Cultivating familial vibes is easy for chef Luis, as his clan joins him in the kitchen daily. Blanca, Tracie, Arleen, and the rest of the Las Palmas entourage invite patrons to taste the tropics through a diverse menu of authentic Cuban dishes. Sautéed chicken, pork, and ham insulate an array of pressed cuban sandwiches served with fries that are the perfect size for mending holes in bowling balls. Entrees flaunt piles of slow-cooked shredded steak as well as fresh, pan-seared fish flanked by sides such as sweet plantains, black beans, and yucca.
At the end of a pier in Sebastian and along the waterfront in Melbourne, Squid Lips sates appetites for seafood and views of the ocean or Indian River Lagoon. At the Sebastian eatery, 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.
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. There's even a raw bar, where guests sample oysters, clams, and peel-and-eat shrimp. With nearly all senses attended to, they complete the experience with live-music sound waves that pierce the air nightly in Melbourne and on weekends in Sebastian.
Every day, Vittorio's Pizzeria & Restaurant's proficient pie twirlers construct pizzas, hot sandwiches, and Italian specialties from scratch. The restaurant's modern, mostly horse-and-buggy-free interior harbors a kitchen from which emerge calzones and strombolis overflowing with molten cheese. The culinary team hand tosses the fresh dough that forms the foundation of each pizza, including nine specialty pies, in addition to preparing spaghetti and chicken parmigiana swimming in pools of marinara. The staff also delivers bottled beer and pours glasses of imported wine, cooling tongues better than the unity of a flagpole, a midwestern December, and a school principal's mandate to discipline his hecklers.
Organic food helped save Maria Ray's life. After undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor enveloping her colon, Maria used nutritional therapies, which involve eating organic whole foods, to improve her health. She and her family wanted to share this knowledge with others, so they opened Maria's Organic Fountain–certified "green" by the Green Restaurant Association and one of the only organic restaurants in Indian River Valley. In addition to serving 100% organic fare, the café aims to provide a healthy and educational environment, evident in menu items such as the Hippocrates soup, which comes with Hippocratic Oath–printed napkins. Additionally, the staff are educated in dietary needs and food-therapy diets. They even use non-toxic food-based hydrogen peroxide to kill germs as well as organic cooking oil.
La Bodeguita de Vero curates a diverse menu of traditional Cuban meals and specialty drinks, served up family style. Stuffed tostones ($7.50) jump-start digestive engines by delivering sizzling jolts of shredded beef, ropa vieja, or beef in salsa criolla. Placate growling stomachs with savory fillets of grilled salmon sidled next to boiled veggies ($13), or tooth-wrestle the fricase de cerdo–tender cuts of pork simmering alongside potatoes in a special Cuban sauce ($13.50). Sandwiches ($6+) volunteer to occupy restless jazz hands with meaty stacks of steak, fish, and chicken. To offset piquant mouthfuls, diners can corral energy-packed gulps of cortadito ($1.50) or a Cuban mango milkshake ($3.50).
In 1985, Jim Mellody had a simple dream: to create a neighborhood pub where friends, family, and nice-looking strangers could enjoy good food and sports. So, with his wife, Jeanette, he opened the first of the now-famous Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, filling the first Brandon, Florida, location with sports memorabilia and TVs. The menu—which has grown over the years as the franchise has birthed more than 200 outposts—celebrates American pub classics with an Irish twist, including an Irish blessing on every menu. The expansive menu can quell any number of cravings, with hearty dishes such as award-winning jumbo wings hand tossed in 12 signature sauces and pretzel roll Angus sliders with thick-cut bacon, all served with homestyle shakes or domestic drafts.