The Best Hotels in the Florida Keys for Waterfront Dining

Jill Martin | December 27, 2017

What is it about dining by the water that makes any meal that much more special? Is it the intoxicating views? The exorbitant prices usually encountered? Perhaps it’s the breeze that lulls us into a state of rarely found relaxation? Whatever it is, when you find a venue that offers both an impressive panorama and epicurean enticements, it can change your world--or at least rock it for a while. With that said, we hope you’re hungry... and ready for a change. These are the best waterfront hotel restaurants in the Florida Keys.


Casa Marina, A Waldorf-Astoria Resort

Why it made the list

It’s the views that you’ll remember the most, and the fact that you’re a part of the scene here as your table can be on the deck or on the sand, alongside the Atlantic. The menus for both lunch and dinner are shy on options, and the prices might set you back on your budget, but with the seafood and produce locally sourced, local flavor prevails. For a tangy taste of Key West, get the yellowfin tuna poke with mild notes of soy and ginger; scallop lovers need to try their BLT version, seared to perfection, served with salty pancetta and creamy goat cheese.

If you’ve got the money, honey, this resort delivers. Histor Read More


The Islander, A Guy Harvey Outpost Resort

Why it made the list

Of all the waterfront dining options, this is the least fussy. It’s super casual, poolside, oceanfront, and live music is a frequent addition to your lunch or dinner. The cheeseburgers (in paradise) exceed expectations; Cuban sandwiches are pressed hard with the right bite of pickle, and the obligatory Keys’ Mahi-Mahi sandwich comes blackened with unique layers of apple-smoked bacon and cilantro mayo.

Imagine a beloved resort built in 1950, on 20+ oceanfront ac Read More


Oceans Edge Key West Hotel & Marina

Why it made the list

The new kid on the block has lots of offer its guests, starting with open-air views of the marina (that is frequently visited by manatees) and the elegant pool deck with its colorful dancing water. The décor gives a serious nod to industrial, but the menu is all fresh Florida seafood with an enjoyable Caribbean twist. To start your meal on a flavorful note, get the conch chowder--it’s one of the best versions, even by Bahamian standards. Dining is al-fresco so come as you are and make peace with the humidity.

Just a few miles from Key West, Oceans Edge is the smart cho Read More


Playa Largo Resort & Spa

Why it made the list

On the backside of the property, on the second floor of a freestanding building, you’ll find Sol by the Sea. This open-air café offers more than bay breezes and wonderful views, the Caribbean-influenced menu is interesting and flavorful. Sure, you’ll find standard fare like fish tacos, but opt for the soft-shell crab version. If you want an express ticket to Flavor Town, order the grouper in curry with mango.

This is a destination resort in every sense. Multiple restau Read More


Hawks Cay Resort

Why it made the list

The newest addition to this family friendly oceanfront playground is Angler and Ale, an indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant overlooking the marina and overflowing with local flavor. Broiled Florida lobster tail, grouper cheeks (ask for extra remoulade for dipping), or big coconut almond shrimp with jezebel sauce--ooh, it’s so good. Even better? Relax around the firepit in a colorful Adirondack with an Angler’s Delight, their signature cocktail that blends tequila, citrus juices, and agave nectar.

Hawks Cay is an island unto itself, a sprawling playground f Read More


Cheeca Lodge & Spa

Why it made the list

Three waterfront restaurants at one sprawling resort: Atlantic’s Edge, Limoncello, and Nikai Sushi Lounge. While each offers a different tasting journey, all offer ocean views, indoor and outdoor seating, and attentive service. The Guava-Glazed Mahi at Atlantic’s Edge is a fan favorite, but save room for dessert at Limoncello--the key lime cannoli are crunchy and tart with the precise amount of sweet.

See and be seen at Cheeca Lodge and Spa. Read More


Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort

Why it made the list

On the second floor of this worn and weathered resort is a secret dining spot that locals are reluctant to share. Appropriately named the Hideaway Café, you won’t believe the scene: waiters in dress shirts with ties, white linen tablecloths, Atlantic views through the jalousie windows, and a menu of steaks, seafood, and unexpected pleasures, like escargot in cognac cream sauce. All this at a roadside motel, in the Keys? Crazy, we know, and it’s crazy good.

With the words ‘dive resort’ in the name, you ca Read More


Sunset Key Cottages

Why it made the list

Voted one of the most romantic restaurants in the nation, ‘Latitudes’ is where you can sip martinis with your toes in the sand and view the sail boats as they glide along the horizon of a colorful Key West sunset. Seafood is locally sourced so the menu evolves around what’s fresh, but one can hope for the rosemary pan-roasted cobia. The baseball-sized crab cake is perfect for sharing, or savor every sweet bite yourself.

Looking for a quiet, island getaway that will afford you pam Read More


Ocean Key Resort & Spa

Why it made the list

Romance is in the air at Hot Tin Roof, a dimly lit and most beautiful restaurant, from the ceiling panels to the hardwood floors. Views of the harbor are impressive, too. And wait till you see the extensive menu--where to start? How about with the chilled seafood offerings, like lobster sofrito or mojo verde crab salad? Just say, “YES!” No need for a full dinner, share their small plates and taste your way around the Caribbean. Day Boat Friday is for fish lovers, where the local catch is the star.

Luxury can be fun, especially when it’s at the edge of every Read More


The Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Why it made the list

Carnivores, rejoice! USDA Prime hand-cut filets, 72-hour short ribs, and a rib eye that will make your knees buckle--welcome to Spencer’s by the Sea. Seafood offerings are just as impressive with ginormous shrimp and a crab cake with more jumbo lumps than a Rocky movie. Ocean views can be enjoyed on the veranda or inside amidst the dark woods and illuminated nature photography. Don’t miss their richer-than-rich flourless chocolate cake.

You might never know it’s there unless you stumble to the qu Read More


Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Why it made the list

You won’t find another dining experience quite like this anywhere. Reserve a table just steps from the Atlantic, where the flames of Tiki torches dance in the ocean breeze and the reflection of the moon shimmers on the vast span of the Atlantic. And then there’s the cuisine. Sure, you’ll have to take out a bank loan, but who cares? You can feast on Châteaubriand with shaved truffle while key deer gingerly walk past your table. The only thing that is underwhelming is the name of the restaurant, The Dining Room.

There's a long list of notable guests that have chosen to sp Read More

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