The Florida Keys Restaurants

Seafood rules in the Keys, which is full of chef-owned restaurants with not-too-fancy food. Many restaurants serve cuisine that reflects the proximity of the Bahamas and Caribbean (you’ll see the term "Floribbean" on many menus). Tropical fruits figure prominently—especially on the beverage side of the menu. Florida spiny lobster should be local and fresh from August to March, and stone crabs from mid-October to mid-May. And don't dare leave the islands without sampling conch, be it in a fritter or in ceviche. Keep an eye out for authentic key lime pie—yellow custard in a graham-cracker crust. If it's green, just say "no." Note: Particularly in Key West and particularly during spring break, the more affordable and casual restaurants can get loud and downright rowdy, with young visitors often more interested in drinking than eating. Live music contributes to the decibel levels. If you're more of the quiet, intimate-dining type, avoid such overly exuberant scenes by eating early or choosing a restaurant where the bar isn’t the main focus.

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  • 1. Chef Michael's

    $$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Seafood

    This local favorite—whose motto is "Peace. Love. Hogfish."—has been making big waves since its opening in 2011 with chef Michael Ledwith at...Read More

  • 2. Pierre's

    $$$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | French

    One of the Keys' most elegant restaurants, Pierre's marries colonial style with modern food trends. Full of interesting architectural artifacts...Read More

  • 3. Green Turtle Inn

    $$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Seafood

    This circa-1947 landmark inn and its vintage neon sign is a slice of Florida Keys history. Period photographs decorate the wood-paneled walls...Read More

  • 4. Hungry Tarpon

    $$ | Lower Matecumbe Key | Seafood

    As part of the colorful, bustling Old Florida scene at Robbie's Marina, you know that the seafood here is fresh and top quality. The extensive...Read More

  • 5. Islamorada Fish Company

    $$ | Windley Key | Seafood

    When a restaurant is owned by Bass Pro Shops, you know the seafood should be as fresh as you can get it. The restaurant is housed in an open...Read More

  • 6. Island Grill at Snake Creek

    $ | Windley Key | Seafood

    Don't be fooled by appearances; this shack on the waterfront takes island breakfast, lunch, and dinner up a notch. The eclectic menu tempts...Read More

  • 7. Kaiyo Grill & Sushi

    $$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Japanese

    The decor—an inviting setting that includes colorful abstract mosaics, polished wood floors, and upholstered banquettes—almost steals the show...Read More

  • 8. Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar

    $$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | American

    While local anglers gather here for breakfast, lunch and dinner bring a mix of islanders and visitors for straightforward food and front-row...Read More

  • 9. Marker 88

    $$$$ | Plantation Key | Seafood

    A few yards from Florida Bay, this popular seafood restaurant has large picture windows that offer great sunset views. The bay is lovely no...Read More

  • 10. Morada Bay Beach Café

    $$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Eclectic

    This bay-front restaurant wins high marks for its surprisingly stellar cuisine, tables planted in the sand, and tiki torches that bathe the...Read More

  • 11. Uncle's Restaurant

    $$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Italian

    Former fishing guide Joe LePree adds Italian flair to standard seafood dishes. Here you can have your seafood almandine, Milanese (breaded and...Read More

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