Port Canaveral Area Seafood Options?

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Florida Departures

Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami & Port Canaveral & Tampa
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Cape Canaveral, FL
333 Posts
Joined Nov 2004

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.

Hey everyone!
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
Hi Kristy,

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.
Fish Lips - We prefer the outside deck and covered deck upstairs. The stuffed snapper is very good. Decent variety. We go for All U Can Eat Snow Crab Legs on Monday nights for $22.
Rusty's - Outdoor and indoor seating. Live music some nights.
Milliken's Reef - Outdoor bar area is all I've tried, but there is fancier seating inside. Sometimes a piano player. Urban night club feel on the weekend evenings, which is truly not my scene.
Baja Tavern - The new guys on the block. I've eaten there twice without any complaints from the wife or daughter. Open air seating, too. Next to Fish Lips.
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.
Florida Seafood - Great shrimp dishes and family friendly. By the 528 causeway a few miles south from the Port. Beach Trolley goes close by.
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.
Hope this helps,

Melbourne, FL
8,198 Posts
Joined Apr 2005

Florida Seafood - Great shrimp dishes and family friendly. By the 528 causeway a few miles south from the Port. Beach Trolley goes close by.

This place is on SR 520 ..... not 528, 3.3 miles south by A1A


crab legs and cod usually come from cold northern waters so if you order it in Florida you get the same thing you can buy in your grocery at home.

Think of it this way.....if in Alaska and you order lobster, where did it come from?

{my ship monitored fisheries in Alaska . . . most people are SO un aware}

(p.s. I think the PC thread is counter productive too ... but have never been able to convince them . . . . )
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Cape Canaveral, FL
333 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Florida Seafood - Great shrimp dishes and family friendly. By the 520 causeway a few miles south from the Port. Beach Trolley goes close by.
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.




East Coast By Way of Midwest
1,376 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
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.
Cape Canaveral, FL
333 Posts
Joined Nov 2004

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:



More than likely, though, the easiest way to get some fresh rock shrimp for cruisers is to go to the Florida Seafood restaurant in Cocoa Beach (on the 520 causeway).


We buy them (and Canaveral white shrimp) by the "boat bag" at Wild Ocean when we can, and pack them in a cooler to give to friends in Alaska. They are always a hit.

Oddly enough, most Florida rock shrimp is exported to other states, and there are high end seafood places I've seen as far away as Hawaii that feature them.

Here is a thread on Chowhound that has info about rock shrimp:


Hope this helps. Making me hungry....


Near Orlando but California Dreaming
14,305 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
I'm a fan of Rusty's, love sitting on the deck when they've got live music.
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East Coast By Way of Midwest
1,376 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
John: thank you for taking the town to write all that information out. WOW Those rock shrimp look real good.

Ducklite: thank you for the recommendation. Rusty's is definitely on the short list. It seems like there is plenty of great seafood restaurants to choose from in the Port area.

Cape Canaveral, FL
333 Posts
Joined Nov 2004

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.

Columbus, OH
1,652 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
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.
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