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. B.O.'s Fish Wagon

    $$ | Seafood

    What started out as a fish house on wheels appears to have broken down on the corner of Caroline and William streets and is today the cornerstone...Read More

  • 2. Café Marquesa

    $$$ | European

    Chef Susan Ferry presents seven or more inspired entrées on her changing menu each night. Delicious dishes can include anything from yellowtail...Read More

  • 3. Santiago's Bodega

    $ | Spanish

    If you’ve ever wondered where chefs go for a great meal in the Lower Keys, this is their secret spot. Picky palates will be satisfied at this...Read More

  • 4. Ambrosia

    $$ | Japanese

    Ask any savvy local where to get the best sushi on the island and you'll undoubtedly be pointed to this bright and airy dining room with a modern...Read More

  • 5. Azur Restaurant

    $$$ | Eclectic

    Fuel up on the finest fare at this former gas station, now part of the Eden House complex. In a contemporary setting with indoor and outdoor...Read More

  • 6. Blue Heaven

    $$$ | Caribbean

    The outdoor dining area here is often referred to as "the quintessential Keys experience," and it's hard to argue. There's much to like about...Read More

  • 7. Café Solé

    $$$ | French

    This little corner of France hides behind a high wall in a residential neighborhood. Inside, French training intertwines with local ingredients...Read More

  • 8. Camille's Restaurant

    $$$ | American

    Break out the stretchy pants because everything on the menu at this affordable hot spot not only sounds scrumptious, it is. Locals have tried...Read More

  • 9. Coffee Plantation

    $ | Bakery

    Get your morning (or afternoon) buzz, and hook up to the Internet in the comfort of a homelike setting in a circa-1890 Conch house. Munch on...Read More

  • 10. Conch Republic Seafood Company

    $$$ | Seafood

    Because of its location where the fast ferry docks, Conch Republic does a brisk business. It's huge, open-air, and on the water, so the place...Read More

  • 11. Croissants de France

    $ | French

    Pop into the bakery for something sinfully sweet or spend some time people-watching at the sidewalk café next door. You can get breakfast or...Read More

  • 12. Dante's Key West Restaurant and Pool Bar

    $$ | Seafood

    With the motto "Come be an aquaholic," Dante's is as unique as Key West itself. Sun loungers, tiki bars, and tables with umbrellas and chairs...Read More

  • 13. Deuce's Off the Hook Grill

    $$$ | American

    It's a tight fit with only six tables (and six counter seats), but if you don't mind sitting close to fellow diners, you will be rewarded with...Read More

  • 14. El Meson de Pepe

    $$ | Cuban

    If you want to get a taste of the island's Cuban heritage, this is the place. After watching a Mallory Square sunset, you can dine alfresco...Read More

  • 15. El Siboney

    $ | Cuban

    Dining at this family-style restaurant is like going to Mom's for Sunday dinner—if your mother is Cuban. The dining room is noisy, and the food...Read More

  • 16. Half Shell Raw Bar

    $$ | Seafood

    Smack-dab on the docks, this legendary institution gets its name from the oysters, clams, and peel-and-eat shrimp that are a departure point...Read More

  • 17. Hogfish Bar & Grill

    $ | Seafood

    It's worth a drive to Stock Island, one of Florida's last surviving working waterfronts, just outside Key West, to indulge in the freshness...Read More

  • 18. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe

    $$ | American

    If you must have your cheeseburger in paradise, it may as well be here, where you can chew along with the songs playing on the sound system...Read More

  • 19. Latitudes

    $$$ | Eclectic

    For a special treat, take the short boat ride to lovely Sunset Key for lunch or dinner on the beach. Creativity and quality ingredients combine...Read More

  • 20. Louie's Backyard

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Feast your eyes on a steal-your-breath-away view and beautifully presented dishes prepared by executive chef Doug Shook. Once you get over sticker...Read More

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