Great Food wrapped in exotic tropical charm – just off main-land Florida rests a crescent shape sprinkling of islands – The Florida Keys. Conch fritters, grilled hogfish, and stone crab – this is where you come for the freshest seafood that’s ever hit a plate; literally, out of the water and into a skillet. The Florida Keys consist of 1700 small islands, most uninhabited, connected by 42 bridges on the Overseas Highway or US1. Starting just 15 miles south of Miami is Key Largo – where you start this culinary adventure. Florida Keys Restaurant Guide
Key Largo, the largest Key known as the diving capital of the world, stretches for 30 miles and is a good place to catch your breath before your amazing journey. Millions of visitors a year can’t be wrong; they’re drawn here by the diving, boating, fishing and great dining.
A beautifully restored 1930’s Conch house. If you love stone crab and have a good appetite, go for their ‘all-you-can-eat’ stone crab. You can also get snapper, sushi-grade tuna, and of course, conch fritters. Appetizers range from $6 to $19 and Entrees $18 to $45. www.ballyhoosrestaurant.com
Fish House Restaurant
While it’s cute and a little kitschy, there’s a cozy island atmosphere and the traditional conch-style food is outstanding. They have a wonderful mushroom appetizer – three large mushrooms stuffed with a large scallop, topped with a combo of spinach, andouille sausage, and goat cheese. Appetizers range from $4 to $14 and Entrees start at $19. www.fishhouse.com
Key Largo Conch House
This family owned and operated restaurant has been featured on many TV shows including Emeril’s Florida as well as the Food Network and Man vs. Food. The atmosphere in this tropical café is laid back and homey; the best seating is on the front porch or the patio. The Conch Fritters and Crab Cake Appetizers are on the low end at $8.95, the rest of the Appetizers up to $18 and Entrees are $15 to $32. www.keylargoconchhouse.com
Pilot House Marina, Restaurant and Glass Bottom Bar
An island style ambiance with a casual bar setting greets guests at this Key Largo landmark. The glass bottom bar will intrigue children, they even have a feeding tube for the kids to feed fish. The marina is of major interest, you can book a dinner cruise aboard the original steam-powered ‘African Queen’. Appetizers are $5 to $16, Entrees $18 to $35, Sandwiches $10 to $16. www.pilothousemarina.com
Islamorada, meaning purple isle, has more fishing vessels per square mile than any other vacation destination in the world and is known as the sport fishing capital of the world. Marinas, boat rentals and dive shops are dotted throughout the island, lots of entertainment, sports bars and comedy clubs. An interesting stop for ‘tastings’ might be the Florida Keys Brewing Co., where they are infusing local flavors – key lime, citrus, honey – into their brews.
Cheeca Lodge & Spa
With more than 1,200 feet of palm-fringed beach and crystal-clear water, you’ll love dining in either of their three restaurants: Atlantic’s Edge, Mia Cucina, or Nikai Sushi – great food, but on the pricey side. Try a lime agave martini in one of the two bars, the Lobby Bar or the open-air Tiki Bar, where burgers cost $18 and starters range between $12 and $24. www.cheeca.com/dining
Chef Michael’s, located just outside the Cheeca Lodge, is island-elegant, and more than a typical seafood restaurant, as they also offer prime meats and game. Appetizers range from $6 to $25, Entrees from $20 to $50. Cool signage reads PEACE LOVE & HOGFISH. Reservations are recommended. foodtotalkabout.com
Beachside dining and amazing sunsets, that’s what you get when you dine on one of the few natural beaches in the Florida Keys. As is the tradition, since 1967, Marker 88 has been serving some of Florida’s freshest seafood. They became, even more, more of a draw after the restaurant was used in the filming of Netflix series ‘Bloodline’. Appetizers range from $11 to $18 and Entrees from $26 to $42. www.marker88.info
Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar
Look for the mermaid at Mile Marker 82, Bayside. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week with entertainment, atmosphere and a little pizzazz, They have ‘Sunset Celebrations’ nightly, and reasonably priced for beachfront dining. Appetizers are $8 to $15, Entrees $16 to $26 and sandwiches $15. www.loreleicabanabar.com
Midway Café & Coffee Bar, Islamorada
Located ‘midway’ in the Keys (marker 80.5), the café is small, it’s cute, has home-made bread and serves the best coffee in the Keys. This is the place to pick up coffee and a muffin for the road or enjoy a good breakfast. They have an extensive menu and use high-quality ingredients; a full breakfast is $6 – $10, coffees $1.95 – $5.75. www.midwaycafecoffeebar.com
Marathon is in the heart of the Florida Keys, approximately 50 miles north of Key West and 50 miles south of Key Largo. Where else can you swim with dolphins, feed stingrays, view turtles and drive the ‘7-Mile Bridge’. You may recall seeing this bridge in the movie “True Lies”.
Porky’s Bayside Florida Keys
Porky’s is a casual, funky waterside eatery serving great BBQ, seafood and drinks. They serve breakfast and have a great Happy Hour menu with items from $5 to $8 and have a good range of Box Lunches available at $10.00. porkysbaysidebbq.com
Keys Fisheries Market & Marina
Keys Fisheries is the most popular restaurant-seafood market in the Middle Keys; it’s just North of the 7 Mile Bridge. Appetizers range from $5 to $14, Entrees from $20 to $29, Sandwiches from $11 to $20. www.keysfisheries.com
Secluded and quaint, a nice place to get away from the masses and we hear the food is very good. Located at the Rainbow Bend Resort, the Hideaway Cafe offers Appetizers at $8 to $12, Entrees $19 to $39 (prices may have increased), plus a children’s menu. Inquire about their extensive selection of wine and cigars. www.hideawaycafe.com
Sunset Grill and Raw Bar, Marathon
This is a great pace to grab a bite and catch the sunset. They’re located at the north end of the 7-mile bridge in Marathon, looking like a big tiki hut. They have an extensive menu with plenty of fresh seafood; Coconut Curry Lobster $29.99, Basil Pesto Mahi-Mahi $26.99. They have a kids menu $7 -$8 and a good selection of sushi. www.sunsetgrille7milebridge.com
Key West is impossible to describe in a few words as they (locals, known as Conchs) march to the beat of a different drum. It’s a tropical circus with nightly celebrations like the Duval Crawl where you ‘shop-eat-drink-then-repeat’ and the ‘Sunset Celebrations’ at Mallory Square – the best place for people watching. There’s a festival for everything like ‘Hemmingway Days’ and the annual Hemmingway look-alike contest as well as the multi-themed ‘Fantasy Fest’ in October when everyone parties (costumes are a must) at the ‘Pimp and Ho’ bash or Sloppy Joes ‘Toga Party’ to name a few.
Conch Republic Seafood Company
Historically famous the Conch Republic has been serving the daily catch since the 1890’s. It’s a large place where the atmosphere is very laid back, the music live and the staff attentive. There’s a large open seating area on the marina with an ocean breeze. Some of their best dishes include Stuffed Mushrooms, Sesame Crusted Tuna Tataki and Blackened Hogfish. Check to see if the Royal Reds are on the menu, if not you might want to ask for them, they’re great shrimps. www.conchrepublicseafood.com
This wonderful restaurant has an unobstructed sweeping view of the Atlantic, serving authentic Italian cuisine. They have live music, a good wine list, classic cocktails and a great Martini Bar called Virgilio’s. Last posted prices were – Appetizers range from $10 to $14, Entrees from $14 to $37. latrattoria.us
Blue Heaven is a fun, funky spot where the chickens and cats have become almost as well-known as the food. You can dine al fresco under canopies of tropical foliage, surrounded by improvised art or inside with the AC. This is considered one of the best places for breakfast or brunch. The popular items are Scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon-potatoes, and they have a Bacon Lobster and Tomato Benedict. Don’t forget to order the Key Lime pie as it’s considered one of the best in the Keys. Main courses $25–$35; lunch $8–$19; breakfast $6–$20 www.blueheavenkw.com
Homestyle Colombian food away from the busyness of Duval street. Zelma Segura, the owner prepares traditional recipes passed down from her mother. Enjoy arepas and empanadas, plus seafood dishes including sautéed shrimp and calamari in tomato basil broth. The signature dish is pan-seared yellowtail snapper encrusted in panko in a light cream caper sauce. Appetizers from $4 to $12 and Entrees $22 to $30. www.blissrestaurantkw.com
Cuban Coffee Queen
If you’re looking for the best coffee in Key West then plan a stop at the Cuban Coffee Queen where you’ll also find great Cuban sandwiches; their fruit smoothies are incredible and highly popular. Sandwiches are $6 to $9, Breakfast $5 to $9 and Beverages, including coffees, are $1 to $6. www.cubancoffeequeen.com
Margaritaville Resort & Marina, Bistro 245
A beautiful location on the waterfront of Old Town Key West is where you’ll find Margaritaville’s ‘Bistro 245’. Dine inside or out on perfectly seared Beef Tenderloin with Béarnaise sauce or Gulf Shrimp & Lobster Fettuccine; a great starter would be the excellent Crab Cakes with Avocado salad. They also have a spectacular Sunday Brunch, it’s a special menu with complimentary Champagne and spiced with breathtaking views of the Key west Harbour. www.margaritavillekeywestresort.com
Latitudes at Sunset Key
Latitudes is an upscale restaurant on tranquil Sunset Key, just 500 yards off the bar-hopping scene of Key West. You can dine in luxury in the Ernest Hemingway Room or outdoors overlooking the Gulf of Mexico where tiki torches illuminate the night sky. You access this little Paradise by motor-launch from the Westin Key West Resort Marina, it’s just a 7-minute ride away. Appetizers range from $9 to $28, Entrees $32 to $48. www.sunsetkeycottages.com/latitudes-key-west
The Florida Keys are all about surprises, excitement, relaxation, and wonder; the intriguing dining experiences are all about freshness, versatility and great taste.
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The Florida Keys Restaurant Guide lists places that have been vetted to ensure they are still open and correct prices (US Dollars) mentioned on publication date. Keep in mind this is our selection of restaurants and many more do exist. If you have any recommendations for this list, do let us know and we add them once vetted.
For information about Florida Keys Food Festivals and additional recommendations visit the Florida Key’s website.