Located in the Publix shopping complex, Puccini’s is easy to find. This Italian eatery is popular with tourists and locals, and with everything from wings, pizza, pasta and subs, there’s something for everyone. Relax outside and listen to live bands, or get your food to go and take it back to your place, or the beach.
+ Pros: We enjoyed the pasta here (which is on par with Olive Garden) and our son, the chicken tender connoisseur, gives the chicken tenders a big thumbs up. Meals are a decent size and rather tasty. There is indoor and outdoor seating, although indoor seating is limited. Staff is friendly and the live music adds to the environment. Right by Publix and not far from the beach, this place is easy to find.
– Cons: The pizza has a strong flavor that our family didn’t care for at all, and the pizza was a bit pricey in our opinion. It must be noted that while we didn’t like the pizza at all, many visitors do enjoy the flavor, so it’s obviously a subjective taste. The fact that it’s right on the main road, and often has live music, means it can get loud. Because indoor seating is limited you might be forced to sit outside which could be a problem in cold, rainy weather.
Driving down Vilano Road toward the pier it’s easy to miss this little gem of a restaurant. Locals have been going here for a while, and tourists are just starting to find out how good and reasonable the meals are. From pizza, to hamburgers to seafood, you can find a variety of food for a decent price.
+ Pros: The food is good and the prices are great, especially compared to other restaurants in the area. They are known for their delicious hamburgers, but their seafood and pizza are also a good choice. As of yet, we haven’t gone wrong here! In fact, Beaches and 180 Vilano are our two top choices for restaurants in town.
– Cons: People are starting to take notice of this restaurant and there have been a few times, especially around holidays, when it has gotten crowded and staff has seemed a bit overwhelmed. During these crowded moments certain foods, such as pizza, have been known to run out.
Make sure to ask about the wild chickens that roam the area!
Head north on A1A and you’ll find the only restaurant near Vilano Beach that is located on the Atlantic Ocean. All other water-side restaurants are on the river. Not only does the restaurant have some great views, but you can take a stroll along the beach after dinner and work off that meal. At The Reef you’ll find lunch, dinner and brunch (on Sundays).
+ Pros: As mentioned, this is the only restaurant on the Atlantic Ocean in the area, and the only place where you can take a sea-side stroll after or before dinner. Whether you’re seated indoors or outdoors, you’ll get a decent view of the ocean. This place is a bit fancier than the others in the area and the perfect place to take your wife or Mom for Mother’s Day, or to impress someone on a date. This is the place to go if you want a quiet, romantic meal by the water.
– Cons: Prices are high and meals are hit and miss. I’ve had some good meals here, but I’ve also had some bad, mushy fried fish. Some views are definitely better than others and you might be placed at a table with a limited view of the water. This isn’t the sort of place you can relax with kids, and to be honest the staff isn’t the warmest/friendliest in the area.
*If you visit The Reef you’ll have to drive as it is a couple miles north on A1A
Caps on the Water is truly enchanting and probably the prettiest place to eat in the Vilano Beach area. There is no better place to watch the sunset than at Caps. Spanish oaks with draping moss, outdoor seating right on the river, trees wrapped with white lights that twinkle in the evening…this restaurant is pure magic! Be aware that Caps is only open for dinner during the week days, while open for lunch and dinner during weekends. But believe me, you’ll want to go during evenings to experience the sunset. It is mostly all outdoor seating, so don’t expect to sit inside.
+ Pros: Most of the time the food is delicious and we’ve had some of our best meals here. In fact, this place is a favorite with our family and friends when they visit. The sunset view is amazing, and the décor is shabby chic magical.
– Cons: At the higher prices you’d expect perfection. Although many times our meals have been delicious, there have been a few occasions when they were subpar: mushy food and nasty veins in the shrimp. This place is so popular that the wait to get in can be long and the staff at times seems stressed. While we were fortunate enough to get seating next to the water one evening, it was a bit overwhelming when the sun started to set and suddenly we were surrounded by other diners who had left their tables to get photos, blocking our own view.
Let’s face it, when you’re at the beach sometimes you get sick of sea food. If you’re at that point, the Fire Wok is the perfect place to go. The service is great, and the food is yummy! The best thing? The place is super cheap compared to other restaurants in the area. In true Chinese take-out fashion, expect to get large portions! The Fire Wok can be found next to Publix.
+ Pros: Quick, yummy meals that are cheaply priced! The staff is great, and it’s obvious they not only care about their business, but want the costumer to be happy. They deliver, and you can even order online.
– Cons: It can take a while to get your order, especially if you’re a walk-in, so its best to call in ahead of time. Seating inside is very limited!
Beaches is probably our favorite restaurant on Vilano Beach because of its fun, laid-back atmosphere. At the end of Vilano Road and next to the pier, it’s easy to find.
If you want the beach pub life, look no further. Beaches is the perfect place to go for the Caribbean experience. There is indoor seating with a bar, and plenty of T.V.s to watch the game. But it’s the outdoor seating that makes this place truly special. You can even drive up in your boat or kayak to the restaurant! This is a great place to eat seafood, relax, and watch the boats as they sail up and down the river.
+ Pros: The beach theme will make you feel as if you’re relaxing in the Keys. The food is tasty, the price isn’t ridiculously expensive and the staff has always been super friendly. Our son, who is a chicken nugget/chicken tender connoisseur, votes Beaches as having the best meals for kids! You’ll love the water view and your kids will love being able to play in the sand. Although be warned, make sure your kids wear their flip-flops! The oysters that live along the river have sharp shells that can cut tiny feet!
– Cons: Because Beaches has such fun atmosphere and is on the water’s edge, it can get crowded. It’s a popular place! Between the TVs, the music (which is live at times), it can get a little loud and hectic. If you want to sit outside, plan to have an early dinner, or you may have to wait.