As one of the largest cities on the Space Coast and Brevard County in Florida, Melbourne is also naturally one of the best places for business. Its up-and-coming downtown is full of shops, nightlife and excellent restaurants.
Want to celebrate a special occasion? Chart House is one of the most popular special-occasion destinations in Melbourne. Or if you're looking for seafood with a great view, don't miss River Rocks, where you can eat out on the docks with a view of passing dolphins. Squid Lips Overwater Grill is another favorite spot for seafood and a water view.
Melbourne offers more than local seafood, though. It is also home to a surprising number of worldly dining options, like Continental Flambe (authentic European food) or Alexandria Mediterranean Grill (Greek, Italian and Middle Eastern offerings). Island Pasta Company offers a new spin on your Italian comfort food favorites. And Meg O'Malley's is where to go when you have a hankering for Irish fare – and of course, a Guinness to wash it down.
If you need something quick and filling (but not draining on the budget), swing by Long Doggers for the biggest hot dog you'll probably ever try.
Here are our favorite 10 restaurants in Melbourne, from breakfast to dinner, inexpensive to elegant, and everything in between.
Toojay's Gourmet Deli
TooJay's Gourmet Deli is known for its delicious New York-style deli sandwiches.
With a more than three-decade reputation in 25 different locations throughout Florida, including Melbourne on the Space Coast, TooJay's is well known throughout the state.
Traditional comfort food at TooJays includes shepherd's pie, beef brisket, meatloaf and cheese blintzes, all served with fresh-baked rye bread and soup or salad.
Do you have dietary restrictions? Many homestyle restaurants don't offer much for people with gluten allergies or sensitivities. But TooJay's offers a full gluten-free menu, including roasted Atlantic salmon and grilled London broil.
TooJay's has earned many different awards, so it's a great bet if you're looking for a comforting, home-style meal, with a statewide reputation for large portions and delicious offerings. (321-369-0450)
Sun Shoppe and Cafe
Sun Shoppe and Cafe, located in the heart of downtown Melbourne for more than a decade, features good selection of coffee, dessert, muffins and bagels.
This popular, quirky coffeehouse serves breakfast all day. Coffee here comes from custom-roasted beans, and the blended "frappe" selection includes some unique concoctions, such as the PB + Mocha. Pastries are made fresh daily. You can also choose from vegetarian and vegan offerings. Looking for a cool, lighter option? The long list of smoothies at the Sun Shoppe are refreshing and inexpensive. If you're more of a tea-drinker than coffee-addict, the Sun Shoppe's selection of teas will warm your belly and start your morning right.
Enjoy free wifi by day, and live music at night. (321-676-1438)
Chart House Restaurant - Melbourne
The Chart House is considered one of the Space Coast's best seafood restaurants. The location is ideal, right on the banks of the Indian River and close to some of Melbourne's top businesses and, of course, the beach.
Brunch at the Chart House is on the higher end, but with that, you can expect top quality. For about $25 per person, the brunch menu includes tasty plates of macadamia nut French toast topped with pineapples and berries, or a drool-worthy version of the classic benedict: a tenderloin benedict, accented with carved filet medallions.
Brunch comes with the salad bar, and you can top off your late breakfast with mimosas, bloody Marys or fuzzy navels. (3217296558)
Feeling a touch Blarney? This downtown Melbourne pub is as Irish as they come, from the St. Patty's pot pie down to the tall, cold glasses o' stout. The authentic menu boasts Irish classics, including corned beef and cabbage and bangers and mash. Or try your luck and ask about the Fisherman's Catch of the Day and the new Butcher's Cut of the Day. Great happy hour specials (starting as early as 3 p.m.) and frequent live entertainment are boons, as well. Snag $5 Car Bombs and Irish coffees all day, every day. During football season, the pub is especially crowded on NFL Sundays and Mondays. (321-952-5510)
Alexandria Mediterranean Grill
Alexandria Mediterranean Grill is a delicious place for some inexpensive and healthy Mediterranean food, but you can also find Greek, Italian and Middle Eastern offerings here. Almost everything on the menu is less than $10 – and it's all made with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
We recommend the soup and salad combo, which comes with the soup of the day and your choice of four different types of salads, including our favorite, the Greek. The $7 wraps are also delicious and filling.
The Alexandria Mediterranean Grill is one of the few family-owned restaurants of this type on the Space Coast, and it's authentic, too. In fact, the founder was born and raised in Egypt, where he learned how to prepare traditional Middle Eastern meal. The menu items today stem from his family's generation's-old recipes. (3216226905)
Squid Lips Overwater Grill
A local, casual favorite, Squid Lips is all about freshness. But it's more than the typical beachfront grill. Food here is grilled over an open oak-wood fire, and nothing is pre-breaded or pre-made. Start with the Cajun bacon-wrapped scallops, which will prepare your tongue for the signature black cherry pepper pork. The crab cakes are another favorite. If you're looking for some beachy entertainment with your meal, you can often hear live music here, too. Find two Squid Lips in the state, one in Melbourne and another in Sebastian. Arrive by boat, if you want the quintessential Space Coast experience. (321-259-3101)
It wouldn't be right to have a top-10 list in this area without at least one legitimate tribute to surfing. Long Doggers has that covered. Come as you are – yes, even after a morning of surfing. Grab a quick foot-long "Mork Dog" at the window, or sit down for a Beach Bum meal, like a crab cake with a handful of sides. Everything here's casual. After all, Long Doggers calls itself a "radically relaxed" grill and brew. Bonus: People with allergies will appreciate the full gluten-free menu. Find Long Doggers as five different locations in Florida. (321-751-4448)
River Rocks Dining & Drinks Dockside
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)
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.
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