Sun on the Beach Restaurant is a family business that backs right up to the beach. In fact, it's one of the few places to eat with an ocean view between Cocoa and Vero beaches. Sun on the Beach is surprisingly inexpensive, for the unique, delicious options you will find on the menu. Breakfast is where this restaurant really shines. Sure, you can find the standards (including a plate of plain pancakes form the "pancake bar" for just $4.50), but you can also get adventurous (try the peaches and cream pancakes). Seafood inspired much of the breakfast menu: an omelet with mahi mahi or house-smoked salmon; shrimp and grits; soft-shell crab and grits; a pesto shrimp crepe. Best of all: This excellent breakfast is served all day.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: This family-run restaurant offers a diverse menu, including breakfast all day.
Aimee's expert tip: For groups, order a table of different "small bites" and share.
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.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Not only is Seafood Atlantic one of our favorite restaurants, but the casual outdoor seating has plenty of space for big groups.
Aimee's expert tip: If crab is available, the crab cakes are the best we've ever had. Tons of crab, and perfectly scrumptious.
Loyd Have Mercy's Southern-style menu has been named the best soul food in Brevard County. We're talking juicy garlic shrimp, collards and grids, chicken and rice – all of the most delicious homestyle goodies, seafood and barbecue faves. Everything here is homemade and prepared to order, so don't expect to get in and out quickly. Sit down and relax. You'll feel right at home. This family-owned restaurant opened in 2008 to bring the Space Coast the "best food this side of heaven" (hence its name), and we can't disagree; although we've never tasted a plate of wings or meatloaf from the other side of heaven. In fact, it was opened by a pastor of the Love Covenant Word Center, featuring his family recipes that have been passed down for generations. Your taste buds won't be the only ones celebrating. The prices are low, so your wallet will feel sanctified, too.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Loyd Have Mercy serves up family recipes, so it feels like dinner at Grandma's. It's great for a cozy, family-style experience.
Aimee's expert tip: This isn't fast food. Come and plan on staying for a while.
Rarely can a restaurant offer such a wide selection and not feel diluted, but Matt's Casbah in Melbourne, Florida, manages to expertly juggle fine dining with the hip after-hours crowd, as well as global food with a homey, Florida feel. The varied menu here has a reputation for its great sushi. (In fact, it claims to have the "best sushi in Brevard County.") Enjoy your meal in the fashionable dining room, decorated with art that is available for purchase, at the sushi bar or outside on the patio. Swing by after work and you're sure to meet a vivacious crowd, live music on the patio most nights and live DJs on weekends. Enjoy lazy Sunday afternoons with jazz on the patio and a cocktail, or a glass from the wine cellar.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Matt's Casbah offers big and diverse menus and a large building to accommodate groups.
Aimee's expert tip: Don't miss jazz on the patio on Sunday afternoons.
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.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: River Rocks has a diverse menu and a sand area outside for the kids, making it great for groups.
Aimee's expert tip: Groups can reserve a separate banquet room or even the covered deck, as well as arrange a special event menu.
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 Group Friendly because: Florida's Seafood is family-run and family-friendly. Shrimp is a speciality.
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!
Grills Seafood, located on the beautiful Sunrise Marina, is a great place for dinner with a group. It's relaxed, casual and unassuming, so you won't feel out of place with lively discussions, but the food is delicious enough to taste like a high-end restaurant. The seafood-focused menu is diverse enough to cater to different tastebuds, too. Share cheese fries with bacon or sweet potato fries for a starter. Then choose from surf and turf to bacon-wrapped scallops to grilled shark kebobs. Don't miss the chowders, which Grills is beloved for. After your meal, stay and enjoy the Space Coast's warm weather on the party deck, or grab a drink at the tiki bar. Grills offers great food in a fun, chill setting.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Grills offers delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere with a party desk that's perfect for groups.
Aimee's expert tip: After dinner, stay for a drink on the party deck.
Papa Vito's Italian Restaurant in Cape Canaveral is not the cheapest Italian restaurant on the Space Coast, but it does have the best specials. Which means if you time it right, you can have high-quality food for cheap prices. Papa Vito's serves up fresh-to-order Italian food and pizza 365 days a year, open 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. every day. It also delivers. Lunch specials here start at just $2.99. Happy hour features 30-cent wings and a buy-one-get-one-free dinner. Beer is just a buck. Every day, Papa Vita's has different lunch specials. Get sandwiches, chips and a drink starting at just $2.99, and calzones for less than $5. Also check out the "early bird" and "late night" happy hour deals. The list of bargains goes on.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Serving large groups is Papa Vito's speciality. This restaurant is all about family.
Aimee's expert tip: For big groups, order a party tray that feeds up to 20 people.
Squid Lips is a casual, local favorite that serves fresh, expertly prepared seafood. It's also a fun destination to take a group, with live music and outdoor seating. Call ahead for groups of eight or more and you can get "preferred seating," which will bump you to the front of the line. This is convenient in a restaurant that otherwise does not take reservations (and has been known to draw quite the wait). Squid Lips offers two Space Coast locations: Melbourne and Sebastian, and both appeal to groups for unique reasons. In Melbourne, chill at the Shark Bar on the water. In Sebastian, for a total Space Coast experience, arrive via boat. The menu spans Cajun bacon-wrapped scallops, black cherry pepper pork and crab cakes.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Squid Lips offers fresh seafood, outdoor seating, great views, live music and special treatment for groups.
Aimee's expert tip: Groups of eight or more get "preferred seating" that will bump you to the front of the line.