At Little New Orleans Kitchen & Oyster Bar, the piquant seafood staples of Louisianan Cajun cuisine quell robust belly rumblings. Diners silence stomachs by sinking spoons into New Orleans jambalaya or cracking into snow crab legs and shrimp smothered in butter sauce. A side of Cajun fries complements the flavors of Cajun fried shrimp, and french bread po' boys contain gravy-slathered roast beef as opposed to rich boys, which are stuffed with $100 bills.
At Fresh on the Fly, chefs elevate classic comfort-food recipes with top-tier ingredients. They stuff po’ boys with wild-caught shrimp and creole rémoulade, for instance, and serve corn-flake-crusted, hormone-free chicken atop homemade waffles. Though seafood is Fresh on the Fly’s specialty, its chefs also serve up thick burgers made with grass-fed beef locally sourced from De Leon Springs. The emphasis on sustainability extends to the dishware, which swaps out plastic and coal-powered forks in favor of reusable china and plant-based utensils.
Diners can devour entrees in the cool-toned, streamlined dining room, which features corrugated-tin wainscoting that echoes the grays and silvers of sharks and swordfish painted on its walls.
Diners at Dolphin View Restaurant often sense that they are being watched. The feeling is far from paranoid or unwelcome, however, as the prying eyes belong to seabirds and jumping dolphins. These creatures are common sights in the waters that border the eatery, where open-air seating affords views of their play. Wooden tables stand on the slats of a dock or the sandy expanse of the beach, framed by cloth canopies and hanging plants. In these environs, guests feast on plates of grilled fish, shrimp, and signature sandwiches, such as the Dolphin burger. The menu also features less ocean-centric options, including burgers, chicken entrees, and glasses of salt-free water.
For an even more immersive mix of food and scenery, guests can reserve spots on one of Dolphin View Restaurant's dinner and river cruises. Each experience begins with an all-you-can-eat buffet at the open-air pavilion. After dinner, passengers embark by boat through the waterway, marveling at the coastal scenery and wildlife as they sip beer or wine.
Guests are never far from the sand or surf at Hidden Treasure Tiki Bar & Grill, where American cuisine meets ocean views. Fittingly, the menu is stuffed to the gills with seafood, from wild gator-tail and crab-cake appetizers to entrees of Maine lobster, stuffed shrimp, and sea scallops. Diners can also chow down on burgers, pasta, and barbecued pork chops. The laid-back spot combines these eats with on-the-water fun by renting out hydrobikes.
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.
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.