Best Lunch in Space Coast

Refuel Your Space Coast Adventure at These Top Lunch Destinations

It might be hard to drag yourself away from the Space Coast’s breathtaking beaches, but, well, you’re going to have to eat some time. Take a break from the sunshine and waves and refuel your belly at our favorite 10 lunch destinations.

If you can’t bear to venture too far from the beach, head over to Squid Lips Overwater Grill, where your view comes complete with fresh, grilled food and often live music. If you’re in a hurry to get back to the surf, grab a quick bite to eat at Long Doggers, known for its hot dogs and fish tacos. The waves got your belly grumbling? Try the footlong dog.

For a relaxing, sit-down lunch, the Haru Sushi Bar and Grill offers sushi made with the freshest ingredients. Try the Bento Lunch Box for a quick, delicious and healthy lunch. The Bento box comes with salad, soup, sushi and a special that changes every day. Haru offers the region’s biggest selection of saki, too.

Looking for something different than the typical beach lunch fare? The Sweet and Salt traditional Polish restaurant is a local favorite and authentically European. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled overseas as soon as you step through the doors.


Salt and Sweet Restaurant Traditional Polish Cusine
Photo courtesy of Courtesy photo

For a unique lunch in an authentic European atmosphere, check out Salt and Sweet Restaurant, which serves up traditional Polish food. Here, you can indulge in pierogis (stuffed with potatoes, cheese, onions – you name it) or the broiled fish of the day. Or go full Poland with the Zrazy Polskie, rolled beef stuffed with onions, pickles, peppers and bacon. You'll be sure to fill up on dumplings and red cabbage, too. Salt and Sweet has been named one of the best restaurants in Melbourne (it's listed in the top 20 on TripAdvisor). The atmosphere is a little more sophisticated than the Space Coast's traditional beach shack with fish tacos. Trained sommeliers can help you pair domestic or international wine with your meal. Or tip back an imported Polish beer.

Recommended for Lunch because: Salt and Sweet is one of the top restaurants in Melbourne and offers a delicious change of pace from the typical beach lunch options.

Aimee's expert tip: Ask the trained sommelier to help you pick the perfect wine to compliment your meal.

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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.

Recommended for Lunch because: Meg O'Malley's is one of the Space Coast's most beloved bars, but it's lunch menu deserves honors of its own. Food is authentic and filling.

Aimee's expert tip: Here, you can find six different ways to drink your Jameson, including our favorite, a Jameson and lemonade – served in a mason jar, of course. Ask about the catch of the day.

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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.

Recommended for Lunch because: This surfer hotspot is the real deal. It's not fancy, but it'll fill your belly after a day on the waves.

Aimee's expert tip: Long Doggers is famous for its hot dogs. They're also big on wings and fish tacos. On occasion, you may hear someone here playing the steel drums – true surfer style.

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Crackers Island Grille
Photo courtesy of Crackers Island Grill

Crackers Island Grill is a local surfers' favorite. This relaxed restaurant in Cape Canaveral is close to the waves and next door to Core Surf, so it draws in the hungry wave-hunters. But it's also popular among hungry travelers seeking a house-made inexpensive meal. Daily specials are just $6.50, and that often includes a side and drink. The Coney Island Dogs (made with fresh, original Coney Island sauce) are a signature item, but this grill also serves hamburgers (and garden burgers), fish tacos, a footlong Philly steak, pulled pork and various hot dogs (try the slaw dog). Beer is on the menu here, too, so you can tip back a cold one with your generously portioned meal.

Recommended for Lunch because: Cheap lunch attracts the surfers, and the big portions fill them up.

Aimee's expert tip: Try the chili cheese dog and hand-cut fries for a no-fail, fill-you-up lunch.

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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.

Recommended for Lunch because: You can't beat the flavor, views and service for these prices.

Aimee's expert tip: After you eat, pull up some chairs on the sand and watch the water for dolphins.

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From the talented Stuart Borton (owner of Stuart's Bistro in Indialantic) comes this exciting cafe, which put the community of Malabar on the culinary map. Sound like an exaggeration? Get this: Among Stuart's more noteworthy customers are Jeb Bush (he likes the place so much, he celebrated his 49th birthday here!) and folk hero Arlo Guthrie. The breathtaking views of the Indian River are plusses, of course, as are the white linens and first-rate service. But what truly sets the place apart is its outstanding cookery – that is to say, innovative dishes like pecan-crusted mahi mahi with vanilla bean-infused praline sauce or roast duckling with raspberry, cherry and peppercorn sauce.

Recommended for Lunch because: Yellow Dog is where comfort food meets a memorable atmosphere, with a stunning view of the Indian River. Everything you order is individually prepared.

Aimee's expert tip: Request a table on the airy, open covered porch and enjoy sunny Florida's great weather and beautiful views. Even though it's outdoors, this porch feels more romantic and elegant than some of the other outdoor dining in Brevard County.

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Pick your favorite location: Melbourne Riverside or on the Port. But whatever you do, don't judge this restaurant by its curb appeal. Grills looks like a standard waterside shack (complete with its own party deck and tiki bar, of course!), but then it's that intentional shabbiness that helps give the place its character. Of course, the kitchen crew does its part, too, a fact made clear once you've tried the grilled fish of the day (mahi mahi or cobia one day, maybe dolphin the next), bacon-wrapped scallops, or steamed deep-water crab legs. Forget all of that battered and fried nonsense! If it's fresh fish and seafood you seek, Grills serves up some of the best.

Recommended for Lunch because: It's rare to find such mouth-watering food at such an unassuming, chill location.

Aimee's expert tip: Do not leave Florida until you try this chowder. It took first place in the 2013 28th Annual Chowder Cookoff.

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Meet 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...  More About Aimee