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Florida Departures Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami & Port Canaveral & Tampa
This was a question posted on "The NEW I Work in Port Canaveral Thread!". I just can't see adding to a 95-page thread. No offense intended to the dedicated and helpful souls posting to the original thread, but I've broken this into a new topic.
I know i've seen it in this massive thread but what seafood restaurant would you recommend in Port Canaveral/Cocoa Beach?
In the midwest we just don't get that great of a selections.
We are mainly crab legs, shrimp, lobster, calamari, and cod type of people. The bigger the better and the sweeter the...oh you understand.
Thanks for your assistance
Our family favorites in the Port are Grill's (Mahi sandwich!) or Fish Lips. Nobody in PC has the "seafood buffet" type thing going on that I know of, but both of these restaurants have good sandwiches, main seafood courses and daily specials. Milliken's Reef is more expensive, and some local fishermen tell me they don't buy as much locally as the others (rumor, not verified).
Here are some links to the restaurant websites and menus, and my own opinions. Your mileage may vary, but you can poke around and see what looks good to you:
Grill's - Johncn's family favorite. Good tiki bar type feel. Live music on weekends at the Tiki Bar. Can watch the local fisherman jockey for position and thrills on the boat ramp from the outside deck.
There are also good seafood restaurants down in Cocoa Beach that we really like (Florida Seafood, etc.):
Cocoa Beach Lobster Shanty - I know...why lobster? But this old school (think 1970's 1980's) restaurant has really good food. Great sunsets from their deck. Big salad bar. Hard to find, but worth the search. Probably a $25 cab ride.
Coconut's on the Beach - Food OK, but it is on the beach, has sand volleyball courts, and live bands about every night. Lots of fun. Down in Cocoa Beach proper. I think about a $18 (?) cab ride from the Port, but there are other food and entertainment options if you get there and want to bar hop.
BJ is correct. It's the 520 causeway, not 528. Duh.
Also, he's correct about crab legs and cod. I am in the Bering Sea in Alaska right now, and I can vouch for his statement. When we order lobster in Anchorage, it comes from Maine, or Australia. When we order crab legs in Florida, they all come from Alaska. When you order salmon, if it says "Atlantic", it is farm raised in pens and likely dyed orange...and tastes like paste. When you order Alaska salmon, it is wild caught and a completely different taste.
In the Cape Canaveral area local fish and seafood is going to be stuff like mahi, tuna, wahoo, shrimp (you can ask if it is local), blue crab, some oysters (ask), triple tail (ugly but good), and cobia. There is less and less snapper and grouper due to very restrictive new regulations.
Public Information Statement: Although increasingly marketed to restaurants and home seafood consumers in the United States, there is no such thing as "fresh" Tilapia...lol. Those fish are pond raised, pellet fed, fresh water from Asia. They all arrive frozen. So if the "Fresh Catch of the Day" is posted as Tilapia, you are DEFINITELY in the wrong restaurant.
There is rampant marketing fraud at restaurants in regarding fish species. In fact, some are calling for "DNA certified" premium fish in restaurants, and I think that's a great idea. If I owned a local restaurant, another option would be to put an icon next to menu items that were locally sourced.
Oh wow thank you for the information! Very informative...i'll pass the information on to the family. Being in the midwest we don't really good that great of a seafood collection. This is one of those boxes we have to check when we go on vacation along ANY coastline.
I can't believe I almost forgot to recommend on of our very best local specialties - Florida "rock shrimp".
You owe it to yourself to try some. I checked with Florida Seafood, and they currently have them according their website.
Rock shrimp are tiny, and have tough shells but are really, really rich and tasty. They are served with the shells pre-split, and taste just like Caribbean lobster. They're served like mini lobsters with drawn butter and garlic. The season is year round, and they fish for them with trawl nets when they are close in enough in good numbers. Highly recommended if you can find them on a menu in the area.
There are only a few places you can get them in Florida, and Port Canaveral is the home of the few boats still fishing for these delicious treats.
The story of the Port Canaveral rock shrimp fleet is pretty interesting. The original guy who built most of the shrimpers is from nearby Titusville (30 minutes by car), and the family still has a restaurant and fish market called Dixie Crossroads there.
However, the same family also maintains the tiny "Wild Ocean" seafood market in Port Canveral, and use the ice machines and dock there for their commercial vessels:
I'm a fan of Rusty's, love sitting on the deck when they've got live music.
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No problem. That's what forums are for...asking questions and getting different opinions.
Let us know what you did, and how you liked it when you get back. Maybe even take pictures of those rock shrimp and post 'em if you find them tasty.
Actually, ever since writing that I've had a craving. I may go get some, take some pictures and start a "Rock Shrimp Rock" thread...lol. It's a great and rather flavorful bit of Port Canaveral lore, and ever harder to find in Florida.
Last edited by Johncn; December 6th, 2011 at 03:24 AM.
This is an old thread (searching is your friend) but thanks for this information. We leave on Saturday and my boyfriend's only request is to find a place that has FRESH seafood.
We are considering Fishlips, Rusty's and Grill's Seafood. Any recent information that would lead us to one over the others? We want casual, good and outdoor seating would be a plus provided the weather cooperates.
We won't land in Melbourne until 5:30 (assuming an on time flight) so it will be 6:30-7:00 by the time we get to the Cape Canaveral area. We will miss the Saturday ships sailing out so it doesn't really matter where we go.