(UDPATED APRIL 2022) Melbourne is located on Florida’s Space Coast and sits by I-95 to the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. It is a fun and eclectic city with a vibrant, historic downtown, beautiful beaches, and really great restaurants. Don’t just take our word for it, come eat your way around town with this 16 restaurant guide to Melbourne, Florida.
1. Cafe Coconut Cove
Cafe Coconut Cove is over at Melbourne Beach and in a somewhat romantic setting you wouldn’t expect. The German-forward eatery has waterfront dining, a screened patio, and delicious appetizers. I loved the pate with crackers and grilled bread, onions, peppers, and pickled veggies. The Potato Pancakes are another tasty choice, served with sour cream and apple cranberry compote.
For your main course, the Jaeger Schnitzel is hard to beat. You can pick your side dishes; mine were spaetzle and Brussels sprouts. Save room for the luscious Black Forest Cake.
2. Mustard’s Last Stand
If I come to Melbourne ten times, I’m going to eat at Mustard’s Last Stand eight or nine of them. Why? Because it is that darned good. Mustard’s tastes hot dogs and fries to the next level, with grilled onions and all sorts of crazy combinations.
My favorite dogs are the Joe Dogmaggio (marinara, bacon, Swiss, parmesan), Reuben (kraut, Thousand Island, Swiss), and Hollyweird (cream cheese and grilled onions). The dogs come on a delicious sesame seed bun and you can sub the beef dog out for veggie or turkey at no extra charge.
The onion rings are good, but the fries are bangin’! Try the Island Fries with Thousand Island dressing, cheese, and grilled onions, or my daughter’s favorite, Firecracker Fries, with sriracha, cheese, and loads of garlic.
3. FM Pizza Oven
FM Pizza is a great addition to Melbourne’s Eau Gallie Arts District—they make seriously good hand-tossed pizza pies and are a veteran-owned business. The restaurant is bright and colorful with many cool things to look at…and don’t miss the bathrooms, they are worthy, too.
We like the Meat Lover’s pizza with ham, pepperoni, sausage, and bacon. Additional toppings are $1 to $2 each. Enjoy your pizza with one of the great wines they offer or a cold beer.
4. Meg O’Malley’s
In the throes of getting a major facelift, Meg O’Malley’s is a staple in downtown Melbourne and one of the best Irish restaurants you’ll find outside of Ireland. Pub grub, a huge beer selection, and TVs are offered in this spacious restaurant that has a back entrance and parking in the alley, too. Start your meal with the Sausage Rolls or Beer Cheese crock with brown bread.
Indulge in your favorite Irish dish—all the classics are covered—including Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Fish & Chips, and Corned Beef and Cabbage. I’ve had them all through the years and they are all excellent, very hearty, and usually enough to take leftovers home. Do yourself a favor and have the cup of 19 cent Parliament Bean soup, an iconic dish at Meg O’Malley’s.
5. Mulberry Lane Cafe
Breakfast and lunch are served at Mulberry Lane Cafe, and you will want to try them both out. This unassuming restaurant that sits in a strip mall, has seriously good eats and uses quality ingredients. The Benedicts are every bit as beautiful as they are delicious, and the menu also offers creative pancake dishes, omelets, burritos, bagels, and more.
I had the Greek Benedict (added gyro meat) and it was good, but my daughter’s Asparagus Benedict, with roasted red peppers, bacon, and provolone was truly amazing. Well done on the perfectly poached eggs and light, but tangy hollandaise. Breakfast is served all day at Mulberry Lane Cafe; can I get a high five?
Backwater sits right off historic East New Haven in downtown Melbourne. It is a rustic-chic eatery with in-table griddles for making your own pancakes. You don’t have to cook your own food, but it is an option. Backwater has Instagram-worthy plates that hold delicious, clever recipes that taste delicious. They also have a variety of coffee drinks.
The Boss Hog is shown below, with provolone-stuffed rope sausage, balsamic onions, cheese grits (with bacon and green onions), and a sunny-side-up egg. OMG, it is so good and filling. We are also fans of the C.H.Clarks Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict over a homemade biscuit and topped with hollandaise.
Kids will love the pancake toppings that include cotton candy pieces, Oreo crumbles, Crunch bar pieces, and bananas.
7. Hemingway’s Tavern
I like the location of Hemingway’s Tavern, which is off-the-beaten-path from my usual Melbourne travels. The restaurant has a relaxed vibe, but the coveted seats are outside in the courtyard. Cuban food is the specialty here, and it is done really well.
If you aren’t in the mood for the delicious Caribbean black bean soup or a Cuban sandwich, I recommend the Yard Bird on a Stick, tender island-spiced chicken skewers with an avocado-lime dipping sauce. Yum! If you are a coffee drinker, try a Cortadito or Cafe con leech.
8. The BeachSide Cafe
This unassuming little gem on Fifth Avenue hardly prepares you for the incredible foods that are prepared inside, but welcome to the surfer-vibe Beachside Cafe. Another local restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, Beachside makes amazing omelets, pancakes, and biscuits with gravy, but for me, the real star are the tasty sandwiches and sides.
I love how the meat is rolled onto the billowy bread at Beachside Cafe, and the pasta salad side dish is full of flavor. You can’t go wrong with anything you choose at this classic cafeteria.
The only chain restaurant making our list for where to eat in Melbourne, Florida, is Bennigan’s. I was so excited when Bennigan’s came back to life here on the Space Coast, mainly because I bartended there for five years way back in the day, and secondly because who doesn’t love a good Monte Cristo and Broccoli Bites? Bennigan’s has the best!
Be sure to save room for the signature Death by Chocolate creation, with ice cream and cookie, dipped in chocolate and served with a warm side of liquid chocolate for dipping. Oh heavenly day, this is one fantastic dessert.
10. El Ambia Cubano
One of my new favorite Cuban eateries in the whole state of Florida is El Ambia Cubano, a festive and whimsical looking eatery that sits within view of the waterfront. Patio and even parking lot dining are popular choices due to the demand of customers.
El Ambia Cubano has a delicious MediaNoche sandwich and the Yuca fries are spot on. Save room for dessert because the pineapple upside down cake and rum bread pudding are 10/10 fantastic…and priced just right. Oh, and the alcoholic beverages aren’t bad either, though I prefer a strong Cortadito.
11. KeKe’s Breakfast Cafe
Florida has breakfast and brunch covered in full at KeKe’s Breakfast Cafe, with 51 locations, and more on the way. Floridians and tourists really love KeKe’s, probably because the food quality is fantastic and the dishes are appealing and very tasty.
My go-to dishes are the Banana Nut Waffle or Turtle Nut French Toast if I’m craving something sweet, or the Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine if I want something more savory. For lunch, think burgers, ciabatta bread pressed paninis, and salads.
12. Squid Lips Overwater Grill
One of the best patios in Melbourne is found at Squid Lips, on the intracoastal, where you can arrive by boat, too. Squid Lips is a colorful and fun restaurant with plenty of seafood and American dishes, plus salads, burgers, and the such. The Coconut Onion Chips dipped in rum batter are a unique appetizer to try, or the green onions.
Squid Lips has a raw bar with mussels, oysters, shrimp, and clams, but my favorite dish was the shrimp, sausage, and chicken jambalaya, no longer on the menu. On my next visit, I’m trying the Black Cherry Pepper Pork, which sounds delicious.
13. Matt’s Casbah
One of the most popular downtown Melbourne eateries is Matt’s Casbah, which has the biggest street front patio of any restaurant in town. Matt’s has a great happy hour and extensive wine and cocktail menu. Don’t make up your mind about menu options until you hear the waiter run down the daily specials because they are always some enticing chef-creation, like the smothered onion rings I had on my last visit.
Other yummy choices are the Crunchy Pork Dumplings and Blackened Filet Tips and Blue Cheese Flatbread. Oh, and half the menu is devoted to sushi. Matt’s motto should be “and a good time was had by all”—it is that kind of fun place.
14. The Mansion
The Mansion is a two-story venue in Melbourne with really good food, drinks, service, and menu choices. While I haven’t been there personally, my daughter loves it and swears by their Lobster Roll and Ahi Tuna Tacos. You can dine on the second story for epic views and gorgeous scenery, all the while sipping a cocktail or glass of beer because it truly is 5 o’clock somewhere.
15. Crush XI
I had my first Crush Eleven experience recently and loved what I saw. First, an enticing happy hour around the bar and seating areas, which was highly popular. Second, both indoor and outdoor seating, with a beautifully styled restaurant that had an original look to it. Then there is the menu chock full of Southern favorites like Brûléed Pimento Cheese and Medjool Dates (with Millionaire’s bacon, goat cheese, and a Malbec gastric), so rich and sweet that you would swear you are eating dessert.
I was only there for appetizers and cocktails, so my Creamsicle Sour and Caramelized Onion Tart (with brie and gorgonzola) were both so impressive that I am already planning to revisit for a full meal. Crush Eleven is the sister restaurant to The Fat Snook in Cocoa Beach.
16. Ichabod’s Dockside Bar & Grill
We met some friends for dinner at Ichabod’s Dockside Bar & Grill. I didn’t even know this part of Melbourne existed; definitely a hidden gem. Ichibod’s is popular with the locals and has indoor and outdoor seating. We sat out by the water and had the best views and an amazing sunset.
I chose the Peppercorn-Crusted Tenderloin of Beef Filet Appetizer for my dinner, which was melt-in-your-mouth pieces of beef with a delicious melted blue cheese sauce over it. This was an excellent choice. My husband also loved his Crispy Potato-Crusted Grouper with a sweet Thai-chili sauce and scallions. I would definitely go here again and again.
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