Cool Cocoa Beach restaurants and bars
By Helen Wright
Cocoa Beach is on Florida’s cool coast, but move over slick and spendy eateries and step forward local foodie joints that are fun and full of flavour. These Cocoa Beach Restaurants have plates of personality, serving up local charm and – most importantly – just really good food.
From beach bars with live music, to local favourites and family-friendly cafes, this list of Cocoa Beach Restaurants and food stops is a great mix of options for your visit to Florida’s Space Coast.
The best Cocoa Beach restaurants to grab a bite to eat
Coconuts on the Beach
(2 Minutemen Cswy, Cocoa Beach, FL, 32931)
This was one of our favourite nights out during a two-week Florida road trip. Coconuts on the Beach is everything you want a beach bar to be: a buzzing atmosphere, friendly staff, live music and fresh seafood. And if you want sea views, you can’t get better than Coconuts – which is, as it says, *on* the beach.
Start with a Vitamin-C Rita ($11), a zesty take on a traditional Margarita. Then try one of the speciality fish dishes, such as Stuffed Red Snapper ($35) or the Togarashi Tuna Bowl ($24). Get there before sunset and wait for a beachside table. It’s well worth it.
Grills Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar
(500 Glen Cheek Dr, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920)
This one is a little outside Cocoa Beach, but ideal if you are exploring Port Canaveral or heading back from Kennedy Space Center. We loved this laid-back tiki bar for immediate holiday vibes. Grills is such a popular Cocoa Beach Restaurant (there is also another location along the Space Coast in Melbourne) that the tropical-themed bar has now expanded with an outlet in Orlando too. This was the original and it’s a neat spot on the water with indoor and outdoor seating and live music on the deck. If there happens to be a rocket launch scheduled, Grills Tiki Bar is a prime spot with fantastic views over Cape Canaveral and the launch pads, but make a reservation and leave yourself enough time to get there because traffic builds up in the area with everyone wanting a glimpse at the shuttle.
The Grilled Fish Sandwich is good ($13.99) and the kid’s meals are huge! The fresh fish with rice and veggies were plenty for my two to share and easily big enough for an adult. Try the Shrimp Cuban ($15.49) for something different (a sandwich with pork, shrimp and cheese with spicy sauce) but leave room for dessert – the chocolate cake is massive!
The Tiny Turtle
(249 Minutemen Causeway, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931)
This cute café is a local favourite in Cocoa Beach, serving some of the best Puerto Rican and Caribbean-inspired foods in the state. For Brits, visiting Cocoa Beach from Orlando, it’s a great place to try something really different (and delicious). The fish tacos are just divine (you can choose from Mahi Mahi or shrimp, but the seasoning on the Mahi is mouth-watering). Topped with fresh salsa in a corn or flour tortilla and you’ve got the perfect lunch.
Barria Tacos from Taste Budz Food Truck
698 N Courtenay Pkwy, Merritt Island, FL 32953
It’s not technically one of the Cocoa Beach Restaurants, but parked up in a gas station on Merritt Island (near Kennedy Space Center), this food truck serves some of the best food in the area. The tacos are excellent, the quesadilla are packed with ingredients and if they have the ‘Moetatoes’ – get them! Spicy fried tatatots, drizzled with cheese sauce and green onions. Sensational.
6615 North Atlantic Avenue A1ACape Canaveral, FL 32920
This small, family-run restaurant came highly recommended and for good reason. The food is beautifully presented and the menu is exciting, offering something a bit different to the typical Florida fayre. The sesame-crusted tuna is so good ($26) and the lamb pot roast ($28) is like having a taste of home cooking. Whatever you do, team everything with the bacon brussels sprouts. Trust me, they are fantastic!
The Fat Donkey
247 Minutemen Cswy, Cocoa Beach, FL
Not food food, but a brilliant place to go for dessert! This fun ice cream parlour has a huge range of flavours (cake and batter or butterscotch crunch anyone?). Plus, Key Lime Smash Pies, Freak Shakes and jar cakes (these are good). They even have dairy, vegan and gluten-free options. Housed in a colourful hut – this place is holiday mode to the max. Check out their Instagram!
8 Minutemen Cswy, Cocoa Beach, FL
We recommend heading to Fat Kahunas on our guide to Cocoa Beach because it has a huge turtle mural on the side of the building. Inside, the food is also worth going for. They are known for their shark tacos but the macadamia nut mahi mahi is delicious and the brandy and bacon scallops are gloriously indulgent. Fat Kahunas is right on the beach, too, so it’s somewhat of a Cocoa Beach institution.
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