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Restaurant suggestion?

Central Kentucky
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Restaurant suggestion?

My extended family of 13 will be vacationing in Orlando next month. Ranging in age from 3 to 63. Looking to visit Cocoa Beach for a seafood meal and a day at the beach. Can anyone suggest a casual seafood restaurant, decent priced as possible and good food? Also, is there a certain section of the beach we should take the kids? Thanks so much!

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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for Cocoa Beach
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1. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

Adjacent Cape Canaveral was always a fishing port before it became the second-largest cruise port in the world, so there is a lot of fresh catch in the area.

Up at the port, there's a group of restaurants and bars along Glen Cheek Drive. Grills and Fishlips are good, and Rusty's is good also. All three are very casual and have outdoor dining areas that overlook the shipping channel, so from about 4-5 p.m. each afternoon, you can watch the big cruise ships sail within 150 yards of your table. We often go to Rusty's on a Sunday afternoon and watch the Disney Dream and a couple of other ships go by. Rusty's also has live music out on the outdoor deck then, so it's very relaxing.

Jack Baker's Lobster Shanty south of Cocoa Beach on A1A is nice in the late afternoon because it overlooks the Banana River to the west, and there are nice sunsets from the outdoor deck. They have a nice salad bar, but the entrees can be hit or miss. We've had some great meals there, and some just average.

For nicer dining and more consistent dishes in a slightly less casual atmosphere, try The Fat Snook, which is also on A1A south. In the NW part of downtown, the Pompano Grill is more upscale and always reliable.

On the Cocoa Beach Pier, there's the Atlantic Grill. You get a nice beach view and can watch the surfers, and the seafood is usually good.

Our favorite restaurant in the area is Cafe Margaux in Cocoa Village. It isn't just seafood, but the seafood dishes there are always great, with wonderful sauces. It is more upscale, and although people will come in in shorts, you'd feel more comfortable in smart casual dress.

As for beach areas, the best is Lori Wilson Park, with good facilities and free parking. The areas around downtown Cocoa Beach and around the pier attract a younger crowd, especially on weekends. Shepard Park and Fischer Park are also good, although there are parking charges. Jetty Park is also nice with a very broad beach, but there is also a per car entry fee. One little known area is Cherrie Down Park in Cape Canaveral. There are plenty of nice beaches all along the 10-mile strip from Patrick AFB up to the port, some not very crowded, but often without facilities.

My wife is from around the Bowling Green KY area. She first went to Cocoa Beach as a little girl over 30 years ago, and later we went to the beach there for many years, finally purchasing a condo there. Unfortunately, we both still work and can't get down there as much as we'd like. You'll have a great time!

Edited: 27 May 2011, 21:48
Westerville, Ohio
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2. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

Add to the list Florida Seafood on 520 just W. Of A1A midtown, a block and a half from the beach. Popular, mid-priced, good quality.

I prefer Grills of the port restaurants.

To me Jack Baker tries to be more upscale with white table cloths. More of the blue hair crowd. But, the food is reliable.

Fat Snook is a good food spot, but will be pricey as is Margaux.

Cape Canaveral...
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for Key West
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3. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

Grills is also our favorite place at the port. Nothing better than sitting out on their deck listening to live music enjoying some drinks and good food. Jetty Park is close by, too - nice and convenient for a visit to the beach.

Orlando, Florida
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4. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

Our favorite is also Cafe Margaux in Cocoa Village (NOT beachside).

On the island, Grills (grilled catch of the day) and Fishlips (ahi fish tacos) get my vote. Both Fat Snook AND Pompano Grill service is iffy (my experiences recently have NOT been good), Rusty's is all deep fried and Florida Seafood I haven't been in but reminds me of Denny's for fish. The Port does have the most close by choices. The Pier's Atlantic Grill is great too.

Cape Canaveral...
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5. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

We've been to Florida Seafood once and thought it was good. It neither looked nor felt anything like a Denny's to me. ;) I should say I don't eat seafood, but everyone else at our table did and they were all happy with their meals.

I would still (and do) choose Grills over Florida Seafood. The food is good and you just can't beat the atmosphere there.

Melbourne, Florida
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6. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

I don't think that young children will be comfortable at either The Fat Snook or Cafe Margaux.

If you go to Fish Lips, Grills or Rusty's, walk around the corner & have desert at Auddino's Italian Bakery (523 Glen Cheek Drive).

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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7. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

For a casual, DECENT priced seafood restaurant in the Cocoa Beach area, we also recommend Florida Seafood Grill. Everyone in the family will be comfortable there, but there isn't a water view. Our 18 month old granddaughter loved the fish tanks.

If you want the water view, the restaurants at the Cocoa Beach Pier are good and it's a great beach spot. There are several restaurants on the Pier. I don't think it matters which one you eat at, I think there is only one kitchen so all the food is cooked by the same peoples. Lots of variety from very casual to fancy.

Otherwise there are also a lot of restaurants at the Port. Most of them are new.

The children would NOT be comfortable at Cafe Margaux. It's great for a romantic dinner. And it's not cheap.

Orlando, Florida
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8. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

Yes, sorry, I read the post wrong, TLCCondo & canvadre are correct, Cafe Margaux is not a good place for small children. However, Fat Snook is more casual, but still upscale, has booster chairs and welcomes children. In fact, we went there for our anniversary and a toddler was seated in a booster seat next to us. We asked if we could be moved a little farther away but they wouldn't. So, we left.

Rockledge, Florida
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9. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

I would also recommend Grills at the port. Another good choice may be the Italian Courtyard on 520 in Cocoa Beach. It has italian entrees, pasta, yummy garlic rolls that come with the dinner, and seafood meals. It is a casual place with excellent food. You can eat in or outside. The inside is supposed to look like an "outside courtyard". It is pretty with lots of great food.

10. Re: Restaurant suggestion?

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