With fish selections as varied as baked stuffed haddock and the Boston Big Boy—a fried-fish sandwich layered with coleslaw, french fries, and cheese—seafood certainly earned its place in this restaurant's name. But maybe an even bigger presence than the Big Boy are the restaurant's signature roast-beef sandwiches, which are piled high with medium-rare roast beef sliced to order. Dinner entrees include top sirloin and 1.5-pound Maine lobster, though seafood is also a mainstay in the restaurant's breakfast dishes like crab-meat benedicts.
Rusty's Seafood and Oyster Bar occupies a nautical-themed waterfront house, with life preservers hung from the ceiling and fishing trawlers right outside, reflecting a menu full of shellfish, fresh fish, and other fruits of the sea. Expert oyster shuckers sling raw or steamed bivalves by the platter ($9.25) or bucket ($31.99), accompanying them with a range of raw bar accouterments. Jumbo lump crab au gratin ($10.99) bakes sweet chunks of crab meat with four cheeses, served stuffed inside a hot sourdough loaf. The eatery's signature encrusted mahi mahi ($18.25), a savory slab of fresh fish baked in a secret blend of spices, pairs well with a salad ($5.99–$11.99). Customers who visit on Backward Day can start with homemade key-lime pie ($5.99), a sweet-tart treat piled with pillowy meringue.
James Stadler grew up in Maryland, going to school during the week and working in local seafood eateries on evenings and weekends. One summer, more than 40 years ago, he took a spring break vacation with school mates to Cocoa Beach, and immediately decided it was the place for him to be. It took him a few decades to make his way down, mostly because of traffic in Atlanta. But when he arrived, James set about opening his very own restaurant by the sea. He called his diner Paradise Cove, and in it he combined the Northeastern seafood he so loved with steaks, sandwiches, and a bit of Floridian flavor.
James curates an extensive menu, from which he particularly recommends the Maryland-style crab cakes, a specialty of his that he learned to make in his youth. Of course, he makes many dishes that incorporate more local, tropical flavors, such as the jumbo shrimp grilled on sugar cane skewers. Whatever his guests have a hankering for, he ensures that their appetite for live entertainment is satisfied with nightly events, including karaoke and performances by local musician Brian Blatz with the nearby ocean on percussion.
At the end of a pier in Sebastian and along the waterfront in Melbourne, Squid Lips sates appetites for seafood and sea views. From that very sea, the fish figuratively jump onto plates—ensuring freshness and flavor—rather than the shrieks of horror they'd ensure by literally jumping onto plates. The kitchen team at each location grills everything over a taste-infusing oak-wood fire, including Cajun bacon-wrapped sea scallops and flounder stuffed with lobster and crab meat. As boats and buoys bob in the nearby water, guests can enjoy seafood enchiladas and a bar replete with a variety of fancy drinks. There's even a raw bar with oysters, clams, and shrimp.
At the Melbourne eatery, the staff also welcomes guests to enjoy delectable sea fare while wriggling toes in the sand or dining on the patio beachside. With nearly all senses attended to, they complete the experience with the sound of visible ocean waves and invisible live-music sound waves that pierce the air nightly in Melbourne and on weekends in Sebastian.
Cooking pasta at home is as simple as pulling noodles out of a box and tossing them in some boiling water. At DeAngelo’s By the Sea, a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award winner in 2013, the process is a bit more complicated. Using all-natural ingredients––water, stone-ground flour, and eggs––chefs extrude pasta through hand-carved bronze dies. They then let the noodles air dry, resulting in an al dente texture that is firm enough to hold sauces but still too delicate to catch a parachuting baby. Penne, spaghetti, linguine, and lasagna dishes anchor the menu, but diners can also get a taste of Italy with more than a dozen specialty pizzas. Like with the pastas, the pizzas epitomize freshness, utilizing such ingredients as San Marzano tomatoes, pure flour from Napoli, and Sicilian sea salt.
The Loughman Lake Beer and Food Fest, formerly known as the Titusville Craft Beer Festival, sets a spread of up to 70 domestic and craft beers for festival-goers to sample amidst the scenic vista at Loughman Lake. Since 2012, the festival has been a destination for fun lovers of all stripes: guests can chew the fat about their favorite baseball teams or play full-contact chess in the sports lounge, toast digital gladiators in the video-game area, or rock out to live music played throughout the day. Thanks to the new venue, the festival also offers a chance to jet across the wetlands on an airboat with reservations through the lakeside lodge.