The Florida Keys Feature

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Seafood in the Florida Keys

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Seafood in the Florida Keys

Fish. It's what's for dinner in the Florida Keys. The Keys' runway between the Gulf of Mexico or Florida Bay and Atlantic warm waters means fish of many fin. Restaurants take full advantage by serving it fresh, whether you caught it or a local fisherman did.

Menus at a number of colorful waterfront shacks such as Snapper's (139 Seaside Ave., Key Largo 305/852–5956) in Key Largo and Half Shell Raw Bar (231 Margaret St., Key West 305/294–7496) range from basic raw, steamed, broiled, grilled, or blackened fish to some Bahamian and New Orleans–style interpretations. Other seafood houses dress up their fish in creative haute cuisine styles, such as Pierre's (MM 81.5 BS, Islamorada 305/664–3225 www.pierres-restaurant.com) hogfish meunière, or yellowtail snapper with pear-ricotta pasta purses with caponata and red pepper coulis at Café Marquesa (600 Fleming St., Key West 305/292–1244 www.marquesa.com). Try a Keys-style breakfast of "grits and grunts"—fried fish and grits—at the Stuffed Pig (3520 Overseas Hwy., Marathon 305/743–4059).

Built-In Fish

You know it's fresh when you see a fish market as soon as you open the door to the restaurant where you're dining. It happens frequently in the Keys. You can even peruse the seafood showcases and pick the fish fillet or lobster tail you want.

Many of the Keys' best restaurants are found in marina complexes, where the commercial fishermen bring their catches straight from the sea. Those in Stock Island (one island north of Key West) and at Keys Fisheries Market & Marina (MM 49 BS, end of 35th St., Marathon 305/743–4353, 866/743–4353) take some finding.

Updated: 2014-09-17

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