When most people think of the Space Coast, they think of Cocoa Beach and all the fried food and ice cream that comes with a touristy beach destination. However, this coastal area is a bit of a hidden gem for foodies. As a local, I wanted to share what I think are the best Cocoa Beach restaurants and beyond.
I have also included Cocoa Village, Port Canaveral, Merritt Island, and Titusville in this post since I would be remiss not to mention some of the excellent places to eat just a short drive away. Whether you are in the mood for seafood shacks or fine dining, there is no shortage of delicious restaurants in Cocoa Beach to try!
Affordable Cocoa Beach Restaurants
First up, I want to share some affordable restaurants where you can have breakfast, lunch, or dinner without breaking the bank. The following are all counter-service restaurants which also makes them excellent options for those short on time. Expect to get a high-quality meal for under $15 per person at the following eateries.
1. The Tiny Turtle – Caribbean Fusion
Starting with one of the best budget spots in Cocoa Beach is the Tiny Turtle, but you wouldn’t know it from the food or the atmosphere! This cozy beach bungalow is a Puerto Rican Caribbean Fusion spot, with lots of pork, rice, and beans on the menu. They are especially known for their sofrito sauce, which you can get on nachos, burritos, or bowls.
2. Sergio’s Tacos – Tacos and Mexican Favorites
There are not a lot of great Mexican restaurants in Brevard County, but Segio’s Tacos is the one place that never disappoints. This casual spot has eight different kinds of tacos to choose from and they are only $3.50 apiece. In addition, you can also get burritos, bowls, quesadillas, and tortas here.
3. Poke Fin – Sushi Bowls
If you are in the mood for a tropical vibe, dining at Poke Fin is like taking an instant vacation. They are known for their poke bowls, but you can also get chicken, shrimp, or tofu rice bowls. Between the surf-style atmosphere and the fast counter service, Poke Fin makes for a relaxing, beachy meal.
4. Foxtail Coffee and Kelly’s Ice Cream – Coffee and Sweets
This next option is a two-in-one with awesome coffee AND dessert options. Located on Atlantic Ave, Foxtail is my go-to spot for a morning cold brew or latte. Of course, you have to come back later for ice cream. Kelly’s has the best hard ice cream on the Space Coast! Every flavor I have had is amazing, but I am especially obsessed with the Mexican Chocolate ice cream!
5. Junk Food Bakery – Baked Goods
One Cocoa Beach bakery that everyone needs to try is Junk Food Bakery. This retro-styled spot has a variety of cookies, cupcakes, coffee, and treats. They close at 6 PM most nights, so have dessert before dinner with a quick visit here. From the unique flavors to the adorable atmosphere, you will not regret it.
6. Salty Bagel – Breakfast
When you are eager to get to the beach, a quick bagel breakfast does the trick. I love to visit Salty Bagel for authentic New York-style bagels and cream cheese. You can also get a full bagel sandwich with options like pork roll, bacon and egg, and nova lox. With everything on the menu under $10, you can start your day with a full stomach and a full wallet.
Cocoa Beach Restaurants to Splurge at
If you rather have a sit-down meal, this next part of this post has plenty of options. These are the best restaurants in Cocoa Beach for an indulgent and delicious experience. Though this section is the “splurge” section, you can enjoy a meal at most of these options for less than $30 per person.
7. 4th Street Fillin Station – Gastropub
For a fun, outdoor atmosphere, a large beer list, and tons of unique menu items, I always recommend 4th Street Fillin Station. This converted gas station is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night so you can enjoy foodie creations any time of day! This is not necessarily a splurge, but expect to pay a little extra for the top-notch quality burgers and tacos served here.
8. The Fat Snook – Upscale Date Night
A date night must for Andrew and me is the Fat Snook right near the beach. First off, they have an excellent wine list to compliment a romantic evening. For food, the seafood entrees are all incredible, but I also recommend getting a couple of appetizers or sides, so you can experience full culinary mastery. If you have a sweet tooth, then save room for dessert, because the Sky High Key Lime Pie is legendary. This one’s a splurge (and often requires reservations), but so worth it for a special night.
9. Tropics Cocktail Bar – Island Drinks and Bites
For a true FL vacation experience, I love going to Tropic’s Cocktail Bar for a bite. This colorful spot is right next to the beach and you can show up sandy for a refreshing break from the sun. Not only are there islandy dishes like Floribbean Wings and Guava Pork sliders, but there is also frequent live music. It’s just the place to end the day with a cold drink.
10. Florida’s Fresh Grill – Floridian Seafood
Those looking for a gastronomic adventure will want to visit local gem Florida’s Fresh Grill, a local gem celebrated for its sustainably sourced seafood. Though its strip mall appearance may be deceiving, this is actually a fine dining seafood and Italian spot with succulent Chilean Sea Bass and savory center-cut top sirloin. Every bite is bursting with Florida flavor, from the ceviche to the garlic mashed potatoes.
11. Jazzy’s Mainely Lobster – New England Seafood
You will find a lot of seafood at restaurants around Cocoa Beach, but Jazzy’s is my favorite spot for a casual dinner of New England-style seafood. Not only can you get classics like lobster rolls and clam chowder, but they also offer local catches fried, grilled, or blackened. There are plenty of non-seafood options as well, but if you do like lobster, you won’t be disappointed here!
12. Nosh Restaurant and Bar – Sushi and Pan-Asian
Of the many Sushi restaurants on the Space Coast, I have found my favorite to be Nosh Restaurant and Bar. This bright and airy spot serves up sushi rolls, poke bowls, curry, and other pan-Asian specialties. I can’t resist the Big Love Roll, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu!
13. Flavor Kitchen and Wine Bar – Foodie Style Steakhouse
Instead of a traditional steakhouse, Flavor Kitchen and Wine Bar excels at fine dining with a twist. Here you can have a casual meal with food that is anything but. Specialties include Smoked Salmon Caviar Nachos, Drunken Goat Cheese Chicken, and Honey-Lavendar Hushpuppies. Don’t sleep on the endless mimosa brunch either, as this Cocoa Beach restaurant makes waves at any meal.
14. The Alibi – Trendy Date Night
One Cocoa Beach restaurant that exudes trendy vibes is The Alibi. Between the intimate lighting, speakeasy decor, and handcrafted cocktails, this restaurant feels like an escape. And though they are known for their drinks, the food is also excellent. Many diners share small plates like truffle fish dip with the table, but the flatbreads and salads can work as a personal meal.
15. Heidi’s Jazz Club – European Fare
For a night of European dining and live music, Heidi’s Jazz Club is the place to be. This intimate venue offers an enchanting setting with live music and a menu featuring gourmet delights. Savor the Beef Stroganoff or crispy Roast Duckling, and let the smooth melodies transport you to a bygone era of sophistication and romance.
16. Rising Tide Tap and Table – Cape Canaveral Casual
For a meal with a view, I love Rising Tide Tap & Table. Though the other Cape Canaveral restaurants have ocean views, this patio overlooking the Exploration Tower, along with the tasty variety of food served here, has them all beat. As for the menu, you can find anything you are craving from beer and tacos to cocktails and mahi mahi.
17. Boardroom – Charcuterie
If you are a charcuterie lover, Boardroom should be the number one stop on your list of places to eat in Cocoa Beach. With everchanging options of rare cheeses and meats to choose from, you will be treated to a meal unlike any other in the area in a refined setting. There is also a lovely selection of share plates and desserts and even a Bark-cuterie Board for your dog! This is one of my favorite places to unwind with some pinot and cheese.
Cocoa Village Restaurants
Though I could go on and on about impressive Cocoa Beach restaurants, there are a few nearby areas worth venturing to for a culinary experience. Cocoa Village especially is a great day trip or evening trip, less than half an hour from Cocoa Beach. Below, are some of my favorite places to eat that make this main street a foodie destination.
18. Ossorio Bakery & Cafe – Hearty Lunch
Starting with a classic, Ossorio Bakery & Café is a delightful café for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here you can try everything from artisanal bread to handmade ice cream. I especially enjoy a relaxing lunch here with a cup of tea and their award-winning Sara’s Chicken Salad.
19. Café Margaux – Romantic French
Cocoa Village is a romantic spot for dinner, drinks, and a walk by the water and nowhere fits the bill for dinner like Café Margaux. This sophisticated establishment features French-inspired cuisine with a modern twist, like spiced rubbed filet mignon and Coquilles St. Jacques scallops. The impeccable service and refined ambiance make for a stunning night on the town.
20. Crydermans Barbecue – Texas Style Barbecue
For barbecue enthusiasts, Cryderman’s in Cocoa Village is hands-down the best spot on the Space Coast. From oak-smoked brisket to spicy house-made beef sausage, every bite is a taste of barbecue heaven. Be sure to try their smokey beans and creamy mac ‘n’ cheese for a true comfort food experience.
21. Village Bier Garten – German Delicacies
If you want to feel like you are in Germany celebrating Oktoberfest, then look no further than the Village Bier Garten. You can find typical German food like schnitzel and bratwurst and of course giant pretzels here. The beer also comes by the half-liter or liter, so you can expect an amusing atmosphere. The Village Bier Garten often has live music, as well as gorgeous decorations during the holiday season, check it out if you are in the area then.
22. Papasan’s Vietnamese Café – Pho, Banh Mi and More
Another restaurant near Cocoa Beach great for trying unique cuisine on a budget is Papasan’s Vietnamese Café. This cozy eatery serves authentic pho, banh mi, spring rolls, curries, and more. Most dishes are less than $15, and you can enjoy them at the restaurant or to-go.
23. Cypress Table – Savory Sandwiches
Whether you want breakfast, lunch, or treats, Cypress Table is a Cocoa Village favorite. This darling café has an impressive array of donuts, sandwiches, tacos, bowls, and more. I recommend dining here for brunch or lunch to enjoy one of their unique creations like the scallion cheddar biscuits and gravy. However, if you are short on time, at least stop by for one of their melt-in-your-mouth donuts!
Merritt Island and Titusville Restaurants
Last, I wanted to add a few more restaurants in Merritt Island and Titusville that are not to be overlooked. Many will visit the Kennedy Space Center when in Cocoa Beach, and both of these options are perfect for lunch before or dinner after your visit. There is also so much nature and wetlands to explore while you are in the area. Everyone should visit this part of the Space Coast at least once, and you can bookmark these nearby restaurants for when you do!
24. Dolphins Waterfront Bar & Grill – Tiki Bar
If you are looking for a tiki bar, you will want to head to Dolphin’s on Merritt Island. This waterfront restaurant and bar has exactly the kind of island vibe that a Florida vacation needs. You can’t go wrong with the quintessential tiki rum drinks and the seafood is always so fresh. Be sure to check the schedule for live music that just adds to the island experience.
25. Pacific Rim – Upscale Sushi
Another sushi place near Cocoa Beach that I love is Pacific Rim on Merritt Island. The sushi rolls are unique, with options like the Big Love Tempura Roll and the soft shell crab Monster Roll. There is also a large selection of Thai dishes including curries and noodles. If you are on a budget but still want delicious sushi, visit during lunch for more affordable specials!
26. Third Culture Kitchen – Global Fusion
For exotic cuisine in the Cocoa Beach area, I have to recommend Third Culture Kitchen! Though it’s up in Titusville, you have to visit for the best curry and bao buns on the Space Coast. If that doesn’t entice you, there are quite a few other fusion cuisine options on the menu as well. With a plethora of vegetarian options, brunch deals, and more, this is a true crowd-pleaser.
27. Dixie Crossroads – Cajun Seafood
Venture up to Dixie Crossroads for a delightful dining experience of seafood and southern comfort food. This Titusville restaurant boasts a range of dishes from fried fish to surf and turf, that make for a fresh and flavorful meal. Savor the seafood platters, sip on tropical cocktails, and even feed the fish in the pond out front at this Space Coast staple.
28. Tree of Life Cuban Bakery – Cuban Delicacies
You can indulge in a taste of Cuba right in Titusville at the Tree of Life Cuban Bakery. This family-owned restaurant serves up authentic Cuban cuisine with a side of warm hospitality. Though it is called a bakery, you can have a full meal of Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, and café con leche until 7 PM daily. Almost everything on the menu is under $12, so you can save some money without sacrificing flavor!
29. Merritt (My) Island Pancake House – Classic Breakfast
For those craving a classic brunch, Merritt (My) Island Pancake House is a spot that serves it up seven days a week. They are known for massive, decadent pancakes that will satisfy any sweet tooth. However, for savory breakfast fans, their fried mashed potato puffs and chicken and waffles, also impress.
30. Brix Project – Foodie Brewhouse
The Brix Project is a bit out of the way from Cocoa Beach, but it’s worth the drive! If you are heading back from the Kennedy Space Center, it’s the perfect stop for a bite. This Titusville restaurant is also a brewery and has a wide-ranging menu for lunch, dinner, and brunch. I recommend coming for the fruity wheat ales and delicious flatbread pizzas.
Know Before You Go
There are tons of great restaurants in and around Cocoa Beach, but these thirty really stick out to me time and time again. Whether you are on vacation in the area or a local, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the places to eat listed here. Here are a few things to keep in mind before eating out in Cocoa Beach.
- It is customary to tip at least 20% in Cocoa Beach and most restaurants do not include this in the final bill unless you have a large party.
- Most places do not require reservations, with the exception of holidays or big parties. For some of the splurge restaurants, it may be smart to call ahead just in case.
- The best way to save money in Cocoa Beach when going out to eat is to go during Happy Hour or for lunch. There are not a lot of early bird specials here.
- Cocoa Beach is known for being a casual place, and you can wear shorts and flip-flops to all of these restaurants. However, for upscale restaurants, I would err on the dress-to-impress side.
- Parking can be a challenge in Cocoa Beach, and you may need to pay for street parking or a public lot. If you can’t find parking near the restaurant, there is usually some in the Cocoa Beach Parking Garage on Orlando Ave.
Have you been to any of the Cocoa Beach restaurants on this list? Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments! For more Space Coast restaurant recommendations, check out my Space Coast Travel Guide!