview Grill
Fat Kahunas Beachside Grille is best known for its coconut shrimp – so legendary, in fact, that it has earned the restaurant top dining rankings on the Space Coast. The trick to this jumbo shrimp: agave-soaked coconut and a "secret" tempura batter.
This beachside, Hawaiian-influenced restaurant will please your taste buds with seafood, steak, pulled pork and more, served with made-from-scratch, original sauces. The gourmet burgers and soft tacos are also a great bet. Feeling wild? Try the shark burger.
Wash your meal down with sangria, wine, beer or sweet tea. (321-783-6858)
About Aimee Heckel
Aimee Heckel’s passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University.
When she's not covering Colorado for Fodor’s Travel Guides and writing for SpaTravelGal.com, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees in Africa.
Heckel also blogs for HuffPost Weird News and writes feature stories, a fashion column and fitness column for the Boulder Daily Camera in Colorado.
Read more about Aimee Heckel here.
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