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. Conch Republic Seafood Company

    $$ | Historic Seaport | Seafood

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

  • 2. Half Shell Raw Bar

    $ | Historic Seaport | 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

  • 3. Islamorada Fish Company

    $ | Windley Key | Seafood

    When a restaurant is owned by Bass Pro Shops, you know the seafood should be as fresh as you can get it. The restaurant, housed in an open-air...Read More

  • 4. Keys Fisheries Market and Marina

    $ | Seafood

    You can't miss the enormous tiki bar on stilts, but the walk-up window on the ground floor is the heart of this warehouse-turned-restaurant...Read More

  • 5. Morada Bay Beach Café

    $$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Eclectic

    This bayfront restaurant wins high marks for its surprisingly stellar cuisine, tables in the sand, and tiki torches that bathe the evening in...Read More

  • 6. Mrs. Mac's Kitchen

    $ | Seafood

    Locals pack the counters and booths at this tiny eatery, where license plates decorate the walls, to dine on everything from blackened prime...Read More

  • 7. Turtle Kraals

    $$ | Seafood

    Named for the kraals, or corrals, where sea turtles were once kept until they went to the cannery, this place calls to mind the island's history...Read More

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