Cool off at Venice at Cocoa Beach — Photo courtesy of Venice at Cocoa Beach
This has to be one of the most interesting restaurants on the Space Coast. And that’s saying something, in a quirky community like this.
The beverage mugs say it all: On the handle is a grip strengthener. You know, so you can beef up your grip while pouring them down. It’s called the “muscle mug.”
Only in Muscle Beach. Or Cocoa Beach. Venice at Cocoa Beach restaurant, that is.
A peek inside Venice at Cocoa Beach — Photo courtesy of Venice at Cocoa Beach
Venice at Cocoa Beach opened on the Space Coast in 2014, inspired by Venice Beach in California. The restaurant basically brings a mini Venice to Florida, complete with the colorful urban-style art on the walls, a vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere and a large wall mural of a sun setting on the Pacific Ocean.
The oranges, reds and yellows truly look like an evening on Venice Beach! Who says you can’t have West Coast and East Coast at the same time?
In true Venice style, the menu here is casual, eclectic and international. (No funnel cakes, though, but that’s for the better.)
For breakfast, try the huevos salsa verde. For tapas, try gourmet cheese, the Hawaiian pork or Costa Rican Chifrijo, with rice, beans, chips and pork or beef. For dessert: Filipino-style chocolate rice pudding.
A cheese plate — Photo courtesy of Venice at Cocoa Beach
Another classic is the Muscle Beach BBQ of shredded beef with rice, beans, tomato, onions, mango-chipotle sauce and topped with fruit salsa.
A lunch fave is the Cuban Carne’V Alan sandwich, made with turkey, beets, zucchini, caramelized onions, mozzarella and goat cheese on Cuban bread. It’ll be hard not to order Sex on Venice 8 – roasted turkey with ham, pickles, Swiss cheese and spicy mustard.
All food is made fresh and local, whenever possible. Many ingredients even come from local farms.
To wash it down, Venice at Cocoa Beach boasts more than 70 beers, including enough to delight craft brew drinkers, as well as wine from around the world.
Or if you’re feeling beachy, try the housemade frozen sangria – some of the best in the region. For something different and refreshing, try Wells Banana Bread Beer.
Venice at Cocoa Beach brings Cali to the Space Coast — Photo courtesy of Venice at Cocoa Beach
If you need a boost, you can score Cuban coffee here. People who have tried Cuban coffee know this is reason enough to head off to Venice at Cocoa Beach.
It wouldn’t be Venice (in Florida) if there wasn’t plenty of entertainment, either. So catch open mic night on Fridays; karaoke on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and live music from local musicians Saturdays and Sundays.
Now, beware: Venice at Cocoa Beach is a bit of a hidden gem, and it can be hard to find from the outside. But you’ll know when you arrive, when you see the West Coast sunset and smell the Cuban bread.