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. Buzzard's Roost Grill and Pub

    $$ | Seafood

    The views are nice at this waterfront restaurant, but the food is what gets your attention. Burgers, fish tacos, and seafood baskets are lunch...Read More

  • 2. Chef Michael's

    $$$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Seafood

    This local favorite–-whose motto is "Peace. Love. Hogfish"–-has been making big waves since 2011 with chef Michael Ledwith at the helm. Seafood...Read More

  • 3. La Grignote

    $ | Old Town | French

    An authentic French bakery run by husband-and-wife team Joel and Babette Odou, this is the place to come for any manner of French-pastry craving...Read More

  • 4. Little Palm Island Restaurant

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    The restaurant at the exclusive Little Palm Island Resort—its dining room and adjacent outdoor terrace lit by candles and warmed by live music...Read More

  • 5. Santiago's Bodega

    $ | Old Town | Spanish

    Picky palates will be satisfied at this funky, dark, and sensuous tapas restaurant, which is well off the main drag–-it's a secret spot for...Read More

  • 6. Azur Restaurant

    $$$ | Old Town | Eclectic

    In a contemporary setting with indoor and outdoor seating, welcoming staff serve original, eclectic dishes that stand out from those at the...Read More

  • 7. Key Colony Inn

    $$ | Italian

    The inviting aroma of an Italian kitchen pervades this family-owned favorite known for its Sunday brunch, served November through April. For...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Sarabeth's

    $$ | American

    Named for the award-winning jam-maker and pastry chef Sarabeth Levine, this locally-owned restaurant serves all-day breakfast, best enjoyed...Read More

  • 10. Snappers

    $$ | Seafood

    In a lively waterfront setting, Snappers has live music, Sunday brunch (including a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar), killer rum drinks, and...Read More

  • 11. The Café

    $ | Old Town | Vegetarian

    You don't have to be a vegetarian to love this new-age café decorated with bright artwork and a corrugated-tin-fronted counter. Local favorites...Read More

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