With its warm weather, great beaches and stunning ocean views, the Space Coast, Florida, is an excellent location for a romantic vacation. After watching the ships slice through the port, dolphin-spotting, browsing downtown galleries and burying your tootsies in the sand, head to one of the Space Coast's romantic restaurants for a great ending to your date.
For a classic fancy date, visit Black Tulip, with its white tablecloths and charming European atmosphere. Feeling French? Cafe Margeaux is a long-standing local fave, with more than 400 different variations of wine. Another European-inspired restaurant that will win your date's heart is Continental Flambe, which boasts a shocking 800-variety wine list. For lunch, pick an umbrella table out front. At dinner, enjoy the sophisticated dining room inside.
Sushi and seafood is another sexy and scrumptious dinner option, and for that, you'll be satisfied with the selection at Thai Thai. Don't forget the sake.
Share escargot at Gregory's, which won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2014. Or enjoy your dinner with Mother Nature and a great view at River Rocks Dining; request a table on the dock and you may very well be joined by dolphins.
Here are the top 10 romantic restaurants on the Space Coast.
The Fat Snook
The Fat Snook, on the Space Coast, is haven for foodies. This small dining room located on the beach is cozy, intimate and the food is some of the best you will find in this stretch of Florida.
The Fat Snook is great for a romantic or fancy night out, even though the atmosphere remains relaxed and upbeat. Make sure you make a reservation if you want to get a table. The tables are limited and the demand is high.
Enjoy dinner here every day of the week, except three holidays a year.
Try a mango chow chow, a Kona Coffee Rub steak and goat cheese ravioli, which you may be able to pair with local lobster. In fact, the fresh, expertly prepared local seafood is a must-try at this restaurant. (321-784-1190)
Scotts on Fifth
This "five-palm" fine-dining establishment boasts a wine bar, fresh seafood, cocktails and top-notch desserts.
The dining room is intimate and relaxed, as you would expect on the Space Coast, Fla. But the food is expertly prepared and fit for royalty. Expect to see a different menu each time you visit; plates vary based on what's the freshest and also on chef Scott Earick's whim. Even the decor regularly changes.
Don't see what you're looking for on the menu? Ask Earick if he can make it. Or trust your chef and order Scott's Choice, which is "whatever Scott feels like making today." (321-729-9779)
Thai Thai Restaurant and Sushi
Thai Thai III is a bit of a hidden gem, a local favorite and reliably delicious. Fresh seafood on the Space Coast means some of the best sushi you can imagine, so your visit to the port wouldn't be complete without a sushi stop. The menu here is brimming with exciting options. Try the spicy tuna rolls or the sushi boat. If you are looking for something cooked, you will love the curry. As the name implies, Thai Thai has Thai food down to an art. This is one of a handful of Thai Thai restaurants in the area, all which boast a reputation for quality and authenticity. (321-784-1561)
If you're looking for comfort food with a modern spin, check out Crush Eleven in Cocoa Village.
This restaurant offers unique spins on some of the all-time favorites, like mac and cheese and French fries. Except here, they're "one-year cheddar mac and cheese" with tater tots and giardiniera, and green bean fries with smoked paprika aioli.
This restaurant is casual, yet contemporary, offering craft beer, wine and cocktails. Food is served in such a way to encourage sharing it around the table, which gives is an old-fashioned, family feeling and makes your meal a social experience. It's only fitting that diners sit at large wooden tables.
Start your meal with pretzel-dusted fried green tomatoes and fill up with root beer braised short ribs. Chicken Under a Brick is another favorite.
After you dine, stroll past the Indian River and through quirky Cocoa Village and explore the galleries and shops nearby. (321-634-1100)
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.
The views are stunning, too – the perfect setting for a romantic date night on the Space COast. (321-757-7200)
This upscale French and European-influenced restaurant is considered one of the Space Coast's best dining establishments and hands down one of the most romantic outings in Cocoa. Enjoy the beautiful weather on the patio, while you sip wine – Cafe Margaux features about 400 different types – and indulge in some of the tastiest options around.
Cafe Margaux has an established reputation (it opened in the '80s) and is home to executive chef Erol Tugrul, an established, international chef whose family lives in Bavaria and Turkey.
Enjoy entrees, such prime filet mignon tips, a scallopini of veal tenderloin, an herb-seared rack of lamb and a "lollipop" pork chop over risotto. The slow-cooked, European-style Bistro Features are also popular. Top of your meal with a glass of cognac or a house-made dessert.
Look for special events, too, like wine dinners and special events. Vegetarian options available, too; imagine a plate of red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant baked with brie. (321-639-8343)
Gregory's Steak & Seafood Grill
Gregory's brings a bit of the Big Easy to the Space Coast, thrilling palates with scintillating cuts of certified Angus beef and fresh seafood. Inside, the restaurant sports a classy look. Its bookshelves, crisp linens, Tiffany lamps and cozy lounge are reminiscent of a traditional supper club.
Start off with an appetizer of bacon-wrapped lobster or escargot before moving on to steak tornados Oscar, steak au poivre or the fish of the day rubbed in Caribbean jerk marinade. Be sure to save room for an after-dinner treat – perhaps one of the specialty coffee drinks (the Irish coffee and Godiva cappuccino are musts!) or even a house-made dessert.
Gregory's won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2014. (321-799-2557)
One of the best-known spots to eat in Cocoa Village, the Black Tulip has been thrilling palates since 1981 with its expertly-prepared fare and charming European ambiance. But don't be intimidated; in true Space Coast style, Black Tulip's atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.
Lunch diners are treated to an array of delightful dishes, from daily quiche and soup specials to tasty steak sandwiches. It's at dinner time, though, that the place truly shines, and this is thanks in large part to superbly presented mains of roast duckling, crab-stuffed grouper and filet mignon.
The Black Tulip feels intimate, romantic and cozy. Plan to stay a while. (321-631-1133)
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)
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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