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. 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

  • 2. Alabama Jack's

    $ | Seafood

    Calories be damned—the conch fritters here are heaven on a plate. Don't expect the traditional, golf-ball-size spheres of dough; these are an...Read More

  • 3. Baby's Coffee

    $ | American

    The aroma of rich, roasting coffee beans arrests you at the door of "the Southernmost Coffee Roaster in America." Buy beans by the pound or...Read More

  • 4. Chad's Deli & Bakery

    $ | American

    It's a deli! It's a bakery! It's a pasta place! It's also where the locals go. By day, Chad's serves monster sandwiches in pita wraps, rolls...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Fish Tales Market and Eatery

    $ | Seafood

    This no-frills, roadside eatery has a loyal local following, an unfussy ambience, a couple of outside picnic tables, and friendly service. Signature...Read More

  • 9. Good Food Conspiracy

    $ | Vegetarian

    Like good wine, this small natural-foods eatery and market surrenders its pleasures a little at a time. Step inside to the aroma of brewing...Read More

  • 10. Harriette's Restaurant

    $ | American

    If you're looking for comfort food—like melt-in-your-mouth biscuits the size of a salad plate—try this refreshing throwback. Since the early...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. The Café

    $ | 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

  • 14. The Stuffed Pig

    $ | American

    With only nine tables and a counter inside, this breakfast-and-lunch place is always hopping. When the weather's right, grab a table out back...Read More

  • 15. Finnegan's Wake Irish Pub and Eatery

    $ | Irish

    Come for the beer. Stay for the food. Leave with the staff," is the slogan of this popular pub. The pictures of Beckett, Shaw, Yeats, and Wilde...Read More

  • 16. Lobo's Mixed Grill

    $ | American

    Famous for its selection of wrap sandwiches, Lobo's has a reputation among locals for its 8-ounce, charcoal-grilled ground chuck burger—thick...Read More

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