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.
Recommended for Cocoa/Cocoa Beach's Best Restaurants because: Cafe Margaux is an upscale French and Euro restaurant – totally romantic.
Aimee's expert tip: Top off your meal with a glass of cognac or a glass of wine from the extensive wine cellar.
Juice N Java is a great place to get fresh-roasted coffee wine, craft beers and healthy, fresh, farm-to-table menu options inspired from around the world. This shop is a local fave and has been voted the No. 1 coffee house in Central Florida. For healthy options check out the fruit smoothies, salads and artisan cheese trays. For a healthy snack, try the chocolate-covered strawberries. Sandwiches come with a variety of bread options to meet your dietary needs or culinary cravings. Juice N Java also offers vegetarian options, like the roma sandwich. Come and plan to stay; wifi is free and service is excellent. Grab a table outside on a nice day.
Recommended for Cocoa/Cocoa Beach's Best Restaurants because: This coffee shop serves up a surprisingly legit menu of farm-to-table food and healthy options.
Aimee's expert tip: Juice N Java's menu is much more than just a coffee shop. It has artisan cheese, vegetarian options and a variety of farm-to-table choices.
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.
Recommended for Cocoa/Cocoa Beach's Best Restaurants because: Crush Eleven is trendy and modern, with a farm-fresh, family-style feeling.
Aimee's expert tip: Try the Chicken Under a Brick, crispy chicken thighs served with lemon confit and mascarpone parmesan polenta. Om nom nom!
Florida's Seafood Bar and Grill claims to be the Space Coast's biggest seafood hotspot – but then it also claims that the owner "discovered" shrimp several hundred years ago. Although the whale tale is part of the silly charm of this Cocoa Beach establishment, one thing is a fact: Florida's Seafood knows how to do shrimp and oysters. Try garlic shrimp over linguini or raw oyster shooters. Turf and "you pick the surf" is also a fun option. The atmosphere is cheery and family-friendly (the restaurant is also family-owned and operated), and Florida's can accommodate large groups. Want the food to come to you? Florida's Seafood can cater events, too.
Recommended for Cocoa/Cocoa Beach's Best Restaurants because: This seafood hotspot is cheery, family-friendly, fun and totally Space Coast.
Aimee's expert tip: If you're hungry, order The Ultimate Feast: one pound of snow crab legs and all-you-can-eat fried oysters, shrimp, scallops, prime rib and more. No sharing, though!
Simply Delicious is an early riser, and only open until mid-afternoon. It's well known for its stunning cakes and cupcakes, but its breakfast always draws out crowds, too. As you might expect as a bakery, Simply Delicious's specialties are also sweet and indulgent, such as blueberry-stuffed French toast with cream cheese. But you can also get hearty, American-style plates, such as omelets, grits and biscuits and gravy. On your way out, make sure you grab a cupcake. The baked goods here are beautiful, creative, colorful and photo-worthy. Like an art gallery that you can eat. Simply Delicious is a family-run, long-standing Cocoa Beach business with a loyal following.
Recommended for Cocoa/Cocoa Beach's Best Restaurants because: Head here for a delicious and indulgent breakfast in Cocoa Beach.
Aimee's expert tip: Sunday brunch can be packed, and the restaurant only holds about 40 people. Be prepared to wait, but it's well worth it.
Southern hospitality shines at Murdock's, a relaxed bistro that serves lunch, dinner and often live entertainment, too. Eat your meal inside the cozy interior or outside on the large back porch or front deck. Chow down on some Southern-style comfort food, like smoked pork or chicken barbecue and homemade fresh soups. Try fried pickles for an appetizer and a "po'boy" sandwich for dinner. After you try catfish fingers, you'll never want regular fish sticks again. Don't miss the Bloody Mary bar on Sunday. Murdock's features a fully-stocked bar, so come in, unwind and stay awhile. The motto here is, "Good food, good friends, good wine, great times," which is why Murdock's is one of our favorite places to relax and spoil our taste buds.
Recommended for Cocoa/Cocoa Beach's Best Restaurants because: Southern hospitality shines at Murdock's, a relaxed bistro with comfort food.
Aimee's expert tip: Don't miss the Blood Mary bar on Sunday.
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.
Recommended for Cocoa/Cocoa Beach's Best Restaurants because: Black Tulip is where to go for a romantic, impressive dinner.
Aimee's expert tip: Although it's a bit pricey, this is Brevard County's top spot for a romantic date. Order the tulip double roast duckling with red wine pear sauce.
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.
Recommended for Cocoa/Cocoa Beach's Best Restaurants because: The Fat Snook is one of the most delicious and reputable restaurants on the Space Coast, period.
Aimee's expert tip: The Fat Snook looks modest from the outside, but prepare to be wowed inside. It's fun to try the daily special.