Seafood Sampler: Eating in Vero Beach, FL
Located on Central Florida’s Treasure Coast, Vero Beach is an unpretentious coastal town with lots to offer its visitors and residents year round. There are miles of pristine beaches, access to water sports, beautiful boutiques, museums, art galleries and some of the best seafood I have ever had. I recently visited the area for the first time and managed to sample enough local food to know the town is packed with top eateries for lobster, shrimp, crab and every other fish in the sea.
Located in Sebastian, Captian Hiram’s has long been a fixture of the Vero Beach dining scene. Over lunch one afternoon our server Lisa told us that she has been working there 21 years! Guests can choose to dine in Blackfins Riverfront Grill where you’ll catch the warm lagoon breezes, or outside at the Sandbar Beach Club.
Start your meal with Liz’s Smoked Fish Dip, fried pickles or something from the Raw Bar. I had a hard time narrowing down my meal choice from their island-style menu. I went with Cindie’s Ultimate Lobster Roll and wasn’t sorry. It was outstanding. If you prefer catching your own fish you can pull right up to their pier and dock your boat. They are happy to clean and cook it up.
Do make a reservation if you are planning to eat at The Tides. In 2016 the Indian River Magazine choose it as the Best Restaurant on the Treasure Coast. Every dish is a culinary delight. When your server suggests the Flash Fried Calamari to start with, take her up on it! It is so light and airy, it practically melts in your mouth.
I was torn when it came time to choose the main course. Both the Macadamia Nut Crusted Yellowtail Snapper and the Pan Seared Potato Crusted Local Grouper caught my eye. In the end, the catch of the day won out. I was eager to try something locally caught. I had never had Hogfish before and it proved to be an excellent choice.
The Crab Stop
Do not miss The Crab Stop and bring your appetite with you. This seafood shack is the real deal. It is the kind of place where you order by the dozen or by the pound. Everything is fresh and homemade. The owners Ellis and Brandy Buckner are just about two of the nicest people you will meet during your time in Vero Beach. Don’t be surprised if they even sit down for a little chat while you eat.
The Crab Stop is known for their Blue Crabs steamed and seasoned with the restaurant’s own spicy mixture. If crabs aren’t your thing then I suggest one of the platters so you can try a little bit of everything. The samplers are made for sharing. They are piled high with king crabs legs, lobster tails shrimp, corn, and potatoes. Dine in, or take-out. Trust me, if I could have packed a pound or two of shrimp to take home in my suitcase I would have!
The Ocean Grill
The Ocean Grill is a landmark. It is the oldest establishment of its kind in Vero Beach. With a prime oceanfront location, it is key to make a reservation for a table by the window. Your meal will start with their signature warm bread and blue cheese spread. Rather than filling up on that save room for the main course. Jake’s Steak is a popular choice as are any of the seafood options. Portions are large and come with a choice of two sides. Be sure to save room for dessert as they are known for their Key Lime Pie!
Cobalt’s beachfront dining room is located within the luxurious Vero Beach Hotel and Spa. Whether you choose to dine inside or on their oceanside patio you will have unparalleled views of the Atlantic.
Their menu incorporates fresh ingredients and lots of seafood wherever possible, even at breakfast. In a twist on traditional Eggs Benedict, Cobalt serves a Florida Shrimp Benedict. The shrimp and andouille cake with poached eggs makes this dish outstanding. At lunch try conch chowder, shrimp, and grits or the fresh market fish sandwich. For dinner, seafood choices are abundant with oysters, calamari, arctic char, ahi and more.
Until recently the small town of Vero Beach has been flying under the radar. Dubbed The Hamptons of Florida, by the Palm Beach Post and one of 2015 Easy Beach Escapes by USA Today, I can see why the accolades are pouring in. With a new direct flight from Newark on Elite Airways, it is easy than ever to pop down to Vero Beach for a visit.
Disclosure: Complimentary accommodations, meals, and activities were provided by the Indian River County CVB. No other compensation was received for this review. This post reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.