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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Michaels Restaurant

    $$$$ | American

    White tablecloths, subdued lighting, and romantic music give Michaels the feel of an urban eatery, while garden seating reminds you that you...Read More

  • 6. Nine One Five

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Twinkling lights draped along the lower- and upper-level outdoor porches of a 100-year-old Victorian home set an unstuffy and comfortable stage...Read More

  • 7. Pisces

    $$$$ | European

    In a circa-1892 former store and home, chef William Arnel and staff create a contemporary setting with a stylish granite bar, Andy Warhol originals...Read More

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