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. Angler and Ale

    $$$

    If you're a fan of vibrant coastal decor and fresh local seafood, you'll gush over this restaurant and bar overlooking the water and Hawks Cay...Read More

  • 2. B.O.'s Fish Wagon

    $ | Old Town

    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...Read More

  • 3. Buzzard's Roost Grill and Pub

    $$

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

  • 4. La Grignote

    $ | Old Town

    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---from the...Read More

  • 5. Matt's Stock Island Kitchen and Bar

    $$ | Stock Island

    This casual-yet-stylish haven of "American coastal comfort food" has garnered plenty of local and national accolades for its eclectic seafood-focused menu and industrial-cool design featuring...Read More

  • 6. My New Joint

    $

    Atop the famed Square Grouper restaurant is a secret spot that locals love and smart travelers seek out for its tapas and well-stocked bar. Sit...Read More

  • 7. Alabama Jack's

    $

    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 unusual, mountainous, free-form creations...Read More

  • 8. Baby's Coffee

    $

    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

  • 9. Bayside Gourmet

    $ | Upper Matecumbe Key

    This tiny counter-service restaurant is the best-kept secret in Islamorada, with the tastiest and most affordable ($10) grouper Reuben sandwich in the Keys. It's a...Read More

  • 10. Bitton Bistro Café

    $ | Upper Matecumbe Key

    Authentic French food is on the menu at this supercasual eatery run by chef-owner Michel Bitton. The gelatos and wide selection of homemade French pastries...Read More

  • 11. Blue Heaven

    $$ | Old Town

    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 this...Read More

  • 12. Croissants de France

    $ | Old Town

    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 lunch...Read More

  • 13. El Siboney

    $ | Old Town

    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

  • 14. Fish Tales Market and Eatery

    $

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

  • 15. Geiger Key Smokehouse Bar and Grill

    $

    There's a strong hint of the Old Keys at this ocean-side marina restaurant, where local fishermen stop for breakfast before heading out to catch the...Read More

  • 16. Good Food Conspiracy

    $

    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 coffee,...Read More

  • 17. Green Turtle Inn

    $$ | Upper Matecumbe Key

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

  • 18. Half Shell Raw Bar

    $ | Historic Seaport

    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 for its seafood-based...Read More

  • 19. Harriette's Restaurant

    $

    If you're looking for comfort food—like melt-in-your-mouth biscuits the size of a salad plate or old-fashioned hot cakes with sausage or bacon—try this refreshing throwback...Read More

  • 20. Herbie's Bar and Chowder House

    $

    This shack-like, Old Keys spot has been the go-to for quick and affordable comfort food since the 1940s. You'll find all the local staples—conch, lobster...Read More

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